Has the Wild Mind Also Died?

Have you noticed how non-existent I am here?  Like what’s up with that?  The Wild Mind gets on and posts a wimpy (at best) post about Michael Jackson and then disappears.  Hmmm, makes you wonder what I’ve been up to.  Or…makes you wonder if I died like all the rest of the celebrities out there.

Okay, rest assured I haven’t died.

Yes, I have struggled a bit with writer’s block due to the fact that certain someone’s might be reading this blog and trying to read between the lines and of course I don’t want them to get the wrong impression so I….*deeep inhale* ….need to take a freaking breath and just write what I want to write.  But also…and more importantly…I’ve struggled because my life is changing at light speed…due to my own initiative…thanks…and well…I just want to write about something more important than Fire Trucks and swimming pool pumps and hoses hooking up.  I mean, as fun as that is…it is so not where I live and other things are motivating me right now.  Sigh. 

The Wild Mind is in a Wild State of Transition….I guess?  Maybe? 

Or…The Wild Mind is simply being proactive and deciding to live life…instead of merely writing about it after the fact?

Okay…all of the above is true.

Here’s what you (you being anyone interested besides The Wild Mind’s Self) need to know:

* yeah, okay, I admit…life has been busy and rather than write about how I’m accomplishing my New Year’s Resolutions, I am actually out there accomplishing them.

* I’m done with dating derelict men who are unavailable emotionally and legally or who are simply looking for a one night stand(or lay).  I’m also done with spending time with anyone  who cannot demonstrate a  LOGICAL, RATIONAL, well informed and clearly articulated thought process when communicating.  Since this eliminates 97% of all men on the planet and especially those who post profiles on all the dating sites (and, yes, sadly I’ve tried them all), I ‘ve completely given up on the dating thing.

“Why?” you ask.

“Because” I say, “I have so much better things to do with my life.”

Yeah, that’s it.  I’ve decided to quit moping about my past failures.  I’ve picked myself up and dusted myself off and am reinventing myself and my life and my future.  I’m doing it because I can.  I’m doing it because I still have the energy and health to do it….and I am loving every freaking minute of it!  I’m.having.fun!

My mother was soooo right on.  I should have done what I wanted to do to begin with instead of being so worried about pleasing the world and getting married simply because it was the socially acceptable fantasy at the time.  Thank-you, Mom.  Even though you never saw the fruit of your labor with me while alive, understand that your words like seeds were sowed deep in me and took root…albeit late…but they have taken root and sprouted and there is a bountiful harvest for sure! 🙂  I’m finally figuring out what I’m about…what I want and it has nothing to do with the presence or absence of some nondescript man in my life. 

But it means I’m not having so much time to write, especially when it means that creative energy is spread out among 3 or more blogs,  4 children and one very viable contender for the Knight in Shining Armor Award.  (Okay, screw the shining armor part, he’s just very interesting, intelligent, attractive, real…and…well…the best part is that so far his actions match his words and that is never a bad thing).

Yes, if he passes muster, you’ll hear about it.  Until then, he’s only one who’s captured my imagination, sparked my interest and kept my interest far, far longer than most.  If he rides off into the sunset it will be because he didn’t like the fact that I wanted to ride my own horse instead of hitching onto his.  It will be because he wasn’t willing to move forward while I mounted my own gallant steed and caught up with him in a bit.  It will simply be because he wasn’t able to or man enough to deal with a princess who is completely in charge of herself and doesn’t depend on a dashing prince to achieve her dreams. It will be because he ultimately felt insecure around me instead of inspired and motivated to be the best he could be.  Somehow, this particular Knight, strikes me as being one who will make decisions for himself, and allow his Princess to make her own decisions, all the while as he’s got her back and spoiling her at every opportunity.  Not because he has to, but becaue he’s totally into her and not afraid to declare it.

Dashing prince or not, The Wild Mind will create her own Fairy Tale Happy Ending.   It will take an incredibly amazing and masculine and self assurred….even a bit arrogant…maybe cocky Prince to be able to roll with that. 

Can you imagine just how interesting that relationship might be?  Not your standard, let’s-go-to-bed-at-ten-and-do-the-same-three-things-we-always-do-in-the-same-order-at-the-same-time -like-a-circus-monkey kind of relationship now is it?

Life Rocks! Don’t Give Up!

My day so rocked!  I mean I kicked it from beginning to end instead of it kicking me.  Me, kicking it, has become the norm lately instead of the sad state of affairs I was in last summer with no money, no transportation and, well, post-divorce realities staring me down like a mugger in a back alley at night. 

So all excited as I was, I spent 40 minutes writing this great post, at the end of which I realized no one was going to care about but me, so I drafted it instead of publishing it.  I hate when that happens!

