It’s been a bit rainy today, although it’s not been as rainy as it was yesterday. We took a walk down the hill to another hotel in town, which has a restaurant with decent food. We also spent more time at the hotel’s fabulous pool area. I will miss it as we make our way home to Wiesbaden tomorrow. On the other hand, I think we’re both ready to go home and see our dogs. We’re both worried about Arran.
I have enjoyed being at the Bareiss Hotel, but I would have enjoyed it more if not for a canine cancer diagnosis in our sweet Arran. He really is a unique soul, and we dearly love him. Unfortunately, this is just a shitty part of loving animals. If you do it right, you go through this.
I probably shouldn’t write this next bit, but I’m going to do it anyway… because it’s about Ex, and y’all know how I feel about her. I’ll keep it brief.
Ex has been tweeting about General Flynn. In her most recent tweet, she made a comment about broken military servicemembers…
Ex says, “…the same US military that says, ‘No man left behind.’ but fills the streets with homeless, mentally broken, physically challenged men and women of honor. Broken things CAN be repaired!” (I took the liberty of subtly correcting Ex’s punctuation.)
When I met Bill, he was very damaged due to the years he spent with Ex. He was barely able to survive on the amount of money he was withholding from his paycheck to send to her, as she shacked up with #3. He falsely believed that he was the sole reason for their divorce, when he was actually a victim of domestic violence. It was many years later when he finally told me about some of the worst things that happened to him during their marriage… things that would have landed her in prison if she were a man, and the abuse was reported. And yet, there she is on Twitter, spouting off bullshit about abused, broken, hurting people.
In Bill’s case, the military was a SAVIOR. It saved him from being stuck with her. Being at WAR was better than being with her. Safer, too.
I know… there’s nothing I can do about the lies she spews. But it makes me feel better to write about it. It helps me keep things from getting too twisted. Bill has literal scars from his years with her. He has emotional and mental scars, too. She doesn’t see it, though. She thinks he hurt her… and that was justification for ostracizing him from his daughters, trying to sabotage his family relations, and leaving him almost destitute, with shitty credit and a foreclosure and bankruptcy on his credit report.
The cognitive dissonance is astounding. She leaves her ex husbands and children damaged and broken and sends them out on their own with nothing. They’re still better off without her in their lives, even as they are left with significant trauma. She has a lot of nerve commenting on the military. But she is right about one thing. Broken things CAN be repaired. I am proud to be part of Bill’s recovery.
Sorry… just sayin’.
Well… I’ll be home tomorrow, so those of you who like my blog will soon see some new entries. I especially look forward to pumping some life into the travel blog. So, I hope you enjoy your Sunday. See you tomorrow, when I can type on my desktop computer again.
Good morning, folks. It’s still dark outside on this fall morning, as I prepare to pack a bag for five nights in the Schwarzwald. I am doing a load of laundry before we go, which gives me time to write a blog post before we load up the dogs and take them to the Hundepension. I will worry about Arran the whole time we’re gone, even though we’ve taken trips in the past when we’ve had dogs with cancer. The first time we lived in Germany, our late dog Flea had prostate cancer that was supposed to kill him within weeks. He lasted four months after he was diagnosed. I have a feeling Arran is going to be more like Flea than Zane, who lasted just one week after we found out about his cancer. Arran is slower than usual, and less interested in food, but he still wants to take walks and give and receive love. He still eats, too. It just takes him longer, and he’s a bit more finicky.
Last night, we were hanging out after dinner, and I decided to see what Ex was up to. Lately, I’ve had less to write about her, because there have been other things on my mind. But I do watch her from afar, because as we learned last spring, she’s got no shame about hitting up people in Bill’s family for money and other resources. I try not to spend much time surveilling her, though, because frankly, she doesn’t merit the attention… even though she posts things that leave me utterly dumbfounded.
I feel quite certain that Ex is a full blown narcissist, and narcissists are famously blind to themselves and their own hypocrisy. They also like to build a believable facade for the unwary. And sure enough, that’s what Ex is doing now.
Last night, I saw that she had responded to someone on Twitter who posted that “Donald Trump is finished.” I would love that to be true, although I don’t think it is. Trump will be finished when he’s dead.
Another person posted about how we’re all letting Trump “live rent free in our heads.” That’s when Ex decided to jump in with this comment:
I agree with this… bullies don’t remember the people they bullied. So if you forget the bully, he has no power. However, preventing him from bullying others, is a responsibility we all bear.
I wonder if she realizes just how incredibly tone deaf her comment is. You see, Ex is a bully herself. I can personally attest to the awful things she’s done to my husband, his family, and her children to get what she wants. She can express pretty words that sound right, but to those of us who have been on the receiving end of her antics, it just sounds like pure bullshit.
This is a woman who forces her children to divorce their fathers and change their surnames when she remarries. This is a woman who destroyed my husband’s relationships with his daughters, because she wanted to punish him more than she wanted her daughters to have access to both parents. This is a woman who made Bill’s daughters drop out of high school and get student loans, so she could skim the excess money for her own purposes. Then it was on them to pay back the loans. She is a bully, and a massive hypocrite. But at least she understands some basic psychology that pertains to bullies.
