Tag Archives: relationships

somewhere between a death and a busboy

A random thought from the other day:

Several years back, I had gotten into doing the Windsor Pilates workout.  There was a bit where Mari Windsor is talking about exercises you glutious maximus (your butt) muscles and she says “Gotta make both cheeks even,”.  That stupid line has stuck with me for years.

Don’t worry I’m going somewhere with this…

I found myself saying that line out loud the other day, and I started to think about the last time I did that workout – during my Previous Life.  That got me thinking about Jabba and the fact that I don’t have any real memories of her and that kind of day-to-day stuff anymore.  It occurred to me:  I don’t really know her anymore.  That whole marriage experience has faded from memory.  It is simply a part of my THE past now.  This is one of the instances where I feel very fortunate to live as far from Jabba and The Kid as I do.  Out of sight, out of mind indeed.

This realization was very liberating for me, given how promising last week’s teacher fair was. I spoke with representatives from a school district just outside of Atlanta and they seemed very interested in me.  This got me very excited about the future:  with The Auteur, with 1B.  Being closer, but not too close, to The Kid.   In a place where The Auteur and I can BOTH pursue our professional goals.

It never ceases to amaze me the way that people just pass in and out of our lives.  I’m reminded of a line that Richard Dreyfuss says as The Writer in Stand By Me: “It happens sometimes.  Friends [sic] come in and out of our lives, like busboys in a restaurant”.  I’m not saying all of this because I miss Jabba.  God knows I don’t.  It’s just amazes me sometimes:  this human ability to have somebody so inextricably linked to you and your life one day, and through a relatively short amount of time, no longer be a factor.

Of course, I say all of this now, knowing that i’ll be bitching again when the time come for me to get The Kid for the summer and I have to deal with her all over again.

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Rob Reviews: Online Dating Rituals of the American Male

Let me get a few things out of the way first:

I generally don’t like reality shows.  I’ve watched a season or two of “Survivor” and “American Idol” but they’re basically the same stuff year after year.  Having said that I absolutely love “Bar Rescue”.  I feel that the vast majority of “reality” shows are just camera rolling while people fight in the hopes of parlaying their appearance into an entertainment career.  Frankly, I have enough conflict in my life that I don’t need to see that of other people.  Then of course, there’s the question of whether or not reality television is more scripted than sitcoms and dramas.   My feelings about reality and the state of our society in general can best be summed up by this quote I once heard:  “In the past, we used to watch TV to escape reality.  Now, we watch TV to experience reality”.  

The Auteur is a big fan of Bravo’s phenomenally popular “…Housewives…” shows.  With the exception of “New Jersey” series, I don’t really pay much attention to these either.  However, one night I caught an ad for “The Online Dating Rituals of the American Male”.  Since I perceive myself to be something of a men’s advocate, i thought it would be remiss of me if I didn’t  give this show at least a passing glance.

I think that Bravo envisions itself as  an upscale version of Lifetime.  The so called “men” i see on this channel are either at best hard-core metro-sexuals and at worst relentlessly flamboyant homosexuals who make David Alan Grier  and Damon Wayans’ characters from the old “Men on Movies” skit from In Living Color look relatively macho in comparison.  In any case, virtually all of the men I see on this channel are nothing like real-life guys.

With that…

The series premiere of “Online Dating Rituals of the american Male focuses on Marcus, a 36 year-old divorcee who’s looking for his future wife and Alex a 27 year old self-described “Texas boy looking to get laid”- perpetuating the stereotype of the delusional ego-maniacal douchebag.

