Thursday, January 29, 2004
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
When the divorce was finally over and the house was sold we each moved into our respective apartments with the belongings that were now legally ours and ours alone. I began to suspect that I might have made an error in judgment the first night I spent in my own apartment. There it all was... my Lonaberger Baskets, the best of my wall groupings from Home Interiors ( I painstakingly picked out each and every piece and designed the groupings myself), the comforter from our bed with the matching pillow shams, sheets and dust ruffle (his new girlfriend was NOT going to sleep on MY comforter), my collectors plates from the Bradford Exchange, the movie camera, all the silk flowers and plants, the 2 pictures of the Eiffel Tower hand painted by "Starving Artists" in Mexico, all our photo albums, the side by side refrigerator freezer with ice maker and water dispenser (and all the magnets that were on it except for the police ones I didn't want), and my most prized possessions, every single Christmas Decoration we ever owned. We had over $5000 worth of them and I wasn't going to let him have one single wreath, candle or bow. It started to dawn on me that I didn't have a bed to sleep on or a couch to sit on. I had no dishes, silverware, pots or pans, no kitchen set, washer or dryer, no TV, VCR or stereo. I didn't even have any lamps. So as I lay there on the floor, pulling my comforter around me and watching the lights twinkle on my mini Christmas tree, it wasn't long before I realized that my ex-husband would always have possession of the only balls I truly wanted to see hanging from that tree.
Monday, January 26, 2004
Shortly after I separated from my ex-husband I got a lawyer and filed for a divorce. Our 27 plus years of marriage were now written out on paper; sectioned, claused and neatly paragraphed. Then they were scrutinized, itemized, notarized, and anything but finalized. There were Interrogatories to be filled out by each of us, two inches thick. I don't know who did more fighting, the lawyers or us. But at least we could fight for free. They charged $250 an hour. Like mighty Generals, our lawyers led us into battle, barking out 'Orders' from their mahogany desks in memos, letters, faxes, and phone calls. My husband and I engaged in fierce combat and espionage behind enemy lines. He took my Chevy Blazer (which had already been paid off) right out of my apartment parking lot, and left me the Chevy Beretta (which still had three years left to be paid on the loan). I took what money I felt I was entitled to out of our joint bank account, before he thought of doing it. Then he had all of our assets frozen, and I called a Realtor and put our house up for sale. He changed the message on our answering machine. I put in a Change of Address and had all our mail delivered to my apartment. He took all of the things that he knew I wanted, and hid them in a storage facility. I snuck into the house, and cut off the pant legs of his brand new suit and then hung it back up in the closet.
He threatened to give my Stray Sock Basket to his mother. There was no end to the ingenious ways we could get even with each other. And the lawyers sat back, sending out monthly, itemized bills. We soon realized that if this kept up, we wouldn't have any money left to fight over. So we agreed to agree. Fourteen months after I filed, we were finally...divorced. (cont tomorrow)
Sunday, January 25, 2004
Only a few items in a divorce clearly belong to one partner. The 'Suzanne Sommers Thigh Master' usually goes to her. The 'Electric Ear and Nose Hair Trimmer' usually (hopefully) goes to him. But most of the marital stuff is up for grabs. The stuff you end up fighting over seems ridiculous to everyone but you and your estranged mate. For example, several years ago, I bought a Lonaberger Wicker Basket to use as a 'Stray Sock Basket' in the laundry room. Finally, we had a place to put all of those stray socks found alone, at the bottom of the clothes dryer. I found it in the catalog, picked out the designer lining, and paid for it myself. I'm also the one who named it 'The Stray Sock Basket', which eventually became very important. In all of our legal correspondence regarding 'Equitable Distribution of Marital Assets' the basket was legally referred to as 'The Stray Sock Basket'. My ex-husband felt that it should be awarded to him because he was the one who did all the laundry. He believed that he had become dependent on having such a basket, and that being forced to do laundry without it would be more of a hardship for him, than for me. I had witnesses however, who were willing to testify that they not only saw me mating socks on many occasions, but that I was a founding member of the local Laundromat Committee to reunite lost socks with their owners in the community. I had pictures of myself actually crocheting socks with the basket beside me, and a home video of me participating in a bike-a-thon, with the basket attached to my handlebars (I did fake it for the video... I couldn't make it around the block on a bike but I heard the Judge was an avid bicyclist). I know that was wrong, but I really wanted that basket. It was bad enough that the OTHER WOMAN was going to be mating my ex-husband's socks; I wasn't about to let her do it in MY basket! (cont'...)