Someone else advised the original poster not to get his hopes up about Trump being finished. The person indicated that Trump always lands on his feet. And ex’s response was this:
Nope. Got it wrong there. He’s been coated in Teflon in the past, but as with all Teflon skillets, he’s worn through non-stick ability scratching too hard at the surface looking for purchase. There is no need to discuss him anymore. He is irrelevant. Abbott & DeSantos? Criminals!
Hmmm… she would know about Teflon. And she will also become irrelevant, as her last child becomes an adult.
Against my better judgment, I kept reading. Hey… giving her that narcissistic supply that she so desperately needs. She doesn’t seem to realize that she has some things in common with Trump. And that’s when her Twitter feed became absolutely rotten.
First, there were birthday greetings to Mark Hamill, who was apparently distraught at becoming older…
When it’s over, I really need to thank everyone who sent me such kind words yesterday. It’s overwhelming and very much appreciated. 🙏❤️-mh https://t.co/kPkzhlwXAY
I honestly don’t know, since I don’t follow Mark Hamill at all. I don’t care about Star Wars, though I know Ex is a big fan. Anyway, this is what Ex wrote:
I meant to say “your tears with mine.” I think I was too deep emotionally in the moment to get it right…
“Deep emotionally in the moment”? Because Mark Hamill had a birthday? Or because the voices in her head are all warped again? Who knows…
Then there was a tweet about Queen Elizabeth’s death. The tweet was made on September 8, but Ex replied yesterday with this…
I’m a yank now but a citizen of the Scotland through my bloodlines. My whole life, Her Majesty has been there, elegant, beautiful, humble, endearing… I will miss her so much. She is truly a singularity in our world, can never be replaced and must NEVER be forgotten.
When she was married to Bill, she was obsessed with Diana, Princess of Wales. But now the Queen was her rock? But it gets even more rotten as Ex falls down the rabbit hole of pretending to be someone and something she’s not. Someone else tweeted about Outlander, another show Ex likes. She responds thusly:
I dream of it because they’re my ancestors. I dream that perhaps my ancestors would welcome me to the fold and be my family where their progeny has failed me. I’m left longing for Scotland… to walk where they trod, to live where they lived. It may sound silly, but it’s my dream.
I have felt so very alone my whole life. The bastard child of a couple that adopted me out to a dysfunctional family. I hurt in so many ways. I found my birth family and was rejected by them. I’ve always felt that I am not of any value to anyone. Hence, the therapist in my life.
Someone gives her a little supply by writing that she’s a “child of God” and an amazing lady.
Funny… because when I met Bill, he was completely broke, due to her outrageous spending habits. She demanded a divorce over Easter 2000, while they– including the kids– were staying at Bill’s father’s house. At the time, she was trying to claim his family as her own, pushing Bill out into the cold in an effort to get him to conform to her demands. She didn’t know that he had allies, and a year later, we would be officially a couple. Bill and I have been to Scotland four times, because I have Scottish ancestry, too 😉 . Ex continues, responding to the woman who comforted her with supply:
Im sorry! I didn’t know you then but it is certainly my pleasure to meet you now. They give me what I’ve never had: a real, albeit fictional, multi-generational family. I’m descended of Frasers du Lovat so it’s especially wonderful for me to dream of what it would be like.
How does Ex even know who her ancestors are? It sounds like a fabrication to me. And that becomes even clearer later in her Twitter confessional, as she responds to Liz Cheney’s announcement that she will do all she can to prevent Kari Lake from winning in Arizona.
I am so pleased. I know that matters little to you, but hear me out. My father was a staunch Republican. He, too, would be proud of the way you have handled yourself if he were alive today. I am not Republican anymore, but I admire you greatly for doing the right thing.
Which father would that be? Her bio father? Her adoptive father whom she didn’t meet until she was seven years old? Her stepfather, who sexually abused her? My guess is that she means her adoptive father, who was absent and neglectful, but at least he wasn’t a pervert. Continuing about Liz Cheney:
She’s the daughter and progeny of one of the most Republican people to live in my lifetime. Dick Cheney didn’t raise a dummy. He raised a woman of conscience.
I’m beginning to think that a lot of Republicans are, in fact, dummies. At least the ones who are embracing the MAGA mindset are.
There’s more fawning over Sam Heughan…
How can I attend “A Night in Edinburg” virtually… I will google it, but if you know you know and could also share!! Thanks!!
If only I wasn’t an ocean away, I’d be there.
I did the same! I want an autographed in person copy!!! Sam, please come to New England? I’m in NH but could come to Boston!! (she’s referring to a book that was put out by Heughan– so much for the therapy dog for her son)
This is awesome, Sam. I wish you had a SO sharing these amazing adventures. I’m not a contender, except as a true friend if ever allowed to be, Coach. Know this, there’s not a human being alive who could resist sharing your committed, amazing life w’ you. Have your pick!
And more fawning over Mark Hamill:
You probably have a ‘no politics supporting’ rule to keep you from being inundated. This, Master, qualifies as time to leave that island and be the influencer of all influencers… if only for a moment and if only for our anti-FG battalion? We all are doing our part.
