Tahiti On My Mind

skiingonglassSo, you know how life is?  You cruise along and everything is really chill and you are making forward progress toward all your goals.  You have your game on and you are kickin’ it. You are just moving through life like water-skiing on glass.  It’s a complete breeze.  All you have to do is hold on to the rope and you don’t even need both hands.  Jumping the wake is effortless and every single time you land it cutting sharp with rooster tail flying.  Life doesn’t get any better than that!

We all know life turns on a dime though.

In the water-skiing arena of life all it takes is that submerged rock or floating log that the driver of the boat didn’t see or that edge you catch because you aren’t paying attention and then suddenly you are hurling over water at nearly 34 miles an hour which is breakneck speed when you are wearing almost nothing and the surface of the water is throwing you back into the air like a red rubber bouncy ball on cement.  It’s simply no fun.  In fact, depending on the wipeout, and I have had a few of these, after the motion stops you wonder if you are, first, still alive and second, how badly you might be bleeding. Hitting glass at that speed is like jumping onto the freeway from a car traveling the speed limit.  It hurts…bad!

But then life isn’t just the water-skiing thing happening in isolation.  In real life you could be water-skiing, but then someone says something and another person sends you an email and a kid looks up at you and asks you the most random question or you have someone new enter your life you totally pushes your game and suddenly there you are…

hurtling buns over teakettle…

bumping…bouncing…skidding…slamming…hurting…gasping…reeling…

waiting for it all to stop. Wondering if it will stop. And you can’t do anything to make it stop.

Yeah.  That’s pretty much how life can be sometimes.  And that is exactly how my life has been.

So, let’s go over the skiing on glass experiences:

Two years ago I left Ex #2, who was emotionally, spiritually and verging on the point of physically, abusive.  To put it kindly, he was a very cruel, selfish, immature, irresponsible, manic/depressive and unkind person. I got out of that marriage and managed to keep my health, home and some of my stuff but I ended up having to take on all the marital debt.  Because why?  Because during the marriage, I was the one with the rockin’ credit score and he couldn’t even beg bread on the corner so everything (credit wsadness_1_ise and I was worth a decent amount…then) was in my name.  I was smart enough on one level to never combine accounts with the man, but in the end, that also killed me, because those are the debts I am now paying off.  Sure, I could have fought for a judgement that forced him to pay half, but he wouldn’t have paid it (I know this man well) and that would have screwed my credit score and my ethics. It wasn’t a risk I was willing to take. So, Ex leaves with no obligations, I carry on with all of them.  As the marriage goes, so goes the divorce. 

True, he goes home to live with mommy (and pay no bills) and he actively seeks for and finds his replacement for me.  Easy freaking come, easy freaking go.

Sad thing about that is…when I was there…I wasn’t taking it so lightly and I really cared.  Clearly he didn’t.

So, two years post-divorce and I’m just barely beginning to see this dim light at the end of the tunnel and thinking life is actually going to be peaceful where this man is concerned (that’s the glass part)  where this crazy man is concerned and he runs off to Vegas and marries someone and not even someone he has really had an opportunity to meet or interact with in real time. Worse, my daughter’s only met her twice. And now he’s announcing to the world how they are already actively working on having a family and they haven’t been married a week.  Better. Get this.  He already has 8 children he is not paying for or supporting either emortionally or financially!!!!!  I could really care less what he’s doing or who he’s doing…except that it seems incredibly unfair that the schmuck here can find fun far faster than the responsible, mature, thinking  person.   There is seriously something wrong with this world…or maybe it is this country…or maybe it is convervative Christians…or maybe it is just him. (He’s an amazing con artist!)  Enough.of.that!

overwaterbungalowWhile all that was going down in my life and I’m reeling from the realization that I wasted 7 very critical years of my life with a man who really did only view me as something less than the dogs and completely replace-able, other things were going on too.  A friend sent me one of those joke emails.  I’d post it in here, but I’m not sure how to make it work.  In this particular case, it was an invitation to a barbecue at a beautiful resort in the South Pacific.  You know the place.  Bungalows built out over the water, floors of glass looking into the ocean and fish swimming below.  Beautiful.  Sunny.  Warm. Serene.  Isolated.  Isolated.  Solitary.  Relaxing isolation. 

Back at home, the kids are angry because I have limits and won’t adjust (much) when they inform me at the last minute.  I’m also doing the same ole teenage fight that centers around balancing home obligations (read chores…or in my kids’ case “chore”) with social desires.  It doesn’t make me popular around here. And now, my youngest, who is clearly having her dad and  The Replacement plan fun things in her presence when they know she will be with me (as an attempt to upset her and indirectly coerce me into allowing her to be with him) is very, very angry and unhappy…supposedly with me.  Not like he could pick up the phone and call and say, “Hey, we have this big family thing we’d like her to be a part of can she come?” instead he has to directly involve her and use her to manipulate me. 

Like I said earlier….as the marriage goes, so goes the divorce.