Now I’ve used up most of my writing time for the evening on a post I can’t even go back and see that no one commented on, and, well, I hate when that happens too!

I also have so much to say and write about because, seriously?, right now, life is so on  for me that it is exciting and, well, almost as much fun as those days in my early 20’s when everything was colored with hope and possibility. 

Three months ago, I would never have believed (though I would have still hoped) that I could actually ever experience that optimism I experienced as a 20-something adult.  You know, the experience of waking up every day thinking it was an adventure, that the possibilities were endless and that you had your whole life ahead of you.  Do you remember those days?  The hope?  The optimism?  The confidence? 

Those days have returned to my life and I can’t tell you how good it feels to be back in the game again. 

And, look, if you’re out there thinking life’s passed you by or your winnings have been gambled and lost, think a-freaking-gen!  Life turns on a dime.  It might not look good now, but if you give up now it sure isn’t going to look any better than it does right now!  Keep putting one stupid, boring , unproductive, worthless (or seemingly so) foot in front of the other and guess what?  One day, that tunnel somehow seems a little brighter.  Then, a bit later on, you actually can discern a light at the end of said tunnel.  At that point, things get easier, you can see the light getting brighter and brighter and then suddenly everything for you begins to just go crazy in your favor.

The reality of life is this.  We are all going to have our rainy days.  Some of those days will accumulate into the longest freaking winter of our lives.  We’ll want to die, give up, cave in, drink or self-medicate.  We’ll feel like losers and that we screwed up and there is no hope.

But …

there is always hope.  There is always tomorrow.  There is always another chance to try again or to continue doing what we know we have to do to get out of the pit we dug for ourselves…or maybe…that someone else dug for us.

Today is not the day to give up. 

Today is the day to press on and keep going because there are better days ahead. 

Hang in there.  You’ll make it!

Life rocks!

(If it doesn’t now, give it a while, it will soon!)

Romance Is A Game Best Played On A Level Playing Field–Act 3

Curtains rise on The Wild Mind staring pensively off in stage left direction.  Lights up. The Wild Mind wakes herself from her reverie, takes a sip from the mug, put it down absent mindedly and resumes typing at her computer.

ghost-picWho can even fight fair against a ghost? I had no chance to start with.

This brings up another key point that I wish I’d known all along:

The Beau started up contact with the Old Flame at the same time or shortly before he invited me to Christmas Eve dinner. I had no chance from the beginning, because as long as she was even a remote figment in his imagination, I could have been perfect and it wouldn’t have mattered. The living cannot compete against ghosts who still live and carry even the smallest hope of reincarnating themselves.

In a word, The Beau, was not emotionally available. Not really.

I suspected it but I did not know this.  He liked me a lot.  Had she not even been a possibility, I dare say we may have had a chance at a really, really good thing. But it could not ever be, because ghosts are powerful and will not be denied. 

It just was not meant to be between The Beau and I. I’m okay with this. I told him so.  I know there is someone out there for me somewhere.  (I’m skeptical, at this point, about my ever finding him, but that’s okay too.)

The Beau wants to remain “friends”. He said he’d hoped he could be that friend that I call first to tell him I’ve finally met Mr. Right.  While I don’t want to burn bridges unnecessarily, but I never wanted The Beau to play that role in my life. (Sorry, but that will probably be Semi-Professional Photographer Friend and not you, Beau. I already have friends like that in my life. That was not what I was looking for or what I needed when I started dating you. If it had been, you’d have been contacting me on Facebook the first time not on an online dating site.)

I told him that while I’m usually able to do be friends with people I date, I don’t think I can do that here. At least, not right away. He understands this to mean that I am sad, hurt and heartbroken that he’s choosing her over me. It really isn’t so much that at all. It was that this relationship, more than any other to date, for me, had all the signs of being completely viable and lasting…except that he just wasn’t that into me…in the most important way.

And, I so don’t want to be with someone who is into me,kinda, but just not enough.  I want him to be crazy about me or it’s not going to go very far even if I’m crazy about him. 

I also don’t want to be competing against unburied ghosts from the past.  It is not how I’m going to roll.

My disappointment comes from knowing I was right early on and not trusting myself earlier and just moving ahead with my heart. Instead, I kind of dabbled and played the “Well…Maybe….What if?….” game.