And finally, more fawning over her father:
Oh sweetheart!! You are a fortunate girl!!! Advice from one who lost her daddy far too young: CELEBRATE EVERY DAY!! Just make up an excuse, bake a cake or pie & TADA you’ve made today a celebration of today!! Spend time, share joy & pain, laughter & tears. Cherish every MOMENT!
She wasn’t all that close to him. She fabricated a fantasy, as he was at sea all the time. When he was home, he basically ignored her. This is all a bunch of bullshit put out for strangers on Twitter. Why she feels compelled to do this, I don’t know. And while the circumstances of her birth are unfortunate– being a “bastard child” and all– it seems to me that the better thing to do is focus on things one can control. She can’t help being the product of an affair who was brought up by “dysfunctional parents” (didn’t most of us have dysfunctional childhoods?) What she can help is how she behaves now. She can control the present, but she won’t. It’s easier to engage in delusions of grandeur and appropriate other people’s characteristics than work with what she’s already got within herself.
It seems to me that it would be better to be genuine, and focus on real people offline, than trying to charm strangers on Twitter. But that’s just my take, and God knows she would never take advice from me. According to her, I am a “homewrecking whore” who stole her ex husband (which, for those of you who don’t know me, is NOT true at all. I didn’t even meet Bill in person until almost a year after their divorce was final– meanwhile, she was shacking up with #3 in the house Bill was paying mortgage on.)
I know that posting this stuff may seem “mean”. I don’t really care, at this point. I’ve watched this woman work for 20 years. She is destructive and delusional. I’m the mean one, though, because I don’t give her a pass for doing the mean and terrible things she does to real life people, rather than celebrities who help shape her fantasy world.
I kind of don’t really want to write this post, because I have a bad feeling that it might be controversial… But I saw something yesterday that annoyed me a bit, and since it’s been kind of a difficult week anyway, I figure I might as well post about it.
Some time ago, someone out there in Facebook Land encouraged me to follow Father Nathan Monk. I think it might have been someone in the Duggar Family News group. According to his “about section”, Father Nathan Monk is a best selling author, “depressive humorist”, and former priest. He often posts things that are wise, funny, and insightful. However, there are times when he’s a little too “woke” for me, and I get annoyed. I know at least one time, I unfollowed for awhile. I think last month it happened, and I took a break for a month. Recently, his posts started popping up on my feed again. I mostly enjoyed them, until I saw the one below…
Naturally, he got many comments from people who completely agreed with his take on why so many people don’t like Meghan Markle. Lots of people were jumping on the bandwagon that people “hate” Meghan just because she’s “black”. I noticed that anyone who disagreed with any part of Father Nathan Monk’s post was immediately piled upon by other posters, seemingly eager to shut up the lone dissenter. People were calling the guy a bigot and a misogynist. Granted, he did turn out to be a Trump supporter from Britain, but even that doesn’t necessarily make him a bigot. I thought his comments regarding Meghan made a lot of sense, his political preferences notwithstanding. To me, it just proves that not all Trump supporters are necessarily crazy or stupid. They just haven’t reached the conclusions that I have, for whatever reason. Like the guy posted, “it’s okay to disagree.” I don’t know why he can easily see Meghan Markle’s issues and not see Trump’s, but then, I don’t know anything about him. Maybe he’s right about Trump and I’m wrong, although I doubt it. I suspect he just cares more about money than I do.
Now, if you’re a regular reader of my blog, you might know that I’m not one of Meghan Markle’s fans. My dislike of Meghan Markle has absolutely NOTHING at all to do with her racial makeup. I couldn’t care less about that. I don’t care that she’s an American who had the audacity to marry a British prince, either. I think people should be allowed to love and marry whomever they choose. And I also think that Harry should have been allowed to chart his own course in life, as we all should. I watched the interview Meghan and Harry had with Oprah Winfrey, and a lot of what Harry said made sense to me. I’ve always liked him, and when he and Meghan first got together, I was genuinely happy for both of them. I cried when I watched their wedding, especially at this part…
Here’s proof that I watched and loved their wedding, and this song…
What surprises me is looking at the congregation and not seeing that much emotion… but it is Britain. If I had been there in person, I would have been sobbing. That rendition is– indeed– glorious!
Below is what I had to say in late November 2017, when Harry and Meghan’s engagement was announced…
As you can see, I had nothing bad to say about Meghan in 2017. I thought she was pretty, and Harry seemed happy. I did not give a shit about her race, and in fact, the two people I posted about her resembling are famous and beautiful WHITE people. But even if they were Black, it wouldn’t matter to me.
In May 2018, a few days after Harry’s and Meghan’s nuptials, I posted this :
Also from May 2018, I had written a post about gun violence in the USA, and added some comments about the royal wedding between Harry and Meghan. Again, totally positive and hopeful comments from yours truly.
