Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Sequel

In the movie The Shawshank Redemption, the character Andy Dufresne makes the observation that one must "get busy living, or get busy dying". In so many ways that simple statement is profound.

I apologize to everyone I made worry about me with my last post. Indeed, the outpouring of concern was astonishing. It seems like people did everything short of calling out the National Guard to go door to door. Here's something to keep in mind, though: in the battle between me and the world, bet on me.

Sometimes, you have to hit the absolute bottom before you can begin your ascent. For me, Friday was the bottom, and admittedly, from my mental position, any effort to go forward seemed futile. I did a lot of painful soul searching, and finally remembered what George Patton once said: "The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his."

With that in mind, I endeavored to reinvent myself, and begin what I have affectionately started referring to as "Life 2.0". For me, this means many things, and consequently, it made Saturday was a very busy day.

When I talked to the kids' therapist (who, by the way, was amazed that I was able to keep my cool when my son had his meltdown), I got a referral from him for someone good for me to talk to. (I've frequently commented that I think mental hygiene is like dental hygiene -- about every six months or so, you need a good cleaning.)

I also made an appointment with the optometrist, and updated the prescription for my glasses. As long as I was updating, I decided to also update the style. Then, using my daughter as fashion consultant, I ventured to give myself a new casual look.

With my newly minted physical shape (having lost almost 30 pounds, etc.) I discovered that a lot of doors have opened for me in creating a trendy casual look. Frankly, I think I look pretty good in jeans. I even bought a new wallet and cleaned out all the crap so it would be nice and thin (I know where the ladies are looking).

After seeing me, a female friend gave me a very nice compliment on my new look. She said, "You were cute before, but now you're hot." It was music to my ears. Even my daughter who doesn't want to think of her daddy as the object of female affection was forced to agree that it works well for me.

I have some other very exciting changes planned for this week. I won't go into too many details here, because I don't have to - I've decided to start a new a new blog. This is partly to quell the uprising that I stirred up by suggesting I wouldn't write anymore, partly to give me a little more control over who reads it (I started to get the impression that a certain individual was using the insider information obtained from this blog to play a game of cat and mouse with me), and it is also somewhat symbolic. As I begin this new journey forward, it only seems fitting to document it in a new place, with a new perspective.

If you want to read the new blog, you can get a link to it the same way you found this one. If I gave it to you, ask me for the new link. If a friend gave it to you, ask that friend. If you saw it posted somewhere, check the place you found it.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The End

It was another bad night. I don't want to go into all the details, but I think it's enough to say that my son had a complete meltdown that culminated with him spitting in my face. I don't mean metaphorically. I'm talking about warm frothy rheum rolling down my cheek like a snail on the wall of an aquarium. I think it was a new low in my life.

I've decided to stop writing about it. I've realized that sharing my suffering is just that -- it's letting other people go through it too. In my constant ups and downs, backs and forths, happiness and misery, I'm dragging other people with me. Particularly, I'm dragging along those who care about me the most, and that is simply not fair.

This is a burden I will have to bear alone, by myself, and privately. I'll put on my happy face and slog forward as best I can. I want the few special people (who should know who they are) to know that I love them, and I'm glad they've been a part of my life. And to my wife: I'll never stop loving you.

Thank you for watching me heal. I'm sorry we couldn't finish the journey.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Song Snippet

While I have to admit that including song lyrics is somewhat of a page from the annuals of a soccer mom in terms of blogging style, I think sometimes posting a bit of a song is a great way to express my current mood. That being the case, here's an excerpt from one that's on my mind today:

Have you ever needed someone so bad?
Have you ever wanted someone you just couldn't have?
Did you ever try so hard that your world just fell apart?
Have you ever needed someone so bad?
And you're the girl I gotta have.
I gotta have you baby, yeah...

Pleasure and Pain

It was October, 1990. I was 17, and stationed in the Army at Fort Gordon, Georgia attending communications training. I had volunteered for my unit's 10K team (for those who don't know, 10 kilometers is about 6.28 miles), and this afternoon the other "volunteers" and I would get to enjoy a little extra training for the big race.

We formed a loose formation, and our Drill Sergeant, a tall, lanky black man with bulging biceps, stood out in front to address us.

"Privates, " he said, cocking his head to the side and rubbing his hands together in a display that was part condescension, part camaraderie, "last night I tried to map our run route for today, and my car ran out of gas."

A couple of hours later, having run more than 10 miles for the first time in my life, I made an astute observation that has held true even to this day: sometimes pleasure is merely the absence of pain.

Applied to my present circumstances, I think sometimes a "good day" is defined as merely not being a bad day - at least for the time being. In the times I do feel a bit more normal, I'm just happy for a respite from the suffering.

I wish I could write that I got up this morning and everything was sunshine and lollipops again. Unfortunately, things are never that simple. Still, dark grey is an improvement over black.

Oh, and in case you're wondering - my team took 2nd place on race day, and we all got letters of commendation from the Battalion Commander.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


An observer would note that the pendulum has now swung back the other way. I expect some who read this might find all of the back and forth maddening, but the point is to document my journey, so I have to write about where it takes me.

I'm struggling with depression, and I can't decide which is worse: the feeling that things will never get better, or the sense of apathy that seems to be taking hold. I've started having thoughts and feelings that are too deeply frightening and personal for even me to write about, but it seems to boil down to this: I'm tired, and I'm losing my will to fight. I feel like I'm flirting with insanity... or worse.

Some people don't understand why I would write about my most deeply personal feelings and experience. Some would even think I'm weak for showing such emotion, but that's fine. At the end of the day, we each have to cope with situations in a manner most effective for us.

I have a 9-day cruise booked for March. It's already paid for. My parents are going, and my wife and I had an adjoining room. While I enjoy spending time with my parents, I really don't want to cruise alone. Furthermore, since I've only cruised with my wife, I fear that being by myself would only serve as a reminder of what is gone.

To that end, I've made it no secret that I still want her to go -- even if only as friends. She has been "thinking about it". Last night, when I spoke with her very briefly, she said she didn't think she wanted to go. My heart sank. I wish there were some way I could change her mind.

She seems to be doing quite well. She shared some pictures with me of things she's been doing to her apartment, and I was floored. She's exercising a level of creativity that amazes me. (I asked her if I could post a link, and she said she would prefer that I didn't, so you'll just have to trust my description.) I was also torn about how I feel.

On one hand, here is this amazing woman who is creative, smart, and talented. Boy do I want to know her better! On the other hand, I feel a bit cheated. Why didn't she show me that side of her when we were together? Did she think I would shun her work?

