Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Head-butting By Cows Begets Enlightenment

Take a moment, sit back and think where you were eight years ago.  The summer of 2005.  Where did you live?  Who did you live with?  Did you work?  What car were you driving?  

George Dubya Bush was still president, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Pope John Paul II died, gas was $3.07 a gallon, London was bombed by terrorists, Michael Jackson was found not guilty on fourteen charges of various child abuses, and I was head butted by a cow.

A bull, to be specific.

On Father's Day weekend, I revisited the scene of the crime.  The Bergen County Zoo in Van Saun Park.  What a liberating day that was.  I confronted my fear of bulls and left a new woman.

Eight years ago I was dating someone else and we had been on a zoo kick of sorts.  I had a season pass to The New York City Zoos, but we had a soccer game that afternoon so we decided to hit a local zoo.  The Bergen County Zoo is no Bronx Zoo, but it's pretty, clean and has some nice animals on display that you might not find in your back yard.

Within five minutes of entering, we approached the farm animal display.  There was a bull hanging out by the fence and he was, like, right there.  I grew up in a town with cow farms, so a bull was more familiar than it was riveting.  But I had never really touched a bull.  We drive by our cows.  Rarely do you think to pull over and pet one.

By the way, if you pass a cow pasture, chances are that if you pull over and walk up to the fence the cows will mosey on over and say moo.  Cows are really friendly that way, and you see steak in a whole other way after chillin' with the bovines up close.

Back to the zoo.  That day I had on a Tiffany bracelet.  You know, the silver chain-link ones that have a heart charm attached.  I walked over to the bull and reached out and put my hand on his back.  The bugger didn't move!  To me this was an invitation to pet him.  And so I did.

What I did not do was to factor in that my bracelet charm was going to be lightly grazing the bull's back.  I was so excited that this bull was leaning against the fence so I could pet him that my accessory situation wasn't even a thought.


Mr. Bull thought my charm was a fly and when he swung his head around to shoo it away, one of his big fat horns whacked me right in the forehead.

The things I remember about that moment were being shocked and unsure of what happened, feeling like my brain had slammed against my cranium, dizziness that wouldn't stop, followed by hugantically gianormous pain on my forehead.  I stumbled around a little like a drunk person trying to right myself.  Through blurry eyes I was looking for the person I was with.  I felt like someone had spun me around 20 times and then set me free so it took a few moments to locate him.

People saw this.  I know because they were still gaping at me when I finally collected myself and got my synapses firing again.  And the person I was with stared at me, stunned.  And I think he was wayyyyy embarrassed, but I'm sure he would never admit it.  How do you mock someone when  a tennis ball appears to be burrowing out of their brain through their forehead?  I had a serious lump.

What I also had was a kick ass story to tell for the rest of my life.  How many people can say they were head-butted by a 2500lb animal?  That's over a ton of breathing beef, people.  

Back to 2013.  Justin has heard the Vicki vs. The Bull story a few times so I think he was interested in seeing the scene of the crime.  Imagine my excitement when I found the following sign on the bull display:

I didn't see the bull at first.  I thought may be he was dead by now.  But then I located him and CLEARLY he had spotted me first because check out the distance he kept:

I have provided an arrow pointing to said bull just in case you feel he actually achieved the "blending into the background" feat, as he was attempting to do.  That fella in the far left is the one that assaulted me as I was issuing him some kind attention 8 years ago.

And I see that they now have multiple warning signs near the cows.  Apparently, I'm not the only idiot out there who didn't consider the double fencing enough of a warning to step back.

After taking the silly photos, I took a moment to stop and look around.  Being there in that exact spot  got me thinking about how different my life is compared to 8 years ago.

I lived alone in a studio apartment in New Jersey, slaved for corporate America five days a week, dated someone with four kids, and was very unsure about my future.  Now I live in New York, running my own little business, married with one child of my own, and I'm only a little bit unsure about  my future now.

It was surreal to go back with my little girl to show her the animals.  I never would've thought I would be doing this in 2013.  I was in a totally different world  for me back then.

This visit really put a spotlight on exactly how my life has changed.  The most poignant difference was that now I had a daughter.  Children change your life in every way, from what you do to how you perceive it.   Something you've done twenty times alone is a whole new experience when your child becomes involved.  The zoo was suddenly brand new to me.

I know love on an entirely differently level than I could have imagined in 2005.  Now I see things through her eyes.  She has taught me that all of the things that I took for granted years ago are now bright, shiny and exciting again. Even going to the zoo, which I always loved doing, is full of amazements because of her. I am very pleased with how it all turned out.

The highlight of the experience with Allie and the cows was when she looked at me and declared, "Mommy, I want to pet the cow!"  It was as if everything came full circle.  Hopefully, the circle stops here and she wont be back years from now to go head to head with the cows.

And for the record.... no, we did not let her pet the cow.

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Therapy and MANterpretation

It is here that I shall introduce my therapist to provide you with an amusing anecdote in reference to the previous topic (identifying with men).  My therapist, Dr. Steve / Steve, is amazing.  He is the best EVER.

No, no.  I cannot give you his contact information.  He's way too busy helping me keep my shit in check to take on additional clients.  Plus he's super fabulous,  and everyone knows that when you have something good that the public has access to, you should hoard it and make sure you don't lose easy access.

I started going to him years ago and I currently have him under contract to get me through menopause before he can officially retire.  (This contract is really me just threatening to behave like Bill Murray in What About Bob.  I'll stalk his ass if he tries to escape). One of my main purposes for seeing him is that I frequently need a male interpreter.

Yes, you read that right.  A male interpreter.  And who better to interpret men but another one of 'em!

Clearly, Justin speaks English (and only American English), but what men say is not always to be taken literally.  Actually, this goes for women too, but I'm okay understanding and deciphering what my fellow beyotches are saying.  Men, not so much.

