Thursday, January 28, 2010

New York City

I'm in New York for work this week. I love NYC. I used to live here...for eight years. Actually, I think I only lived here for seven years but I'm bad at math and somehow I started saying I lived here for eight years and that is the story that stuck. Regardless of time spent or not spent here, the essence of NYC had crept into my soul never to leave. It happens to the best of us.

One thing I've notice while here is that I seem to look better in New York. It may just be the lighting in the hotel bathroom but I don't notice all my flaws as much here. That is a very relaxing thing.

Today at lunch a waiter flirted with me in this sort of shocking, bold way. It isn't that no one ever flirts with me or that I don't flirt...I'm a big believer in harmless flirting. But this was different. This was suggestive in a way that made me feel he was really trying to make something happen. It was nice. And I, of course, was totally retarded. I am not good at quick comebacks that are also flirty so I just kept flashing him a big dopey grin. Not, by the way, that I was interested AT ALL or for that matter even mildly attracted. But there was something like a vague social anthropological thing going on for me that needed to test those waters that I used to navigate with ease. In the end, it simply felt nice to be flirted with.

Yesterday, I read an article in the current issue of the New Yorker about Neil Gaiman. He lives this life that is constant self-actualization of his creative mind. That is awesome. New York makes me feel like I could do that, too. Of course, I can do that anywhere, just need to start. So perhaps I will...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Blended Family

I belong to a blended family--sort of. Normally, when one refers to a blended family, there is an understanding that two people who were previously married and have children, have gotten together and brought their children from previous marriages with them to form a new, blended family.

In my case, I married a man who has children from a previous marriage. I have no children and I have no previous marriage. I came into this whole things with bright eyes and romantic notions. I had 40 years of living blissfully single and carefree, singing songs and skipping through life. I was able to sit and watch 18 hours of CSI non-stop while I ate food from their inherent containers and decided I didn't need to clean up until tomorrow. I could go into debt if I wanted to. I could have friends from foreign lands show up on a whim and hang out with me indefinitely.

Now, not so much.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I still eat food from their inherent containers. There are some pleasures I refuse to give up. But as far as CSI goes...well, Hubby and I don't have cable or digital TV so basically our TV is only good for DVD's. No worries, we're FAR TOO BUSY to watch TV anyway, what with bussing the kids all around town AND dealing with the ex-wife's bullshit insanity.

And I get to listen to my twelve year old say things like, "He was sooooo old. He was like, 40!" (See previous post for age angst overload.)

The thing is, I have AWESOME step kids. They are truly extraordinary and I am really lucky. It could have gone either way, you know. Usually, when I tell people my husband has three kids the response I get is, "'s that going?" in this low, conspiratorial voice like they really know how it is and I can trust them to confide in them my obvious filial nightmare...but the truth is, the kids are AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME and I am totally nuts for them. They make me really happy and honestly, I wish I had the joy of knowing them when they were younger because they're just so cool. (They are 20, 17 and 12.) My nightmare is the nightmare of the ex-wife.

The fact that she is a nightmare is sort of funny. Hilarious even. I think, if I told the story correctly, you would LOL! But I'm still too close to it to have that sort of cynical and bitchy distance to observe things in at witty way. The woman makes my lift hell no ifs ands or buts...

The Ex left my Hubby. SHE left him. Got it? SHE LEFT. Because she's a lesbian. She left my Hubby because she's a lesbian. Hubby understood and even supported all the while he was feeling ripped apart inside. She slept with another woman while they were married. ADULTERY. SHE LEFT. And yet, she is SOOOOOOOOO ANGRY with Hubby and acts like such the victim that it is genius really...she is so wounded and angry and bitter about the divorce and at the same time she enjoys treating her ex as if he was still her husband--oh it is so bizarre--and has even said that she regrets leaving blah blah blah...SHE IS A PERFECT NIGHTMARE. I've lost my train of thought really because I just get all worked up thinking about her.

Last week she was in Germany with her partner, the 20 year old and the 17 year old. They were there for the amazing reason that her father was testifying against a Nazi war criminal who was charged with deaths in the concentration camp that killed his (the Ex Wife's father's) family. This is intense stuff and it is really great that they were able to go. It was also really nice for us to have her out of the country and therefor we didn't receive 14 calls a day from her about any number of trivial things and/or to tell Hubby what a piece of shit he is and what a selfish bitch I am. Mid week, however, she wrote to Hubby and asked him if he could pick them all up at the airport on Thursday around 4:30. Yes, she is too retarded to catch a cab. She's not too poor, as she is a world renowned radiation oncologist and makes twice as much money as Hubby and I do, but she is completely retarded. Hubby checked his schedule and wrote back that he was booked through at work and didn't think he'd be able to come [pick up his EX wife] but that she should page him when she landed and he'd see if things had loosened up. She proceeded to write back SEVERAL nasty emails about how he just didn't have a clue what they were going through this week and how profound it all is blah blah blah and he's a selfish and evil human being etc. etc... My favorite email was a two liner that said something like, "For the first time I have seen into the depths of your soul. I now see who you really are."