I also feel a little sad about it. She is clearly having an easier time with this than I am. It reminds me of the chorus to She's Gonna Make It:

She's gonna make it
And he never will
He's at the foot of that mountain
She's over that hill
He's sinkin' at sea
And her sails are filled
She's gonna make it
And he never will
Last night my son had a meltdown. This happens from time to time, but this episode was especially venomous. Generally, I just try to give him space until he calms down, but at one point, he said "I know I'm part of the reason [my wife] left." I stopped what I was doing and said, "That's not true. Come here and let's talk about it, son."

He fired back, "Oh, so you'll talk about that but not other stuff?" I told him that was low, and I didn't want to be manipulated. Then he said, "You wanna know why [my wife's name] left? Because you're a lazy bum!"

Although I know they were merely the words of a child said in a moment of anger, I could not prevent being wounded by them. That nagging doubt in the back of my mind began asking whether or not maybe he observed something I had missed.

When I crawled into bed (which, this week happens to be the couch downstairs because I have company), I was really looking forward to sleep. Yes, I was tired - not just physically, but mentally, and emotionally - more than that, though, I wanted the escape offered by a deep slumber.

My wife has maintained that anytime I need to talk, if I'm having a rough night, I can call her. I decided to cash in that blue chip, and I called. We chatted very briefly, but then she complained of a sore throat and said she didn't want to talk anymore. I burrowed into my pile of blankets, and began my search for sleep. When it finally came, it was deep and restful, punctuated with dreams about the upcoming cruise.

When I got up this morning, I had another nasty surprise. As I have mentioned, I'm embroiled in custody litigation with my first wife. I could write page after page of the details, but the crux of it comes down to this: I already have primary physical custody of my son, my daughter has lived with me for two years, I want to memorialize the current situation with the court to make the legal documentation more accurately reflective of the current situation.

After some wrangling between attorneys (and her attorney telling her that her case was unwinnable), I ultimately extended a settlement offer to her that involved each of us paying our own legal fees, her not having to pay child support, and her getting extremely liberal visitation with the kids. She agreed that it was "fair" (a very subjective term), and I had my attorney draft the paperwork.

Although she's had the settlement paperwork for a month, and she's even signed and notarized it, she has yet to deliver it to my attorney to be filed. Recently, she's started dodging my phone calls, so when I finally was able to speak to her Saturday, I explained that this had gone on long enough, and that if she didn't have the papers to my attorney by 5PM Monday, I would be forced to rescind the settlement offer and simply allow the judge to decide what is and is not fair.

Sunday night around midnight, she called my daughter and told her to tell me to speak with her before I talked to my attorney. I've spent the last 2 days trying to call her, but she's still dodging.

What greeted me this morning was a note my daughter left for me when she went to school. It read:


Can you please stop the legal fighting with my mom? Yesterday, she called me to say that she was going to turn in the papers today, but she never wants to talk to me ever again because I'm not her daughter anymore. I don't know what to do. I know you've spent a lot of money on this, but everything is completely out of my control. Help Me.

- [her name]

In a word: despicable. I'd love to call her mother and explain how inappropriate and damaging that was, but she still won't take my calls. Instead, I'll make a note to talk to my daughter's therapist about it, and try to be as understanding and supportive as I can.

And so my life goes on, one day at a time, one challenge after another. I keep hoping things will get better, but I'm terrified that I may have reached my breaking point. I'm standing on the precipice, and the ground is crumbling beneath my feet.


I've lived a rich and full life. Indeed, I think I've lived more at 34 than most people do in their entire life.
  • I've been to 47 of the 50 states
  • I've been to more than 20 countries outside the US
  • I've taken 9 cruises
  • I served my country honorably a faithfully as a Paratrooper for almost 7 years, including a combat tour in Iraq
  • I successfully made it through both Airborne, and Air Assault school
  • I made Sergeant in the Army, and got to experience leading soldiers
  • I've lost everything and started over -- numerous times
  • I overcame bankruptcy
  • I completed both a Bachelors and a Masters Degree
  • I made it to the top of my profession
  • I've worked in New York City, or more specifically Manhattan
  • I've owned (and still own) my dream car (A BMW 325i)
  • I've known friendship that transcends time and distance
  • I've experienced the love and adoration from a child that only a parent can know
  • I know what it's like to fall from the sky, and dive to the depths of the ocean
  • I've rapelled from buildings, walls, towers, and hovering helicopters
  • I've piloted an airplane
  • I've been the Jumpmaster and had people entrust me with their life on an actually military jump
  • I accidentally walked through a minefield, and lived to tell about it
  • I've witnessed the miracle of childbirth, and experienced the anguish of death
  • I've seen the attrocities of war, and the resilience of human nature
  • I've gone swimming in a crystal clear lake deep under the ground, inside a cave
  • I've been skinny dipping at natural hotspring
  • I experienced Marti Gras before New Orleans was defined by Katrina
  • I've stared death in the face more times than I'd like to count. In a sense, we've become old friends.
  • I've been honored and reviled; loved and hated; followed and ignored.
  • I've managed to sample most of the spicy seasonings that gives life its variety

In short, I'm almost finished. There are very few things that remain on my checklist. What I have not accomplished is watching my kids to off to college, and writing that book.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Song of the Day

I almost never reproduce song lyrics in their entirety. Today, I'm going to make an exception, so grab your kleenex, read the lyrics, and think about how well this particular song fits.
When You Come Back to Me Again
by Garth Brooks

Theres a ship out, on the ocean
At the mercy of the sea
It's been tossed about, lost and broken
Wandering aimlessly
And God somehow you know that ship is me

'cause theres a lighthouse, in the harbor
Shining faithfully
Pouring its light out, across the water
For this sinking soul to see
That someone out there still believes in me

On a prayer, in a song
I hear your voice and it keeps me hanging on
Raining down, against the wind
I'm reaching out 'til we reach the circle's end
When you come back to me again

Theres a moment we all come to
In our own time and our own space
Where all that weve done, we can undo
If our heart's in the right place

On a prayer, in a song
I hear your voice and it keeps me hanging on
Raining down, against the wind
I'm reaching out 'til we reach the circles end
When you come back to me again
And again I see my yesterdays in front of me
Unfolding like a mystery
Youre changing all that is and used to be

On a prayer, in a song
I hear your voice and it keeps me hanging on
Raining down, against the wind
I'm reaching out til we reach the circles end
When you come back to me again
When you come back to me again


I may have to add this post to my list of regrets later, especially if it solicits an unfavorable reaction from my wife, but it is helpful for me to write.