My sadness (if there really is any) comes from thus far in my entire life, not having one man who would really go to the wall for me in spite of me going to the wall repeatedly for them. thinkingTwo marriages which existed mostly because I made excuses for the men and held the marriages together at my own personal health and financial peril are enough. The dating scene has been no better. I’ve mostly met men who should not even be dating because they are a.) married and lying about it (read, The I. J.), b.) separated and working on it (read, still not available emotionally or legally no matter what he thinks or says) or c.) still in love with a past relationship that didn’t, won’t, or can’t work out (read The Beau and several current prospective suitors who are making bids for my time and attention but who haven’t quite thrown the dirt over the grave of their past loves).  The graveyard of past loves is not a safe place to go exploring for Mr. Right. 

This is all very confusing, because there is no way you know this going in to a relationship except by being very careful and paying very close attention (something I’m getting much better at doing), and there is no way you can possibly compete with the past or connect fully with the unavailable heart, while you’re there.  When you get out, you regret the whole bloody thing because the playing field was never level from the get go and it was just a big waste of time, except to confirm to you what you already knew about love, life and dating anyway. Who needs to experience all that just to find out you were right all along? I’d rather paint ceilings with rollers.

While I am disappointed (not distraught) on one one level that ” it “didn’t work out with The Beau and I, I really enjoyed our times together and I learned a lot.  It’s always nice to be in a relationship or to be thinking you might be heading that way.  On another level, I can do so much better than to spend my time wondering where I stand all the time.  I go back to my very opening point in these series of posts: When a man is into a woman, no one has any doubts about it, least of all the woman or man involved.  Am I making myself clear here.  I hope I remember that point.

The Beau, was courageous in talking to me about where he stood. I admire that. I gave him an out. He could have taken the chicken’s way out and responded to my text with, “Yeah, I’m not going to be able to make it. I’m wiped out.” Given the FB communiques it would have delivered the same message. He chose not to do that and instead delivered the message the tough way: face to face. I just wish it wasn’t in my living room, but okay. Live and learn. Next time, when I anticipate that news, I will suggest we go out, better yet, I’ll try to force a phone conversation.

Cue happy musical score as curtains fall.  The Wild Mind leans back in her chair and smiles.

To be concluded in the next post…

The Blogroll Game

I’m procrastinating again. 

I can tell.  I follow a particular pattern in my procrastination.

First, I get out the work I need to do. Today, I must prep math lessons in powerpoint and develop a promotional flyer for the school’s afterschool math club in April.

I then leave the laptop and the curriculum and the file for the afterschool math club on the table and go pour a glass of wine.  Then I get online to check my email and Facebook account activity.  I change my status message at Facebook, read the one email I have on Facebook, delete all the messages I received in my yahoo inbox from Freecycle.org and then I go read what all my bloggy friends have written since Friday. 

I get distracted responding to their posts.

I then play The Blogroll Game.  This is the game I created for myself to keep myself from being completely productive and to keep myself from using technology efficiently.  I go to a bloggy friend’s blog read all their stuff.  Maybe I’ll leave a comment, but then I check out their blogroll. 

This gets me in big trouble every time.  I lose hours of productivity and fall further behind in life as the result.  It’s a great game!

Today I was over at Zeus’ blog, “On Becoming A Universal and Narcissistic God” and after reading his most recent post, which admittedly was way over my little head,  I checked out his blogroll.  Personally, I love checking out his blogroll (hee!hee!) any chance I can get, but it usually discourages me because he has some great bloggers listed there.  Oh well, when I grow up I want to be like them. 

Anyway…today…by chance I clicked on the blog Zeus had listed as Dad’s House.  (I was actually heading toward CMajor7’s blog, because reading him also makes me happy or at least want to move away from here, but got distracted.) If you are a single parent or even a single post-marriage individual in your late thirties or forties, you need to check this blog out. His blogroll is amazing and will connect you to others who are dealing with the same parenting/dating quandaries we all seem to experience at this stage of the game.  David Mott’s posts are entertaining, well written and have just enough substance to them that you can do something with it and not be completely overwhelmed (unlike my own posts.  Oh well, I want to be like David Mott when I grow up too, so there).

Join me in The Blogroll Game and procrastinate away!

Okay, now that I’ve frittered 90 good minutes away in cyberworld, I think I can finally get to work…hah!  Maybe.

Getting Clear About What You Want…What I Want

Okay, revisiting expectations for Mr. Right. 

Seems like I spent a lot of time doing this the last three years of my last marriage, but, things change, I’ve changed, and I guess I just need some time to take stock and revisit what I thought seemed so simple so many (4) years ago.

First off, I think it is a good idea to be very clear about what you want. 

When I think about how I want my home life to roll with kids, chores, schedules, behavior, conversation, routines, etc. I always have a very clear idea of what it is that I want it to look like when I’ve reached my goal.  I don’t think about what it looks like when I’m close.  I think about what it looks like when I’ve arrived.   So, for example, if my goal is that I should be able to go out to dinner with adult friends and come home to a clean, orderly home where young ones are in bed and old ones are doing their thing quietly and all messes are cleaned up and the house is not partially burned down, then this is what I envision as I seek to teach my children what my expectations are.  Keeping this vision in my head is what helps me guage whether or not I’ve attained what I originally sought.

