Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Time to get busy

I took the plunge.

I'm meeting an attorney next week. A family law specialist.

I just want to make sure I know the proper steps that need to be taken, and what hopes I have toward securing full custody of my daughter and my personal belongings.

I have to admit I feel a little dishonest doing this; a little disloyal. To this moment Cindy has shown no inclination toward asking for custody of Christina for herself nor keeping the house. But I realize this could change overnight, especially since she's receiving infinitely wise counsel from all her divorced friends and newly acquired boyfriend (yes, a quick mover, isn't she?).

So next Tuesday afternoon I find out what my cards are.


It's going to be a long week...

Friday, November 26, 2004

Thanksgiving

Click here for mood music

We went in to the office for a couple of hours - Christina labored away on her coloring book and I tried to get some work done - then drove home, put the ham in the oven (my first ham, y'all!), brought down several dozen boxes of Christmas decorations and plenty of cobwebs from the attic, and took the dogs for a holiday walk around the neighborhood. It was a lovely day in South Florida!

The ham was delicious, the wine was fine, and the company was superb! The football wasn't too bad either. Before we dug into the food, we went around the table (both of us) and spoke aloud about the things we were grateful for. Christina finalized that portion of the afternoon with a moving remark that went, "And I'm thankful for my dear Daddy, who's pretty, and who I love so, so much!!!" It brought tears to my eyes.

After lunch we hung the outdoor lights, then came inside and put our Christmas tree together. It looks terrific!

Later there was still enough time for a bike ride. Then off we went to walk my sister's dog, who's house-sitting for a few days. My cousin should be picking him up today, if she gets around to it. Meanwhile, I have to go by there at least twice a day to let the poor guy out and check his food and water. It wouldn't be a big deal if we didn't live fifteen miles away. I'd bring him to my house but he's got this insatiable desire to rape my poor epileptic Rocky. Dude's got enough to deal with without having to worry about some 120 pound monster trying to hump him all day long.

All in all, a successful holiday. I'll admit that I got choked up a few times and may have even moistened my handkerchief a little, but overall I did okay. It is, after all, the first major holiday I've spent away from my wife in the last twelve years. It's hard not to feel a little nostalgic for the good years we've left behind. So many broken dreams...

I'd like to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! Belated perhaps, but sincere nonetheless. Have a wonderful weekend!!!


Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Working again

It always seems like I'm in the wrong business.

I don't recall a single job I've had, where I was off for a holiday weekend.

Had lunch with a friend of mine today. He's taking off with his girlfriend tomorrow evening, driving out to Orlando where he'll stay until Sunday at another friend's timeshare resort. How do all these people get so much time off?

I'm going to be coming in on Thanksgiving, at least half a day, if things go well. I'll have my daughter with me. No day care service on Thanksgiving Day. No big deal really, we don't have any plans. We usually had everybody over to our house, but this year things are different. My sister's out of town, but I'm still puzzled that we didn't get any invitations from anyone. Not that I feel like going anywhere, but it would have been nice to be asked.

I'm planning on buying a ham and putting up our Christmas decorations. Christina's been driving me crazy to do that, so she should enjoy it. That, and throwing up some balls on the new hoop I'm putting in tonight. It'll be okay. At least we've got each other.


Friday, November 19, 2004

It's another day...

Click here for mood music

I get up earlier every morning now, trying to pack more activities into
each day. There's more to do, and I've only myself to get it done.

Once showered, I begin to wake my daughter up. I turn on the TV and put on
cartoons, trying to get her attention. I shave. I wake her up again. It's a
slow process. She can't understand why she has to get up and get dressed
before sunrise. It may as well be the middle of the night.

I get dressed and nag at Christina to put her clothes on. We pick her
clothes out the day before, because she's so damn picky. Even so, she takes
forever.

Meanwhile, I let the dogs out. I set up Fluke's kennel cage, clean it up a
little and add fresh food and water. I ended up buying the cage two weeks
ago, when he ate half my couch after we were gone for only three hours.
It's too hot to leave him outside. The cage has worked wonders. He even
walks in voluntarily when I call him over. It's nice not to have my home
destroyed while I'm gone. He should be done with it in a couple of weeks.

Rocky takes his medicine. I fix Christina some breakfast and take out the
trash.

By this point I'm always running behind. No matter how much more time I
give myself. I start up the car to let it warm up.

I feed Christina myself, to hurry things up. She brushes her teeth. I fill
up Rocky's dishes with fresh food and water and hand both dogs some new chews.

