tHe haPPy grOUch

tHe haPPy grOUch

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Warning: This blog is a giant cesspool of self pity. If you don't want to wallow in it with me, please hit your browser's back button.
Then again, it's also blog-brainstorming, perhaps. 
Or maybe it's just venting. Yeah, maybe it's that.
Oh hell, let's face it. It's just wallowing.
Hey, at least I'm honest.

Anyway... to begin...
What was it I said in my last blog? That I was feeling a bit... "knocked down"?
Well, what I really meant by that was- I'm already down, and can't get up, because there's a ten ton cement block on top of me, being danced upon by a dozen overweight elephants.
That might be more along the lines of what I actually meant.

But.... where was I...
Oh yes, that's right. No job, no income, not going back to work at the bar until it reopens three weeks from now...
Oh, and my son needs braces. Has needed braces. His dad is going to have to come up with the first installment. And maybe the second. And who knows how much after that. I can't afford to contribute.
As if being broke and unemployed isn't enough of a self-esteem killer, not being able to pay for something your child truly needs is so, so, so, soooooo much worse.
And how about those lights? Well, they're still on. For now.

Hmmm, what else...
Oh yes, the rent, and the potential family conflict I mentioned...
What makes this even more precarious? ... discovering that said family member (who would normally do anything in their power to help you), is not necessarily in a financial position to just "let it ride" for a while.
That makes this whole thing a bit stickier. And by a bit, I mean a ton. Wait, ten tons.

Sigh.

Well-meaning people have made several suggestions...
-Find another place that is cheaper...
I have two big dogs, cats, no job/no provable income, and horrible credit (not to mention  money for first month's, lasts month's and security deposit). If I were a landlord, I wouldn't even rent to me.
-Take out a personal loan to keep afloat for now...
Please refer to above statement regarding horrible credit.
-Borrow money from friends or family...
Oh, come now. Everyone I know has a hard enough time paying for their own crap.
-Perhaps your husband can help you...
Well, he helps as much as he can, when he can afford to. 
-Perhaps your husband will come back home....
Well, that's not going to happen. Not here, anyway. It's complicated. That happens to be one of our "puzzle pieces" I find hard to put together that I mentioned in my last blog.
-Move in with friends or family...
Really? Me, Dawson, Logan, two big dogs, and four cats? Firstly, I have very few local family members, and even fewer friends. And let's face it, they'd need a mansion to make room for all of us. (Mother keeps saying- you could move in with me... That's just ludicrous.)
-Get a roomate...
I've toyed with this idea. Unfortunately, the floor plan here (even as large as this house is) doesn't lend itself to someone renting a room here. The only empty room is a small one, on the other end of the second floor, adjacent to Dawson's room. Unless I gave up my master, moved into that small room, and rented the master. But then again, I just can't stand the thought of a stranger living in my house with me and the kids....

Sigh.

I can't afford my kid's braces, or to pay my sister rent for this beautiful house, or to pay for my daughter's chiropractic visit for the pain associated with the fracture in her back, can't afford to travel to Bucksport every day and help renovate the bar with the rest of my coworkers, can't seem to get a job no mater how "well I interview", no money for Christmas. Dear god... Christmas... Oh, and then there's the failed relationship. And my willingness to go to great lengths to keep it intact despite the obstacles, judgement, and doubt. Hell, maybe I'm just afraid to be alone. And then there's the history of failed relationships in general. I am the poster child for them.
40 years old... No job, no education, no loving healthy relationship and nuclear family, no house, no 401k... 
No goals met or gains made. 

And then there are my children.
If there is any more substantial change in Dawson's life, I fear it will ruin him. He is so tender...
So many times already in life, I feel I have failed him. And so many other people have failed him as well... Ex-husbands, ex-wives, ex-boyfriends/girlfriends.. And me. He's been through so much already.
And Logan.. That has been the story of her life as well. There's a reason she has such a hard time warming up to people. She's learned it... Through the life we've had. Through my failed relationships. Through moving around and around. I taught her that. 
I love my children more than life itself. 
But I also know that that in itself doesn't make me a good parent. 