Some observations from episode 1:

  • These guys  seem a litte more down-to-earth that most of the people on Bravo shows.
  • The show illustrates the real-life concerns that come with online dating:  Is her on-line profile a reflection of their real-life self?   Trying to extract information, such as their age.
  • Alex is talking about his penis on the first date.  Classy.
  • the show’s bumpers are statistics about on-line dating; the first being “80% of online daters lie about their height, weight or age on their profiles.
  • in an interesting twist, the show included a text message exchanges involve the people featured on the show – both the guys and their dates.
  • we see a little but from the point of view of Marcus’s date.  She thinks they’re going out again.  Alex’s date has no such intentions.
  • Marcus gets a text message from a perspective date while he’s at work.  This is what I will say about on-line dating.  People who are online want to date and it seems a lot easier than going out and picking people up the old-fashioned way.
  • A therapist describes Alex as a “wanker”.  the show takes us through his various dates.  God, this guy’s a pig; and he’s obsessed with on-line dating.
  • Marcus dates a girl with whom he was scored as 10% compatible. He’s looking for quality.
  • The show drives home the theme that anything is possible with on-line dating.
  • Marcus has another date that is an absolute train-wreck.
  • Alex has a date with a woman who is out of his league. He needs to stop grabbing butts on the first date.  Somehow, she is receptive to this.
  • I didn’t want to like this show but 30 minutes into the 44 minute episode, i had already decided I would probably watch it again.

OddCrunch

cell phones and dinner

a sing of the times, methinks.

An interesting story about divorce, but maybe not the kind of divorce you’d probably expect me to post here, given the nature of my blog.  Click on the link below before you read my thoughts.  Spoilers follow.

OddCrunch.

I’m really torn on this one.

I hear A LOT of people talk a lot about this kind of thing.  I used to think it was just crotchety old people talking about ditching their smartphones; so I never gave it much thought until I got rid of mine.  Even without a smartphone, I’m still pretty damn addicted to technology.  Hell, I need technology just to write this blog.

There are times when I really miss my Droid.  I was my camera, my GPS and my mobile internet connection.  I loved getting e-mails in real time; and I loved using my MLB, WWE and Facebook, Twitter and yes, my WordPress apps.  But I have to admit, I get annoyed when I see people out together in public and instead of talking to each other, they are all playing with their cellphones.

In teaching?  Forget it.  I’m subbing right now and kids are always on their phones; not just in my classroom, but in their regular teacher’s rooms as well.  Down South, schools were still fighting the cell phone wars.  By and large, when I taught there, the majority of kids were good about staying off of them.  Who knows what it’s like there now?

I guess the flashpoint for this post (aside from the article I linked to above)  was a conversation we had in my computers class.  The professor asked:  “has technology taken over our lives?”  I has answered that like any technological progress, humanity gains a little and loses a little any time technology takes a step forward.

My Droid won’t take a charge anymore.  It hasn’t had service in over a year, but I used to use it for for the camera/GPS/Wi-Fi capabilities.  Since I’ve gotten rid of it, I haven’t missed it nearly as much as I thought I would.  I used it was just old people or persons with “phone envy” who bitch about smartphone users.  Maybe I’ve become one of those people. i think that I’ve come to realized how disconnected I was from people for a while there.    I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I’ve divorced my smartphone, but we are definitely going through a trial separation.

knowing that i know nothing

165035__bt_l

The wit and wisdom of Bill & Ted…

Bill: So-cratz – “The only true wisdom consists in knowing that you know nothing”.

Ted: That’s us, dude.

– from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

I’ve decided to shift gears a little bit with this blog.  I have been noticing a trend developing here for a while, and it took my favorite WordPress “follower” to confirm it for me:  This blog is far too much about “rehashing Rob”  and not nearly enough “Rebuilding Rob”.  That changes now.  Besides, I have things fermenting in the legal arena in regards to Jabba and The Kid that I don’t want to even begin to discuss here.  Instead, I’m going to write today about something that has been stuck in my craw for quite a while:

I don’t know the first thing about being a step-dad.

As i said, I’ve wanted to write about this for a while; but the other day, I took 1B to a doctor’s appointment.  The doctor came out to the waiting room and addressed me as “1b’s step-dad?”  I have no problem with her referring to me as her step-dad already.  In fact, I’m flattered and honored.  My big problem – as it is in so many other aspects in my life is my penchant for erring on the side of caution.