The dirty dishes go in the sink to be washed in the evening. I leave a
light on and the TV on ESPN so the mutts have some kind of distraction.
Then we run out to the car and head out to the Day care center. We try to
make it there by 7am.

Not quite a routine yet, though I'm trying to make it one. I'm doing what I
can to be an efficient, self-sufficient single parent. I don't pay any mind
to the reality of my situation or the pain in the pit of my stomach.

See, she's left me. And though I'm ready for her departure, I can't just
stop loving her. I can fill my daily life chock full of activities, and
bury myself in work so as not to have a free second to give her any
thought, but I can't keep her out of my mind entirely. I don't want her
with me anymore, but it's hard to accept that she's no longer a part of me.

I have to take down her pictures I lay all our wedding photos face down but
when she comes around during the day she stands them back up Christina will
want some of them in her bedroom Cindy why do you keep coming by what's the
deal why isn't all your stuff outta here must you linger do you think you
can have it both ways try it out with someone else and if it doesn't work
come back home I don't think so I don't want you back you can't have your
cake and eat it too quit eating my groceries don't wash my clothes don't do
the dishes I'll take care of it here's the title to your car you pay for
the transfer your insurance expires next month I don't care what you do I
signed it off right there it's your problem you want me to haul your stuff
off somewhere I can bag it and put it in the attic anywhere just get it out of
my sight I'm trying to move on I'm trying to get my life back on track I
don't want you popping in and out of my life I'm not begging you to come
back can't you see that I'm ready to move on I want my privacy I'm not over
at your place barging in all the time let me have my space I don't want to
be reminded of you I'm taking the pictures down why'd you have to fuck up my life

Breakups are never easy.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

I'm dyin' over here

Don't unreasonable clients drive you crazy?

I've got this one client who blames everything that goes wrong with the world on us. She is convinced that we are somehow responsible for every agency, airline, terminal, government official, trucking company and natural disaster that has any form of contact with her cargo at any given time. It drives me nuts!

We control her freight once it's here. Other than that, we've got nothing to do with it! But if for some reason, her agent in South America neglected to advise her that the shipment was delayed, or the airline it was flying on carelessly bumped her boxes off the booked flight, she expects that we (not the South American agency, and not the airline) inform her that there will be a delay. Give me a damn break!

When there's a hurricane approaching, she expects us to keep her informed of its progress. Not the National Hurricane Center, no, that would be too simple, we've got to keep her informed.

Why, why, why? Why is it we have to let people like her call the shots? I hate the fact that we're so dependent on her business that we have to bend all our rules and adjust all our practices. AAAAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! It just drives me nuts!!!

I need a beer, but I'm on a diet. I need a smoke, but I quit six years ago. I'll settle for a hug and a kiss from my favorite little girl!



Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Thank you, thank you...to everybody, thank you!

Now that my title is back up, I'd like to thank Mia and the folks down at Ciao! My Bella! for the wonderful new design on my blog. It's nice that somebody takes pity on those of us who are HTML challenged!

And I can't begin to express enough appreciation for all the kind comments and emails I've received since my wife and I broke up. I never thought the blogging community could be so warm and caring. You've all been there for me, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It's made all the difference in the world.

:-)

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

New and improved Mick

You know what I'm gonna do? I'm gonna knock off twenty pounds, buy a treadmill, eat better, feel better, and find myself a new woman! Hell, I've given myself for so long to the same person that I'm not sure how I'm going to go about it. But they're there, they're out there...I'm sure if I open up my eyes a little and stare through the mist, I can find somebody pleasant enough. There's no reason why I should waste away in loneliness because my marriage went down the drain. Is there? I mean, obviously it's not that simple, I have my daughter to think of. But shouldn't I have more? Don't I deserve more?

It comes down to confidence in the end. After a failed relationship, I can't help but feel undeserving of love and affection. Not entirely, no, I don't think I'm that awful. But I do have the nagging sensation that no matter what happens, if I get into another relationship, I'm going to fail again. Maybe it's because for so many years I thought my wife was my soulmate. She was the one, the woman I would grow old with. We envisioned playing together with our grandchildren some day. Your self-esteem has a way of falling apart when your dreams come crashing down.

But I can do it. I can break through the barriers that surround me and make it to another day. I've been down before. I've had my head knocked off but I'm still on my fucking feet. You.can't.knock.me.out. I refuse to go down!!!

It's the new Mick, I tell 'ya! Get outta my way people, I'm coming out!!! So you better get this party started!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Traffic ticket

Life is hard enough without these bastards lurking in the shadows.