At least one time per session, I throw my hands up, totally exasperated, and go, "Oh my gawd, Steve.  What the fuck does THAT mean?  I need the manterpretation!"  It's usually after I tell a story about something that is going on with me and Justin that I'm not sure what to do with.  I've got a ton of stories, but I'll share the most recent one with you.

Before I divulge this VERY valuable information, I need to clarify that I use this source of man knowledge for good, not evil.  I want to understand what Justin is telling me.  Sometimes his actions speak volumes and I can't get past the first line cuz I'm a girl.  I'm not looking to find out what he's all about and then use it against him.  This isn't a map for war.  It's like our own little marital NATO.

So, the last time I went to see Dr. Steve I had a more lighthearted issue to present before I left.

"I understand that Justin spends all day with a two year old and he really doesn't have a lot going on because of his injury, but when something happens I have to get the exxxxxxxtra lonnnnnnnng drawwwwwwwn ouuuuuut version."

"What do you mean?"  I think he knew where I was going with this but needed to be sure.

"If something happens during the day, and he needs to tell me about it, I get the dragged out version.  I can't get the quickie version.  Noooooo.  I get this version: 
....and then I told her exactly what was wrong with the phone and she said that I needed technical support so she put me on hold.  She left me on hold for a really long time and I was about to hang up but then she picked up again and told me she was going to transfer me to tech support.  Of course she disconnected me, so I had to call back and now I'm like really pissed.  So, I have to go thru the whole rigmarole again and they go to put me on hold and I told them that if they disconnect me that I'm going to cancel my contract so I want someone to wait on the line with me.  But does she do that?  No.  She puts me on hold and sends me to technical support and then THEY put me on hold and I'm waiting so long that I was able to make Allie peanut butter and jelly on TOAST.  That's how long I was waiting.  The next person picks up and do you think they told him why they were transferring me to him?  No.  So, I had to explain it all again....."
OH MY GOD, STEVE!  I want to lose my mind!  It's reached the point where I have to interrupt him and ask him to give me the abridged version before any more of my brain cells die of boredom.  How in the hell do I deal with this without hurting his feelings?"

He stared at me in awe and said, "I think that in all of my years of doing this I have never had a woman come to me with this problem."

Now, most women might be offended by that, but let's be honest here.  Women, as a group, are notorious for rambling on about things that men have absolutely no interest in.  I admit that I have been guilty of this crime.  And usually I get offended when told to get to the point.

If I'm feeling bitchy enough, I might even say, "Forget it.  I wouldn't want to bore you!"  We all know that statement is used in hopes that the other person will realize the error of their ways and beg us to tell them the rest of the story that they just complained about having to hear.  It's a form of Female Retaliation, and I'm not proud to say it, but I have used this weapon....a lot.

Dr. Steve put his mug of tea down, resituated himself in his chair and prepared to do something that most men might not care enough about marital success to risk sharing.  "You can't make him feel bad about telling you about his day.  You need to find a way to get through it."

The last thing that I needed to do to a man who was desperate for some kind of excitement was to belittle whatever little excitement he came across.  And I needed to keep him focused on problem solving and normal life events.  For awhile he was desperately seeking excitement and drove around with dead people that he found in a dumpster for about a week until he found a respectful way to dispose of them.

(Yes, I said dead people.  They were in boxes.  Cremated.   And he found them tossed in a dumpster at his storage facility.  The story is so priceless that I need to reserve it for another time.  Remind me and I'll get to it.  He has a penchant for silliness when it comes to traveling with the deceased.)

It was at this point that Steve shared something with me that I will be sure to share with Allie when she gets much older, because it's a precious glimpse into man thinking.  "You need to listen and if you start feeling anxious because the story is getting a bit too long, you need to drift.  But don't make it obvious that you're drifting.  Start thinking about other things, like what you need to do later, and every once in awhile, come back and repeat what you just heard.  It's called mirroring. 'So, they put you on hold and disconnected you?  You must've been pissed!"  If you need to, just drift again for a little bit and come back."

Ingenious!!!  And, as Steve explained to me, it's far kinder than making Justin feel like the most important part of his day is something that I find to be incredibly mundane.  It's an option to offending him.

This is also something that men have been doing to women for eons and it's now been confirmed by one of them.  Not only confirmed, but also detailed.  Part of me felt like I had been given a glimpse into one of the Cave Churches of Manliness.  But the other part of me feels like I deserve it.  I'm playing in a small part of their playground (reserved for women, of course), so I should be able to at least see their toys right?  Right??!!

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Identifying With Dads

Let me begin by wishing all of you wonderful Dads out there a very happy belated Father's Day.  I hope you all enjoyed the day in whatever way you wanted to.  It was your day, so you should get to pick the way.  I saw a lot of dads at the Bergen County Zoo this weekend, doing the dad thing.  However, if peace and quiet was the way to go, I hope you got it!

Excitement at the zoo.....whatever could they be looking at????

I've been thinking about our (Justin's and mine) parenting roles since Mother's Day and how the ways  we chose to celebrate Mother's and Father's Day was in line with that.  On Mother's Day I just wanted to be with Allie.  All day, all about her.  On Father's Day Justin wanted to take a nap.  He took two.  He wanted to spend time with Allie, but since he spends all day with her every day, a nap was a luxury. 

When I had to pick a theme for this blog earlier this year, I thought 'what is a strong factor in MY momness?'  What came to me was that I have a very different role than I had expected I would as a mother.  I always said that I was going to wait to have kids until I could raise them myself for the most part.  If I was going to have to work, my job was going to interfere as little as possible.

I hear the gods of fate snickering already.  Buncha wiseasses!

Needless to say, I didn't get exactly what I had planned.  Most of us don't, so I'm working on accepting that.  My little business has been a brat since Allie was born.  It was like a first-born child, determined to get my attention in any way it could, trying to divert my focus from Aliie.  I am still working on it, but I'm becoming a better business parent.  It gets proper attention and when it acts out, I take disciplinary action.  