I’m not going to claim that there aren’t a lot of racists out there who don’t like Meghan Markle only because of her skin tone. I’m sure there are plenty of small-minded people who think she had no business marrying a British prince simply due to her being a biracial American woman with middle class roots. My point is that not all of us dislike her for those reasons. And just as it’s not right for people to make assumptions about others due to things they can’t help, like their skin color, it’s also wrong to assume that people are racist just because they’ve come to conclusions that you haven’t. I would gather that coming to that conclusion, even if it’s just for well-intentioned “woke” purposes, is just as wrong as stereotyping people due to their skin color is. In other words, people who instantly cry “RACISM” when someone says something disapproving of Meghan Markle are really not much better than the gossip mongers.
I don’t like Meghan Markle because I don’t like her behavior. She makes my “cluster B” chimes go off. I’m not the only one who feels this way. And we’re not wrong to have these feelings, because we have had exposure to narcissists, and experience has taught us that these types give off signals that are triggering. Once you’ve been around that type of person, you can pick up on the vibes. Even though I get those vibes– mainly those of hypocrisy, fakeness, and self-centeredness– I totally get that I could be misinterpreting. Experience has told me that I’m pretty perceptive, and my perceptions are often right on target.
There’s a reason that people have this “sixth sense”, by the way. It’s part of self-preservation. Back in 2010, in my old blog, I posted about a book I read called The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. It was recommended by a YouTuber who called himself Lithodid Man. I blogged about the video by Lithodid Man, and he eventually found the post and left me a comment. Below is his video, which is now twelve years old…
Gavin de Becker’s book is about recognizing when your senses are telling you of a threat, and acting accordingly, and in your own best interests, to protect yourself from harm. Our culture often pushes us, through peer pressure, to think one way or the other, to be agreeable and not make a fuss, to not be a “Karen”, to always cooperate and not make any waves… And people who are manipulative, narcissistic, or otherwise up to no good, are only too happy to exploit those pressures we live under to be nice at all costs.
Being nice is not a bad thing, but one shouldn’t be nice simply because it’s the path of least resistance. Sometimes, those instincts are DEAD ON… and tragically, we don’t realize until something heartbreaking has happened. For more on this, read any of my posts about Bill’s ex wife, and what has happened because he was “too nice” and too afraid to upset other people. Granted, it hasn’t been all bad. If he hadn’t married Ex, we might not have gotten married. Some other woman would have almost certainly treated him a lot better and he probably would have stayed married to her, even if the match wasn’t as compatible as ours is. But a lot of people were hurt because Bill ignored “the gift of fear” and didn’t listen to his instincts. He has told me on many occasions that on his wedding day to Ex, he had a voice telling him not to do it. He ignored that voice and suffered the consequences– kind of like Diana, former Princess of Wales, did. He learned a lot of tough lessons. Some of them have rubbed off on me.
Here’s another example. For years, I was quite vocal about how much I dislike Mormonism. I still dislike it, but feel less compelled to speak out about it these days, mainly because Bill’s younger daughter, who is LDS, now talks to him. I know that there are really good people in Mormonism. I knew that, even when I was more outspoken about Mormonism. My disdain for the church had NOTHING to do with the people within it. I don’t dislike people simply due to their religious beliefs. If that were the case, I never would have married Bill, who was still LDS on our wedding day. It was the institution and doctrine itself that I saw as damaging, because it was used as a tool to separate my husband from his daughters. He wasn’t “worthy” to be their father or baptise them, according to Ex and the church itself. He didn’t believe in the church’s teachings, so he was less fit. This, even though Ex was the one who was abusing and neglecting their children, and Bill himself.
So I determined that I don’t like Mormonism for that reason, not because I’m overall a religious bigot. And I also know that the Mormons aren’t the only ones who pull that shit… they just happen to be the ones who have affected us directly. I don’t like the other religions where those kinds of divisive practices prevail, either. In fact, I’m not that big on religion as a whole, but I especially dislike really restrictive, controlling ones where everyone has to believe and think the same way, and criticism isn’t allowed. Does that automatically make me a bigot? I don’t think so. But some people insisted that I am one, no matter how much I tried to explain my reasoning to them. Thankfully, most of them are now out of my life. Likewise, my disdain for Meghan Markle has nothing to do with her skin color or race. It’s because I recognize problematic behaviors that I think are toxic.
It annoys me to read posts like Father Nathan Monk’s, that presume to lecture everyone about being “racist” against Meghan Markle and discounting why people might not like her. First of all, she is a very public figure. She chose to be a public figure. One could argue that making that choice, in and of itself, is kind of a narcissistic thing to do. Yes, there are famous people out there who aren’t really all that “public”. I’ve read and heard about Meghan Markle’s desire for “privacy”, and yet she’s still everywhere.
Sure, I could give Meghan a pass for attending the Queen’s funeral, and even the Platinum Jubilee, but she’s clearly been trying to monetize her association with the British Royal Family. She still uses that title– the Duchess of Sussex– even as she publicly disdains Harry’s family and disowns her own family. This might be easy to ignore if these folks were regular citizens, but they aren’t. The British Royal Family is extremely public.