I don’t want to step on other people’s toes.  I don’t want to put off, offend or unnerve anyone – sometimes to a fault.  Sometimes, I err so far on the side of caution that I end up coming across as distant or aloof.  Here’s a completely random example – and no, this is not me bitching about a particular incident – sometimes I’ll try so hard to give The Auteur and 1B some alone time that I end up removing myself from a conversation; or physically removing myself from a room – and then I come across to them as upset or angry when I’m far from it.

People like to say “there’s no instruction book that comes with being a parent”.  This is absolutely true and for the most part, you don’t really need one.  As a parent, you’re pretty much able to make up the rules and routines as you go.  As a step-parent or a step-patent-to-be, you’re entering into someone else’s relationship and  you don’t have the luxury of making things up as you go.  As a step-parent, you are the foreign element being introduced.  You are expected to conform to the rules and routines that are already established in the family.  There are certain tasks, duties, responsibilities you are expected to perform; and others that are considered way out of line for you to address.  It is a proverbial tightrope that is walked by the step-parent.

Extraordinary Girl

She’s an Extraordinary girl In an ordinary world”   – Green Day.

Sorry.  American Idiot  has been on my mind ever since The Auteur & I saw the musical.

This past Friday, I had the absolute best Valentine’s Day ever with the woman I love.

In case I haven’t said it on this blog before, I’ll say it now:  I love and I’m in love with The Auteur.

Simply stated:  she’s amazing.  We both have the exact same idea of what love is and what love should be (that I know, I’ve said on this blog before)  We have each other’s backs.  When the going gets tough for me, I know I can always look to my side and she will be right there by my side in the proverbial trenches.

She’s beautiful.  She’s got an absolutely infectious personality.  She’s an incredibly loving, caring, giving person; and yet, she does not take any crap from anyone.  I see what a great kid 1B is and that tells me what a great mother The Auteur  is, and the kind of mother she will be again.  She’s girly – and I mean that in the most flattering way possible.  I want to spoil her rotten.  I want to treat her like a queen.  I want to give her everything she has ever wanted in this world because she deserves it, and she appreciates everything I do for her.

Oh yeah, and somehow she thinks I’m a pretty good guy, so that helps.

Anyway, we enjoyed  our first Valentine’s Day at home.  I had gotten her a few gifts before the big day – in the spirit of our mutual knack for preemptive strikes.  The Auteur returned in kind with a very romantic candlelit dinner.  She pulled all the stops:  a full dinner, desserts, champagne, rose petals.  She set a high bar for creativity, thoughtfulness and romance.  I’ll need to top this in the future, or at least match it.  To that I say “Challenge accepted”.

People like to say that “it’s not about the amount of money you spend, it’s the thought that counts”.  Never has this expression rang more true to me than on Valentine’s Night 2014.  Make no mistake:  The Auteur spent some money on all of this; but it was the thought that went into it all that truly mattered.  It was everything I ever wanted in a Valentine’s Day.

Wow, I think it’s fair to say that The Auteur swept me off of my feet.

In the past I’ve had my insecurities about The Auteur.  I’ve wondered when she would get sick of me – sick of my idiosyncrasies.  I wondered when the novelty of “us” would wear off.  Somehow, it all occurred to me Friday night just how much The Auteur truly loves me.  I know I’ve thought it before, but I don’t if I written this before:  I’m not afraid of the future anymore.  On the contrary, I’m absolutely psyched for it.  I know the life that I want.  I know who I want to spend it with; and to paraphrase Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally… I want it to begin as soon as possible.

Of course, there are still loose send for both of us to tie up with our exes.    My lawyer’s untimely passing has me asking more questions about my divorce than before.  And there’s the matter of Jabba telling me about The Kid seeing a counselor, but I’ll talk more about that in my next entry…

digging ourselves out

“…nothin’ lasts forever, even cold November rain” – W. Axl Rose

digging-out

a very familiar sight

The weather is finally breaking and people are starting to come out of their homes and resume their normal lives.  It’s kind of surreal:  local temperatures are about 35 degrees higher than they were 2 and a half days ago. Snow, arctic wind shears, sub-zero temperatures: I got to experience the entire Ice Age in just five days.