Not long ago, the parallels between my life and that of the traditional dad started to reveal themselves to me.  In the morning, I wake up and immediately begin getting ready for work.  Justin is left to change Allie, find her breakfast, and get her started on her day.  In the afternoon, I'm calling in to report when I think I'll be done with work and Justin is filling me in on what he and Allie have been doing all day.  At night, I make getting her ready for bed my job so I can have that time alone with her.  Justin is sitting in another room decompressing after playing with a 2 year old all day.

Neither of us thought that things would work out this way, but considering that we have no choice in the matter, we've accepted the roles and hope that one day they will reverse.  In the meantime I try to focus on all of the benefits of Allie spending so much time with her father.  I know first hand how the father daughter relationship determines so much of how a girl will handle the rest of her relationships in life....along with the type of man she will be drawn to.

Side note....if there are any men reading this who have little girls, I don't want to put pressure on you with that last little ditty.  Try to view it as both a compliment and a future reflection of your Dad Skills.  It is no joke that you will play a  huge part in who your daughter chooses as a mate.  It's SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN.  People have devoted their lives to proving this.  

So, on behalf of daughters (and their potential mates later) I implore you to keep this in mind when you make decisions about how you live your family life.  You are what will be familiar.  Do you want your daughter dating someone like you?  Are your ethics and morals good enough for your little princess?  Do you want someone treating your daughter like you treat her mother?  I am rooting for you....let it be a YES!  And those things you don't want your daughter subjected to are maybe something you can work on.  If you change, her choice of mate will change too!  

Back to my original point.....

There are many days when I walk through the door and think, 'So this is what a lot of working dads with SAHM wives feel like.'   I feel like I'm walking into a show already in progress.  Life has been going on here with the rest of my family and I'm just joining in.  Actually, it seems like I have two separate movies going on and I jump from one to the other.  Neither one totally "defines" me and they are extremely different.

I have a newfound respect for Dads.  I get it.  Well, I don't totally understand because, let's face it, I'm a girl so I was raised on the flip side of the traditional parent roles.  Plus I'm overly sensitive sometimes, wear a bra and girly underwear, and get a little bitchy every 28 days.  Those things also tend to set us apart.

I think we all should try things out on the other side.  I'm not going to preach about how tough it is to be a mother.  After all this post is about dads.  But I know that if fate hadn't forced me to be a mom who works full time while my husband is a full time parent, I wouldn't know what it was like to be on this end of things.

I feel honored to have this Traditional Dad Insight.  Hats off to all of the men who do it and make it look so appealing that women have been trying to do what you do for half a century.  It's not as easy as I always thought it would be.

Personally, I'd prefer to be June Cleaver staying at home with Wally and the Beav.  I'll let Ward be the dad, thank you very much.

Just in case you were wondering, this is what was exciting at the zoo.....there were 30 prairie dogs running around and I think these three were in charge.  That one on the left seems to give off a body guard vibe.  He looked like he was going to lunge at me and eat my nose off at any moment.  I'm sure he likes to rough up the paparazzi.

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Friday, June 14, 2013

Hello. My name is Vicki and I'm a Tractopotomus too!

In case you are wondering what a "tractopotomus" was, it's not a real word.  I made it up.  Here is where it came from:

A few months ago Rex Reed wrote a movie review for the New York Times in which he referred to Melissa McCarthy as a "hippo", "tractor-sized" and "obese". In case you aren't sure who she is, she stars on the tv show Mike and Molly, she was in the movie Identity Theif earlier this year, and this month she will be in The Heat with Sandra Bullock.  If the name still doesn't ring a bell, here's a little photo for you
Melissa has daughters, so the results of how she responded to this whole experience with Mr. Imafuckingmoron Reed was going to be immense! (no pun intended...seriously)  It could affect her reputation, her career and, most importantly, her daughters' self images.

Here was her response to USA Today yesterday:

She said her initial reaction was that of shock at the notion that a publication would even run a review with such mean-spirited remarks. But she added that she has bigger, more meaningful things in her life to focus on.
"I just thought, that's someone who's in a really bad spot, and I am in such a happy spot. I laugh my head off every day with my husband and my kids who are mooning me and singing me songs."
She concedes that the criticism "may have crushed me," at a younger age. Plus, as the mother of two daughters, she sees articles like that as damaging to young women. The article adds "to all those younger girls, that are not in a place in their life where they can say, 'That doesn't reflect on me.' That makes it more true. ... It means you don't actually look good enough."

I love that she waited four months to respond to that idiot.  She wasn't giving him the power of an immediate reaction.  However, I would love to know how she handled the effects of the article at home.  You can be sure that someone, somewhere mentioned these slanderous comments to one of her girls.  If I heard someone say things like that about my mother I would run home and ask her why people would say such awful things.

I wonder if Rex Douchebag Reed thought about that.  Did he at any point think about the two girls who would hear this about their mother?  How about the potential damage he was doing to millions of girls and women who already suffer with body image problems? He must have! And he still said it.  That's just mean spirited and evil. 

Here's another photo I would like you to look at: 
NY Post
That's Ireland Baldwin, 17 year old daughter of Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin.  She's a model and, apparently, some people feel that she's too tall, fat and unattractive to be a model.  Her extremely mature response to this, via Twitter, was:

“I understand that I am not a size .008.  What I don’t fully understand, is what is the good in commenting on a photo of a 17 year old girl and calling her fat, ugly, etc? Is that helping you in some way? I’m confused,” she wrote.

Can you imagine the conversations she had with her mother after reading such negativity?  Can you imagine how much of Ireland's time was spent wondering if any of the statements were true?  

From the time I was 11, I worried about my weight.  Now, children as young as five years old are concerned with dieting.  FIVE!  At five I was concerned about my brother not messing with my Barbies, when I could finally have a kitten, and why no one would mention that red frosting tasted hellacious before letting me eat it? 

