I haven’t written much lately. Frankly, I haven’t had a lot to say. But the other day, I was in a weird funk; something I’ve written about before but has weighed heavily on my mind:
I turned 41 about a-week-and-a-half ago. I lost The Old Man two-and-a-half-months ago. Needless to say, it has me thinking about my own mortality. A LOT lately.
I am The Human Bomb.
Of course, I’m not suggesting that I am the World War II era comic book character, or his modern day successor. But like Captain Picard says in “Star Trek: Generations” I’ve come to realize that I most likely have fewer days ahead of me than I have behind me. And that sucks.
The Old Man was 67 when he died. That means if I live no longer than he did, I have about 26 years left on this Earth. That scares the hell out of me.
I’m not dying or anything. Hell, I’m not even sick. I feel better than I have in a long time. Aside from the time I was working out a couple years ago, I probably feel the best I’ve ever felt in my life. The truth is, I feel like I’m just getting started. Divorce is the great reset in 21st century American society and I’m happier than I’ve ever been. i want A LOT more than 26 more years with The Auteur and the family that we’re building together. There’s just so much I still want to do in this world.
I’m reluctant to use the expression “mid-life crisis”. I’m not about to get a sports car. I’m sure as Hell not about to leave my family. But maybe it’s time I start on my Bucket List and crossing things off of it.
Last week, The Auteur told me that it looked like my hair was starting to thin on the top of my head. I pulled out a mirror and saw exactly what she was talking about.
Losing my hair.
This is not going to sit well with me. I will shave my head before I get a bald spot. My hairline has managed to outlive those of my closest friends and I refuse to allow it to wither away now. A Scorched Earth Policy, indeed.
I mean, it’s bad enough that I notice myself gradually getting nearsighted…
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”
– Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities
It’s times like this last week for which expressions like “an emotional roller coaster” were invented.
Sunday morning, after two weeks of wonder what was going on with her physically, I found out that The Auteur is pregnant.
I am going to be a father again!
She took a home pregnancy test last Sunday morning. The results came up quickly, so much so in fact that when I heard her say “wow, that was quick!” I immediately knew the results. It was two more days before we got her in to a doctor to get some blood work done. The day after that (Wednesday) she had her first ultra-sound. As of this writing, our baby is about the size of a grain of rice.
Initially, The Auteur was convinced it was a boy, now she doesn’t seem so sure. We’ve both said that we would like to have one of each together – so that we as a couple can have the whole parenting experience together. sure we The Kid and 1B, but we want to have our own children as a couple as well.
When she took the test last Sunday, we were both elated. the next 48 hours or so that followed, there were some questions and concerns for both of us. I know I personally felt a sense of relief when the Auteur went to have some blood work done; and even more so after her ultrasound. We’ve had some questions as to whether or not we would even be able to have children – which of course have now been answered in the best way possible. It’s relief. It’s excitement. it’s vindication. It’s the future. It’s all of these things…and so much more.
We’ve been talking a lot about the future lately: getting married, having kids, possibly moving out of state a little further down the road. We’ve had some questions as to when we should do what: get married first? try to start a family first? We’re not getting any younger and we both want both our blended family and a family of our own. I remember saying once to her that we almost need something to happen in order to tell us what order to proceed in. Whatever way one slices it, this is tremendous news. At this moment in my life, i can imagine no greater honors than having a child with The Auteur and being marrying her. We’ve obviously been working on one. Now it’s time to get serious about the other.
And on the flip side…
Tuesday morning, my father The Old Man – went to the hospital. He’s had a bad back for years and has been laid up in bed quite a bit over the last several weeks. He goes in Tuesday and we were told that he had 3 cracked vertebrae and a spot on one of his lungs. As of this writing, they still don’t know if it’s cancer despite several tests. we’re hoping to know more later in the week.
Right now, I just hope he’s home for Thanksgiving.
The thing is, his mother (my grandmother) went through something almost identical when she died. The doctors found that she had lung cancer and it had spread to her bones. Keep in mind, The Old Man has smoked since before I was born and he’s never been able to quit. Frankly, I’ve been waiting for news like this since I was old enough to establish a connection between smoking, lung cancer and my dad. Still, you’re never ready for a bombshell like this.