While I’m not generally a fan of saying, “you knew what you were getting into”, I do think that Meghan had to know that she wouldn’t be living a private life if she married Harry. It’s not even like she was like Diana. Diana was 19 years old when she got married, and didn’t even have a college degree. Meghan was a divorcee in her late 30s when she and Harry got married. And Meghan is certainly old enough to remember Diana, and what happened to her. Moreover, other people who married into royalty have been harassed– Sarah Ferguson definitely was. Camilla Parker Bowles was. Even Kate Middleton was. So, in that sense, she wasn’t alone… and wasn’t really treated that differently, other than the fact that Meghan is biracial and American. I’m not saying it’s right that the press harassed these ladies. What I am saying is that they were all being pursued and treated similarly poorly by the press. Prince Edward’s wife, Sophie, is the only one I don’t remember being messed with as much by the press. Maybe it’s because she was involved in public relations herself, if memory serves.
I don’t know Meghan Markle personally, and almost surely never will. So, the fact that I see her behavior as obnoxious and don’t like it is irrelevant, anyway. It’s not like I’m sending her hate mail, or even posting a lot of toxic stuff about her. I don’t even hang around with a bunch of girlfriends and giggle as we drink wine and trade catty gossip about her. I just pick up on these toxic vibes that I can’t ignore. I still wish Meghan and Harry luck with their marriage, particularly since there are now children involved. And I even hope that the two of them prove me wrong and have a long, successful, and happy marriage. I would be even happier if Meghan stopped seeming so artificial and tone deaf to me. And yes, I will continue to write about my observations of her behavior as I see fit. But, whether or not people believe me, my feelings have nothing to do with Meghan’s race. And to make that sweeping and insulting judgment about anyone who has criticisms of Meghan Markle is pretty lazy, limited, and disrespectful, in my view. People are going to “do themselves”, though… so for the sake of my sanity, I’ll try to ignore the bullshit and drive on.
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Another Labor Day has come and gone… and we didn’t do much of anything. Historically, Bill and I would go on a short trip for the last official summer weekend. But in 2019, we lost our Zane over Labor Day weekend and were in mourning. In 2020 and 2021, we had the damned pandemic to deal with. In 2022, we still have the pandemic, and were too late to book accommodations for our dogs so we could go see the dentist in Stuttgart. So our next trip is scheduled for the end of the month. Hopefully nothing will screw up our plans, but just in case, I purchased “cancel for any reason” travel insurance, because the hotel I booked in the Black Forest is kind of a special, and expensive, place. It will soften the blow of visiting the dentist, who is very good at his job, but sometimes winds me up.
Bill had to go out of town this morning, and he will be gone until Friday. On Friday, he will take our Arran to the vet, because I suspect he may need some help with his hormones. Or, at least I hope that’s what’s causing him to act kind of weird lately. Recently, Arran seems to be kind of lethargic… sleeping a lot, slow to eat his food in the mornings, and just kind of “off”. I don’t think he’s really sick, but he’s about 13 or 14 years old, which makes him an old guy, and it may be time to see if he has hypothyroidism or something like that. He’s gained significant weight over the past year or so, and I don’t think they’re just pandemic pounds. I once had a dog with hypothyroidism, and a little daily medication fixed her right up. I also correctly diagnosed it in a former friend’s dog. We’ll see what happens. The boys are both getting dentals this month, too, which will be a good thing, especially for Noyzi. It will be his first time, and he really needs it.
Yesterday, Bill was talking to me about how some Republicans think we should rewrite the Constitution, no doubt to suit their agendas. Just hearing about that made me feel depressed. I’ve about had it with the constant upset the country has been going through over the past few years. I’m especially tired of so-called “Christians” claiming that no one who believes in Jesus would vote for Democrats. From what I learned about Jesus as a churchgoer, Jesus would have been a total blue voter.
What is especially distressing, though, is watching the comments from poseurs, like my husband’s former spouse. I have mentioned before that, on the surface, we are in political agreement. However, I know something about her and how she actually behaves when she’s offline. So it’s kind of jarring when she tweets things like this:
To be clear… what she says regarding MAGA politics makes plenty of sense to me. I actually agree with her 100 percent. BUT… I also know that her behavior toward my husband and his family has been anything but Christlike. I know that for all of her “pretty words”, she is actually a very cruel and hateful person. She talks a good game, but when it comes down to it, what she says and types is complete bullshit. And, I guess, knowing this about her, and seeing what other people put out there, makes me wonder about other people. How many people are full of shit? I’d like to think her level of delusion is rare. But is it?
This is a woman who denied my perfectly decent husband access to his own children, simply because he stopped letting her control his life. She denied her children access to things they needed for success in life. She raised her kids to think they owe her, which I suspect, has led to my husband’s daughter being overly concerned about “burdening” people. In fairness, younger daughter might come by this tendency honestly, since Bill is kind of the same way. However, I know that both Bill and his daughters were “parentified”, in that when they were growing up, they were expected to be much more mature and responsible than their years, and be a “parent” instead of a developing child.
Pulled into arguments or issues between caregivers
Felt like you were given responsibilities that were not appropriate for someone your age
Often compliments for being “so good” and “so responsible”
May feel that being self-reliant is better than trying to trust others
Don’t really remember “being a kid”
Parents had trouble caring for themselves or others and placed the responsibility on you
Often find yourself becoming a caregiver for others
Being a caretaker feels good, even when you are sacrificing parts of yourself
Heightened sense of empathy and an ability to more closely connect with others
Feel like you need to be the peacemaker
Feel like your efforts aren’t appreciated
I haven’t spent much time with younger daughter myself, but I have spent the past twenty years with Bill. And to me, this list is pretty much spot on about how he behaves. He’s told me that younger daughter has expressed concern that she’s “burdening” Bill. While a little of that is understandable, given that they’re having to rebuild their relationship, he’s still her father. He wants to help her, and he knows a lot about what she’s experienced, because he’s experienced it, too.