I have nothing but admiration and appreciation for law enforcement. Theirs is a thankless job that requires them to put their lives at risk daily, just to keep law and order.

But those motor cops that sneak around barricades, hiding with a radar gun in their hands at carefully chosen spots where poor inadvertent drivers unwittingly exceed the speed limit - because it's always in a stretch where the posted speed limit is far below what it need be -I say OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!!!

While I'm driving, daily, I hold in my road rage and fight hard to keep myself from going postal on other drivers. These are the people who completely ignore yield and stop signs, right of way, left and right turn only lanes, double yellow lines, slow-traffic-keep-right PLEASE!, and are an endless source of frustration and aggravation. They cut into lines, delay the people who are patiently waiting their turn to cross, and often force others into collisions. Those assholes never get stopped! I deal with them every day!

But no, you have to set up shop in a deserted highway, non-residential, where nobody is any worse for it, and trap poor saps like me on their way to work on a Saturday morning. Damn you! A $355 ticket. Here I am wondering how I'm going to pay for daycare, and you have to justify your measly existence by trying to destroy my life???

I can't repeat here the insults I kept mumbling under my breath while he wrote out my ticket, or the ones that I hollered at the top of my voice as I drove away with my windows closed. This is a family blog, after all. But be clear on this, I think you are the scum of the earth, hiding behind the guise of official business, and I wish for nothing but misery to befall you and your family for generations to come!

I'll fight it, of course. I'll take a day off work and go argue in court. And I hope that blood sucking piece of shit is there to testify against me. I may get stuck with a hefty fine, but I'm going to tell that sonofabitch what I think of him.

There.

I feel better already.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Post Election humor

To prove that I haven't lost all my sense of humor, here's a little something I received via email. Sorry, I don't know who to give credit for it. But it's too damn cute to pass up.

The election is over,
the results are now known.
The will of the people
has clearly been shown.
We should show by our thoughts
and our words and our deeds
That unity is just what our country now needs.
Let's all get together.
Let bitterness pass.
I'll hug your elephant.
You kiss my ass.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Til death do us part...

Well, ain't life a bitch. On Sunday my wife moved out. I've got a million things to sort out right now, like daycare and such (my daughter's staying with me). It's all probably for the best, but I'm still looking at some emotional trauma in the coming weeks. I know I'm not that strong.

Not sure if I'll be blogging much these days. Thanks for coming by.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Eleven years

Click here for mood music

She proposed to me before I proposed to her. Kind of.

We were trying to get her dad to co-sign my new electricity account, so I wouldn't have to put down a deposit. He was justifiably reluctant. "Honey, I don't think so," he told her. "Next month you guys break up and I'm left as a cosigner for some guy you used to date."

"Dad," she told me she'd said, "I'm probably going to marry this guy."

Well, this sort of put the brakes on her story. Marriage was not a subject we had addressed. Suddenly Cindy felt embarrassed. This was an obvious indiscretion. I fell silent and looked away, unwilling to fall for the bait.

"Hey, I'm not trying to pressure you into anything," she said, "that wasn't my intention. It's just that I think we have something real here, don't you?"

I fidgeted, stalled.

"Sure, it's real, but lets not jump into anything here," I said.

"I'm not looking for a proposal," she stressed, then paused. Her eyes opened wide and they locked onto mine. "Maybe I'm proposing to you."

I was dumbstruck. I felt my back against the wall, I couldn't breathe, there was no room to move, nowhere to hide.

"Do you want me to get down on my knees?" she asked, with a smirk.

This was too much.

"Okay, okay, enough of that," I said, waving my hands dismissively at her. "I'm not about to get cornered into a decision like this. When the time comes, and I feel ready to take that step, I'll make the proposal and you can either accept or not. Until then I'd like to get one thing clear. I may not be a huge traditionalist nor a staunch conservative, but when I dance, I still prefer to lead."

We left it at that.

A couple of months later, while we were helping a friend move and we were sweaty and dusty and smelly, I sat her up on an empty table and asked for her hand in marriage. She said yes.

We set a date for October, calculating paychecks and weekends. Halloween. We would drive up to Lake Tahoe on a Saturday, buy the marriage license, and get married on Sunday. I would take two days off work and we'd return on Tuesday.

Right away we decided not to have any family or friends there. It would just complicate matters. Besides, my last relationship had ended over stress related issues brought about by wedding arrangements. I didn't feel like going through that again.

Through a travel agent (this was before the internet) we rented a lovely cabin in the woods; hired a reverend and a photographer, set a time and packed our bags. Then off we went in our rented car.