Thirty years later, I'm still stressing about my weight.  At forty I said that I wasn't going to waste another year of my life worrying about what other people thought of me.  I wanted to accept myself for how I looked, rather than compare myself to women on tv, in movies, in magazines, on billboards, etc.  Wanna know how that's working out for me so far?  So far I'm not skipping around singing "winner, winner chicken dinner, look at me so much thinner!"

I look at Allie, so sweet and innocent, and just shudder about the thought that in the near future someone will say to her that she's fat or ugly, and tears and heartache will follow.  I hope that she will believe me when I tell her that what they say isn't true.  I wonder if she will understand all of the reasons why people might say such hateful things, like jealousy or insecurity.  

But if she's anything like her mother, she will still doubt and wonder.  I can STILL vividly recall the sting from a high school boyfriend saying my legs were too fat for the shorts I was wearing.  And I haven't worn another pair of shorts like that since.  That's how powerful words can be.

People are mean, as proven by Rex Womenprobablyalwayshatedhim Reed and Ireland Baldwin's critics.  What they have to benefit by saying these things is beyond me.  Do they feel better about themselves in some way?  Do they think sharing their opinion is so valuable that the feelings of others should be sacrificed in the process?  

In regards to writers, I think it's an abuse of their status to make people feel poorly about themselves with their widespread words.  Twitter reaches a huge number of people as well, even if you are just a regular Joe.  You're abusing your Tweeting powers by being hurtful.  Use your powers for good, people, not evil!!!

The truth is.... that Melissa McCarthy is a bit overweight according to those who promote healthy standards.  But she's fabulous as a comedienne, actress, and human being.  I don't even see her body any more.  I see that she can make me laugh, which makes me feel better, so therefore I love her!

The truth is.... that Ireland Baldwin is not a size 0.  But I would've given anything to look like that at 17, 27, 37, and you can be sure I will still be wishing it at 47 and beyond.  She looks amazing.  I hope that she can find a way to continue to rise above the hurtful things that jealous people are saying.

The truth is.... that a few days ago, I was looking at Allie and her little belly was sticking out and I thought, "OMG, look at how cute that little belly is!  It's better to have that now instead of when she grows up."  Shame on me.  I was pissed that I even had the second half of that thought.

Hopefully, by the time she grows up, what's considered attractive will be something other than having next-to-zero body fat.  Dear Lord, may we please revert to the time of Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell???  Of course, considering that both of Allie's  grandmothers were very thin people, she'll probably be thin too, and bitchy people will be yelling at her to have a sandwich., let me change that to Dear Lord, may my daughter never suffer from a poor body image and know that she is forever beautiful.  From the gospel according to Vicki.  Amen.

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cheater, Cheater Feedback

Some very interesting responses have come in since Monday's blog post!  I noticed that at first that there was nothing but crickets and a few tumbleweeds rolling around.  No one seemed to want to touch that subject with a ten foot pole, even if their neighbor was holding said pole.

Then the responses started trickling in.  What I love the most about getting feedback is that it makes me think.  Im open to hearing other people's views and there have been times when those people have changed my viewpoint a bit as well.  And other times I haven't changed my perspective at all but it gave me information about the other person that helped me understand them better.  

The first response was from my cousin, Liesl.  She picked up on something pretty obvious that I totally missed.  "I have to mention that the author has now publicly, at least twice, told the listeners that her husband is an utter and total loser who cheated when she struggled to protect an unborn child.  Does that actually count as leaving it alone?"

Good point.  While Wendy Williams said that she didnt bring it up while arguing, she kind of overlooked the fact that every time she mentions her husband's cheating its like scratching a scab off an open wound trying to heal.  I wondered what her husband was thinking while he sat in the Green Room listening to the interview.  For a moment I felt kind of bad for him.  If she said she was going to forgive and move on, she should do just that and let it die.

But then the big mouth, spiteful part of me started screaming (in my head, of course), "Screw him!  It's a small price to pay for being a cheating bastard.  He should be glad she forgave him and only mentions it when it's brought up in interviews!  Sandwich board!  Sandwich board!!!!!"

But the facts, her words, are that she was going to leave it alone.  Excellent point.  (Your parents always said you would've been a great lawyer, Li.)

Later I received a different kind of message from someone who would like to remain anonymous.  I thought he had some really good insight and he presented cheating from the another standpoint.  It was different from the  "Amen, sister!" and "My asshole husband cheated!" responses.  Im going to include the entire message because I think it would be unfair to edit it, as the parts I would take out are character defining.  

"Wow, that was very deep!!  And  not at all what I expected when I clicked on the link!!  

Heres a different perspective for what its worth... I was on the cheater side of the fence.  And yes, to all of you that just said to themselves "I bet its a guy!!", you are correct.  

Although I am almost proud to say, almost... I never slept with anyone besides my wife while we were together.  Not that its any better but we only kissed.  Still wrong I know. I also wished it never happened for everyone involved.  I would do anything to take that back.  

However I was done with the relationship.  I tried to make it work for as long and as hard as I could.  I cant say I was driven to it, that would be wrong, a cop out, but I was pushed to my limits.  

So what I would say to anyone that finds themselves in this situation is what part are you playing in it??  Unless your partner is just a cheating bastard there must be a reason behind them looking for whatever it is they are looking for with someone else.

I was also the target of the public humiliation revenge.  This campaign also included a lot of ficton to say the least.  I can honestly say this campaign didn't benefit anyone, kids included.  Those who really knew me, knew how much I loved my wife and children and that I would do and did anything for them.  Those who didnt really know me can talk all they want.  A friend recently told me "What people have to say about you is none of your business". You have to appreciate the wisdom.