I've come to the conclusion that I love her, and I am not giving up. I don't care if it's not healthy. I don't care what people think. I will win her back, or more accurately, the new person that I am will win over the new person that she is. I don't care if I spend the rest of my life alone while I do it. I know what I want, and I know what it is worth to me. The sacrifice is insignificant and ultimately unimportant.

I told a friend not long ago that I would happily trade the final 20 years of my life in exchange for spending the time between now and then with her. I said it, and I mean it, for what use is 20 years of a meaningless existence?

I recently wrote of marriage vows, and especially the part about "for better, for worse". I won't be a hypocrite. I didn't get where I am today by quitting, and I'm certainly not going to start now. We may be going through the "for worse" part mentioned in my vows, but I wont' give up so long as there is breath in my lungs and fire in my heart.

Blood Pressure

While I was out on Saturday, I took my blood pressure. When this first started, I clocked out at something like 160/93 - definitely not good. I was happy to see that I'm now down to a more reasonable 123/72 with a heart rate of 64. That's not spectacular, but it's also not life threatening.

I attribute the change to diet, exercise, reduction of stress, and better sleep. With a little luck, the next time I check, the numbers will be better still. I guess that's something for which I should be grateful, if not happy.


As I mentioned, I've been doing a lot of reflection. In doing so, I discovered that I have a lot of regrets - both from my marriage, and from the way I have handled this separation.

I am really sorry I asked her if she wanted a divorce. In a sense, I backed her into a corner. I forced an issue that should have been left alone. Like teasing a dog to see if it will bite you, sometimes you're better off leaving things alone and waiting to see what happens.

I'm sorry I took off my wedding ring. Again, I forced her forward in a sense. I could still be wearing it; I am still married, after all. By taking it off, I encouraged her to do the same, and she did. Now I have a permanent groove in my finger, even after 3 weeks, to remind me of how stupid I can be sometimes.

I'm sorry I didn't insist on counseling. Initially, she agreed to schedule some counseling after things had a while to calm down. I realized that she was doing this to make things a little less painful on me, but still, I think it might have been beneficial. Now I'll never know, and I regret it.

I'm sorry I forced the "I love you" issue, because now I'm afraid to say it to her, no matter how strongly I feel it or how often I think it. In fact, I'm terrified. She told me to "cool it", but I don't know if that means to not say it so frequently, or to not say it at all. I haven't been saying it at all because I'm too afraid that she won't reciprocate. I should have been smart enough to see that it made her uncomfortable, and just toned it down without having to be told.

I'm sorry I wasn't more helpful to her during our marriage. I made her feel like second fiddle - like I was somehow more important and my needs came before her own. I made her feel like she was merely an accessory to the person I am, rather than her own person. I didn't make her feel like a partner, and I regret that very much.

I'm sorry I didn't reach out to her before it was too late. I should have realized that she wasn't happy, and I should have been willing to do whatever was necessary to get things back on track.

I tell my kids that you don't learn from the things you do right. That is true, but it's unfortunate that sometimes a "learning experience" has long-term or permanent consequences.

Family Interraction

On the heals of a wonderful visit on Friday, I spoke with my father-in-law on Saturday morning while the kids were in counseling. As I mentioned, it's become a weekly routine.

As always, it was a pleasant conversation. I told him that I had seen his daughter the night before, that things had gone well, and that she looked really good.

He suggested I take her to dinner or something with just the two of us. I told him I would like that when she was ready, and then at one point, he told me that he was confident we were going to get back together. I was really torn between trying to jump on the optimism bandwagon, and feeling bad that perhaps he doesn't know the situation that well. I simply said that I hoped so, and left it at that.

I also spoke to her grandmother. She still hasn't told her what's going on, and it was a bit awkward. I had to do some creative explaining to avoid getting myself boxed into a corner where I might have to lie.

I told her I was just taking the kids to their weekly counseling, and I wanted to see how she was doing (she broke a few ribs a short while ago).

At one point, she asked me where my wife was, and I told her that she was still at home (true) and probably still asleep (also true). This resulted in her grandmother explaining that she could understand why my wife would be tired, what with her career and taking care of kids and a husband. It's a lot of work, after all. I simply agreed, and left it at that.

Going forward, I'm going to give my wife's grandmother distance unless I know that she wants to talk to me. Apart from the awkwardness, I want to make sure not to invade my wife's space too much. I may simply encourage my wife to call when I'm curious, and then get the details from her. In any event, it is her grandmother - not mine.

Friday Visit

I mentioned in another post that I was afraid of seeing my wife on Friday. It turns out that she was very nice to me in our interactions all day Friday, and the visit went much better than I expected it would.

I didn't cry, I didn't get upset, and I was proud of myself for being so strong - so optimistic - so in control of myself. What I did do was go home from work and spend several hours boxing up stuff for her.

When she arrived, it was a bit awkward at first. Do I hug her? How do I act? What do I say?

She looked spectacular. I mean that. She literally took my breath away. We've both lost a substantial amount of weight, and this was the first time I'd seen her in about two weeks. She was also wearing some new hoop earrings that are a different style than I'd grown used to seeing her wear. My heart skipped a few beats, and I felt myself growing as nervous as a teenager asking a girl to the prom.

Finally she broke the ice by asking me how I had been and giving me a hug. We went upstairs to survey the odds and ends I had picked out for her, and to see if there was anything I might be missing.

Then something very interesting happened. I found myself genuinely enjoying the time with this person. It was someone new, yet with elements of someone familiar. We joked and we laughed together, and at one point I even found myself tickling her. I don't know how she feels, but I might even say we flirted a bit. One thing is certain, though. Seeing her beautiful smile had a profound impact on me.

At one point, we ended up kissing. I have replayed that in my mind dozens of times, and I continue to do so. For that brief time, I felt complete. I knew it had to end, but those precious few moments will live in my memory for eternity.

Then, after everything was packed up and it was time for her to leave, she got into the truck (actually, it's a Durango), and it became clear that we were going to kiss again, so I paused and asked her if it was for me, or for her. (Based on the previous visit, I was afraid it was something she was indifferent to, but was doing because she knew I wanted it.) She told me it was for both of us, and my heart melted.

She called me when she got home to let me know she made it okay. Then, I slept as sound as a hibernating bear for the first time in a while.

A Lot to Say

My wife came over Friday night, and I have a lot of things I want to write about today. Apart from details on how things went (surprisingly well), I've done a tremendous amount of soul-searching, and I think it would be helpful for me to articulate my thoughts and feelings.