It occurred to me today that – and this may sound really melodramatic – that just like the weather, tough times do pass.  The holidays are over, the world is returning to its regularly scheduled routines.  My classes started this week – more or less given the snow days and I am more motivated I’ve been to finish school since I returned to Michigan.  People like  like to talk a lot about how important it is to have goals.  Recently, I have come to the realization that as important as it is to have something to work toward, it is equally important to have things to work for.

But back to my point: Being broke, feeling stuck in a seemingly never-ending divorce, dark skies, shitty weather – all of these things do come to an end.  This isn’t to say that life is perfect.  As always, it continues to be a work in progress. but I definitely feel like I’m turning a corner.

With the start of school and re-certification around the corner, I find myself wondering where I’ll find a job for the fall.  this time of the year inevitably make me look forward…and look back.  i wonder where I’ll be 9 months from now, or even 6 months from now.  The reality is that, just as I did ten years ago, I’m going to raise my proverbial sails to the wind and see where potential employment takes me.  I feel like experience has made me wise in this regard.  I’ve moved ‘cross country before. i know what it’s like; I know what it takes; and I know what I would do differently the second time around.

the seeds of a revolution

revolution definition

I’m not in the mood for New Year’s resolutions for 2014, I’m looking at starting a New Year’s Revolution.  I’m not interested in making little change to enhance my life.  I’m looking at making the massive modifications necessary to achieve the goals I have been setting for my life.Sadly  have spent the bulk of the 18 months since my separation drifting.  Even for a time after meeting The Auteur, I spent a good amount of time, going through the proverbial motions – half-assing school, work…drifting.

As I have stated before, I got comfortable living with my parents. I wasn’t happy, but I was comfortable.  Since moving in with The Auteur, I’ve had known what I want, but haven’t known how to achieve those goals.    I’m not pretending I have all the answers – or that I even know all the questions – but I feel that I have much more direction to my life than I’ve had in years.

  • I am turning 40 this year.  Forty. FORTY!
  • I need to get my teaching certificate re-instated.  Period.  I would like to have that done by the end of this school year.
  • I need to get a new car.  Not necessarily a new car, but at least a new-to-me car.
  • I need to find a way to get The Kid up to Michigan at least twice this year:  for 1 month during the summer and a week at Christmas time.  I would like to also possibly make a trip to see him down South.
  • I would like to plan at least one vacation with The Auteur this year.  I’m not sure where yet – I do have some ideas – but we need to get outta Dodge for a few days or a week at least once this year.
  • I want to blog much more frequently.
  • I have another idea or two in the works; but quite honestly, they are so cool that  I don’t want to even discuss them in the event that they don’t come together.
  • No more secrets.  no more lies.  No more bullshit.

I’ve spent the last 18 months trying to reassess who I am, where I’ve been and finally what I want.  It is now time for me to GET what I want.  This blog  will most likely take on a more pro-active tone in the days, weeks and months to come.  Stay tuned.

What is past is prologue” – William Shakespeare.  The Tempest

THE BEGINNING.

coming clean

As I type this tonight, I am in South Carolina, so that I can pick up The Kid tomorrow for his Christmas visit.  The Old Man and I made the drive down last night.  The weather was about as good as we could have possibly hoped for – especially given the time of year.  

Jabba and I were exchanging e-mails earlier today – making arrangements for tomorrow’s “exchange”.  I think she assumed that The Auteur had made the trip down with me.  In one of her e-mails, she went on a rant about being uncomfortable with the idea of The Kid staying in a hotel room with a stranger.  By “stranger” I assume Jabba meant a person who was a stranger to her; because The Kid and The Auteur obviously know each other.  It was odd. She never came out and said anything about The Auteur directly.  she had voiced her feelings about The Kid being around “my girlfriend” but made no specific mention of The Auteur in today’s e-mail.