I was there to see my husband try to reason with his ex wife. I saw him cry many times, because he was so distraught over the loss of his children. I was there when he told me about the scars a doctor noticed on a private part of his body, put there by Ex. Bill was much too embarrassed to explain how he got the scars. He didn’t even tell me about them until we’d been married for many years. I watched as he recovered from years of abuse at her hands. Now we’re hearing about what happened after the divorce, and a lot of it is very disturbing.
I was there when Bill was a Mormon, having adopted the faith at Ex’s behest, then watching it being used to alienate him from his children. Now, it seems that Ex has mostly abandoned Mormonism, except for when she wants or needs something. Being LDS ended up blowing up in Ex’s face on many different levels. First, she wasn’t able to get her sealing canceled so she could be sealed to #3. And then, her daughter got help from church members when she decided to escape her mother’s clutches.
And yet, there Ex is on Twitter, acting like she’s the voice of reason, telling off some stranger and claiming to be a “devout Christian”, preaching about Christ’s love. She’s not wrong in what she types, but those comments don’t match up to her actions as a human being in real life. Offline, she’s a monster, who doesn’t hesitate to lie, manipulate, and exert control over anyone unfortunate enough to be in her sphere. And then she accuses them of doing things that she does.
Last night, Bill told me that his life didn’t start to get “good” until he was in his mid 30s. That was around the time we met online. I remember, he was 35 years old then, and his email address even had the number 35 in it. He’s 58 now. I have to admit, my life improved a lot when I turned 30, except it sometimes feels like I’ve kind of wasted a lot of time. But then I realize that maybe my time hasn’t actually been wasted… I just haven’t spent it working in a cubicle. I never thought I had the “right” to such a life, though.
Sometimes, I feel like my life’s mission changed when I met my husband, who is truly a remarkable man. I thought I would embark in a rewarding career, but it just went a completely different way. It’s been my pleasure to help Bill get things back on track and enjoy his life. But it’s tragic that there are people he has to watch out for, simply because he’s a kind, empathic person, and he’s quick to take people at their words, rather than observe the way they behave.
Well… I’m going to miss having Bill around the next three nights, but at least it will give my liver a chance to rest. Maybe I can catch up on my beauty sleep. As it is, I’ve been up since about 4:30am. I’m probably going to need a nap today.
Here’s another life lesson, courtesy of the late, great George Carlin… Please keep in mind, this is just one way of looking at things, and it comes from my perspective. Your mileage may vary.
Years ago, when I was still in high school, I bought a bunch of cassette tapes by the late George Carlin. They were mostly his concerts from the 1970s and early 80s. I was a new fan, having been introduced to Carlin by HBO (Home Box Office), which I watched incessantly as a child. That probably explains a lot of the stuff I write about as an adult.
George had a funny routine he did back in 1981 called “Ice Box Man.” It was included on his album, A Place for My Stuff, which I listened to repeatedly on cassette as I drove from Gloucester, Virginia to Williamsburg, on one of my many work assignments there. In that routine, he talked about how it was his job to monitor the refrigerator and freezer. Naturally, that led to him making many nutty observations about humans and their relationship with the food they store in the fridge.
I was reminded of Mr. Carlin this morning, as Bill and I were discussing a blog post I recently wrote titled “The latest big dream job“. It was yet another post about Ex, and her many elusive dreams. You know the old 80s song, “Don’t Fall in Love With A Dreamer?” Well, it’s sage advice, especially if you want to keep your sanity. Dreams can be a lot of fun, or they can be a distraction. Or, if someone is hellbent on following an unrealistic dream, they can quickly turn into a disastrous nightmare.
As we were talking about the prospect of Ex jetting off to an exotic place with the son she says has severe autism and runs away from home, Bill said he could only imagine what living with her is like these days. She has so many big ideas. Sometimes she tries to implement them, but they are almost always overcome by events, or somehow, her enthusiasm wanes and she loses interest. Often, when he was still married to her, that eventually meant being poorer, but not always wiser. If you’re the type of person who is responsible and likes a little stability in your life, that kind of shit gets old pretty quickly. It would be easy to be caught up in the dream at first… but then, hundreds or thousands of dollars and wasted hours later, when the dream falls apart, it’s not so much fun anymore.
So what has this story got to do with George Carlin and his “Ice Box Man” routine? I’m getting there.
Back in the late 80s, Bill was a young man who wasn’t very sure of himself. He doubted his appeal to women, and had this really low sense of self-worth. We have a few theories as to where this low self-esteem came from, but to make a long story short, it kind of made him a sitting duck for an abuser to exploit. Enter Ex. She spotted him, alone, in his mid 20s, reasonably handsome, and an Army officer. Her first husband was an enlisted guy, and for whatever reason, he wasn’t ringing her chimes anymore. I suspect she saw Bill as someone she could mold and manipulate, someone who would help her follow and achieve her dreams… someone with more earning power.