I haven’t told him about the baby yet. I wanted to wait until he was out of the hospital. Now I may tell him on Thanksgiving, regardless. The Auteur and I have talked a little bit about what we should do if he does have “The big C”. Should we get married sooner than planned? These are the kinds of things this type of news gets you thinking about.
I keep going back the early conversations we had when I first moved back to Michigan; about him wanting to see me have a plan to put my life back together; about him wanting to know that I at least had a plan. Right now, I just want him to see me happy. I want him to see that not only am I going to be okay, but that I’m going to succeed and prosper.
Once again, I have so much to be thankful for this year.
For a long time, I looked to articles like this one for affirmation in my decision to divorce. These days, I see articles like this, mentally check everything on the list and wonder to myself “how did my marriage even last as long as it did?”
I saw this the other day and felt like sharing it. While I may not agree with one hundred percent of everything written herein – particularly the “only you can fuck it up” – it does a pretty good job of summing up most of my feelings on love and relationships, particularly from the male point of view…
A LOT has happened since last I wrote. One-and-a-half weeks ago, I was offered the job in Eastpointe – the one I didn’t even apply for. I interviewed on a Tuesday; completed all my paperwork on a Wednesday and was in the classroom teaching on Thursday. I worked all of last week and that brings us to the present.
I have to admit, it’s far from ideal circumstances. Work is a 1 1/ – 2 hour drive from where The Auteur and I live; so I’m staying at my parents’ house during the week, and going home on weekends. The first coupe days weren’t so bad. I worked two days and went home for the weekend. This past week was my first full week of work. After living together for the last year, being away from The Auteur for almost an entire week sucked. Doing that again Monday through Friday this week – and every other week for the rest of the school year – seems almost too hard to imagine. I know, I know – I’m being a little melodramatic. Truck drivers go through the same thing. Military families have it even worse. The thing is, I don’t drive a truck and I’m not a soldier, and I want to be home.
This wasn’t an easy decision for us to come to. And yes, this is something that The Auteur and I discussed at length. The truth is, I need this job. I need it for The Auteur and the life we are building and living together. I need it for The Kid – so that I can be a good father to him. Finally, I need it for the sake of my career. Sure I had a few years experience under my belt, but that ended 6 years ago. Employers are going to start asking “What have you done lately?”; so this will be good when pursuing other jobs in the future.
All in all, I feel like I’ve taken a small step backward in order to make several giant steps forward. I’ve talked at moderate length before about wanting to get started with the rest of my life. Maybe its finally happening.
Last week, the Auteur and I threw a birthday party for 1B. Aside from the aforementioned birthday, this day marked a special occasion in that it was the first time that mine and The Auteur’s parents met each other. It went great, probably better than we should have expected. I don’t necessarily see them hanging out together or anything, but they were more than cordial and more than polite with each other: They were friendly with each other.
It’s strange because I wasn’t nearly nervous or excited about it as I expected to be. A lot of that was due to the fact that the Auteur and I were both running around like proverbial chickens with our heads cut off – trying to get everything ready in the 36 plus hours leading up to the party and we were tired. I also think a lot of it is due to the fact that – let’s face it, were not 20 anymore – our parents simply aren’t as big of a factor in our lives as they were when we were younger.
Something is happening to me. Lately, I feel like I’m not nearly as sentimental about some thing as I once was. I’ve always been a softie, but that’s definitely changing in some aspects of my life. Am I getting old? Cynical?
Hell, even with this blog. There was a time when I would have been writing about the party/our parents meeting that night or the next day. I just don’t do that anymore.
In other news, I got a call Thursday from the assistant principal at a high school in Georgia. This is the same district that I met with at a job fair back in April. I’ve been trying real hard not to put all my eggs into that proverbial basket. In fact, I pretty much gave up hope on them when they started school earlier this month. But that’s one thing I’ve learned about myself over the years: When I stop obsessing over something, it usually ends up falling into my lap. More on that as it develops.