As I said, I would do anything to take back having cheated, but not the end of the marriage.  As it turns out it was the best decision I ever made.  I had a great relationship with the "other" woman.  She taught me how to be myself again' how to love and how it felt to be loved, how to feel appreciated, how to feel like you matter.  I couldnt be happier that I made the decision to get out of a bad relationship and try again.  I didnt make that decision based on a new relationship.  However she gave me the self confidence to believe I did deserve better.  For that I will always be eternally grateful."

There are a few things that I got out of this:

1- So many of us are afraid to end a relationship when we are miserable, especially when children are involved.  I can understand that.  Justin and I have many times said, "Can you imagine not being able to spend time with Allie whenever you want?  Or to see her drive away for a few days to be with someone else?"  It's heartwrenching.  So, I get it.  

However, as a child of divorce, I can tell you that you arent doing your kids any favors by staying in the marriage.  Youre setting the example of what they think a normal marriage is and it's not good.  And if you add cheating, you screw yourself the most (pun totally intended!)  You will be known as a cheater, regardless of how shitty the other person was.  Guaranteed.

2- He's right. If your spouse is looking elsewhere, they arent happy.  Dump your ego at the door and check yourself.  What you think is perfectly normal behavior may be making them miserable. Why dont you try asking "What am I doing that's making you such an unhappy sonofabeyotch?"   No one is ever innocent in divorce because no one is perfect.  

3- I completely agree that public humiliation should not be based on lies.  To refer to my annoying sandwich board once again, "My husband is a cheating whore and home wrecker" is a statement based on facts.  "My husband is a cheating whore who never loved me and abused our children" could be based on perspective....unless he told you he never loved you and then smacked your kids on the way out.  Then, fact.  

But as he said above, it doesn't help anyone, especially the kids.  I dated someone once whose wife repeatedly told his kids that their father didn't really care about them and that's why he didnt see them every Wednesday.  She failed to mention that he now worked overtime to pay child support and he did ask if he could stop by on his way home from work to see them, but she had said no....because she was a bitch.

So, in response, I have decided to ammend my Sandwich Board, Big Ass Bell Plan.  I can't mail his car back to him part by part because we traded it it.  And he has REALLY light eyebrows, so that's not accomplishing much by shaving them off.  I will abandon the plan altogether and have faith that I will never need one.  After all, I was able to let go of my other plans (The When Aliens Invade Plan and The We've Been Invaded By Another Country Plan) so this will have to go as well.

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Monday, June 10, 2013

Cheater, Cheater, Revenge Is Sweeter

Howard Stern was interviewing Wendy Williams this morning and they were talking about her new book.  One of the topics she discusses is infidelity.  Her husband cheated on her when she was pregnant twelve years ago and she stayed with him.

"When you fight do you bring it up?  That he cheated," Howard asked.

She answered him very matter-of-factly. "No.  If you stay, you leave it alone."  It was like a response and advice all in one.

I remember the last time that she was on his show and they discussed this situation then as well.  I really wasn't sure what I thought about it.  She had been pregnant and was not allowed to have sex.  She was on bed rest the entire time since she had previously suffered two miscarriages, both at five months.  On her part, there was a lot of forgiveness, empathy, and selflessness.  On his part, he was a pathetically horney douche bag.  Just my personal opinon on that one.

This got me thinking.  I personally have developed a "public humiliation" stance on repsonding to cheating.  Not everyone feels this way.  I respect people who are able to work though it, alone or as a couple, and come out on the other end feeling like everything is going to be fine, regardless of the end result.   Private dealings are also impressive.  Couples who have survived infidelity and never let anyone know about it are just astonishing to me.


Because if my husband cheated on me, you and the rest of the world would know about it.  I would be in front of my house, pacing back and forth while wearing a "(My husband's full name), your neighbor, is a cheating whore and family wrecker" sandwich board, clanging some big ass bell to make sure I got everyone's attention.  This would be happening during high traffic hours, by the way.  I'd be napping at noon to get my energy up for the travellers that start filtering in around 5pm.

I would want the world to know that I had been scorned.  If he couldnt feel the pain of my humiliation, he would certainly feel his own kind of humiliation.  I have no idea why I feel this way.  Maybe it's immaturity on my part.   Or it could be that I love him so much and would be devastated to the point of displaying ridiculous behavior at a much higher level than my normal insane behavior.

To address the immaturity part, this is a much more scaled down version of my original plan of  retaliation.  My previous version involved acts such as dismantling his beloved car and mailing it back to him piece by piece....title last, and shaving his eyebrows off while he slept.  So, I suppose I am growing up.

Revenge aside, I couldnt stop thinking about how people are able to forgive and continue on with a happy marriage.  I heard what Wendy said about leaving it in the past, but I'm quite sure that during any arguement, the first thing out of my mouth for the rest of our lives would be "You fucking cheated on me when I trusted you, you bastard!  I'm right and you're wrong.  FOREVER!!!"  How do people stifle that?  How do they get past it?  Even if I wanted do, I don't know if my brain would let me.

Then I thought about the additional factor in the situation.  A child.  Maybe she forgave him because she wanted to finally have that family more than she wanted to punish him.  Her dream was stronger than her ego.  Her desire to give her child a home with two parents allowed her to forgive him (but you can bet your bippy she doesn't forget about his moment of douchbagism).  Apparently, he never strayed again.

There is someone very close to me who was equally selfless.  Unfortunately, her husband was too stupid to see how lucky he was to have someone who was willing to pardon him for the sake of their family.  She wanted her children to have a full time father and he took advantage of her forgiving nature.

She realized he wasn't going to "smarten up" when he decided to move out while she took her daughter college hunting in another state (so brave of him, right?)  Years later, he finally got a clue after he found himself on the other side of the cheating field.  He spent his last years mourning the life he could have had if he had appreciated his first wife and stopped screwing around.  Too little, too late.