To anybody who's never been in the Lake Tahoe area, particularly in the fall, you have no idea how breathtaking the world can be. The colors that bounce off the lake's smooth surface, the thick forests and winding roads, the majestic houses built deep inside the brush. It's hard not to keep a permanent silly smile on your face when you're there.

Our cabin was lovely. There were pine trees all around us, and the grounds were covered in cones. Cindy had a blast collecting the nicest among them, when we'd go out for walks.

On Halloween she sent me out to find a flower shop. Anything to make a wedding bouquet with.

I looked everywhere. All the flower shops were closed. Finally, in a grocery store, I found some assorted gladiolus. That's it.

I was dressed and ready, and I didn't want to be around Cindy while she was getting dressed. That would just drive me up the wall. I timed things so I would be back at the cabin with only a half hour to spare. When I arrived she was still in her bathrobe. She hadn't even showered yet. She'd been working on the decorations, putting candles and ribbons everywhere. I wanted to strangle her on the spot. The reverend, the photographer, and the neighbors from a nearby cabin who were going to serve as witnesses would be arriving within the next thirty minutes. And I just looooooove to socialize!

She snatched the gladiolus out of my hand, and with some wild flowers she'd picked up outside, she made a credible bouquet. Poor thing.

The doorbell rang prematurely and Cindy ran into the bedroom to get showered and dressed. Everybody arrived early. I started handing out beers and telling bad jokes. We talked about anything you can think of. I kept saying, "Oh, she'll just be another couple of minutes." And, "I'm sure she'll be out any second now!"

They stopped believing me after awhile, and started looking at their watches. Pretty soon we ran out of beer, worked through most of the rum, and I began to eye the champagne. Finally, an hour and a half after the scheduled time, she poked her pretty head out the door and called me over. "I'm ready," she said. "Start the music!"

I put everybody in their spots.

Due to our distaste for regular wedding marches, and thanks to our somewhat bohemian tendencies, we decided on Ravel's Bolero for our wedding theme. I placed the boombox above the fireplace and pressed play.

What we neglected to keep in mind was the fact that Ravel's Bolero begins low, then grows through a magnificent and slowly paced crescendo, until you have a fortisimo blast blaring out in the end.

Well, the piece was playing but you could barely hear it, and Cindy kept cracking the door open, darting me mean looks that shouted "do something!" So I kept raising the volume, until she was able to hear it.

She was a vision. It was at that moment when I finally realized what I was doing. I was tying myself down to one person. I was vowing to never stray, and to honor and protect her, and defend her against an ever more menacing world for the rest of my days. I was getting married. And I was marrying the most beautiful woman in the world.


Eleven years ago...man, how time flies!!! Really now, have you ever seen a more beautiful bride?

She was glowing, and smiling my way. I knew she was nervous. No longer children, her and I, we knew much about heartbreak. We were taking a giant leap of confidence into eachother's arms. And we were doing so willingly.

However, by the time the ceremony got under way, the music was so damned loud that we couldn't hear a word the reverend was saying. So I had to leave my bride's side, turn down the volume, then run back next to her.

We exchanged our I do's, were pronounced man and wife, and kissed for the first time as a married couple. For months afterwards, we couldn't stop ourselves from referring to one another as "my wife" or "my husband." We were so thrilled to be able to say it, and to feel such pride in our spouses.

It was a long time ago. We've been through many ups and downs, but such is life. I still wouldn't have missed it for anything in the world.



This is the "Top of the wedding cake" picture!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Shoebox memories





Click here for mood music

I stumbled upon her picture recently, going through an old shoebox. It's faded now, and slightly yellowed. The years have passed and taken our luster with them.

Her letters seem quaint now, and disjointed. Like they'd been written to somebody else. It had to be somebody else, because there's no way I could've done the things I remember doing back then.

We were freshmen in high school then; we shared a class. Clara was her name. Alex, who was both her boyfriend and a buddy of mine, changed schools halfway through the year and left her as prey to hungry wolves.

It's not that there weren't other pretty girls around, there were. But we always tend to covet our neighbor's wives, you know. There is something particularly enticing about romancing a woman whom you've secretly yearned for in the shadows.

Clara was very attractive. She had a shapely figure, for a fifteen year old, and she walked like a woman; long, curly dark hair, great legs, a kind smile, and deep brown eyes. I had the hots for her.

With Alex out of the picture I offered her a shoulder to lean on. She'd say: "Oh, it's no use, we never see eachother anymore, he never calls me, it's just not gonna work out."