As some of you may have noticed, I like to review movies or books that I find to be interesting or thought-provoking. In keeping with the origins of this blog, I also like to review “guy books” or “guy movies”. In this entry, I will review the latter…
A few weekends back, I chose to finally sit down and watch Don Jon . Don Jon, the writing/directorial debut of Joseph Gordon Levitt ended up being a mixed bag. I remember the ads for this movie as it was being released theatrically. They made it looked like a straight-up fratire-style comedy. I expected this to be a bawdy “guy movie”. In the beginning it was, only to turn into something much different.
JGL (as The Auteur calls him) plays John, a stereotypical Italian-American “juice head” in the tradition of John Travolta’s Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever. He loves his clothes, his car, his apartment, his family and his church. On the surface John is a Lothario, bedding women left and right and is definitely the alpha-male of his entourage. However behind closed doors, John is a closet porn addict. In fact, he admits to liking porn better than actual sex – much to the chagrin of his in-movie girlfriend Barbara – played by Scarlett Johansson.
At this point, I expected John to spend the rest of the movie trying to win back Barbara in typical romcom fashion, but the story takes a few different turns. At Barbara’s behest, John returns to college. There, he meets Esther (Julianne Moore). John and Esther have some May-September chemistry that ultimately turns physical. Their tryst is therapeutic for both of them: Esther comes to terms with her own personal losses; John ultimately learn the difference between casual sex and making love, thereby enabling him to pursue deeper more meaningful relationships.
The movie’s ending is anti-climactic. We never see John find Ms. Right, or even a Ms. Maybe for that matter. Ultimately, Don Jon is a slice-of-life personal narrative. It isn’t happily ever after tale it was portrayed as in commercials. It simply tells the story of a young man and an experience that made him a better person. It was one of those unusual experiences where advertisers sell us one story and the filmmakers tell us a better one.
We all have a few ghosts from our past that haunt us, or haunt our loved ones. Today I ran head-first into one of mine.
Since I’ve known The Auteur, I knew that my ex-brother-in-law, The Yooper, was working in the town where she – and now WE – live. Today, I substitute taught in his school. With this being a ridiculously small town we live in, it was inevitable I would cross paths with him had I ever been in his school. And I did today.
As I made my way up to my classroom for the day, I had to walk right past his. He was standing outside his door at the start if the day, as teachers do now-a-days. As I got within 5 feet if him, he immediately put his head down. Now, I don’t know if he would even have recognized me had we made eye contact. After all, it’s been at least 8 years since I’ve even seen him, but it seemed too coincidental. Later in the day, we crossed paths again as he was taking his kids to lunch; just as I was bringing mine back from same. Again, as we got within a few feet of each other, he put his head down and struck up a conversation with one of his students. This behavior from The Yooper really doesn’t surprise me. Phred told me that when they divorced and had their day in court, he couldn’t look at her either; as well he probably shouldn’t with the way their divorce went down. There’s a big part of me that wants to just crush the guy like a bug; but truth be told, he’s more deserving of my ridicule than he is my anger. He’s a joke. And the fact that he looked away as soon as he saw only serves to remind me how pathetic he truly is.
But we all have people like The Yooper in our lives. Pieces of the past that, while they may be out of our lives – they still live and breathe and walk the same Earth as us. Friends who have turned into foes, childhood rivals, exes. Ghosts.
Frankly, I don’t know how most divorcees do it. Most of the time, I feel luck that I live about 800 miles away from Jabba. I don’t want to live anywhere near her. I don’t want to ever face the possibility of running into her at any given moment. It’s not that I can’t handle seeing her; rather I’d like to keep those encounter to an absolute minimum and prepare myself for them well in advance. It’s weird enough running into and trying to talk to our common Michigan friends.
There’s a bit from the old TV show “Growing Pains” that sticks with me to this day: In ope episode, Kirk Cameron’s character Mike Seaver fakes being sick so he can stay home from school. He sits down to watch a rerun of “Gilligan’s Island”. He briefly leaves the room only to realize that the show continued even though he left the room. Mind you, this was before the days of DVR and on-demand programming. He quickly turns the TV off and on again, to realize that the show continues. He later tells his Dad of this incident and comes to the realization that even though he stayed home from school, the world went on without him.
Running into the Yooper wasn’t some senses-shattering epiphany or anything like that but it definitely serves to remind me that our ghosts continue to walk the Earth and live their respective lives.