It’s been strange.  I know that – at least – since my trip to Myrtle Beach in September, Jabba has been aware of The Auteur. Obviously she doesn’t know how serious we are, or that we’ve been living together – let alone for how long.  But it occurred to me today that the time has come for full disclosure. The proverbial dust is finally settling.  Our divorce is within days of being finalized.  We are at a point where we no longer owe each other anything emotionally. But Jabba does need to know how serious The Auteur and I are.  She has to understand that if The Kid is going to be with me, than he is also going to be around The Auteur.  And in order to do that, Jabba and The Auteur will, inevitably, have to meet someday.  And that is going to have to happen sooner rather than later.

Ideally, this is a conversation that I would rather have face-to-face than via e-mail, but given our current living situations, that is not realistic.  I must admit that even thinking about giving Jabba the rundown has felt extremely liberating; not unlike when I finally made the decision to de-friend her from on Facebook.

A Facebook hiatus

facebook friends

this says it all

All in all, I think that Facebook is a wonderful form of communication.  I love being able to communicate with friends in a quick , nearly universal medium.  i love being able to catch up with long-lost friends whom I haven’t seen or spoken to in years.  I love the links, the memes, the photos and yes, the Bitstrips.  For a little while, I to was addicted to my favorite Facebook games:  Mafia Wars, Citville and eventually MLB Ballpark Empire.  I even love the story of Facebook’s creation, as depicted in the book The Accidental Billionaires and the movie The Social Network.    I am always baffled how Facebook was somehow able to be both cool for the college kids AND their parents; yet completely avoided any “uncool” phase.

Of course, I am a human being and I’ve felt the sting of Facebook in all it’s various forms.  Like many, I too, am often fooled by the illusion that Facebook is socializing itself, rather than a means of socialization.  As a teacher, I can attest that probably 50% of all the fights that start in any high school in America probably stem from something that one student said about another.

In my time on Facebook, I’ve pissed off my immediate family members with random posts expression my general feelings or mood at a moment.  I’ve almost certainly offended “Facebook friends”  with my political posts, my language and my attitudes towards things in popular culture.  Like many other Facebook users, I’ve gotten into my fair share of arguments with people whom I have never met, never spoke to, never even been Facebook friends with.

My first really bad experience with a Facebook post comes to mind:  A few years back, as I was in town for the holidays.  As my stay was winding down and people were starting to get on each others nerves the way that they do when one has house guests, I wrote the Facebook post “I feel like Ive worn out my welcome”.   This mortified my mother and- according to her – resulted in several relatives asking “what’s going on over there?”

Facebook is a place where people can say and do things without fear of consequence.  Because of it’s almost lightning-like infiltration into our culture, people confuse it – a tool for socialization – with the act of socialization itself.  People use it as a soapbox to have their voices heard by as many people as possible.  People use it as a source of affirmation.  We value the events of our daily life by how many ‘likes” our status updates get.  Furthermore, we use it as a means to brag.  “Hey world, look what I did today”.  Hell, I’m guilty of all of these things myself.

Facebook is a wonderful tool.  It has made probably made communication easier than it has even been before.  But like all good things in life, many Facebook users have taken things too far.  Sometimes we rely too heavily on it.  The reality is that my actions, interactions and indiscretions in social media, this very blog and the internet in general  have probably done more to undermine my relationships and friendships that most of my face-to-face interactions.

There’s an old saying that “ignorance is bliss”.  Although I hate being left in the dark on things, sometimes I think this expression is absolutely true.  Sometimes – not always but sometimes too much information – or worse, not enough information that we perceive to be too much information – can be a bad thing.  I’m certainly guilty of perceiving Facebook to be The Gospel of the Digital Age.   If it’s on Facebook, it must be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

This line of thought brings me to Jabba – and my inevitable decision to de-friend her.  It was admittedly one of the best decisions I have made throughout my divorce process.  I don’t need to hear about her crap.  Status updates are just digital PR and spin.  It’s what the user wants us to hear and it is never the end-all, be-all truth.

On the other side of the same coin, Facebook relationships are not relationships are not real relationships – however much they may appear to be; nor is Facebook flirting real flirting.  When these things move from Facebook to real-life, that is another story entirely.