Sadly, men are not children and the ones we are dating we cannot simply teach (at least not directly) the behaviors we desire.

So, we have to think about stuff a little bit differently. 

For example, we must be very clear…okay, drop the we, I must be very clear about what my idea of the ideal “Match” for me would be.

Sadly, after the thousands of hours of thinking about this and journaling and reflecting and dating and analyzing and tallying my point charts up and doing my pro’s and con’s lists, I’m no closer to nailing this one than I was when I started. 

Some tell me my expectations are unreasonable.

Others tell me, “Dont’ settle.  You deserve and are capable of choosing the very best for yourself.”  Whatever that means.

I don’t get it.  I know I screwed up big, twice in the past with marital mistakes.  I personally think this was due to letting other people navigate my course rather than me navigating it for myself, but I could be wrong.  I also think guilt, fear, shame and religious legalism played into my errors in a big way. 

So, now I am, once again, back to the drawing board, and for no other reason than to just make sure I’m still clear on exactly what it is I want.  I have no serious (some potential, but not really, probably, serious) contenders for my alliegiance for an exclusive relationship.  After my last little rendezvous with The Beau, I’m not so sure I’m going to jump right into an ‘exclusive’ dating relationship until I’ve revisited some of my priorities.  This is easier said than done.

Okay, so I’m going to make a stab at it.  I might not finish tonight but I’m just going to let it roll and see how far I get before I fall asleep at the keyboard.

First priority for meHe has to be “all that into me” AND I have to be “all that into him”.  This alone has been the dealbreaker for most relationships I’ve started, entertained, considered, met, whatever.  It usually doesn’t get much past this.  He’s either not that into me or he is and I’m not that into him. It has to be a mutual “into each other” thing. 

But how do you know when that happens?  Is this something you know immediately…or is it something you develop over time?  It’s a strange thing. 

Okay, look.  I’ve dated enough online to know that if you get to know someone in digital world, before you meet them in real face to face world, you can fall completely in love and ready to commit to forever with that person.  Then you meet them and you find you are not at all physically attracted to this wonderful person you met, conversed with and got to know digitally.  This is where digital world is problematic.  We can get to know the heart of someone really early on, and love it, but then later find out that the physical part of this person is simply not attractive to our physical part.  I know it sounds shallow but we are both physical and relational, emotional beings.  If we can’t connect physically…well…I don’t know.  Seems like a tough problem to resolve for me.

I know the physical aspect of relationship is important to me.  But I could no sooner tell you what I think that looks like than fly unassisted to the moon. I’m guessing my ideal type of guy is the quasi nerdy, professional, intellectual sort.  I don’t go for the Brad Pitt hotties.  I go for the bright, articulate, competent, I guess, nerds (but I don’t think of them that way).  But how do you describe any of that physically?

I know I like guys taller than me.  My issues, but, yeah, the guy has to be taller than me even when I’m wearing stilettos…or else…he has to be completely confident and lacking in small man’s disease if he is shorter than me.  Every woman wants to feel delicate and femine at some point, okay, maybe that’s just me, but being three feet taller than my guy and thinking of the idea of squashing him if I’m on top is not exactly a pretty thought…and I’m not a big woman…hopefully you get my drift here. 

There are some things that can work and there are some things that just won’t and in between there’s a huge playground of possibilities to explore.  How do you possibly nail down expectations on that one? 

If he’s into me AND I’m into him regardless of what we both look like I’m good.  However, I say that with the full expectation that he has to be attractive to me.

Priority Number 2:  He has to be attractive to me and I have to feel like I’m one sexy babe around him.  Not just sorta either.  I have to really want to, yeah, well, you know, make all his fantasies come true every night!  I couldn’t tell you what that looks like either.  I generally and pretty consistently fall for the tall, dark and handsome sort.  But that isn’t a hard and fast rule and they don’t always have to have brown eyes, but generally that’s been the trend for me.  However, a man with all the right personality and temperament and philosophical qualities housed in a blonde haired blue eyed body wouldn’t automatically be crossed off the list either.   On the flip side of this, if I get the feeling he just doesn’t get that turned on by my physical self, then it’s not going to be a go, because that will only inhibit me in the affection department.

Are you beginning to see how really difficult it can be to nail down one’s expectations for “The Perfect Match”?