Sigh.

And through all of it, all of this, all of everything, through all the years... 
All I really have to turn to, is this blog. 
My best friend, my companion, my partner.

Perhaps I just answered the age-old question- Why do you blog, Crista?

And there you have it, my own personal pool of self-pity.
If you've read it till the end, then thanks for swimming with me.
Carry on.



Tuesday, October 29, 2013


I know, I haven't written in a while.
There hasn't been much to report lately. Well, I guess that's not necessarily true. There's always something to write about. There's just not always the time or opportunity. Or more accurately, the gumption.

I've been getting that knocked-down feeling a lot lately.
Thank you, life.

The job search continues to be fruitless. I've sent out dozens and dozens of resumes, had a couple handfuls of interviews, and received just as many "thank you, but..." letters.

And my bitterness about it all grows daily. I hate that I am in this position. I hate that I'm going back to working two jobs. Taking a second job that I'll probably be forced to take, because I can't get anything better. Probably won't pay very well. Probably will keep odd hours. Probably lose time at home with Dawson (and Logan, when she's around, that is). Probably be exhausted again. All this, and probably still broke.
And the thing is, it's mainly my own damn fault. I shouldn't have become comfortable relying on someone else.
But, I digress.

The bar isn't scheduled to reopen for almost another three weeks. Initially, the thought was to reopen next week. But there is so much to still be done, that it has been postponed.
So much wonderful progress being made there... The place is already unrecognizable.
I was holding onto that, though... It was really all I had, that one ounce left... telling myself- just a few more days, Crista, and you'll  be back to work at the bar... Then there will at least be a little money coming back in... Then maybe you can pay the cable, the phone, the car insurance, keep the lights on...
...The rent.
Which is another ugly monster in itself.
Some would say I am fortunate to be renting from family, who won't evict me for not being able to keep up. The other side to that coin, however, is that it has the potential to cause great conflict.
Sigh.

My husband and I continue to try and "work things out", with the "ultimate goal" in mind... becoming a family unit again. But there are so many variables to that. So many pieces to that puzzle. It is sometimes difficult to figure out how they will come together.

Logan is doing really well in college. She makes me proud.
She injured her back over the summer, and is still struggling with it. We are being referred out to Northeast Pain Management and for physical therapy. Its a compression fracture in her spine. It will heal on it's own supposedly, but it could take 6 months. She's impatient. :)
And she still hangs around with that no-good boy who doesn't recognize her worth. I wish she were stronger (stronger than me, stronger in general), and would just tell him to piss off. He doesn't deserve her. She doesn't realize that.
And she has some real issues with me saying those things. She would tell me to go take a long look in the mirror. She's angry.

I worry about Dawson. He is struggling academically. And emotionally, still. He still does not understand this entire situation... his step-dad is here a lot, yet we all still don't live together... (I think to myself... Trust me bud, I don't understand it half the time either)... He's really confused. And evidently I'm not offering the right explanations to ease that. He now has financial worries as well... He asked me just yesterday- Mom, what happens if we can't afford this house anymore? Where will we go? What will we do?
I just try to convince him that he has nothing to worry about, that I'll take care of it, that we'll be fine...

But I'm not sure I even know what "fine" is anymore.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


An epiphany while driving...


I've had three really tough lessons in letting go this year. First, when my husband left us in March. Then again when my dad died in June. And then in August, when my husband left us once again.

I should be good at letting go by now. But I'm not. No matter how many lessons I've been given.

What I have learned, however, is that it's definitely a process. And it does happen as time passes.

That's really the only thing that's lent me any comfort lately. I know that the letting go will happen.. Is happening... Not nearly fast enough, of course, but it's always in process.

It's painfully slow, and mostly unnoticeable.

But then suddenly one day you realize- hey, I don't hurt as much as I used to. That's when you recognize the process.
And you gain strength.
And you keep going on.
And keep letting go.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

I don't know what to say. 
So I'll just quote Warsan Shire for this entire blog, since she pretty much speaks for me.
Thank you, Sam, for introducing me to her.
If nothing else, it's a good read, regardless of its relevance. 
And if you're reading it for its relevance, to my life, or to yours, then drink in every word.
Enjoy.