Rather than publishing one enormous post, I've decided to break my thoughts into several smaller posts about specific topics. This is the first of what is bound to be a lot of activity today.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Completely Random Thought

I don't think those "door close" buttons in an elevator actually do anything. It wouldn't surprise me if you looked behind the control panel and found out that they aren't even hooked up.

Maybe the elevator people just put them there to make you feel better. Maybe it's something even more nefarious. Maybe, just maybe, some engineer had a twisted sense of humor and rigged it so that when you push the "door close" button, it actually takes longer for them to close. It certainly feels that way when I push it!

Making a feeble old lady have to take the stairs has never been more difficult. Will the aggravations never end? ;-)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Fear of Friday

I posted a while back that my wife was going to come exchange a few things with me, but ultimately that didn't happen. Since we still need to swap some stuff, we had planned on doing it Saturday evening instead.

It turns out that won't work so well, because my parents are coming to visit for a while. Their power has been out since last Saturday, and there's no telling when it will be back on.

So, with Saturday not good for me anymore, we decided to do it tomorrow night. For some strange reason, that fills me with a strong feeling of ... fear. So I'm sitting here with an upset stomach trying to figure out exactly what it is that I'm afraid of.

At this point, it may just be that I've started to associate seeing her with pain. The last time I saw her, I cried. That was almost 2 weeks ago, so I hope this time I'm stronger. Still, although I try to gird myself, I really don't know what my reaction will be. Wish me luck.

For Better for Worse?

Traditional marriage vows: we all know the words. They're so prevalent in our society that I think even children can recite them - particularly the part that goes:

" have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part..."
It's unfortunate that nobody seems to take them seriously anymore. It is just too socially acceptable to leave at the first sign of trouble. The sad truth is that most marriages today end in divorce. People just don't take marriage seriously anymore.

Yes, things do go wrong. Yes, people change. Yes, there are bound to be bad times. But divorce should always be the absolute last course of action after you've explored every single other option (from counseling, to just accepting things the way they are). Then, and ONLY then, when it is absolutely clear there is no hope at all, should someone even contemplate the consideration of divorce.

As I look back on my own marriage, I see many times when elements of that oath that I swore were tested. I can count a number of situations when it would have been easier for me to simply cut and run, yet I hung in there. To be honest, it makes me a little angry. Then again, nobody ever said life was fair.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I think I'll come out of this experience being a better husband. I've come to see that no marriage is bullet proof, no matter how long you've been together, and no matter how it might feel. Every day must be a courtship, and sometimes it's the little things that count the most.

Something that came to mind during my workout this morning was that I'm a very driven person. I also tend to drive those around me, if not by actively pushing them, then passively by driving myself (who can really sit by and slack when someone else is working hard?)

This works really well when I'm in charge of a team, but perhaps not so well if you happen to be my wife. I can't help but wonder if this factored into the present situation at all? Was some small part of it that she got tired of the pace? I'll probably never know.

In any event, I've decided to strive to teach my children a strong work ethic, but also to make sure that they learn to temper their drive with reason. Being driven can achieve great results, but you have to be mindful to not let it consume you. In the end, the brightest flame burns out first, and when the fire goes out, sometimes it cannot be re-lit.

Dentist Visit

As I mentioned, I went to the dentist yesterday for a cleaning. It was a mixed experience - part painful, part encouraging.

First, I ended up having to wait for a little bit before my appointment. As I was sitting there captive, listening to the music they pipe in, I got thrown a curve ball. The song Don't Know Why by Nora Jones started playing. This song is significant because my wife sang it at Karaoke on a cruise we took, so it always makes me think of her, and it reminds me of her beautiful voice and how pretty she looked that night.

I damned near started crying right there in the waiting room. I desperately wanted to get out of there, but I couldn't. I was trapped, and it was downright miserable. I swallowed the lump in my throat, choked back the tears, and tried to think about other things until the song was over.

Finally my turn came and I was able to escape purgatory. My hygienist came out, greeted me with her usual stunning smile, and invited me back.

Now, in the spirit of disclosure, I should say that I've had a "thing" for my hygienist for about the last 2 years. That may sound juicy, but it's fairly innocuous. She's happily married, as I was I, and it's something that both my wife and daughter teased me about - an open secret, as it were. Some people are just naturally sexy (it's something about the way they carry themselves). She is one of them.

During the course of our conversation, she asked me when my wife would be in. I had to explain that I didn't know, and then a little bit about why. She was absolutely shocked. Her words were "I can't believe that! She was just in here a while ago and she was telling me how wonderful you are!" I should start a club for people who are baffled by this. The membership would be huge.

During the course of the cleaning, at one pause, I tell her to make sure to give me a pretty smile because I'm going to need it now. Much to my surprise, she responds by saying that I already have a great smile, and there's nothing she needs to do. It made my day. :-)

On Life and Being Single

It's a funny thing. The stereotypical "male response" to situations like this seems to be to go crazy with new found freedom. That may be the stereotype, but that's not how I feel at all.

Several weeks ago, I had a funny conversation with my son. It went something like this:

Him: Dad?
Me: Yes, son?
Him: Does this mean you're going to start dating again?
Me: Oh, I don't know, son - probably eventually. We'll have to see how it goes.
Him: I don't want you to.
Me: Why not?
Him: Because I don't want you bringing any skanks home.
Me: (laughing) Well, I'm not really attracted to those type of women, so I don't think you need to worry.
Him: (pausing to think) What about "money grubbers"?
Me: I'll be careful. I think I'll be okay.
Him: Okay, in that case, I want you start dating. Why don't you go on a date this weekend?
Me: (smiling) Well, son, I'm not really ready for that. How about this: when I feel ready, if I happen to meet an attractive lady and I feel like I'd like to have dinner with her or go to a movie, I'll ask her out then.
Him: Okay
(I give him a hug, and he seems more cheerful)

So here we are several weeks later. I haven't been on any dates, I'm not seeing anyone or grooming anyone to see them later, and I have no plans to do so. I did have a nice phone conversation that helped put things in perspective, but as I predicted, nothing came of it, and that's fine with me. I guess you could say I'm taking a little time to get to know myself.

I've gotten used to my new role as single parent. I don't mind running the house by myself, doing the cooking, or any of that. Mostly, my unmet needs at this point are emotional. It would be nice to share life's problems with someone, or to have that encouraging hug when I've had a rough day.

Everyone tells me how well I'm doing, how strong I am, and how fast I'm getting through this. Outwardly, that is certainly the case. From my perspective, though, it's Hobson's Choice. Of course I continue - I have children to worry about. Of course I go to work - I have bills to pay.
Of course I look on the bright side of life - the alternative is much much worse.