I just don't know if I'm strong enough to be like either of those women.  I also don't think I have enough verbal restraint to make it happen.  After thinking about both examples, I realize that maybe I would need to be a bit more reserved and introspective for Allie's sake if I was in their positions.  I have no idea what that would entail.  I need to put a lot of thought into this.

Just maybe the sandwich board show in the neighborhood might not be what's best for Allie.  Can you imagine...."Aren't you the little girl whose mom had a revenge parade down the road before she divorced your dad?"

Oy.  I'd be paying for that during her teenage years for sure.  "Because of you, they made ME stand in traffic holding the sign to advertise our fund raiser!  Some lady stopped to hand me a bell!  I hate you!" Door slam.  Music blaring.  

While I'm revamping this plan that I PRAY I never have to put into action, I would like to leave you with some people who share my current thought process.  I present to you a collection of vengeful acts titled The Most Satisfying Examples of People Who Got Revenge on a Cheating Ex on a site fittingly called

Enjoy!  (And be glad none of those people are you!)

Actual For Sale sign shown in photo on the Happy Place link above

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Saturday, June 8, 2013

How Do You Stop An Excessiveschoolbusstopitis Outbreak??

There is a disease that I thought was indigenous to my area, but I recently discovered that it is speedily infecting other nearby towns and it actually may not have originated here.  It's called Excessiveschoolbusstopitis.


That's me about once a day during my travels.  It's a mixture of awe and frustration and feeling trapped.  "How did I end up behind this bus?  Why did I take this road?  How long is this going to go on?  Why, sweet Jesus, WHY!?"

Now, I realize that I don't have school age children yet, so my opinion is a little biased.  However, I think I'm pretty good at identifying when people have taken a good thing too far.  Let me provide you with a little example of Excessiveschoolbusstopitis that's gone untreated.

On an average day I often find myself behind a bus, which is usually travelling at a nice speed of 45 mph on a county road.  I feel no stress because the bus is doing the speed limit and the driver is handling the twists and turns with ace precision.  Things are good.

Suddenly we slow down, the flashing lights go on, the bus crawls to a stop, the stop sign pops out next to the driver and we are at a school bus stop.  "Oh.  A stop.  Look how cute!  The mom is waiting at the end of the driveway for her!  And now they are hugging as her mom takes her backpack and they start up the driveway.  I can't wait until Allie is that age.  I want to be waiting for her when the bus stops."

All the world is lovely and blissful.  The stop sign flattens against the bus, the lights stop flashing and we're off.....for about 10 seconds.

Lights, sign, stop, parent waiting at the end of the driveway.  "Wow, there are a lot of parents meeting their kids when they get off the bus.  It must be nice to not have to work so you can be home.  What's taking this kid so long?  The bus isn't THAT long, buddy.  You're run everywhere, so giddy up."

And for the record, I do say all of these things out loud and, yes, sometimes my window is open.  Fortunately, they almost never hear me.  Notice I said almost never.  I'm not proud of those other moments.

The boy is off the bus and his dad is talking to the driver, laughing.  "Guess what?  Being late isn't funny, Daddy-O, so let's get cracking here.  There are three cars behind me in case you hadn't noticed.  Save your funny shit for the morning stop."  I shoot them an annoyed look as we move forward and then.....

Lights, sign, stop, caregiver waiting. "Wha...???  We JUST stopped!  Like, fifty feet back!"  I'm flabbergasted every time.  The kid runs off the bus, past the caregiver and up the driveway.  My blood pressure is rising, but we are moving again, so I start to feel calm.  Until....

Lights, sign, stop, mom and little brother waiting.  "OH MY GAWD!  (Arms thrown up in exasperation) Are you fucking kidding me??  Really??  We JUST STOPPED!  We stopped back there. On the other side of the mailbox.  Like twenty feet ago!  Are you telling me your kid couldn't get off back there and hike his little ass across the twenty feet of lawn to YOUR driveway??  Better yet, why don't you two families get together and agree to meet at the freaking mailbox way back yonder?!!"

This continues forEVER.  Okay, not forever, but it feels like it.  They should have a "school bus"  button on every GPS so you can hit it when you get stuck behind one.  Your GPS will saucily say "Recalculating" and add an additional fifteen minutes to your arrival time.  Otherwise, you've got to watch your GPS adding minutes slowly and each time it goes up, you get more and more freaked out.

Well, at least I do.  I admire those of you who are completely unfazed by this type of situation.

To be fair, I should add at this point that I used to have a road rage problem.  (I'm sure you're shocked about this information, right?) Key word there is HAD.  I got better.

When I commuted from here to my previous job which was an hour away, I wanted to kill people when I got to my destination.  In the morning, they sent me to the shredder to take my frustrations out there.  In the evening, well....let's just say it's a wonder that my husband doesn't drink heavily.

Justin will tell you about my road rage issues (he loves to rat me out) AND he will also confirm that I have improved immensely (because he's not stupid and knows he should make me sound good or I'll shun him) AND he's proud of how far I've come since the police pulled me over to issue warnings (because he's good at being a suck up).

It's been six years and I'm nearly recovered.  I'm mostly a happy driver now.  I just don't want you thinking I'm a complete maniac behind the wheel.

Back to my original subject.

Here's my thing....when I was a wee lass, we used to walk down to the bottom of the hill to wait for the bus.  Kids from a four house radius met there.  I'm sure the parents who lived within view of the bus stop probably kept an eye out for us as well.  None of us were kidnapped.  We were a group.  And we watched out for each other.  We gave a shit about each other and had a smidgen of street smarts to be on the look out for anything suspicious.  Plus, it was fun!

What in the hell happened since then?  Which parent was the first to say, "I want the bus to stop right at the bottom of my driveway."  Better yet, who was the trend setter that saw it and got all worked up about it and said, "If the bus is going to stop at THEIR driveway then I want it to stop at mine!  What makes their kid so damn special?"