"I’m not sad, but the boys who are looking for sad girls always find me. I’m not a girl anymore and I’m not sad anymore. You want me to be a tragic backdrop so that you can appear to be illuminated, so that people can say ‘Wow, isn’t he so terribly brave to love a girl who is so obviously sad?’ You think I’ll be the dark sky so you can be the star? I’ll swallow you whole."



"you are a horse running alone, and he tries to tame you
compares you to an impossible highway, to a burning house
says you are blinding him, that he could never leave you, 
forget you, want anything but you
you dizzy him, you are unbearable
every woman before or after you is doused in your name
you fill his mouth, his teeth ache with memory of taste
his body just a long shadow seeking yours
but you are always too intense, frightening in the way you want him,
unashamed and sacrificial

he tells you that no man can live up to the one who lives in your head
and you tried to change didn't you?
closed your mouth more, tried to be softer, prettier, less volatile, less awake
but even when sleeping you could feel him travelling away from you in his dreams
so what did you want to do love, split his head open?
you can't make homes out of human beings, someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave, then let him leave
you are terrifying and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love."



"two people who were once very close can
without blame
or grand betrayal
become strangers.
perhaps this is the saddest thing in the world"



"how far have you walked for men who've never held your feet in their laps?
how often have you bartered with bone, only to sell yourself short?
why do you find the unavailable so alluring?
where did it begin? what went wrong? and who made you feel so worthless?
if they wanted you, wouldn't they have chosen you?
all this time, you were begging for love silently, 
thinking they couldn't hear you, but they smelt it on you, 
you must have known that they could taste the desperate on your skin?
and what about the others that would do anything for you, 
why did you make them love you until you could not stand it?
how are you both of these women, both flighty and needful?
where did you learn this, to want what does not want you?"



"for the fifth time this month you say you’re going to leave him
he calls you a cunt over the phone
then walks the three miles to your house
and kisses your mouth until the word is just a place on your body.
i don’t know what brings broken people together
maybe damage seeks out damage
the way stains on a mattress halo into one another
the way stains on a mattress bleed into each other."



"i don't know when love became elusive
what i know, is that no one i know has it
my fathers arms around my mothers neck
fruit too ripe to eat, a door half way open
when your name is just a hand i can never hold
everything i have ever believed in, becomes magic.
i think of lovers as trees, growing to and
from one another searching for the same light,
my mothers laughter in a dark room,
a photograph greying under my touch,
this is all i know how to do, carry loss around until
i begin to resemble every bad memory,
every terrible fear,
every nightmare anyone has ever had.
i ask did you ever love me?
you say of course, of course so quickly
that you sound like someone else
i ask are you made of steel? are you made of iron?
you cry on the phone, my stomach hurts
i let you leave, i need someone who knows how to stay."

Friday, October 4, 2013

"And you tried to change,didn't you? Closed your mouth more. Tried to be softer, prettier, less volatile, less awake… You can’t make homes out of human beings. Someone should have already told you that. And if he wants to leave, then let him leave. You are terrifying, and strange, and beautiful. Something not everyone knows how to love."
Warsan Shire, For Women Who Are Difficult To Love

Lana Del Rey - Summertime Sadness

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

For once, this blog won't be entirely about my marriage.
Notice I did say "entirely". It will undoubtedly still have content relating to it.
But anyway...

I offered to become a foster today for a (unnamed) rescue. (Funny, this is also related to my marriage, in that- I wouldn't be able to pursue this if my husband lived here... anyway)... I filled out the required foster application. My landlord and veterinary references were checked.
Most people who know me, know that this place would make for a fabulous furry foster home.
However, because I am of a somewhat holistic minded nature, and only vaccinate for rabies (as required by state law), I am not eligible to foster.
And this is the requirement of most rescues out there.
Now, I understand their position. But it still gets under my skin.
I want to help those dogs who need foster care, but I'm not willing to compromise my principles to do so.
And so, no fostering for me. Boo.