I actually started humming an old song yesterday (must be my subconscious at work), and when I realized it, I looked up the lyrics. They fit this situation rather well. Here's a sample from part of the song (emphasis added):
Ever since I met you
You're the only love I've known
And I can't forget you
Though I must face it all alone

All at once,
I'm drifting on a lonely sea
Wishing you'd come back to me
And that's all that matters now

All at once,
I'm drifting on a lonely sea
Holding on to memories
And it hurts me more than you know
So much more than it shows
All at once

Nobody ever said it would be easy, and it's not. But I keep going forward, one day it a time, one foot in front of the other, as the journey continues.

Another Notch

It's undeniable: I'm going to have to buy some new clothes. I had to drop another notch on my belt this morning.

I don't really do the saggy look, and I suspect my ass is starting to look like 5 pounds of crap rolling around in a 10 pound bag. I feel like I'm wearing a potato sack, and I'm not sure, but I think people feel like they should drop some money in my begging cup. ;-)

The sleeves on my shirt are also creeping up as my neck and shoulders get broader and thicker. Now I know how Bruce Banner must have felt.

While I'm limited in my work options because I have to wear a shirt & tie, this might be a nice time for me to pick up a new casual look for those off hours. Since I have about as much fashion sense as a rottweiler, I'll be soliciting guidance from some friends and my daughter.

These are good problems to have, and I'm grateful.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Father to a Daughter

My daughter and I have a great relationship. I'd even go so far as to say she feels comfortable talking to me about almost anything (how many dads out there were the first to know when their daughters entered puberty?) Through this experience, she has become fiercely loyal to her daddy. Sure, she was my girl before, but with this shared experience, we seem to have an even stronger bond.

For the record, I also have a very close relationship with my son. That said, the purpose of this post is to talk about what's going on with my daughter. I'll discuss my son in another post.

Today my little girl (I guess 15 still counts as a "little girl" to a father) had final exams, so she was out of school at 9:30. She took public transportation home, and called me when she was on her way. When I talked to her, she said she was really close to the grocery store, and asked if I would like her to stop and pick up some of the turkey sandwiches we both like so much. That way we could share them for lunch. She even paid with her own money! Lunch with a daughter may seem like a small thing, but it's something that I really treasure.

As I've said, I have a great relationship with my daughter, and I support her in a fair amount of activities (e.g. ice skating). Still, as a single dad, I think it's important for her to have a positive female role model as much as possible. So when she asked me to take her shopping for some clothes, I decided that was an opportunity for her to have a little womanly mentoring. Thus I asked a very special friend if she would mind taking my daughter on a little field trip.

In the spirit of anonymity, I cannot disclose the identity of this individual (she's happily married, so don't go getting any ideas). I will say that I really appreciate her support, though. She and her husband have really been there for me through this. So yesterday she and my daughter took their little field trip, and I think it was a very positive experience for both of them.

I'm realizing that although there are some things that I cannot do by myself, that doesn't mean I will falter or fail. At the end of the day, I'm a person who gets things done. Sure, sometimes I have to be a little creative, but the results are what matter.

No More I Love You

Well, another milestone I have dreaded has passed. My wife quit telling me that she loves me, and asked that I "cool it" with telling her. I suppose under the circumstances that is understandable. What bothers me is that she never comes out and directly tells me anything. Instead, I'll have a gut feeling that bothers me so I bring it up. Inevitably, she won't want to talk about it, but ultimately I get the message. The thing about this approach... It hurts. A lot.

About 6:00 last night (already a long day at work) I found out that the stuff I've been working on had to be finished by morning. I knew I had hours and hours of work left, so I went home, made dinner for the kids, and went back to work. I finally finished up and went home around 11PM. By then, I was utterly exhausted and completely spent - both mentally and emotionally. I called my wife on my way home and told her that it was a bad night to meet up, even though she was going to be in the area. For me, this was a moral victory. As badly as I wanted to see her, I did the right thing.

Eventually, I'll have to see her again to exchange the final few belongs that we have for each other. With any luck, I'll be stronger when that time comes. At least, I hope so.

Today is another busy day. For me, it started around 5:30 this morning so I could take my car in to get it serviced. I also have a dentist appointment, and I have to go pick up my car after work, and then stop for milk on the way home. I tried to make waffles for the kids this morning, only to find out after I mixed the dry ingredients that we didn't have enough milk. Single parenting is so much fun! ;-)

Thanks for reading this. I'll continue to put one foot in front of the other, take things day by day, and post my experiences here so you can watch me heal.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Male Psyche

My wife is coming over late tonight to pick up a few things, and drop off some others. The kids will be in bed when she does. In thinking about this, I'm realizing some interesting things about my current emotional needs.

Plainly put, right now, I would rather have a kiss from my wife, than sex from some other woman. That may sound like a strange statement to make, but it's a strange way to feel.

In cases of infidelity, they say that men cheat from the scrotum, and women cheat from the heart. What this means is that generally men step out to satisfy sexual cravings, whereas women give in to sex as way to meet some unfulfilled emotional need. How odd that I find myself on the more feminine side of this human behavior in that I crave emotional contact rather than physical.

It seems that right now my emotional needs are so strong they overpower even my primal lust. Take that, Freud!

Odd Dream

I had a really strange dream Saturday night, and I thought I'd share it.

In the dream, I was driving on the freeway, and my car broke down. There were people with me, but I don't remember clearly who (I think it was my kids). I called a tow truck, but when it arrived, there was no operator, so I had to hook up my car myself.

I hooked the car up and lifted the front wheels off the ground. Then, because the cab of the tow truck was locked, I knew I'd have to ride behind it in my car. The problem was that there was no driver. Instead, there was a control box with a long wire that I strung back to my car. So I ended up sitting in the driver's seat of my car, trying to remotely control the tow truck that was towing me.

Driving on the freeway was a little challenging, because I couldn't see over the tow truck. I tried to go slow, use my signals, and watch for other cars as much as possible. Then I woke up.

I think this dream could have several meanings for me. It could mean that I now have to help myself. It could also mean that I realize that I now have to do things myself that traditionally I had help with, but that I'll manage. Another interpretation might be that although I cannot see the road ahead, I have no choice but to take control and go forward. Maybe it's a combination of all three.

I welcome any other amateur interpretations.

It's Not All Bad

Looking on the bright side of things, I've now lost about 26 pounds, plus about 2 inches off my waist. At the same time, I've added an inch or two across my chest and shoulders. My clothes are starting to fit a little funny, but of the problems I can have, that's not a bad one.