Let’s talk about Priority Number 3: He has to have a sense of humor that isn’t constantly based on being funny at someone else’s expense. This one’s an easy one to determine.  If I’m falling out of my chair, tears streaming out of my eyes, and my guts hurt, yes, physically hurt, from the deep belly laughs this person emits from the depth of my tentative, frightened-to-express-myself little soul, then he’s definitely ont the short list for my undying affection.  If he’s droll, relies on canned humor exclusively and doesn’t get my quirky, weird sense of humor then we’ll probably both be unhappy together.

Okay, well, we got as far as my top three before I decided it was bedtime for me.  I’ve had an ultra long (though really wonderful) day and all the Valentine celebrating is taking its toll.  Plus, the weightlifting I did on my upper body yesterday is still giving me muscular reminders that it occurred. (Oh, yeah, I’m feeling the ball squats too!) 

Take your best shot.  What are the top three most important priorites for you in determining expectations for your “perfect match”?

Houses or Playgrounds?

Short and to the point: The Beau is no longer “The Beau”.  (Surprise! Surprise!  Gasp!  Does that really surprise anyone? N0.  Didn’t think so.)

Don’t know how to quite explain all the details to myself, except to say that it was a mutual misunderstanding.  I can’t share really how things started declining from his perspective, only from mine, though he’s enlightened me through discussions over the last week.  And he makes some valid, very understandable points.  I only wish he’d shared where he was with all that a month ago when he began feeling that way.

Things with us started off really great.  Had they kept going really great, no doubt, I would not be writing this post.  Now mind you things weren’t going badly…they just kinda weren’t really going like they were before.  Sometime after the second weekend I went up to visit him I noticed a bit of a “pull back” from him.  It was slight and subtle but very, very perceptible to me.  Things like no longer reaching out to hold hands in the car when we went places, no (and I mean absolutely none, where before there had been plenty) physical affection other than a quick good-bye peck at the door as he left or I left.  Things like calling me really late at night after being on the phone with others (who were just friends, yes, but nonetheless female and not me).  Things like a reduction in the number of texts or other contacts in a day, making it feel a bit like he was just making the obligatory once a day phone call.  Things like simply not seeming as interested as he previously was.

Now, The Beau, is not, was not, a bad guy.  Something changed for him…or he saw something that gave him reason to pause.  Nothing at all wrong with that.  In fact, there is quite a bit about me that would give most people pause, not the least of which is 4 kids, a fixer house and a very tight budget and this blog.  I really have a problem with none of that.  It is totally understandable to me.  

We’d been dating about two months and he’s the one that mentioned not dating anyone else and taking off his profile from said dating sites.  I did not bring up this conversation…he did.   I guess I didn’t ask enough questions about what that meant for him.  I guess, maybe, that conversation was premature.  Maybe I misunderstood the seriousness of that kind of behavior.  To me that means, “I really want to focus on you.”  To him, well, I’m still not clear what he intended by even bringing up that conversation, but that’s okay too.  I don’t need to be clear on that.  It just didn’t appear to indicate a single purpose to him quite the same way it did to me or he thought better of it after he did it.  That’s alright too.  I just wish I’d understood all that before I stopped dating the four or five other very fine men, that I stopped seeing to date The Beau exclusively only to have The Beau get cold feet.  (j/k about the 5 guys, disappointed about the cold feet, but aware that it happens and am not losing sleep or wasting tears over it)

I guess the best analogy is this one:  “Are we building a house here or are we building a playground?”  My thinking is that the foundation for either of those endeavors is very different and you can’t exactly change projects midway, without some serious investment or strife or, at least some conversation.  Both of them serve their purpose and are wonderful projects.  Really, I don’t care which one it is, but if he wants the house and I’m thinking playground or vice versa things can and will get weird, misunderstandings happen, communication begins to miss and, well, feelings get hurt.  Further, if  both begin with the understanding that a house is to be built and the other changes what they are building without telling his partner, things can be really messed up and strange. None of that bothers me, it’s called relationship.  This is why human beings were given the gift of speech, so we could address these misunderstandings.  (P.S. I know the analogy is weak and flawed, but it worked for us and it helped us both understand each other better, so I’m going with it.)

I thought he wanted the house (no the house does not equal marriage, LTR or anything other than a mere exclusive dating relationship and the interested behavior to match…there are never ever any guarantees, I know this.  Yes, the playground does equal the non-exclusive, let’s just have fun and be friends casual dating kind of thing).  He probably did want the house for a couple of weeks there, maybe a month, but then had second thoughts and he backed off to the playground project, which is fine with me or maybe he found another house or playground he’d rather explore a bit more.  Only problem was, he didn’t tell me about it.  Well, yes, he did, just not with words.  That’s okay too. I was able to figure it out, pretty accurately without the words. Maybe I’m getting better at reading that nonverbal stuff more accurately. I don’t know. This time hearing the words only confirmed what I already knew several weeks ago was true. 