The job search continues. And not very successfully.
I've interviewed for two jobs in which I thought I should have been a "shoe-in". To no avail.
My interview with the humane society went well, or so I thought. Just as I thought of the last two interviews though, so who knows... Unfortunately, however, the job at the humane society pays minimum wage. It figures, a job that I would absolutely love, pays so very little. I did send a follow-up email to my interview, reiterating my interest in the position (as I always do). I have decided that if I am offered the job, I will take it. I will have to figure out how to make ends meet, but I will love what I'm doing while figuring it out.
I also had a preliminary interview with my vet's office this week. They are hiring a full-time receptionist. There are a few concerns with this though... I don't know if I can handle 9 1/2 hour days. I don't know if Dawson can handle being alone after school every day- he is technically old enough, but I'm not sure that he's emotionally old enough. I don't know if I can handle working 45 hours a week, and Saturday nights at the bar on top of that; If the pay isn't great, I will have to. Then again, any office experience I have is from so many years ago, that I may not even get a second interview. We shall see.

Speaking of Dawson...
He hates me, I'm convinced.
Today he came home from school, and immediately wanted to go to his father's. And so he did. In fact, "I want to go to my dad's" has become a regular occurrence here. Last week and this week, especially.  Today is Wednesday, and would have been a scheduled day to go anyway, and so he went.
He's having a hard time processing his emotions right now. Puberty, and this whole thing with his step-father, seems to be an emotionally deadly combination for him. He is confused by his own feelings; he loves his step-dad, and is happy to see him when he is here, yet he is angry with him too. Dawson and I talk about this quite openly, and I reassure him that it is normal, that it is okay to carry more than one feeling at a time, even though it may seem confusing. I feel the same way. We have very open communication about it.
I have talked to my therapist (who was his therapist originally) about potentially getting him back in.
I don't know what else to do for him. Other than to keep doing what I'm doing; loving and supporting him as best I can.

Logan is busy. Work and college. So far the old useless boyfriend hasn't completely crept back into her life. He calls on occasion, just often enough to set her head spinning. I wish he would just go away. She is such a bright, beautiful girl, and deserves so much better. Hopefully she'll see that eventually.

Speaking of Logan...
I testified as a character witness for her father this week in his present divorce/child custody case. How absolutely bizarre. Many aren't familiar with our history... We aren't your every day ex's... We have a long, dirty, ugly past with one another. We litigated over primary residence (no marriage to dissolve, no property, just Logan) for FIVE YEARS. A family matter had never been appealed to Superior Court, until our case, if that gives you any idea. It was disgusting. And even after it was all settled, we despised each other for years. Fighting publicly at various sporting events, refusing to adjust the court ordered visitation schedule at all, we could barely communicate, let alone be in the same room together... It was really bad, for a very long time. Somewhere along the way though, things got better, a little at a time. Now, don't get me wrong, I wouldn't necessarily call him "friend"... But his future ex-wife is using some pretty dirty tactics that aren't very fair in the interest of their child. And let's face it, she was never kind to Logan all those years. Ever. And so when his attorney called me (who, small world, happens to be a good friend of my mother's, and the woman who officiated my wedding with Ben), I agreed to help out.
Good karma can now come my way any time.

Speaking of marriages and divorces...
(Hey, I said it wouldn't be "entirely" about my marriage)...
I'm still struggling, of course. But I'm (almost) learning to enjoy my alone time.
Granted, much of my alone time is still filled with bitterness. But there is at least a tiny speck of "I'm okay" in there somewhere. Sometimes, there are even brief or minute reminders why this separation is a good thing. And not just for him... If there's one thing I've learned, it's that it's not just him who needs to decide what he truly wants. As hurtful as this has been, it has probably been good for me, too. There are lessons for me to learn in this; I just have to figure out which ones are the right lessons.
My therapist continues to try and convince me to "live in the moment", to not over-think.
But, isn't that how my marriage wound up here in the first place?
I'll enjoy the moments, but I'll never stop thinking.
I have a lot to think about.

I've spent all day in my pajamas. And I don't feel one bit badly about it.
I figure I will enjoy this time of unemployment while it lasts.
Now, back to Netflix.