I also put together my goal list. I find it's helpful for me to keep focus if I list the things I want to accomplish over the short and long term. For example, long term I want to finish my Pilot's License, and write a book (among other things). Daily, I intend to drink more water, exercise, and get enough sleep.

As silly as it sounds, years ago (the last time I was single) I took a dry erase marker and wrote on the bottom of my bathroom mirror: "What have you done today to further the accomplishment of your goals?" I'd like to be able to answer that question with at least one thing each day.

It's Over

Sometimes it's helpful to take a few days off and let things sit before I write about them. For those of you who have been waiting and wondering, I'm sorry it has taken so long.

On Thursday, my wife read my last blog post, and I guess it gave her the courage to do what she feels she needs to. I asked her if she wanted a divorce, and she told me yes. I explained that I didn't want one, but that I would not hold her in a relationship she didn't want, and she thanked me. After a little discussion, we decided to file in Virginia (where she lives now) because the laws are a lot better than in Maryland. It will take about another 5 months for all to be said and done.

I have not told the kids, although I did discuss it with their therapist. My reasoning is that telling them will not change anything, but it will probably be very upsetting for them. By waiting, they won't have to worry about school because they'll be out for the summer, and they will be much more used to the situation. Their therapist agreed with my approach, so apparently, it is a good one.

I have good days and bad days. I think that much is clear from what I write here. Although I am doing better, sometimes it is extremely difficult. I find myself thinking about her all the time. Everywhere I go, with everything I do, I see her in my mind. I often times find myself reminiscing about happier times, or wondering what she's doing. We've agreed to be friends, and honestly, if that is all I can have I'll take it. Some would think me foolish, but the situation is what it is.

She told me she feels like I write this blog to put on a show, and that I'm painting her as the bad guy. I wish I could make her understand that I am not trying to do that. I told her she was free to leave a comment on the blog, but she expressed concern that the other commenters would attack her. Somehow, she sees my readers as minions who will blindly defend me even when I'm wrong. I don't think that's the case at all, and I would hope that everyone who reads this realizes that there are two sides to every story. This blog only presents one.

When this first happened, I called my in-laws to let them know that as far as I was concerned, this would not change the relationship I have with them. My father-in-law never had a son, so in many ways, I've filled in as a surrogate. I've also taken care of the Website for his business for the past 8 years, and I wanted him to know that he didn't have to worry about it.

The response I got was heartwarming, and comforting. Her parents told me that they loved me, and me not being with their daughter anymore would not change that. They said they still want to see me and the kids, and that I am always welcome in their home. I really appreciate that.

On Saturday, I talked to her parents again. I've started calling every Saturday just to stay in touch now that we don't have that common link anymore. That might strike some as odd, but her folks are good people. They event sent my parents a Christmas card.

She hasn't told her grandmother yet, so although I desperately want to talk to her, I'm not really comfortable doing so. Her grandmother has a reputation for being a little difficult, yet she has come to the conclusion that I can do no wrong. Frankly, I think she's a pretty neat lady, and I worry about her health. I'm not sure when she'll get the news, but I hope she's not angry with me for not telling her. In any event, it's not really my place to say anything.

My wife has not been in contact with my parents since she left. That's unfortunate, because I think she might be surprised. My mom is (obviously) very sympathetic to what I'm going through, and she hurts when I do. She's also very intelligent and worldly. As a logical creature (much like myself), my mom is able to separate her grief from the situation and look at things semi-objectively. Indeed, several times she has told me that her heart also goes out to my wife, and that she understands her position.

It's foolish, perhaps, but I'm still of the opinion that we're not to a point where there is no going back (or forward, as the case may be). Like her father told me Saturday, as long as things are friendly, there is always hope. One never knows what tomorrow might bring.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


I really meant to post yesterday, but it turned out to be an extremely busy day. The good news is that it was the best day I've had since this all started. The question is then "what changed?" The short answer is simply that I gained some perspective.

Tuesday night, as you may recall, things were quite black indeed. After I wrote the post about how I felt, I reconciled my bank account. Strangely, that made me feel a bit better (I've been putting it off for a few days). Maybe it was that I felt a bit more in control of my own situation, or perhaps it was a reminder that I'm going to be okay, but for whatever reason, things seemed just a little bit brighter.

I have a philosophy that I affectionately refer to as "Faith in the Unknown". Essentially, it means that sometimes problems seem insurmountable, but generally something will come up to help, and it's usually something you never thought of. If things seem bad, and there's nothing you can do, give it a little time -- something will change. I haven't been optimistic enough to exercise this philosophy for a while, but something happened after I paid my bills to restore my "faith".

I ended up having a long conversation on the phone with a really nice young lady. For a plethora of reasons, she isn't relationship material for me (including her age [21], her location [far], and several other twists); still, our conversation served as a very interesting reminder. I was reminded that apart from the role I've held as a dedicated husband for the past 7 years, I am also an individual. Furthermore, I am also attractive to the opposite sex (everyone likes to know that - even people who have been happily married for 40 years). It gave me some perspective on the situation that there will be life for me after her.

Armed with perspective on the situation, I was able to accept a lot of realities that I have been previously unable to deal with. She's not coming back. Life will go on. I'll be happy, even without her. Furthermore, I didn't have her in my life for the first 26 years, and it didn't bother me a bit.

I even selected our break-up theme song (it may seem strange, but I always do that), and I think it fits the situation perfectly. This time, I chose "Time for me to Fly", by REO Speedwagon. The lyrics seem to have been written for my situation. You can read them here.

Work is going well. I noticed yesterday that I don't feel so much like the new guy anymore, and I feel like I'm adding a lot of value to the company, which is also important. I've managed to find my focus, and I've been extremely productive this week.

On the home front, I've also seemed to find my groove. The kids and I have routines established, and the house is running smoothly. We've even re-instituted our weekly game night where a couple of my friends come over for dinner and we play games, joke, and generally socialize.

Sure, there will be bad days ahead. Not everyday can be great, but I'm going to get through this. I've made it halfway into the forest, and now I'm working to come out the other side.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Farewell My Love

This morning, I wrote another poem. I even gave this one a title. I call it "Farewell My Love", and I thought I'd share it.
Farewell My Love

Why have you done this?
What did I do?
Wasn't I always
A good man to you?

Wasn't I there
When the going was rough?
Didn't I help you
When things seemed too tough?

Who are you now?
I don't really know.
Who is this person
You've chosen to show?