I’m also way into the most stressful month I’ve yet to experience in my life since leaving the Ex and in this week alone I have more obligations due than most people in my position have in a year…and more were added this week.  I seriously need to be mainlining vodka crans…no…Long Island Ice Teas…in order to self-medicate here!

The next unrelated incident that happened was a digital friend, who in very casual conversation made this statement, “You can’t control anything another person does.”  Obvious enough, true enough and old knowledge for me…but in the context of all the other things hitting me on the glassy surface of life at 35+ miles/knotts an hour this one caused some different synapses to fire.

It all culminated with the young, beautiful, intelligent and wise Student Teacher who has her complete game on coming into my classroom this last week and putting a picture up on the big screen of a freaking bungalow built over the water in Tahiti as a writing prompt for the kids.  I so did not need to see that.  And, who does she think she is anyway, coming into my classroom and freaking challenging me to amp up my instruction to the next level?????  Well, all I can say to that is, “Bring it, girlfriend!  We’ll rock this sleepy little joint with the proverbial as iron sharpens iron thing!”   Anyway….I hate her.

glass_floorI hate her for putting that image up.

I hate that the fact that this particular image has haunted me throughout the week.

And that’s when, my water-skiing on glass life became the wipeout of the century…sort of.

“Mommy, over break Daddy and his girfriend went to a drive through Chapel in Vegas and got married.”

Images of bungalows built over the ocean.

“Mommy, I want to go live with my dad.  He’s more fun and I want to be with my stepmom.” (Daggers in my heart.)

“You can’t control what other people do.”

“You can’t control what other people do.”  Well, what is it I want to do, now that it doesn’t matter to anyone else?

“You can’t control what other people do.” Tahiti.  Glass floors.  14 nights of solitude. 

“You can’t control what other people do.” What I really want to do is spend 14 nights of solitude in the South Pacific.  I would be a completely different person after that.

It was strange.  As I sat there lying face down on the proveribial post-divorce surface of the now choppy lake, I thought, “I am free. I am really no longer obligated to consider him in any decision I make regarding our child.  In over two years, he’s not concerned himself in communicating with me, why am I concerned about making the attempt with him.  My duty now rests completely with making my daughter’s childhood the best it can be in spite of him…and I’m not going to give him the heads up about it.”

Simultaneously the question my mother use to plague me with ran through my mind, “You need to decide what it is you want to do and then do it.” For the first time in my life…I can really answer this question.  What I really want to do is spend 14 nights, three weeks or a month if I could afford it, in one of those bungalows over the South Pacific all.by.myself.allbymyself

“What???!!! Like not even with a guy???!!” A friend of mine asked.  Yeah, she can, she’s happily married.  “No,” I answered, “Not today, at least.  Not even with a guy.  Alone.”

So, while the last three weeks or so have done their best to slap me around (and, yes, it’s been painful), the feeling and the awareness that comes when the skier realizes they just survived a major wipeout and they’re still alive and still able to pick up the rope and continue skiing (even if they have to sojourn in the boat awhile) is like life reborn. The second wind, the second chance, the next 40 years.  However, you want to phrase it, it was one of those weeks for me.

I will be heading to the South Pacific and I’ve set a goal and a deadline.  Further, I really do want to go alone but if Mr. Soulmate finds me before then and would like to join me…truly…I’d be disappointed…in a way…that I wasn’t going alone…and I’d consider it a complete gift in another way. Quality relationships are difficult to find…and even more difficult to keep. If you find yourself  blessed by being part of one, make it a priority.

Even further, since fourth grade, I’ve wanted to write a book, but I’ve never been able to come up with a storyline  or even a basic plot.  And I’ve been too afraid to make the attempt (yeah, I know I don’t particularly strike anyone as the fearful type, but I am). All of that changed for me this week.  I not only have the characters named and fleshed out, but I have the setting, basic plot, problem and….yes…even the conclusion for my story.  And I’m  not afraid to write it and not afraid to submit it to scrutiny a million times if need be. It may never get published.  But it will be written. 

My story starts in pain, continues in Tahiti and ends in hope.

I feel like the last several weeks I’ve gone from just beginning to feel like I’mdreams water-skiing on glass to feeling like I’m experiencing the wipeout of the century.  After crawling in the boat and resting for a bit (and moaning and groaning like a blasted wuss all the while) I feel like I’m ready to trade in the boat and skis and purchase a ticket to the South Pacific. Not because I hate skiing or because I’m gun shy, or because I’m a bad skier, but because, while I really love water-skiing, it just isn’t what I want to really be doing right now. 

14 nights.

Bungalow over the water.

Complete solitude.

A book.

I have Tahiti on my mind.

Further Tales From The Friendship Files

One of my friends spent her Winter Break in Mexico.  I’m already jealous, aren’t you?  While most of us in the Pacific Northwest were slogging away through some  extreme form of precipitation, my friend was sunning herself in her size 2 bikini, blonde hair down to her butt, no, wait, past her butt and sipping dangerous concoctions oceanside near Porta Vai Somewhere In Mexico.  She didn’t care.  She wasn’t having to drive home. 