You know that's where it all began.  Right there with that second call to the school.  Bitch.

It makes me sad that Allie will probably never get that feeling of hanging out at the bus stop with her peers, giggling with her little friends and complaining about boys and hearing the older kids say curse words for the first time.  The bus stop was training for what later would be water cooler talk when life was no longer fun, games and book lernin' from 9 to 5.  The training appears to be over now.

It's the little things like this bus stop situation that seem so wrong.  The kids lose that little independent experience and become lazy.  They think that they should get special treatment.  Wait until they get jobs in the city and find out that the subway doesn't stop at their office door.  Boy, will they be pissed!

And people like me shouldn't have to get fired up while driving and end up behind schedule due to skatey-eight gazillion stops.  It's just so unnecessary.  Bring back the group school bus stop, I say!

All of this is a symptom of Excessiveschoolbusstopitis.  I'm actively searching for a vaccine.

I probably should be looking for a Valium instead.

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Friday, June 7, 2013

Wrapping Up The Anxiety Topic

I'm sorry for the delay in posting this final segment.  I appreciate how many of you have reached out to me while reading the first two parts.  I wish I had spoken out two and a half years ago!  Little did I know that so many people were out there, willing to share and sympathize.  

If only I knew then what I knew now.   How many times do we all find ourselves saying that?

So, I left off wondering how I was going to find help.  Clearly there wasn't any organization or doctor that was going to say, "Ah, yes!  This is very common.  We see it all of the time!  Read this book, take this medication, talk to this therapist and you will be back to normal in no time.  We have all of the answers!"  

Nope.  Nuttin.

One of my saving graces was a strange communication chain I had.  I had a relative that suffered with postpartum issues as well and from what I could tell, I was following the exact path she was on.  

We will call her in My(a) Relative. Corny I know, but I over-thought finding a witty name for her and it's the best I could come up with.  Suddenly I think I'm someone's Italian grandmother.  

Unfortunately  I hadn't spoken to Maya  in years, so I didn't feel like I could just call.  I mean, what do you say?  "Well, hi there!!  Remember me from six years ago?!   I hear through the grapevine that  you're out of your mind and thinking freaky crap too.  What are the chances, huh?  So, what kind of scary, weird shit do you worry about?  What are YOU doing about it?"  If I was her I would think that my family is talking about what a nut job I am behind my back, amongst themselves and whoever else might listen.  

The truth is that the only people who knew were my mom and one of our mutual relatives.  We will call that person Aunt Herah.  As in Her (ah) Relative.  Yes, the Italian grandmother naming cycle continues.

My mom mentioned my situation to Aunt Herah, who said, "Guess what....Maya went thru that too!"  Suddenly, I felt like there was someone out there.  Life on another "planet"!  I literally felt like I found the only other person in the world who spoke my language.

This was my ONLY personal connection to information and help.  The chain gets a little confusing here, but here is how every question that I had was answered: I would ask my mom, who would call Aunt Herah, who would ask Maya, who would report back to Aunt Herah, who would call my mom, who would call me.  

Whew. It was like playing that game Telephone that we all played as kids.  The difference was that I was desperate so the information was received exactly as it was given.

I'd listen to the information Maya shared, review it with my mom, analyze the shit out of it, hang up and cry.  I was either relieved that I wasn't the only one thinking this craziness, or I had gained insight and now knew how I could proceed.  Regardless of what it was, I was not alone and that in itself was huge.

The only thing missing was the feeling of hopefulness.  I needed a sign.

One afternoon when Allie was about 2 months old, we were standing in my front yard enjoying the sun.  I was feeling really anxious and couldn't seem to "get good air".  Anyone who suffers from anxiety or panic attacks will tell you that sometimes they feel like they can't get a good, deep breath of air no matter how hard they try.   I call that not being able to "get good air".   Those big deep breaths that you take when people tell you to calm down don't exist.  It's as if you're laying down with a brick on your chest.

Anyway, my neighbor, who I've always respected and admired, drove by.  She stopped and rolled her window down.  She had been the first friend to visit me when Allie was born so she had seen the happy, elated person I had been during that first week.   I guess I didn't look the same.

"Hey, neighbor!  How are ya doing?" she called out.

"Okay!"  I tried to fake it with a smile and a bouncy nod.

"You know, it's gonna get better!  Somewhere like around eight or twelve weeks, you'll feel more normal.  Trust me."

I remember thinking, 'Where did that come from?'  It was as if God knew I needed something, so in the immortal words of Bill Engvall, He said

Somehow she had picked up right away that I wasn't really okay.  She kind of knew what I was going through.  I can still see her smiling at me from behind the wheel.   I can hear her yelling over that I was going to be fine.   She had two kids and she was doing great, so she had to know!  That was my first glimmer of hope.

Sign, check!

I started seeing a doctor who put me back on medication and I have a trusty, ole therapist who was trying to help me control my wacky thoughts in the process.  To this day its still difficult to stop my mind from going off on a horrible tangent, but at least now I can stop it early instead of waiting until I'm a total mess.  

There is no perfect,  Hollywood movie ending to this little story.  That's part of the reason why it has taken me so long to finish this.  I've been searching for something that will leave you saying, "Well, that was a feel-good, happy story!"  Here's the best I can offer:

It's two and a half years later and I feel like I'm 80% back to being me, which is a lot better than it sounds.  I'm less claustrophobic and can hold my husband's hand without feeling weirdly restrained.  I don't have to keep Allie in arms reach at night while we sleep.  No more hysterical screaming in my car.  And I don't look like Janet Leigh in Psycho while I'm showering anymore.

I no longer let my mind torture me about my daughter.  That dark and evil thing is almost gone.  On rare occasions, I'll hear that he's at my brain's door.  When I look thru that peep hole, I see him standing there holding a sign about something new for me to get totally freaked out about.  When it happens, it pisses me off.  So, I fight it.