Who is the real you
Deep down inside?
Where is the woman
You're trying to hide?

Where are you going?
What do you do?
I can't figure it out,
And that makes me blue.

But life must go on.
Time doesn't stand still
While I fear that you won't,
But hope that you will.

So now I release you
And hope that you'll find
Whatever you seek...
What you see in your mind.

Farewell my love
We had a great run
At times we shared sadness
But most of all, fun.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007


It's been a long, exhausting day. I worked through lunch hoping to get finished at a reasonable time, but I wasn't quite that lucky.

I'm in a bad way right now. I feel like I'm losing myself as the black water of depression envelops me. I realize that it's only a bad day, and under the circumstance, is to be expected. I tell myself this, and it does no good at all.

A few minutes ago, I got an alert on my cell phone that I needed to delete some text messages or I wouldn't be able to receive any more. Happy for the distraction, I set myself about the busy work of deleting the old messages, when I came accross one that got to me. It was from my wife, at 12:59PM on November 29th (the day before my life fell apart), and it read simply: "I love you. Please be happy." My hand trembled, the words became blurry, and a single tear rolled down my cheek as I put my phone down as careful as a young mother nestles her newborn child. I didn't delete the message. It's the last reminder of how things used to be. If I could, I'd go back and live in that moment forever.

Today's Theme

My thought for today is actually a couple of verses from the Chumbawamba song "Tubthumping". Given the situation, they seem very appropriate:
Don't cry for me
Next door neighbor...

I get knocked down
But I get up again
You're never going to keep me down

Succinct, germane, to the point, and yes, a bit cheesy. But it fits.

A Novel Idea

Those who don't read the comments left here, might want to take a look at this post, and read the comments. Generally, I respond to many of the comments left. In this case, I also posted an idea I have.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Why Help?

One reader of my blog whom I've been corresponding with, and who also happens to be going through something similar to my situation, asked me why I would want to help a stranger.

When I think about it, it's an interesting question. The answer in part, oddly enough, is because I'm an Atheist. As I've said, since I don't believe that some supreme deity is going to intercede on anyones behalf, I think it's our responsibility to take care of one another.

Also, I have often relied on the kindness of strangers. Arguably, the support I get visavis the comments on this blog is an example of that.

Finally, I genuinely like helping people. As I noted in a previous post, I'm a fixer.

Moving Forward

Well, I've been very very busy. That's part of the reason why I haven't posted in a few days. The other part is that I'm trying to avoid turning this into another soccer mom Live Journal. That said, if you can make it through this post, there's good stuff at the end.

Today, for the most part, was a good day. At least, it has been so far. But, I'll come back to that in a moment.

I had great plans for Saturday. It turns out that I had to work Sunday, so I wanted to make sure to optimize the one remaining day of the weekend. I planned it so that I would get up, take the kids to their therapy appointments (we go every Saturday), then do the grocery shopping, hurry home to do a load or two of laundry before my wife came at 4:00 to pick up my son for a day out. I figured they would be back around 6:00, which meant I would start the spaghetti around 5:15 so we could have a quick meal before I had to leave for a birthday party I was invited to Saturday night. It looked good on paper.

On Friday my wife called because the brakes went bad on the vehicle she's driving. I told her not to worry - we'd get it taken care of. So the plan was for her to get up, get an estimate, have the repair, then meet with a mutual friend to pick up some furniture and have coffee. That should have allowed her time to get to my house and pick up my son.

What really happened Saturday was that nothing went as planned. On my way to the grocery store that afternoon after therapy, I called to see how the estimate was going, and my wife was still asleep. Fortunately, the shopping went well, and I simply adjusted the schedule to reflect reality. I was bound and determined to get things back on track. Then, when she arrived, things went downhill for me.

I hadn't cried since the last time I saw her. For some reason, when I saw her again and sensed that she was further withdrawing from me, I cried again. She also didn't want to stay for dinner. Honestly, I think I need to do a better job of managing my expectations.

I managed to upset myself enough that I threw up after she left (note to self: chew lettuce better). Then I resolved to get things a little more under control, and do a better job of letting go. When she dropped off my son, I told her I was going to leave her alone. I explained that I meant I was no longer going to have expectations, and I'd try harder to give her space. She gave me a strange look, but said okay.

When it came time for the party, I was exhausted and didn't feel like going - particularly since I found out it involved a 45 minute drive each way. I bagged it and spent the time with my kids instead.

Later that night, circa 1AM, my son puked all over the stairs. You know it's bad when you hear a splash that sounds like throwing a bucket of water in the bathtub, and then you realize that it's carpet. To compound the issue, he flatly refused to even help clean it up. Now, I've been angry before, but this made me furious. Having your 13-year-old yark chunks all over the stairs at 1 in the morning, and then belligerently refuse to clean it up (or go back to bed for that matter) is the ultimate test. He was sorry the next day. Still, it was frustrating - the perfect end to the perfect day.

On Sunday, I worked until about 7PM Sunday trying to get my project back. I made excellent progress, although I'm still working to bring it in for the big finish. While in the office, I bumped into a coworker I have chatted with a few times. She is very calm, easy to talk to, and has a son about my age. In the military, I would have referred to her as "dark green", which is a reference to her African descent (there is no black or white in the Army -- only shades of green).

We grumbled about having to work the weekend, and then for some reason, I felt the urge to open up to her. I told her I assumed everything we were saying was off the record (a fair assumption, since she made some pretty unflattering remarks about my boss). She chuckled and said she certainly hoped so.

Then I told her that something else that made it difficult for me was that my wife decided to leave right before I started this job, so I've been struggling with that and doing the single parent thing. Her response surprised me.

Without hesitation, she moved closer to me, wrapped her arms around me, and gave me a hug. While we embraced, she said, "I don't really know you that well, but I know that you need that. I'll tell you a secret. Just before my birthday in December, my husband of 25 years told me he wanted a divorce."

Sometimes, the smallest gesture makes the biggest impact. From now on, I will always feel a sense of closeness and kinship with this lady.

So, today was another busy day. I spent a large part of the night dreading my boss' reaction to the project not quite being finished, but in a stroke of really good luck, he was in a good mood today. Things went very well.

Against this backdrop, I've had another epiphany (for those who bothered to read this far). I've spent too much time worrying about what my life might be, and not enough time worrying about what it is. The truth of the matter is that I'm in good health, I make good money, I like my job, I have two wonderful kids who love and support me, and I'm surrounded by people (like you) who genuinely care. Does it really matter if I'm divorced a year from now? In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Latin Words of Wisdom

Here's something to think about, and I think it's true:
"Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit..."