I guess I just don’t play the game well.  I’d rather have a guy just say “I’m not that into you” than to waste my time pretending he is in an effort to avoid hurting my feelings.  Cowardly as it is, even going silent is a bit more honest than continuing a game that one simply isn’t sure they want to play.  I won’t waste time (and it is a waste of time if  someone is not being completely honest and candid with the other person) spending time being with a person I really like who’s kinda sorta not sure he’s that into me. 

Now, true, it’s not like I’m the only consideration here.  I know that.  I come with a lot of  “baggage”.  I prefer to refer to it as responsibility, but face it, kids, fixer, finances, two ex’s—yuck, it’s just baggage to most people, no matter how neatly folded and tucked away it may be. (That reality does make me very sad sometimes, but I can’t fix any of that, so I just feel sad for a bit, then get up and forge ahead.  I mean really, what are my alternatives?)  He’s got lots to consider before making any serious commitments where I’m concerned, but I am not even remotely talking about that nor was I even remotely expecting it.  I just wondered how come he no longer wanted to hold my hand, be with me as much or he preferred talking to others instead of me.  I’m just talking about enjoying spending time together and it seemed to me that somewhere along the line, that changed for him. It seemed really, like he was no longer as interested in being with me and that I was not as attractive to him anymore.  It changed for me only because it changed for him.  My feelings for him and my attraction to him never dimmed or wavered.  I’m just not willing to be in a place where I feel less than desirable, like I don’t quite do it for him, or where I’m just not all that big of a deal to him. 

So, that’s where it stands.  My understanding has been cleared up about what his intention is and where he stands with me (the words now match the behavior)  and, to be very honest, I’m relieved.  No one enjoys feeling like the person they are with is just not all that excited anymore about being with them. 

So, Happy Valentine’s Day to me!

Valentine’s Day Babysitting Shortage

The closest I'll get to a Valentine this year
The closest I'll get to a Valentine this year

Well, let’s see.  How does a single 40-somethin’ woman talk about Valentine’s Day?  I guess I could say I will end up getting at least 33 Valentines.  Sadly, they will be from people far younger than I.  All of them adore me and think the world of me, and I can’t really ask for much more than that.  

However, in adult world, I will be sitting at home enjoying Valentines with a very special 8-year-old.  Yeah, I did get invites out.  More that one, that’d be plural.  Actually worked really hard to try to find babysitting for the 8-year-old, but after about the 5th attempt, I decided, I simply didn’t want to try anymore.  Now the person I am trying to get the babysitting arranged for will feel as though I am really not that into him and I will have to explain and if he understands that I just can’t feel good about leaving my sweet child with just any old stranger (I feel kinda weird leaving her anyway, stranger or no) then things will be fine.  If he doesn’t understand, then I guess another one bites the dust.  I’ve exhausted all my options and I just refuse to leave my child with someone she doesn’t know so I can go out and have dinner with a nice man and all his friends and their wives/girlfriends. 

This is where it all feels bad.  He’s not going to be able to go out with his friends and their significant others without being the odd man out.  I’m not going to be able to go and feel good since all five of the folks I usually call on to babysit are unavailable, including my own two older children.  On an adult level, in one way, probably one very minor and insignificant way, really, this just doesn’t feel good.  I hate letting people down like this. It’s not likely he’s going to be aware of how difficult it really is to get a babysitter on Valentine’s Day and will likely view it as a cop out on my part, which it won’t be, but it won’t matter. When no familiar babysitters are available, I feel so much like I’m abandoning my child. I’ve paid for a babysitter for her once over the last year.  I just don’t ever go out when my kids are with me. But…it is Valentine’s Day and, well….I should have known it was going to be the most difficult day of the year to arrange babsitting.  Even if someone didn’t have plans, for them to admit it would be a bit like them admitting they are a loser and have no life (j/k).

No matter how hard it will be to call tomorrow and say, “Hey, I’m sorry it just isn’t going to work out, blah, blah, blah”, nothing is worth my little girl’s security and happiness.  She’s absolutely my favorite Valentine.  I won’t mind for a minute spending time with her.  I only wish I’d remembered how difficult babysitters are to find on Valentine’s to begin with and said no before saying yes.

Brave New Post Marriage Dating World

I have several friends lately who are just newly divorced and starting to think about dating again.  After many years in a marriage, no matter how bad it was, one can really miss the companionship of another adult.  And, yes, one misses the sex too.  Although, in some cases, the sex might have been nonexistent long before the marriage ended or it might have the reason the marriage ended. 