Well, I’ve written plenty about what happened after that. What I want to focus on today is the moment Bill decided to “eat food that someone was only going to throw away…” That’s where Carlin’s “Ice Box Man” comes into the story.
...’Cause there’s a bigger responsibility. And that is getting into that refrigerator and deciding which things need to be thrown away. Most people will not take that responsibility. Most people will just go and get what they want, leave everything else alone and say, “Well, someone else wants that. Someone else will eat that” Meanwhile, the thing is getting smaller and smaller and smaller and is, in fact stuck to the rack. Well, I’ve got to go in there and decide when to throw things away.
“Chocolate pudding? Does anyone want this last chocolate pudding? I have just one chocolate pudding left. It’s only pulled away from the side of the dish about three inches all the way around. And there’s a huge fault running through the center of the pudding. Actually, it’s nothing but a ball of skin at this point. Does anyone want a ball of fault ridden chocolate pudding skin? I’m only going to throw it away.”
A lot of us have experienced this, haven’t we? Especially those of us who hail from the United States, where we have big refrigerators, and parents or grandparents who lived through the Great Depression. People who have been deprived tend to be very averse to “wasting” things. It doesn’t just apply to food, either. It can apply to inanimate objects or even relationships. As Jim Bob Duggar liked to say, before his family fell from grace, “Buy used and save the difference!” If you have a shitload of kids and not that much money, it makes sense to buy things used, especially if there’s a lot of good use left in the item. It makes sense to eat what you have before buying more food. Or, even better, learning how to garden so you can grow your own food. Waste is not good, is it? Of course, you have to use up the item before it goes bad or falls into disrepair.
But a lot of us aren’t like this, and we pass up things when they are more appealing. As Carlin observes, “Well, someone else wants that. Someone else will eat that.” And no one ever eats it, but they don’t throw out the item that is wasting away in the fridge, shrinking from neglect, turning different colors, growing fur, or whatever. They don’t toss it, because they can’t bear losing the chance to “waste not, want not.” Even if passing on using the item would ultimately be better for them in the long run than trying to use it would be.
At one time, I’m sure that chocolate pudding Carlin speaks of was appetizing and delicious, smooth and creamy and sweet. But after weeks of neglect, it shriveled up into something ugly, unrecognizable, and in fact, potentially dangerous to one’s health. Ahh… but still, even when it’s clear that something is beyond its freshness or not particularly appealing or appetizing, a lot of us still won’t throw it away. Bill recently cleaned out one of our fridges, and he tossed an unopened jar of pickles that we bought when we still lived in Jettingen, four plus years ago! I have lots of over the counter drugs in the house that are two or more years beyond their expiration dates. Last night, I was looking at flea and tick meds for Arran that expired in January 2020. I didn’t use the meds, but I also didn’t throw them away! They’re still in the closet as I type this! I will be tossing them in a few minutes.
Over almost twenty years of marriage, I have often asked Bill what the hell he was thinking when he decided to pursue a relationship with his former wife. Don’t get me wrong. She’s probably the perfect mate for someone. But she was clearly not a good match for Bill, even if she was the most mentally stable person alive. They have very little in common, other than having gone to the same high school. They don’t have similar interests at all. He likes to go to nice restaurants, listen to alternative music, brew beer, read good books, and live within his means– but in style. He likes working for the Army and doesn’t mind the chaotic lifestyle that can come from that. Ex has a lot of interests, but none of them really aligned with Bill’s. Her big dreams never seemed to mesh with Bill’s reality and desire for stability.
According to Bill, once she had him hooked, Ex turned into a different person. Ex often made fun of Bill’s interests. She denigrated him in front of other people, and shamed him when he expressed goals and desires for his own life. She had completely different goals, and would not work with him. In fact, she often sabotaged his efforts to get ahead. Her idea was to be the Queen Bee, and he was expected to be a Worker Bee. So, in her mind, he had no right to make decisions for their life together. That was solely her job.
Some people would find this quality in Ex very attractive, as they don’t know what they want, and it can be comforting to be with someone who doesn’t mind being in charge of everything. But knowing Bill the way I do, I think that the chocolate pudding Ex promised quickly turned into a ball of pudding skin. Still, he held onto that shriveled up pudding skin for almost ten years before he finally decided to “throw it away”… He mistakenly believed she was the only person who would find him attractive. When they got together, he even saw himself as shriveled up chocolate pudding, waiting to be “thrown away”.
Do people do that with you? Offer you some food that if you don’t eat it, they’re only going to throw it away. Well, doesn’t that make you feel dandy? “Here’s something to eat, Dave. Hurry up, it’s spoiling!” “Something for you, Angela. Eat quickly, that green part is moving!” “Here, Bob. Eat this before I give it to an animal.”