The translation: "There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain..."


Today has been a mixed grab bag. In fact, on the way back from lunch I was a bit surprised at how much my moods can fluctuate even within the span of only a few minutes.

On one hand, I'm improving. I'm listening to the radio while I drive again, which may sound funny, but is something I haven't been able to do since this all started. I'm also in better physical shape every day, and my total weight loss is now up to 20 pounds. I feel better, and I look better.

On the other hand, it's been a rough day at work. While admittedly my focus has been less than razor sharp lately, I apparently didn't realize how off I've been. Consequently, I managed to really piss off my boss. Seriously - he was visibly angry.

I had the dubious task of letting him know that I had grossly underestimated the level of effort required to complete a project I've been working on, ergo it won't be finished on time. I hate those conversations, but I always try to be honest, own my mistakes, accept the responsibility that belongs to me, and let the chips fall where they may. It's never fun, but it's all part of business. The bottom line is that I may end up working this weekend to make up for lost time.

Notwithstanding my flub (that I attribute to a lack of focus), I actually did do quite a bit of work today. Honestly, it felt pretty good to dig in and be productive. I was reminded that I really enjoy what I do, and I'm pretty good at it. (For those who don't know, I'm the Director of Web Development for a small, well-funded company that is owned by a large, well-funded company.)

Still, right now I could really use a reassuring hug. I want to be cuddled. I want someone to tell me things will be okay. I need to be comforted.

Yes, my kids are there, and they're always good for a hug. Yes, my parents are supportive, and they tell me things will be okay. Yes, I have friends who also reassure me. But at the end of the night, when I crawl into bed, I'll be lying there alone.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Grocery Shopping

Last night I had to stop at the store on my way home from work. Since it was my son's birthday, I managed to sneak out just a bit early, and I noticed a few interesting things at the grocery store just before 5PM. The thing that struck me the most was that the place was full of women. I was one of only a very few men there. Some were married, some were single, all were on a mission, and quite focused on what they were doing. It was almost creepy.

As long as I had planned on hitting the grocery store on my way home, I offered to do some shopping for my wife. She's been having to run around a lot lately, and I know she probably didn't feel like it (plus she felt a little sick yesterday). Thus, I talked her into giving me a list of things she needed, and carefully made my rounds to retrieve items from her list and my own.

Then, as I was shopping, I had a sad thought. Maybe if I had done a little more shopping a little sooner, things might be different right now. There's nothing like the "what if?" game to drive a man insane.

My son's birthday party went pretty well. My wife came over for cake, as did some family friends. After she went home, it occured to me that last night had been the last "obligatory" visit. (Since the day she left, there has been a littany of things that required her to come over.) This birthday party marked the last. It made me ... well ... sad.

I tried to get to bed early, but I had a rough night punctuated with waking up in a sweat several times, and not being able to get back to sleep. The worst came at about 2AM. I struggled, and forced myself not to call my wife. The urge became nearly overwhelming at least half a dozen times - all I wanted was to hear her voice, and somehow I felt like if I could, I'd be able to rest at last.

Funny Thought

It's odd the things that go through your head while you're struggling with something like this. One funny thought I had today was, "Do you have any idea how long it takes to be comfortable enough to fart in front of someone?"

Another Poem

I had a very very bad night. Unfortunately, a bad morning usually follows. I'll have an update post coming later in the day with details, but I mentally composed a poem in the shower this morning, and I thought I'd share it.
In self-pity, here I wallow,
'cause inside I'm feeling hollow,
And it seems the only thing I know is pain.

But I carry on my life,
Even though I have no wife,
And I hope that I will learn to love again.

On the outside I seem cheery,
On the inside I feel weary,
And to see me you would never really know,

That when she left she broke my heart,
And sadly now that we're apart,
I can't imagine where my life will likely go.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Losing Momentum

It's funny how much your mood can change throughout a single day. I started out today pretty optimistic. I got up at 4AM, got a little computer time in, and made waffles for my kids for breakfast before they had to go to school. I didn't even mind ironing my clothes. Unfortunately, I'm beginning to lose my optimism. I think there are several reasons.

First, I talked to my wife this morning, and I managed to make her mad. She feels like I'm still invading her space. I wish there were a handbook for things like this -- then I'd know what the rules were so I could just follow them. In any event, after our positive visit yesterday, things seem worse today. (Up, down, up, down, up down...)

Really, it's my own fault. I just can't seem to stop myself from letting that optimism creep in. Granted, there's nothing wrong with optimism in and of itself, but it has a tendency to pull you up, which sometimes means that the drop is that much further when you have to come down again. (Up, down, up, down, up down...)

I just came out of a business meeting, and it looks like I may have to go to Boston for a day or two (more? I hope not) next week. For some reason, that thought makes me lonely, nervous, and tired. That means I'll have to find someone to stay with the kids. (My wife, you say? I suspect that would violate the space rule, but again, I have no handbook.) Also, traveling is a financial burden I could really do without at present time, to say nothing of how exhausting business travel can be. Furthermore, let's face it: Boston isn't exactly a vacation destination in January. (Up, down, up, down, up down...)

I haven't said a peep about what's going on to anyone at work. If they knew, I'm afraid that it would become a convenient excuse anytime anything went wrong. If they don't know it's happening, they can't use it to assign blame. It's not that I don't respect my coworkers. In fact, quite the opposite is true. It's a mere question of human nature. (Up, down, up, down, up down...)

The net result is that I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. Today is my son's birthday, which means it's going to be a rough night in more ways than one. I have to stop at the grocery store on my way home from work. Then, around 7, some friends are coming over, as is my wife. (Up, down, up, down, up down...)

This should be the last obligatory visit now that the holidays are over. Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about that, either. I guess the simple truth is that a part of me is still hanging on. (Up, down, up, down, up down...)

I hope things go well tonight. I'm emotionally exhausted.


Well, another weekend and another holiday season are behind me. All things considered, I think it was a fairly productive weekend, and a few interesting things happened.

Friday morning, I took my wedding ring off. It's strange - after more than 7 years I seem to have a permanent groove in my finger. I've always been the type of guy who never takes off his wedding band -- I even wore it in the shower and while SCUBA diving. My basic philosophy was that no matter what I was doing I was married, so I would always keep the ring on.

Initially, my wife didn't notice that I wasn't wearing it anymore. Then on Sunday, she saw it sitting on my desk and asked what it was about. She seemed a little troubled, and said she wanted to think about it. The next time I saw her, she had taken hers off too. I don't think either one of us is sure how we feel about it.