This brings me to The Auteur.  I have blown Facebook postings out of proportion with her in the past.  These are the kinds of things that, had I never been on Facebook, I would have never seen; never would have heard and would never have phased me. Sadly, these incidents and the way in which I chose to handle them  plague my relationship with her to this day.  Unfortunately, I cannot change the past, but I can make changes to prevent the same mistakes from happening again.  If the Facebook platform is a common denominator in all of these scenarios – my mom, Jabba, The Auteur,  then it’s time take a step back.

I am going to be taking something of a hiatus from Facebook. Although I’ve pissed off a lot of strangers on it, I feel much worse about the family friends and loved one I have hurt and angered through my actions there.  I’ve become too dependent on it and I have blown out of proportion too many things I have seen there.   I am not going cold turkey and I won’t be giving it up forever.  I will continue to blog.  In fact, I hope to focus more on blogging.  Since going public, my blog has been viewed by people in 7 countries and I’m already to the point where I have to continue writing if I want more views.  I want to expand on that.

But most of all, I want to re-focus on people. Not the things they chose to post, or fragments of conversations; but real people and the things say and do in the real word.

…and into the fire?

natural-gas-flameThis is the second part of a two-part entry.  When I originally wrote part one, I had a decidedly different article in mind for part two.  Given today’s events, it seemed entirely appropriate to re-visit this entry.  Click HERE to read part one.

The Auteur and I were up late last night and in turn, slept in late today.  When i first checked my e-mail today I saw an e-mail from my attorney’s office.  The attachments on said e-mail included the final settlement to my divorce proceedings.

Maybe I should provide a little back-story before I go on my rant here:

One of the biggest hang-ups during these settlement negotiations – at least on my side thus far – has been a “personal loan” that Jabba had included and insisted that I pay back to her.  Now, admittedly, near the end of our marriage, there were a few bills that i asked her for assistance in paying.  These were utility payments – not credit cards or other personal bills that I had; household bills that we, as a married couple, were both getting use of.

Fast forward to Summer 2013 as we were inching toward an eventual court date.  Greenie asks me about this “personal loan”.  I explain to him that the amount Jabba and I agreed to was $583.00.  Again, I wasn’t crazy about it, but I was willing to cut my losses to move things along.  Greenie seemed surprised at the amount.  He told me that Jabba’s lawyer told her in was approximately $2000.00 – which, coincidentally, sounds to me like the amount of Jabba’s legal fees.  At this point, Greenie assured me that he would insist on paperwork to back up Jabba’s claim.

September 2013:  Our day in court.  I had planned on visiting and taking The Kid to Myrtle Beach when I received a summons to appear in court just before said visit.  The day I arrive in South Carolina, I get a call from Greenie claiming that he and Jabba’s lawyer have reached a settlement and our court appearance will now be for a final hearing.  He gives me a rough summary of the settlement over the phone.  I ask to see a copy of the settlement before going into court.  He gives me a story about how it hasn’t been written up yet, but it will be drawn up by Jabba’s lawyer.

We go into court, and I , essentially, lie under oath – telling the judge that I have read and agree to the terms of the settlement even though I have not seen the final agreement.  The judge declares the divorce to be official.  It is, literally, all over except for the paperwork.

Almost immediately upon leaving court, I begin pestering Greenie about seeing the final agreement.  He tells me that he doesn’t have it – as Jabba’s lawyer has to write up the actual language of it.

October 2013:  When I once again ask Greenie for the final agreement, he explains to me that it was sent on to the judge; but not to worry because we’ll have 10 days to review it once it comes back from him.

December 2, 2013:  I receive an a-mailed copy of the Final Order. It makes no mention of the few concessions I have asked for from Team Jabba.  Neither Greenie nor his paralegals will return my phone calls.

I am absolutely beside myself.  Jabba is about to get everything she wanted – and then some.  I’m about to get hosed.  I walked away with and am now getting nothing.  I’m not sure if I even have a leg to stand on, but I am considering filing a grievance with the state bar association for how ineffectively he has handled my divorce since day one.

I’ll save my rant on Christmas visitation for another post.

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