Mmmmmmm hmmmmmmmmmmmm. That's my blended family.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mad Panic, Temporary Crisis

Being an adult is proving to be quite challenging for me. I was single for a loooooong time. I didn't get married until I was 40 and before that I had never even lived with a "partner" (I had plenty of roommates in my time, however).

Now I'm 41 and married with three step kids and we have a mortgage and, like, STUFF. I'm certain people would covet the stuff we have but at times--like today--it is feeling like too much. Can't I just take off and travel the world, vagabond style? No, I cannot. Well...I can. But that would mean abandoning a whole bunch of people that rely on my and that doesn't really feel like a choice I would like to make. My work relies on me. But mostly my family relies on me to be here. My youngest step daughter, M, often says to me, "You're not leaving, are you? You're happy here, aren't you?" Heart-breaking. She was deeply affected by her parents' divorce. I can't say she was more affected than the older kids (maybe she was but I don't know for sure) but she definitely displays her concerns much more than the older two. She's an awesome kid but is also really intense and emotional at times and I worry about her. I worry about her in a normal, healthy way not in a way that is smothering or really believes that something tragic is about to happen...but she is sensitive and I take that into consideration as her step mom.

So the thing is, I have all the responsibility now--and a lot of it is GREAT. I love my husband more than I thought possible and all indications are that he feels the same way. I love my step kids over the moon and back and am blown away by the joy they bring to my life. But wait a second--didn't I used to by YOUNG and CAREFREE? Yes, yes I did. And I at least want my youth back. Wait--41 isn't old you may say (and if you don't say that then kindly keep your thoughts to yourself). I know, 41 is young still, isn't it?!! ISN'T IT?????!!!! Well, not according to my twelve year old. Of course, in her eyes, I'm old. I'm occasionally embarrassing and I'm most definitely not hip or cool. I'm Step Mom. I like being a step mom but I don't like the being old part.

Also, I seem to have aged in the past couple years. This is to be expected I guess, but I truly wasn't prepared for it. I have always been one of those people that looked 7 - 10 years younger than I was. Yeah, you know the types. Aren't they annoying? People would do the big jaw drop when they heard my age. I was used to that. I liked it. It was part of my identity to "look young"...but now, all of a sudden, my body has betrayed me and I sort of look my age and it is MAJORLY DEPRESSING. Yes, I'm a vain diva, it is true. VAIN. But if all of a sudden you go from fabulously single to married with step kids AND obtain some sagging skin along the way as well as what is threatening to be a killer pair of jowls you'd be depressed too. No, seriously YOU'D BE DEPRESSED.

This blog post has no through line but I'm going to keep writing anyway. Forgive me and if you're still hanging in there then BRAVO! You totally get double bonus points.

So here's the thing...all these thoughts of aging and responsibility are bringing me down and on top of that, I'm having a crisis about work--namely, I don't want to do it anymore. I have to travel all the time for work and it SUCKS ASS. I just don't want to me away from my family. I don't want to get on a plane and fuck up the environment. I think the flying is aging me, too, by the way. I just don't want to go. I work in the wine industry which everyone thinks is romantic an glorious...and honestly, it is a pretty great industry to work in. But the thing is, I JUST DON'T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT IT. That's not a good attitude at all, I fully realize, and that is why I should get out. Right? Right. We are in agreement. But here's where the crisis sets in. We need the money. If I quit today we'd be in big ass trouble. You all know what I'm talking about because probably you're in the same boat. We simply need the money to pay our bills. I'm not talking about we need the money so that we can put money away for retirement because we're not even able to do that. We need the money to get through the month. DOESN'T THAT FUCKING SUCK?????

Yes, that does suck. And I'm not alone, I know I'm not. But I've always had the firm belief that we only live once and we should not sacrifice our life for money. But that is kind of what I feel like I'm doing right now. I'm not happy and yet I continue to waste my precious days doing something I don't love and feel like it is sucking the life out of me. I know, I'm being a big baby. But am I? I mean what are we here for? Drudgery? I think not.

So now I'm old, overweight, and miserable. Except for my marriage which makes me infinitely happy. But what am I supposed to do at the age of 41 with a degree in International Relations and a minor in Philosophy? Not a hell of a lot. I would love to go back to school but--you guessed it--we can't afford it.

Okay, I've rambled on enough. The reason I titled this post "Mad Panic. Temporary Crisis." is because I am determined not to live in a state of panic and crisis. I'm going to take a deep breath and go have the best day possible. I've allowed myself some whining but now I shall move on with my day in a positive way. Blah blah blah.