My advice to anyone going through this, or something similar, is this:
  • Reach out to everyone and anyone.  If your family and friends can't help, look for strangers who might have even the tiniest of potential to help.  
  • Don't be afraid of what people will think of you because in the grand scheme of things, what people think isn't going to make you happy or unhappy in life.  What you DO will accomplish that.  
  • Be prepared to be surprised by how many other people are keeping something similar to themselves, only to reveal it to you when you open yourself to them.  
  • Call a doctor and tell them you need help.  They will try.
  • Don't call Tom Cruise.  He will tell you that you're crazy.  This coming from a man who jumps on couches because he's in love on national television.  Hello, Pot!  This is The Kettle.  You're black.
And if none of that helps, I'm right here.  I understand.  I can't fix you or save you, but maybe I can help you find a direction to go in.  That's all I was ever looking for.  The truth is that YOU will save you.  Sometimes you just need someone to say that you CAN and WILL do it.  

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Sunday, June 2, 2013

That Bigger Topic I Mentioned

When I was in the hospital, there were signs EVERYWHERE for Postpartum Depression.  One was on the wall across from my door.  I remember standing in the door, holding Allie, looking at the sign and thinking, 'Those poor people.  How could someone be depressed during such a happy time?'

I don't know about you, but when I thought of those postpartum problems I thought of three things; Brooke Shields, Tom Cruise saying she was weak, and new mothers being a threat to their babies lives.  The Andrea Yates story made it all very taboo.  If you had postpartum issues, you had the potential to be a murderer.  That was the most that I knew.   And I had only heard of Postpartum Depression.  I didn't know that there was other Postpartum crap that could happen to you.

Justin had installed a TV in Allie's room so I could watch TV when I fed her.  Our first week home was the week that the CBS TV show The Doctors decided to run an entire series on drug addicted babies.  I never saw one single episode, but the commercials completely slayed me.  I would lunge for the remote to turn the channel within a second of the commercial starting.

(NOTE:  I provided a link to the show above, however, I suggest that you prepare yourself before starting the video when you get there if you click.  It's can be very disturbing.  However, the show will help you see the topic in a clear light.)

I'm not saying that those commercials caused my problem, but they definitely lit a spark.  From that moment on, if I was alone in my head, I was bugging out. I could be holding Allie but if she was sleeping, I considered myself alone.

Here's the catch.  I wasn't my head.  I remember sitting at my Mom's kitchen table, crying, desperate, and terrified.  I was holding her hand, wishing that what was going on inside me could be explained to her by just holding onto her.  "I don't know where this is coming from.  It's like someone is in my head telling me horrible stories.  When I'm alone in the shower or driving my car, it just starts.  And it's awful.  It's so DARK.  It's like.....evil.  Just so dark."

I didn't understand what was causing these thoughts that were obsessively running through my brain.  To be honest, I was a little worried that maybe I was becoming schizophrenic.  These thoughts were not ME.  They were not who I am.  They represented someone who was a bad person.

No, I did not once think about hurting my daughter or killing her or plotting her demise.  I'm so grateful for that.   I feel that I was really lucky in that respect.

I had these ideas pop up in my head:  "Someone is going to climb up and kidnap her while you sleep." "Someone is going to break in, kill everyone but the baby and then steal her."  "Someone is going to kill her in a gruesome way and you wont be able to help her."  "You're a klutz and you will drop her or fall down and hurt her permanently." "If you get out of the car you better take her with you, even if you are pumping gas because someone will slam the door and she'll be trapped." "You will never see her ever again and always wonder where she is."

Those are just the thoughts that occurred most frequently.  There were plenty of other horror stories.  And once the thought was dropped in my brain, the situation started playing out.  I would imagine how it was going to happen and I couldn't stop it.  It was like someone turned on a horror movie and forced me to watch it no matter how hard I tried to close my eyes or think of something else.

I get choked up just thinking about it.  The emotional pain was horrible.  I would be in the shower in hysterics, or in my car, screaming with the radio turned up and banging on the steering wheel.  Make it stop, was my mantra.

I didn't want to be left alone at all.  If I could interact with Justin, Allie or my mom, I would get a break from the chaos.

Fortunately, I am blessed with a husband who loves to fix things.  Cars, ice makers, toilets, people, the list goes on.  He's also sensitive and blessedly adoring.  I knew he would help me through it.  After talking to my mom, and then getting some advice from his mom (who is a therapist), he called my doctor and got me on the path to getting better.

I was suffering from Postpartum Anxiety.

He took me to therapy and waited patiently until I agreed to stop trying to breastfeed and go back on medication.  In the meantime, I searched for other people who were going through this.  Sisters in this disorder.

Where were those people who were on the signs on the wall?  The major postpartum organizations did nothing to connect me with someone nearby.  I begged for responses to email and got nothing.  There were no therapists who specialized in postpartum disorders according to my fancy healthcare company. There were no groups nearby.  Nothing.

I was desperate for someone to talk to.  Even if they didn't have an answer, I knew I could find some sort of peace talking with someone who understood what I was going through.  My friends and family would look at me sympathetically and offer support, but everyone was clueless as to what to do.  If I desperately couldn't find answers, I couldn't expect them to find them either.

And I was embarrassed.  Happy, cheerful Vicki suffering from stupid postpartum crap?  I was faking normalcy with almost everyone.

I have this awesome friend who I meet with for coffee or lunch as often as we can coordinate it.  She's fun, hilarious and smart and I always enjoy spending time with her.  I also  looked forward to getting together with her because she didn't have kids and if we didn't get into "baby talk" then she was able to keep me distracted from my misery.  When we would say goodbye, I would hug her so hard because I was so grateful for the hour or so of relief from my brain.

There were two questions that taunted me for the remainder of the time:  Was this going to stop and where in the hell was HELP?

(continued in next post )

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory