And just like that, things were okay again.

The past two months since Squishy left me have been truly a learning experience. I learned that I am still strong, and I can make it through whatever life throws at me. It wasn’t easy by any means, and the scars still remain. But I have moved onto a better place, and I am comfortable.

I have started seeing a psychiatrist for help with PPD and life in general. She gave me a prescription to help me sleep, and I no longer need to self medicate with alcohol. I used to drink for fun, but it got to the point where I couldn’t sleep and had to be drunk to get even just four hours. I’m so glad that’s over.

I have finally made a connection with Little Hippie, now that he’s more of a child than a potato. I didn’t experience PPD with the other two boys, so it was very difficult to realize what was happening. Talking to friends who went through it, especially ones who specifically only went through it with their third child, was incredibly helpful. His dad sees him twice a week and every other weekend, and I am glad for that.

There were absolutely no plans in my head or my heart to start dating anytime soon. But I went out to dinner with a friend, someone I’ve known about two years, but had never hung out with. One night the ex’s girlfriend decided to text me from his phone and talk all kinds of shit. It was infuriating to the point where I actually vomited. At that moment, I wrote him off completely. There was no coming back from that incident. Because I was so angry, I needed to talk to someone on the phone to distract myself. I called my friend (let’s call him Hoss), and I told him what happened. He let me vent, and then proceeded to talk to me about everything under the sun otherwise. We were on the phone for four hours, and by the end of the conversation he had told me that he had been interested in me, but because I was attached, he never said anything. I was shocked.

The next night, he came over after work. It was wonderful. We watched a movie and cuddled up on the couch. I fit perfectly into his body, something I have never had before. From then on, we’ve been together. He stayed one weekend, and I joked that because he had a toothbrush here now, he must be my boyfriend. He agreed.

In the few weeks since that first dinner out, Hoss has treated me, and more importantly my two older boys, better than Squishy ever did, even at the beginning. Hoss seems to truly care, like lifelong care, not fairy tale romance care. He fixed my dehumidifier, and now maintains it of his own accord. He wants to cut my grass. He set up an antenna so I can get regular TV and watch Jeopardy! All these things that are the stuff of life that Squishy never did or couldn’t do or wouldn’t do. Hoss took me and the older boys fishing. He voluntarily had dinner in a real restaurant with them. Squishy wouldn’t even tolerate eating at McDonald’s with the kids! And you know what? They were SO GOOD with Hoss. He is patient. He is even keeled. He doesn’t yell at them or insult them. I never thought Squishy was that bad until I saw how good someone else could be. Hoss is already planning our holidays and birthdays. He changed my oil.

So, while I am surprised to be in a relationship so soon after tragedy struck, it is a good thing. It happened naturally, organically, without any pursuit or drama or whirlwind romance or whatever. That, I think, is what might make this be one of the best relationships I’ve ever had. I’m finally comfortable. It might sound cliche, but for once I actually believe that everything happens for a reason.

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Part II

After Poke died, things were rough. I had to change my work schedule because I could no longer work weekends. I lost hours and income, as well as no longer receiving the child support I had fought so hard to get. Squishy’s job was going downhill fast, and he wasn’t going to get hired on. We were running on empty, financially and emotionally.

In late August, Squishy started a new job, hired on immediately, and he loved it. In fact he is still there to this day! Warehouse work isn’t for everyone, but he is really good at what he does.

By December I was incredibly pregnant, and Little Hippie was born just before Christmas. Squishy and I had some relationship issues around the same time, and made some much needed changes.

Found out at the beginning of summer that Squeaks has a milk allergy. It’s been very eye opening as far as products that contain milk but you wouldn’t think they do. Poor kid had to completely change his diet.

Finally, Squishy and I broke up. It was sudden, but not, because he’s been miserable for awhile. The changes we made helped, but couldn’t make it right. My heart is shattered, but I have no choice.

Eighteen Months Later

As of my last post, things were somewhat in limbo. My, how times have changed since then!

In late April 2017, Squishy and I got our own house. Renting, not buying, but at a great price in a nice neighborhood. A week after we moved in, I found out I was pregnant. It was a surprise, but not because we had an oops! We started trying to get pregnant at the beginning of April and apparently we were really, ie immediately, successful. It was awesome.

At the end of May, Squishy’s son came to live with us. We had specifically chosen this house to accommodate 3-4 kids plus ourselves, and it was a good arrangement. My kids went to daycare while I worked, and KS stayed home playing video games and doing whatever preteens do all day. Unfortunately the Brady Bunch dynamic wasn’t happening for us. I had higher expectations for KS than he was used to, as far as tidiness and courtesy. KS hated living with two little kids and having to “answer” to someone who was not his “real parent”. He’d had similar problems with his mom and stepdad, which is why he came to live with us in the first place.

Within a month, KS had been back to visit his mom and decided he wanted to go back and live with her. Squishy and his ex told him he would stay here for the summer and move back before school started. This would be his final move until age 18, as he had already moved back and forth between them three times. Everyone had had enough. In late August he went home to his mom’s.

As you may recall, Poke and I finally divorced in January of 2017. He was ordered to pay child support, and I spent all of February, March, and April fighting with him and his employer. It got to the point where CSEA was going to take both of them to court, and Poke was facing jail time. That was the final threat, and they began complying.

In June, Poke married some girl who lived in South Carolina. She was the ex of an acquaintance, and Poke and I once witnessed her bashing in the windows of our neighbor’s car at 2am. I guess absolutely insane was what he wanted in a wife. Anyway, I was glad that he was someone else’s responsibility now, and I hoped she’d somehow get him on the right path.

In July, JI turned six. As we were sitting at the Chinese buffet, just the two of us, I got a call from Poke’s brother. He informed me that Poke was in the ICU. Squishy came and got JI, and I ran over to the hospital. Poke was in a coma.

He had been drinking for nearly 18 hours with his ex girlfriend. They went to McDonald’s early in the morning, went back to her house, and fell asleep. At some point she noticed that he wasn’t breathing. The EMTs came, and it took 20 minutes to revive him. By the time I got there, he was on life support, completely, with all sources set to the max. He would not recover. Unfortunately Poke’s brother, mother, and I could not make the decision to remove him from life support; because he was married, we had to wait for a complete stranger to come from South Carolina and make the decision.

Poke coded three times during the night, and died just before 7am on the day after JI’s birthday.

I told JI what happened. He wanted to go see his dad, so I took him to the hospital. JI stroked his hair and touched his arm. The wife had arrived after 8am, and was there with her mother. They left us alone with Poke, and we cried. We cried like people in the movies, and I pounded on Poke’s chest. I was so angry for so many reasons. Angry that he’d not taken care of himself, that he’d left me alone with the boys, that he’d made such terrible decisions. Angry over petty things, like no more child support or health insurance for the kids. Angry that he’d broken his mother’s heart.

Over the next week, my angers retreated for rage. His friends were rallying on Facebook, and Poke became a saint. Everyone was “so shocked” by his death. At the service, folks got up and talked about what a “punch to the gut” it was to hear that he’d died. I wanted to punch them all in their faces. Where the fuck were they when Poke was losing his mind, attempting suicide three times in two months, twice in front of JI? Where were they when he tried a fourth time and his mother and brother had to call the cops to physically restrain him due to violent outbursts after drinking two bottles of whiskey, an assortment of other alcohol, and taking different pills he found? Where were all these people who allegedly loved him so much? Nowhere. They knew nothing of the real Poke. It made me sick to hear them prattle on while those of us who dealt with his demons on a daily basis were the ones who hurt the most.

…to be continued.

Carry On

It’s been awhile. A long while. So many things have changed, I don’t even know where to begin. I guess I’ll start with the new year.

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“My family” by JI

January 5th, Poke and I were finally officially legally divorced. I could have thrown a party! It was the most wonderful day I’d had in a long time… until I had to take my van in to have the entire power steering system replaced, which cost me $270. Good thing there’s a Firestone credit card.

January 20th, a day that will live in infamy. I was so depressed all day, scared, worried, and had an overall feeling of doom about me. Politically, things have only gotten worse since then. I really don’t know what those people were thinking putting this monster in the White House, but apparently human rights, education, health care, clean air, clean water, etc etc etc mean absolutely nothing to them. Disgusting. I can only hope that he is impeached and indicted, because if he’s assassinated he’ll be lauded as a hero/martyr to the neo-Nazis that call themselves conservatives.

Next up, my birthday, which is at the beginning of February. I really don’t care about my birthday. This year I turned 3_, which is one step closer to 40. Per usual, my birthday sucked. I used to try and make it a good day, try not to get my hopes up, but every year I’d think “This will be the year that my mother doesn’t make a scene/cause problems/make15875187_10154922754774801_5804576778045474111_o me feel like shit” or “This will be the year that Poke actually remembers my birthday and gets me a card/gift/says happy birthday”, only to be disappointed in the end. It’s not like I need a lot of presents or anything, but having one day a year that is actually legitimately just for me would be nice. Unfortunately, this year was another bust. My mother was difficult at dinner, which was a huge disappointment even without her shit, and Squishy was so angry by the time we got home that he ended up going back to his place instead of sleeping over. I couldn’t blame him though, if I didn’t have the kids I’d have gone back to his place and gotten drunk as a skunk.

Luckily though, Squishy is an AMAZING boyfriend. We have been together for four months now, and things just keep getting better. He has been the most supportive, helpful, caring, kind, wonderful man I have ever dated. I don’t know what I did to get so lucky for once, but I am not going to question it. We are getting ready to move into our own place here in the next few weeks, which is the next exciting chapter in our life together. I can’t wait!

15418578_10154850814024801_4636622435768111892_oBoth my sons love Squishy, which makes me life a hell of a lot easier. Poke has gone from mediocre father to terrible father, refusing to pay child support, didn’t do anything for Squeaks’ birthday, doesn’t call them or answer JI’s calls, and so forth. If I could cut him out of their life completely, I would in a heartbeat. He’s a shitty person, and I really don’t want them around him. However, it’s not up to me. I don’t say negative stuff about him to the boys, unlike their father who talks shit about me constantly. My goal is to let them find out for themselves what a creep he is, and I will be there to pick up the pieces when they fall. The only reason JI wants to go there is because he knows he can play the tablet the whole time. I don’t think Squeaks really cares one way or the other – he used to yell “Daddy! Daddy!” when Poke came to get them, now he is just silent. He loves Squishy though, and calls him by his name and by Daddy, depending on his mood. Squishy has a son, KJ, who is twelve, so he’s been through all this before, which helps me out.

Also, for once in my life, I have amazing in-laws. Squishy’s mom and dad are the best. The treat me like I am their own child, and we always have a great time together. I usually spend every other weekend at their place, because Squishy lives right across the street. (Yeah, he lives with his 95 yr old grandmother and takes care of her – awesome man, right?!) My 1st husband’s parents/step father were always kinda blah about me, Poke’s mom hated my guts until I birthed her first two grandchildren, now she hates me again, and the parents of my various boyfriends were never really anything. I honestly can’t even remember meeting many, if any, more than once or twice. But because Squishy and I plan to be married sometime in the future, it is so comforting to know that I already have good people who love me. They love the boys and the boys love them as well, so that’s an added bonus!

16711987_10155038596234801_4013319259268139428_nIn mid-February, Squeaks turned two. He is a super crazy boy! I cannot believe how fast he is growing, both physically and mentally. Squeaks knows his colors, he can count to ten, he knows square, triangle, circle, and rectangle, and his vocabulary is off the charts. This kid is constantly talking. It is quite a different experience raising a neuro-typical child after having an autistic child. I remember JI being so chill, so easy, so “adult” and not needing much attention or supervision. Squeaks could not be more opposite! This child gets into everything. My bff, with whom we still reside, is pretty much at her breaking point with the two year old shenanigans. He’s a very busy boy.

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Squishy and Squeaks with the birthday cake

My new job is great. It’s a very easy job, but the pay is good for being part time. I’ve even gotten a raise! My supervisor made me the customer service champion, which means I’m 16711483_10155041066734801_4729882996231324363_nin charge of all the ways to make customers happier and make their time in our place easier/quicker. Since I’ve been there, our rating has gone up 2%, and I am really proud of myself. I used to hate dealing with people, but since I don’t have to deal with them more than 30 seconds to 2-3 minutes at once, it makes it a lot easier to be sincerely friendly and helpful. Plus I am working for a company that I had worked for years ago, and I absolutely love this place. Benefits are great, even though I’m not full time I get all kinds of perks, and the only thing I don’t get is health insurance.

Despite having a job, things have gotten beyond tight financially once again. With Poke refusing to pay child support, half my income is gone. I tried to get approved for government child care, but it was denied, so until I can get approved, I can only work 2-4 days a week. It is so rough. I am literally out of things to sell, having gotten rid of 95% of my furniture, baby clothes, and toys before/during the move, so I don’t know how else to make money. I am considering donating plasma, even though I usually vomit from getting blood drawn. It’s worth the risk of puking if it means I’ll have money for gasoline. All my money goes to16427354_10155001729529801_6741404559436206401_n bills, car gas, non-food groceries, and my roommate. I have absolutely nothing left. This doesn’t matter to my mother though, who constantly asks me for money. Yes, I do owe them some, but my dad makes almost $100K/year and I don’t even make $100/week right now. I told them I’d pay with my tax return, but that’s not good enough for her. She needs to harass me in the meantime. So, for now, I have cut off my parents. Once I send them the money I owe them, with instructions etc. regarding never asking me for money again, I will let them back into my life. But at this point in time I have way too many stressors to let their petty bullshit bring me down.

So I guess that brings me to present day. Tomorrow is the last day of February, a typically shitty month, and I’m glad it is over. Hopefully by the end of March things will have straightened out and I will be in a much better place.

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JI, Squeaks, and KJ

 

After All These Years

Late May of 1997, I met a really cute guy in the bleachers at our spirit day festivities. There was only a week of school left. I told my friend Sarah that I thought this guy was cute, and at the end of the day she and her boyfriend showed up at my locker, cute guy in tow. We ended up dating all summer, but when school started again he went to public school and I went back to Catholic school. It was hard to keep it going, because I was young and easily distracted. In the end, I broke up with him, and life went on.

On a typically boring Friday night a few weeks ago, Facebook suggested him as a friend. I added him and sent a message like, “idk if you remind me, we dated almost 20 years ago”. Saturday evening, he wrote back and we talked for awhile, and it turns out he’s always had me in the back of his mind. He’s been married once, has one son, has a good job, and apparently thinks I’m beautiful. We’ll call him Squishy.

One afternoon, Squishy and I went to Chipotle for lunch, and while we were standing in line a woman turned to us and said “We are starting a hug campaign, would you like to be first?” So I said sure, and then Squishy and I proceeded to hug five strangers just for the hell of it. It was weird, but it was awesome! People need to give and get more hugs! How was this my life?

I know that you guys might think I’m crazy, falling in love almost immediately. But when Squishy walked back into my life that day, it was like I had finally come home. I texted him, I talked to him on the phone, then I saw him in person… the last time I saw him was almost exactly 19 years ago. I was young and dumb. Things happen. I spent the whole time looking for someone who treats me the way he did – the way he does – and finally he’s back. He’s here. The only time I have felt this much joy in my heart was when JI and Squeaks were born, and when I reconnected with my birth mother. I feel whole. I feel happy. Not honeymoon, new love happy, but comfortable happy.

Prisoner

I love my sons and I love my job. Nothing is better than getting to play with kids and cuddle a baby all day! But I am a prisoner in my own home. I am a prisoner in my own life. I might as well be writing this from prison. The only difference is that they actually get to interact with other adults on a daily basis, whereas I am stuck with all children under five 24/7.

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I am very lonely. It has become physically painful. I’ve never had much depression, but lately everything is horrible. Everything makes me cry. I can’t be happy about hardly anything. Last weekend I threw a small birthday party for my best friend; after everyone left, I basically just sat on the couch and bawled my eyes out. Yesterday we had JI’s birthday party, which was huge with lots of festivities and people, tons of gifts, food, and lots of fun. I went to bed early, I slept for a long time with a few interruptions, and then my bio mom left this afternoon. Now I want to cry again. Tomorrow it’s back to the grind, trying to make kids listen to me and cleaning up bodily fluids.

wp-1468790378293.jpgWhat is my problem? Nothing is wrong in my life. The stress of dealing with Poke and going through this divorce isn’t that bad. It’s mostly annoying. My income is good right now. My health is fine. My kids are healthy. My family is fine. Nothing is WRONG. This can’t all be caused by loneliness, can it?

I was dating a guy for about three weeks when he suddenly disappeared. He literally texted me that he wanted to come over and I never heard from him again. That former marine who I have been talking to off and on all year randomly contacts me every six weeks or so. I lost a good friend over a guy who lied to me and lied to her. I hardly get to see my best friend because she has a boyfriend now and only wants to spend time with him. Even when we do hang out, he comes along and they leave early. I like him, I like to hang out with him, but I miss my best friend.

wp-1468790431696.jpgI truly feel like I am completely alone. I have lots of friends online, but what kind of life is that, living online only? There’s no guarantee that they care about me. I know some of them do, but others, who knows. Guys online tell me how beautiful I am, they want to send me dick pics, they call me “baby” and other lovely pet names. How do I know I’m not one in a long line of girls? I don’t. So it’s hard for me to be completely open when talking to these guys online. I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t have the option of joining any kind of groups because I don’t have anyone to watch my kids. I do have a babysitter, but she is young and I don’t want to keep her out late… pshh, as if I have any dates anyway. Yeah right. I guess I’m just feeling like a big fat loser right now, and everything that is happening keeps reinforcing those feelings. Are there any good books on how to simply live with loneliness?

In the Thick of It

It’s been a long time since I posted, and I don’t even know exactly where to begin. The last I left you, I was concentrating on the Year of Me. Well, that has been nearly impossible to accomplish. Poke finally got a job, and now he refuses to take the boys on a regular basis. I have to haggle and negotiate with him every week. So yeah, he is giving me a little bit of child support, but he’s not seeing the kids. This continues to be a no-win situation for everyone except Poke. Typical.

I wish we could move forward with the divorce; unfortunately that is impossible right now thanks to the house having gone into foreclosure. Obviously my Go-Fund me didn’t work, Poke blew his 401k, and I don’t have $8k just lying around. For now we will just live for free until they force us out, but in the meantime we are going to try and file for bankruptcy to see if there is a way we can somehow save the house so that the boys and I don’t have to move and so I can keep my business. That means no divorce until after the bankruptcy is done.

As for the “doing things for myself”, I have been …meh… with that. I slacked off on my diet really badly, but I am trying to adhere via a different route. Instead of completely cutting out all meats, I am cutting out red meat and pork, and sticking to chicken and seafood. A low-purine diet allows for some chicken/seafood, so it’s not even really “breaking the rules”. It’s kind of weird actually, I used to never crave chicken or seafood, and now I do! I have completely lost my taste for beef and pork, except Phillys… I love Phillys… But I digress. Because I’ve been trying to stick to a mostly vegetarian diet, I have gotten back to more creative cooking. I juiced once. It was gross. I’m going to try again now that the weather is warmer and there is more fresh quality produce available. I have done some spiralizing, and actually got rid of 90% of my pasta. I want to do a low-carb thing, just because eating a lot of carbs makes me feel gross, but it’s hard to do on a low-purine diet because I’m supposed to eat 6-11 servings per day. Apparently carbs absorb uric acid, which is one of the goals of this diet. Ugh.

I tried getting into dating, and I still really want to date… Unfortunately it seems that the quality of man just isn’t there anymore. I’ve talked to probably a hundred guys, and I’ve had ONE date. They want sex only. They’re not interested in a girl with kids. They send unwanted dick pics. If I refuse to meet them RIGHT NOW for “a date” (aka sex), they call me names. They plan a date with me, and then never show or I never hear from them after we make a plan. I was talking to a guy for a couple months and I thought it was going somewhere, then he stopped talking to me and I found out he chose someone else over me. I was talking to another guy, he came over and hung out one night, then ghosted. A few weeks later he got ahold of me, apologized, and came over again. When he was leaving, he said “I’ll see you later tonight” and I’ve never heard from him again. The only guy who is consistent is that Marine I told you guys about, JK. At least I know what to expect (or not) from him. Friends have told me to try Match, because I was meeting all the winners on Plenty of Fish, but I don’t know. I feel like paying to meet someone online is the lowest of the low, and I just don’t think I’ve reached that level of pathetic yet.

When I was thinking I might be dating more often, I went ahead and updated my wardrobe a bit. I haven’t lost any weight, but I’m not trying, so that’s fine. I am comfortable with my body for the first time in a long time, and I think it’s because I joined a BBW group on Facebook. There are dudes in there who are legitimately attracted to chicks like me, and that’s amazing. All my life I’ve been taught that no man will be into a fat girl, but I guess it’s not actually true.

So, like the title says, I feel like I am really in the thick of it right now. Some horrible shit is behind me, and there is more horrible shit to come. I cry nearly every day. I had actually gotten back to drinking nearly every night, at least 3-4 nights a week, but as of this Sunday I am stopping that and going back to only drinking on the weekend. As great as the sleep was after a bottle of wine, the sleeping pills accomplish almost the same greatness with zero calories or health risks. I have tried so hard to remove all the negative from my life, including a current sabbatical from Facebook. I had to take a break from all the bullshit. I’ll go back on in a week or so, check things out, and if I’m feeling any toxicity radiating from there, I’m going to be out again. It’s just not worth it.