Whatever the situation, many of my now single friends are trying to negotiate this new world that I refer to as “Post 40 World” (even though some of us are not really post-40, all of us feel like it) where we are now single, in our 40’s, not ever wanting to be here at this stage of our lives and with a boatload of responsibilities (aka, baggage).  We try to date, and if our personal worlds don’t bring us near any prospective individuals that we can even consider talking with over coffee, we turn to the online arena.

Online dating has advantages and disadvantages.  It’s been said that in 2006, 1 in 8 married couples met online.  I can only imagine the number has swelled in the last few years. As one who recieved her graduate degree online, and feels fairly comfortable with the way the digital world can expand our ability to connect with those from places we might otherwise only read about in books, online dating doesn’t scare me.  However, I say that, knowing full well, I’ve been very, very fortunate so far.  Those I’ve met have been decent people.  Only one in probably a hundred or so folks have lied about their age and that’s pretty good.  No one, so far, has stalked me, though there have been several that I wished would have.  

Today I received an email from a friend who is just recently and hesitantly venturing out into the world of online dating.  He’s a card carrying member of “Post 40 World”.  Married his true love and when he did so he did it for life but she didn’t have the same agenda.  She’s moved on and now he’s here in “Post 40 World” wondering how to navigate the terrain.  Well, like I’m the world’s greatest expert in this.  Anyone who reads my blogs can tell I struggle with trying to figure out how to do the dating thing when things are so very different than they were when you were in college and had your whole life (and your best body) going for you.  So, I gave my friend some pointers.  Here’s what I said.  Look the advice over and see what you would add:

1. Create an alias and don’t reveal your true identity until after you have met the person in the flesh.  Okay, you can give out your first name, but much other than that, just don’t!  Remember, if they have even your last name they can find out exactly where you live.

2.  Don’t believe the pictures. I’ve been burned and had many friends who’ve been burned by the fake picture. It’s disappionting and a huge waste of emotional time and energy when it happens. Hold everything at arm’s distance until you meet. 

2a.  Be very cautious of someone who doesn’t post any pictures and isn’t willing to send you any.  Be equally cautious of the person who posts a picture that looks airbrushed or like it is of a magazine model.  (It just might be.)

3. Don’t spend a lot of time chatting online.  Exchange a few emails, get to know enough to determine if you would like to meet or not, then meet.  You can create this big fantasy online and then when you meet be completely disappointed and heartbroken.  I’m not sure why this happens, but it does.

4.  Be cautious of the person who after a few tries still finds excuses not to meet or talk on the phone.  I personally hate to talk on the phone, but will do it.  I’d rather just meet. If the person is unwilling to do either, suspect that a.) they are not really interested in a relationship like you are or b.) they are not really female. 

5. Be very suspicious of those who cannot communicate reasonably well in writing.

6. Never entertain further communication from those who ask you for money…it is probably a scam from someone outside the country.

7. Trust your gut (you already know this, I know).  If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

8.  Don’t make a dinner date your first meeting. Something light and casual like coffee or a walk is great.  It can be shortened or lengthened as you feel and you don’t have to endure a long night with a lot of expense if the interest factor just isn’t there.  

9.  Obviously, don’t tell anyone where you live until you’ve checked them out and know they are who they say they are. 

These items are the most salient points I could think of on the fly.  I realize I am pretty inexperienced in this realm, after all, I’ve only been dating for about a year and a half. I’m still evolving in my view of what it is all about. I feel I’ve had a good experiences overall with online dating, but I’ve also been very foolish and very lucky because worse things didn’t happen than did (in other words, it could have been so much worse and you could have read about me in the papers…I’ve really been that fortunate).  I also live in a much smaller area and not a big metro urban area…so, maybe the risks are fewer?  Not sure about that one, but it sounded good.

What else can everyone add to help those out who are trying to find their way in this Brave New Post Marriage Dating World?

Ideas For Musings Submitted by Readers…#1

If you click on over to my page titled “Submit Ideas For Future Musings” you will see that reader Kip submitted several interesting and thought provoking topics for consideration.  All of them are good but after some thought, I’m choosing his last one, which I wonder if he suggested because he might have Google Earthed me or something and found out something he thought I didn’t already know.  Anyway, the topic for this reader submitted post idea is:

How about the Wild Mind’s response to a known sex offender moving in just a couple doors away from where she and her four children live?

Here’s my response:  Big Fucking Deal.

Now, before y’all go gettin’ sideways on me and accusin’ me of being the worst candidate for Mother of the Year, let me explain.  If you Google earth me, the house you come up with will not be mine.  Sorry, I’ve tried it.  Many folks have tried it.  You get the wrong house every time.  So, let me say this.  I do have a convicted sex offender living in my neighborhood, closer to me than I’m going to reveal, for his protection in spite of the fact that Google Earth has our locations off.