I'd reply, "Of course it is, you just have to give it time, he'll come around."

I've always had a charming smile. It wasn't long before she fell for me. Walking alongside the bushes after school one day, brushing our bodies close to eachother, I quickly curved my arm around her waist and pulled her lips up to mine. We kissed deeply, passionately.

She lived far away. I would walk her to the bus stop after school each day and we'd hold hands and make out along the way. On the weekends, I would take a bus out to see her.

Eventually, I got what I was after. She caved in on a Sunday afternoon when her mother left us home alone while she attended mass. It was quick and painless, and not very romantic. I remember taking off almost immediately. Teenage boys aren't very considerate.

After that she became very clingy, almost desperate to be around me all the time. Though I liked the adulation, all that neediness turned me off.

She planned this big night for us to celebrate our first month together. Her mother was going to be out and Clara was making us a candlelight dinner. She wanted it to be a special night, when we could exchange presents and maybe some kind of vows. I don't know.

The day before the big night, standing outside the room where choir practice was being held, with my friends waiting for me in the parking lot to go do some serious partying,I decided to break things off with her.

The cruelty of my words and behavior don't escape me now, but I don't think I saw it the same way then.

We were saying good-bye, kissing below a willow tree. I took her hands in mine and shifted my eyes between her and the parking lot beyond.

"I think we better call this whole thing off," I said.

"What," she asked, surprised, "tomorrow night? But everything's ready!"

"Yeah, I know," I said, glancing down at my shoes,"but I don't think I can make it."

"What do you mean? We've been planning this all week!"

"Well, see, that's just it. I don't think I want to be with you anymore."

She stared blankly at me, as tears welled up in her eyes.

"It's not that I don't like you, I do," I said. "Actually, I'm just scared because I think I'm falling in love with you."

"So this is what you want?" she asked, now sobbing and shaking, holding on to me in desperation, "now that I'm loving you and needing you, you want to walk away? Because you're afraid of where it will lead???"

She dug her arms into the insides of my sweater sleeves, grabbing onto my bare arms. I couldn't look into her imploring eyes.

"I'm sorry, I just can't do it any longer," I said. "I've gotta go. The guys are waiting for me."

I tried to pull away, but she wouldn't let go. I ended up dragging her over the grass, while she held onto my clothes and cried out like a lunatic.

When I finally got rid of her and left her sobbing in a puddle of tears, I could only feel relief. Relief that the scene was over, and relief that we were no longer involved. It's hard to explain, but my fear of commitment as a young man made it hard to feel relaxed if I had, at the time, any serious romantic entanglements with a girl.

My buddies were all high-fiving me when I reached the car. Whooping and hollering about how I'd left the girl, broken and humiliated, lying on the ground with her face buried in her hands.

As low as this was, I went even lower the following month.

The guys and I went to a party. I didn't know she'd be there. When we saw how few women were there, I decided to patch things up with Clara. Only for the night. She called me a few days later, and in what has probably been the most cowardly act I've ever committed, I handed somebody the phone and asked them to tell her to fuck off.

I went to another school the following year and never saw Clara again.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

It's Shaq-attack time!!!


We're going all the way this year, baby!!!

I've been waiting for this to come around for awhile. It's just what I needed to put that other silly contest to rest.

Go Heat!!!

A sad day...

Well, I actually broke my vow (no politics on my blog) and wrote an extra long rant on the election. But when I hit publish, Blogger ate it up and now there's nothing left. It's just as well. I imagine some people might consider it offensive. Particularly since at some point I referred to the incumbent as a steaming pile of human excrement.

But we'll survive. Hopefully there will be clear skies ahead and we can remove this ubiquitous election from our midst. Surely there must be more to write about.

I hope all you republicans get what you hoped for. I can only expect you hoped for something good, or at least better than the last four years. I don't think we could handle another four years of the same.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Halloween 2004!


Princess Christina

I'm back!

Didn't mean to disappear like that. Thanks for all your kind wishes and inquiries!

As some of you may know, I had my parents over last week when I took some time off to get some home projects done. Well, they were staying in my spare room, which ordinarily doubles as my computer room. So there weren't any opportunities to blog or answer my email, even if I'd had the time.

I've got lots to blog about, but I'll have to start tomorrow. Right now I'm still swamped with tons of backed up crap at work, and, well, though I'd rather be blogging, you can imagine which activity actually pays the bills!

So, I'll be posting soon, with pictures and all.

By the way, yesterday was my eleventh wedding anniversary, and I wanted to post something about that. I think I'll post one or two of our wedding pics.