There was a time in Bill’s life when he had very little confidence, especially around women. Although he’s always been a very pleasant, likable, attractive person, he somehow got the message that he wasn’t appealing to other people. He was shy, and reluctant to approach women. But, like a lot of people, Bill also hoped to marry someday, and have a family. Ex presented him with that possibility when she showed up on his doorstep in Germany with her toddler aged son. She was friendly and charming, and willing to relieve his loneliness. They knew each other from their high school years. In his mid 20s, Bill was watching his contemporaries get married and start families. Ex was offering him that chance, and he wouldn’t have to put himself out there to get it. She was pursuing him, which was flattering and deceptively made starting a family seem “easy”. And… he also felt kind of sorry for her. She told him horror stories (probably false or exaggerated) about her first husband that stimulated the “white knight” rescuing aspect of his personality.
So, even though they weren’t a very comfortable match, Bill decided to marry Ex. In retrospect, it seems kind of crazy–like taking a chance on eating that ball of shriveled up chocolate pudding skin and hoping it doesn’t make him sick or kill him. And yet, people do that all the time, don’t they? They take a chance on that questionable food from the fridge, some of which they may not even be able to identify anymore.
…Perhaps the worst thing that can happen is to reach into the refrigerator and come out with something that you cannot identify at all. You literally do not know what it is. Could be meat, could be cake. Usually, at a time like that, I’ll bluff. “Honey, is this good?” “Well, what is it?” “I don’t know. I’ve never seen anything like it. It looks like…meatcake!” “Well, smell it.” (snort, sniff) “It has absolutely no smell whatsoever!” “It’s good! Put it back! Somebody is saving it. It’ll turn up in something.” That’s what frightens me. That someone will consider it a challenge and use it just because it’s in there.
Then there’s the concept of “leftovers”. I think about how I wound up spending a year of dysfunction in college, because I needed a roommate. I found myself agreeing to live with a woman with whom I was completely incompatible. And, in fairness, she agreed to live with me, and she probably feels about me the same way as I do about her. Yet, we still agreed to be roommates. This wasn’t because we were “simpatico”, but because we both needed a warm body to occupy our dorm room.
It was quite a year. We survived, but not on particularly friendly terms. I guess you could call us “leftovers”. We were two people– not friends– who needed someone to share a room and hadn’t ended our first year of college with a buddy with whom we could bunk. It wasn’t a good match, and I’m sure we were both equally glad when the academic year was over and we didn’t ever have to see each other again. It’s one thing to do that when you temporarily need a roommate. Bill had his share of incompatible roomies, too. But it’s really not a good idea to start a marriage with that mindset, especially when children are in the mix. Marriages are supposed to last most of a lifetime, even if they often don’t.
Carlin says of the food in the fridge:
It’s a leftover. What a sad word that is. Leftover. How would you like to be…a leftover? Well, it wouldn’t be bad if they were taking people out to be shot. I might even volunteer. But, y’know, leftovers make you feel good twice. D’ja ever think about that? When you first put them away, you feel really intelligent- “I’m saving food!” And then, after a month, when hair is growing out of them and you throw them away you feel…really intelligent- “I’m saving my life!”
I have often pointed out to Bill that, while he definitely suffered, having married Ex when he didn’t really love her, Ex also suffered. Because who wants to be the charity project of someone who just feels sorry for them? Ex used to complain to Bill that he didn’t love her enough. Bill would try to show her that she was wrong. Of course that never worked, because she already knew what he didn’t want to admit. He hadn’t married her because he loved her and wanted to be with her. He married her because he’d pitied her, and himself… and he didn’t have enough self-respect to give himself the chance to find someone more compatible. He also didn’t have enough respect for Ex to give her the same opportunity, thus sparing themselves and their children a lot of pain.
Bill had made the mistake of regarding himself as a “leftover”. He also regarded Ex as a “leftover”. And he had decided, with her agreement, that they should try to make it work, even though there were many signs that it was not a good idea. Getting married to another warm body simply because someone is willing and available is not exactly a great way to start a family, is it? I mean, many people have done it… and some may have stayed together for many years. But how many people find happiness that way?
It works in the movies sometimes, but not so much in real life. Like having an ill fitting shoe, or a dental crown that doesn’t quite fit right. Maybe it functions, but it’s not comfortable or pleasing. You end up with blisters or inflammation that makes you miserable. Or maybe, to keep with the food theme, the leftovers take away your hunger and keep you from starving to death, but leave you with diarrhea or heartburn. Not all leftovers go together, you see. Who wants to mix cherry cheesecake with stinky cheese, roast beef, and peanut butter?
There’s more to Carlin’s brilliant “Ice Box Man” routine, and I highly recommend that you listen to it, especially if you haven’t heard it. Carlin was a wise, observant, and brilliant man, who was also very funny! I have learned a lot from him over the years.
As for Bill’s formerly “Ice Box Man” approach to marriage, I would say that not all is lost. He came away from that experience with a lot of wisdom and insight. He has a daughter who has come around after years of estrangement. He’s got three grandchildren. And he has the satisfaction of knowing that he was able to survive some pretty horrifying shit. Now, he’s thriving, and he’s found someone with whom he is very compatible… ME. 😉
God knows, I have often thought of myself of a leftover, too… so I am very happy to have found the right person against tremendous odds. Especially if you know how and where we actually met… but that’s a story for another day.
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