Let me also say this.  I found this out because he and his wife (he never goes anywhere in the neighborhood without his wife) showed up on my doorstep a month or two after I moved in and told me the whole long sad story.  He is truly a convicted sex offender and earned the label.

Let me further say…he is the best neighbor I have.  I would go so far as to say he is the best neighbor anyone could have. 

I’ve lived in my home for 5  years now. The man has never done anything inappropriate.  He goes to work, comes home, drives up into his garage, the door closese securely behind him and he goes into his house from the garage.  He interacts with neighbors when necessary and is always appropriate in his demeanor and distance.  He lives with shame of choices in his past that keep him harbored away in his home with minimal contact with the outside world. He’s a homeowner, not a renter, and for someone with a prison record that’s quite an accomplishment.  He has two children and a wife and they’ve tried to give their children the most normal stable childhood they can, in spite of the laws of my area that say every single person must be notified of the residences of convicted sex offenders. This notification occurs by the local police force showing up on one’s doorstep each year with a flyer with the person’s picture plastered prominently on it.

This man is the neighbor who walks boldly up to strangers in cars who do not live in the area, asks what they are doing there, then gets their license plate numbers.  This is the neighbor who if I need help carrying in the big TV I bought three years ago came over to help me (wife was with him, of course).  This is the neighbor who helped me gather wood this summer.  This is the neighbor I can rely on to watch my back should strange people be hanging around my place. This is the neighbor I make sure I inform that I am going to be out of town so he can be on the look out for anything awry.  I do the same for them when they are out of town. This is the neighbor who’s kids come over swim in my pool and play with my kids.   His wife comes over and gives me hand me down close for my youngest all the time.   This is the neighbor, and the only neighbor I might add, that if I really needed help would be there for me. 

My kids know the score.  They never go over there alone, nor would he want them too.  He is all about changing his life and living right, even though he knows he has to deal with the consequences.  He doesn’t complain.  He realizes that he’s earned all the treatment he receives.  He only regrets what this means for his children and the shadow of shame and humiliation they have endured because of his folly. This is where our system in its great attempt to keep people informed and criminals in check goes wrong.

He’s lived in this neighborhood longer than I.  He didn’t move in after I was here. He’s been completely honest with me about his past and the public records validate this.  He and his family were the first and only ones to greet me in this neighborhood when I moved in , they continue to be one of only two households who are even remotely friendly to me.  If anyone has ever earned the clean slate treatment this man has. And if I ever move from this neighborhood, he and his family will be the neighbors I miss most.

February

I’m not much for winter.  It isn’t that I dislike winter, it is that I hate the darkness of the days in winter.  Now, I suppose this would be different if I lived in a place like Colorado where it snowed a lot and the sun shone often in spite of the frigid temps.  The combination of the snow and the sun would effectively ward off all gloominess associated with the dreary winter days that are oft experienced in certain parts of the Pacific Northwest.

I can handle winter up until New Year’s Day.  Then I’m ready for Spring, and more better, summer!  Every year, and especially this year, I party pretty hard through the holidays and winter doesn’t bother me much because I am distracted.  January was easier this year due to The Beau; he distracted me quite a bit this last month. In spite of the distractions, the early nightfalls and scraping the car windows every morning before work (when I’m already late and don’t have a handsome, considerate significant other to help me out with that) really create some serious resentment when it comes to all things winter. Never mind that I love the warm winter evenings near the fire.  That’s good only so long as there is firewood.

As I was driving my oldest home from her job the other evening we both noticed that behind the cloud cover and peeking through at points there was still light in the sky.  This cheers my soul.  This means, the worst of winter may be over for us and within two months spring will be here. 

I love February for this reason.  The cold, freezing biting frost begins to give way to the drizzly, cozy, coffee sipping days of February which magically turn into March leading us ultimately and inevitably to those wonderful days where I do not have to get up at the crack of dawn every morning (though I often do, just because I can) and can spend my days as I wish doing all the things I didn’t have the free time to do during the school year.

It also means quite a few months before the summer heat wave hits that I can save money by not using heat and not having to cool the house either.  That rocks!  

P.S.  My heat bill usually hits $400 a month.  By heating with wood and turning my heat way down during the day and only up when absolutely necessary, I was able to cut my gas bill in half.   It sure helped all summer to scavenge that free wood off friends who needed help clearing their properties.   And the little tip about turning the furnace down overnight even when we are here was golden!

P.S.S.  The upside to winter is there is no yard work, well, not as much anyway.