This is her annual treat to herself and her family.  Yes, I did say family.  She and her husband and their two children go to Mexico every year at this time.   Usually, the vacations are pretty standard, as vacations go.  Four star luxury resort accomodations, sun, sand, surf,  sex (I’m guessing, though she didn’t go into it with me, particularly. Ah, just as well).  This year, things became a bit more exciting when said sexual exploits were rudely interrupted and her husband got in a fight.

Now, whereas my friend is small, her husband is quite tall and he’s not the skinny, shrimpy tall either.  He’s  a big, strong man.  He is not, however, prone to fighting, nor is he what I’d call, a bruiser.  He’s an easy going fun guy with a ready smile and a quick wit.  He’s a very kind, considerate, friendly person, except when his wife is upset, then he gets upset because, as he says, “If she’s upset, I’m going to hear about it.”

 When my friend mentioned that her husband got in a fight, I was all ears.

It turns out that they’d been on the go most of the vacation.  You know, entertaining the kids and all. It was their first night  there and both the kids crashed early, the place was quiet and they were feeling quite amorous.  Do you blame them?  For married couples on vacation with kids, it’s not often that both kids fall asleep while parents still have any energy left.  Just as things started heating up, the phone rings.  Annoyed, my friend’s husband answers the phone.  A voice on the other end asks, “Is Mike there?”  My friend’s husband’s name is not Mike, so he said, “No.”  The voice on the other end laughed abrasively and hung up.  My friends shrugged and resumed their activities.  As things once again began heating up, the phone again interrupted the holiday celebration.  The same conversation transpired.  This intrusive caller continued to several other times, before finally leaving my two friends alone for the evening. 

The next morning, very, very, very  early before anyone was awake, my two friends were again enjoying the quiet before the children woke up when there came a knock on the door.  Mexico Friend’s husband goes to the door, there is no one there.  He shuts the door.  A few minutes later they hear another knock.  He answers the door.  There is no one there.  Now, it is very early in the morning. My friends are on vacation in paradise, the kids are out cold and they are being disturbed at ungodly hours by some prankster at the most inopportune times.  They were both getting really annoyed.  Apparently, Husband Of Mexico Friend was more than a bit annoyed. 

This time he waited right by the door and the minute he heard the next knock he lunged out the door.  He was just in time to see a big burly kid probably about middle school age go hightailing it around the edge of the building.  Husband took off with Mexico Friend right behind him. 

Husband, being the larger and faster of the two was able to catch up with the kid but not  whithout slipping and sliding on the tile floors.  The kid  very nearly made it into his own room and had the door almost shut but Husband stopped the door with his foot breaking his toe in the process.  This did nothing to diffuse Husband’s temper or lift his mood.  Husband instead lifted the kid right out of his 4-star room and drug him back out into the hallway.  Husband verbally taking the prankster to task.  As I mentioned before, Mexico Friend’s Husband is a big man.  While he appears fun loving and gentle anytime I’ve ever seen him, I certainly wouldn’t want to get on his bad side.  He could be somewhat intimidating when provoked, I think.  I’m thinking the middle school student thought so too.  He was shaking like a leaf and white as a ghost. 

Well, the tonguelashing  caused quite a disturbance and it wasn’t long before others in the vicinity peeked out of their rooms to see what was going on.  Soon a bit of a  crowd had gathered. Apparently,  the parents of said teen were out partying and had left him on his own.  Out of boredom he decided to have some fun.   Mexico Friend had followed her husband because she thought he might need some support.  I have no idea what she thought she might do to help. 

Soon, things calmed down a bit and Mexico Friend’s husband ended his tirade. Relatives of the punk showed up, promised they’d address the behavior with the kid and just as everyone was beginning to disperse, Husband looked over at his wife and couldn’t believe what he saw.  In the wee hours of the morning, with very little time to plan, they’d both bolted out the door with little thought as to their appearance.  There stood his beautiful wife surrounded by a crowd of gawking onlookers, long blonde hair tousled and all 100 pounds of her (if she’s even that) clad only in a thin see through tank top and panties. White and transparent to be exact.  Knowing my friend as I do, I’m most certain these were not the grandma type briefs that my mother used to wear (sorry, mom) nor were they even boy shorts. I’m thinking her attire left little to the imagination and my friend is not, at least as far as I know, an exhibitionist.  She must have been mortified.

Mexico Friend and her husband made it back to the states safely.  Fortunately, there was no Mexican jail time for either of them.  She told me this story in person today as she gave me a beautiful hand-crafted Mexican poinsettia Christmas ornament as a souvenir.   Each year as I pull this lovely ornament out of it’s tissue and place it on my tree I will remember this humorous tale of what must have been a very embarrassing but humorous moment for Mexico Friend.  I will chuckle,  smile and think fondly of my friend and her family and wish them many more wonderful  and far less eventful vacations in the future.