Saturday, January 24, 2004
Looking at my unpacked boxes I realized that once you get married, you no longer have any stuff that just belongs to you. Inside the boxes were things that belonged to me, my ex-husband, Ray, his ex-wife, and now stuff that Ray and I purchased together. Each partner wants ALL of it. SHE picked it out, found a place to display it, dusted it, polished it, and glued it back together every time one of the kids broke it. HE never liked it in the first place, had a fit over the price, complained when he had to carry it home, and if it were left up to him, would have just thrown it out whenever one of the kids broke it. But still, HE thinks it should go to him because... SHE wants it. Conversely... HE was the one who found it at Home Depot, had to talk HER into letting him buy it, made room for it in the garage, memorized the instruction manual, and HE was the one who planned on using it someday. All she did was complain about the price, the time he spent reading the manual, and told everyone that he ever showed it off to that he had never even used it yet. But still, SHE thinks it should go to her because... HE wants it. Let me tell you what I got...
Friday, January 23, 2004
So after the Obituary is in the paper, the Viewing is over and your eulogy recited, where are you going to spend the rest of eternity? I'm still undecided. It's forever you know. It's not like you can change your mind after you're there. I think I'm definitely against burial. It's cold, dark and wet. There are bugs. Plus the family will feel compelled to traipse out to the cemetery to visit me, and I don't want any of their holidays to include a trip to the grave yard. So I guess I'll pick cremation, but where do I want my ashes? I always loved the movie, 'The Bridges of Madison County'. I thought it was so romantic when Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep had their ashes mingled together and scattered off a local bridge so they could be together forever. But if I die before Ray, he will have to hold on to my ashes until HE dies. Should I risk being misplaced at the bottom of some box, unceremoniously mixed with an assortment of paper clips, key rings and batteries? Will they even be able to FIND me when Ray passes on? The idea of being scattered in an exotic place is intriguing, but there's no guarantee where you're going to land. I'd hate to spend eternity on the windshield of an old truck that just happened to be driving by. Maybe I should just wait for Ray in the 'wall' (our columbarium). You know, get the place ready, make friends with the neighbors, get our new social after-life going. Plus... I could pick out a really beautiful urn for myself. The kids would probably still feel obligated to visit, but at least the columbarium is heated and air-conditioned. I just hope they remember my new neighbors may be watching when they do. I'd hate to over hear, "Oh my GOD! Did you see what her daughter was wearing? To visit her mother's GRAVE!? Good thing she was DEAD already!"
GREAT NEWS! Upon further investigation I've discovered that you CAN have a viewing AND be cremated! It just doesn't get any better than that!
Thursday, January 22, 2004
So what DOES one wear when hosting your own viewing? I guess it doesn't matter if you've worn it before, or even if someone else is wearing the same exact outfit. You can't really die of embarrassment since you're already dead. However ... whatever you're wearing, you going to be wearing it FOREVER. So you better like it. A LOT. The one decision I haven't been able to make is do I want to be buried or cremated? Mausoleums are a nice idea, but you have to worry that yours might become the hangout for the local teenagers on the weekends. I've seen many caskets exhumed on television and it appears that water frequently seeps into them. A leaky basement is bad enough. I couldn't stand being cold and wet. If I do go for the cremation several other concerns arise. You can't be embalmed if you want to be cremated. If you're not embalmed you can't have a viewing. So it's either cremation with no viewing, or viewing and burial but no cremation. And then what? If I'm cremated I'd like my ashes placed into a columbarium. That's a building in the cemetery where the walls have slots to house urns. I don't want my kids to be burdened with my ashes, or if I'm married at the time of my death, have to worry that his new wife will suck me up with the vacuum. The columbariums look like condos for dead people. It's easy to imagine all kinds of activities going on in there for the dearly departed residents to engage in. That could be fun. Still ... I've always wanted a nice viewing. A really fun one. With music, food, chocolate, all kinds of sweets, Christmas decorations, drinking, singing and dancing. I envision a band escorting me to the cemetery like they do in New Orleans with saxophones and trombones playing old gospel hymns. I want everyone to have such a good time that they look forward to going to the next funeral like mine, even if they have to host their own. (continued ...)
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
I'm starting to accept the fact that not only am I over the hill, I'm sliding down the other side of it pretty quickly. I am not really a morbid person by nature, but I do think we should all have some sort of a plan for what lies ahead. Since I got married when I was 16 years old, I not only missed out on a wedding, I never got to go to the prom either. So I guess the one day in my life, where I will shine, where I will be the center of attention, where all eyes will be on me, will be at my ... funeral. It is rather irritating to think that on my glory day I'll be DEAD, and I probably won't look so good, but I'll do the best I can. Could somebody find me a make-up artist who doesn't use a spatula to smear it on for heaven's sake? And give the hair dresser a picture of me on a good hair day. There MUST be one somewhere. I always hated my profile so I'm sure I won't like it any better after I'm dead, so tilt my face to the side. Put false eyelashes on me. If you lay me out without a manicure I will haunt you till YOUR dying day. Don't forget my bra. I do NOT want to look saggy in my casket. I'd like high heels for the viewing but don't forget to take them back off and put on my fuzzy slippers before you ... put me under. If I'm married when I die I'd like to buried with my wedding ring on. I don't think the girls need to make a necklace out of it to remember me. I'm a Team Player so I'll do my part, too. If I have any say in it whatsoever, I will try my very best not to die when it's bitterly cold outside. Or swelteringly hot. Actually, I'll try not to die at all, but if I have to go, I'll try to be weather conscious. I'll also try not to die on anyone's birthday, anniversary, graduation or wedding day, or any other annual holiday. If I do go on someone's important day, please try your best to make light of it. You know a good sense of humor has always been one of my best qualities and it would be nice to always be remembered that way, too. (continued...)
Monday, January 19, 2004
Saturday, January 17, 2004
Thursday, January 15, 2004
They say it's going to be bitterly cold here in Jersey tonight. Who are they anyway? I don't think I've ever actually met one of them before. If we were to analyze this, we would have to assume that there is more than one, since we always refer to them in the pleural form. It's never 'he' or 'she' ... always 'they'. I would also guess that they are young. Most likely all under the age of thirty, since they seem to have an opinion on just about everything. If they were employed, married or had children, they wouldn't have time to just go around saying things. Maybe there aren't as many of them as we think there are. They just want us to think so. I know that I'm not one of them. No one has ever listened to anything I said before. Especially my kids. And yet I have heard all three of them refer to them many times in the past. OMG! Did you read what I just wrote? 'All three of ...THEM!' Is it possible that MY kids are actually ... THEM? It does kind of make sense. Each one of my kids has ALWAYS thought that they knew it ALL since the day they were born. And I DO have more than one child ... hence 'THEM.' Is it possible that my kids really do know everything? That every word they utter is carefully recorded so it can be repeated whenever necessary? Is this theory even POSSIBLE? Am I actually the mother of the chosen few? Of ... THEM? The Grand Poobahs behind every fact, speculation, prediction and rumor between Hollywood and Washington, D.C.? ME? MY KIDS?
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Monday, January 12, 2004
Friday, January 9, 2004
Wednesday, January 7, 2004
Monday, January 5, 2004
Finding a great Christmas present for Ray wasn't easy. I had to resort to slipping in a few items that could technically be construed as gifts that I might use more than he would. But I knew he would really enjoy them too. What middle-aged man wouldn't want a blow dryer with ionic heat that makes your hair shinny, smooth and less frizzy? And he will really be much happier now that all of his remote control devices are neatly organized in a big, beautiful, mahogany box with various sized compartments conveniently located beside the bed. But I wanted to get him something really special for Christmas. One he would treasure forever. Less than a week before the big day, I found the perfect gift! I knew that he really hated my 'Gone With The Wind' poster hanging above our bed. I was going to suprise him with a framed picture of a skier, but then I found something even better. One night, about a year ago, while Ray and I were enjoying a little too much wine, we were playfully arguing over which one of us loved the other one more. He never ceases to amaze me with his colorful imagination and prolific flow of words. He's going to kill me when he finds out that I wrote this, but he won the argument by saying that he loved me "more than all the penguins you can see with a pair of binoculars from really far away ... and that's a LOT!" We laughed at our silliness, but he has repeated that phrase to me many times since that night. When I found a huge picture of 19 penguins, playfully taking turns jumping into Arctic water off of an iceberg, I knew I found the perfect gift. Those penguins are now hanging above our bed and they can remind Ray of how much he loves me each and every time he enters the room! I only wish you could have seen the look of utter joy and delight on Ray's face when he opened that gift on Christmas morning! I think that was utter joy on his face...
Hmmm.... Now that I've read the comments below maybe Ray DID think it was a plasma TV! That would account for that look of utter joy when he opened it...