Sunday, September 30, 2007

Second, third, and four-hundred-thirty-eighth guesses

Have I done the wrong thing? Did I give up too easily? My gut tells me yes, but what can I do now?

I just can't shake the feeling that letting my kids go with their dad to spend the weekend with the woman who willingly and deliberately helped destroy this family (at least in the traditional sense) and he's now living with is...well, corruptive, to say the least.

At this point, it doesn't seem to be too big of a deal with the RK...he's really enjoying getting to see the boy that was his best friend before this all came crashing down on us, and it doesn't really seem to go any further beyond that. But as time goes on, if this 'relationship' between the ex-husband and the ex-friend really does have legs and doesn't come crashing down like I'm desperately hoping it does, will the implications of the situation start adversely affecting RK? Or will it just become 'the way it is,' even though it is so wrong? And will he understand that?

What if he starts feeling like they're more of 'the family' than I am?

I have my mind set that this relationship is going to last a long time. Expect the worst, hope for the best, right? But I just can't possibly imagine something that started with such selfishness, deception, immaturity and depravity having any kind of staying power. Then again, though, this world is indeed depraved, and such a situation has become quite accepted, supported, and even a source of humor. How sick. My faith in humanity has definitely been shaken.

What if the RK thinks that what his dad is doing is not a big deal and starts adopting the same life philosophy as he grows up, despite my efforts to teach him otherwise? I'm thankful that I have sole physical custody in this respect; he's only exposed to this for two out of every fourteen days.

The IX really has no experience or knowledge of what a true father is supposed to be -- teaching morals, lovingly guiding a child to a healthy adulthood, or offering any kind of emotional support when it's needed. When we were still together, I was the moral and emotional connection, and he was either the playmate, or the way-too-strict authoritarian. And it never went beyond that.

And now, I worry about what I'm not hearing about. I sincerely don't believe the IX has any kind of moral compass when it comes to making decisions when it concerns his kids. But what's funny is there's a great litmus test staring him right in the face. If he wants to do something with/concerning/affecting the boys and has any hesitation in telling me or consulting me about it, then it's probably a good idea that he not go down that road.

I think I'm doing a pretty good job at keeping the boys' best interests as the #1 priority, and not exhibiting any sort of spiteful or vengeful behavior directly toward the IX. I could be wrong, perspective isn't exactly the most objective. But he's absolutely convinced that I'm out to turn the boys (at this point, the RK) against him, and I'm deliberately trying to destroy their relationship. I think he's doing a bang-up job of that all on his own, and doesn't need any help from my end. I'm doing my part to try to salvage and nurture this father-sons relationship now that the father has all but destroyed it.

So what of this situation? Letting my boys go stay with their dad and his girlfriend/mistress/their mom's ex-best-friend? I've made it be clearly known with the RK that what his father is demonstrating to him is utterly wrong as wrong can get. But by allowing this situation, are my actions declaring otherwise? Should I have fought this arrangement in court, even though I was advised that the outcome didn't look to go in my favor? I just don't know. And there's no going back now. So am I doing what I need to be doing now that this is the way it is? What am I not doing? What am I doing wrong? I pray that the Lord open my eyes to the truthful answers to these questions.

OK, I feel a little better now. Just had to get that out.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I've managed to completely waste this day. I have done absolutely nothing productive. My butt's been parked on the couch. I have been in this funk today that I just can't shake.

I miss my boys. I hate where they are. It torments me.

I'm desperately trying to get rid of the anger I'm harboring towards the IX for the way he has catastrophically messed up my life, and the fact that he doesn't even really seem to care.

I'm just hiding out today. I'm still in the clothes I slept in last night, with no real desire to get cleaned up, even though I know it would make me feel better. I'd love to get out of the house to see and be seen, but not enough to actually do it.

My phone has remained completely inactive today. I realize all my neighbors are new friends, but I just wish there was one out there who would realize that what I need is for them to take the initiative with me. Take that me up...invite me over...invite me out...whatever. Why is it that all my life, I've always had to be the one to make that move? Am I really that invisible? Or is it just that I've never really had that kind of person cross my path? And if that's the case, why? How could I have had that rotten of luck all this time?

And to top it all off, the Longhorns lost today. It doesn't really surprise me, though...they've been touch-and-go all season. Bah.

That's all.

Papa Gundy

OK. So I'm sitting here surfing the web with ESPN's "College Gameday" on in the background. And they air a segment on this:

This is Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy...ahem...addressing this article written in The Oklahoman last weekend. Now I'm not going to get into the particulars of the article itself, or if Ms. Carlson was over the line in writing it, but I feel compelled to comment on Coach Gundy's response.

Right. On.

This is what a college football coach should be. And he is absolutely right that the athlete in question, QB Bobby Reid, is indeed an amateur. Reid's not getting paid to play, he's playing because he loves the game. And I admire Coach Gundy for sticking up for his player like this and trying to protect him.

No matter how old you are, or how much you're getting paid to play a professional sport, it's never easy to read such negative press directed at you. Sure, you can grow a thicker skin, laugh it off, whatever...but deep down it still stings even the most seasoned athletic veteran. And I think that sometimes the media do get a little big for their britches when it comes to covering college sports.

Bravo, Coach Gundy. I know it was a difficult decision to bench Reid. And I know he's gotta feeling pretty low about it. And to have such hurtful things said about him in the newspaper couldn't have helped any, and I appreciate your desire to be more than a coach to your players.

I think what I like the most about this so-called 'tirade' is the fact that not once did it have to be censored.

And now Gundy's taking quite a hit in the press over his response. Bah! I say. It SO doesn't matter. And I hope that his coach/player relationship with Bobby Reid has been solidified after this...heck...with all his players. No matter what his win/loss record is throughout his years as a coach, he is indeed a gem to college football.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Reporting back

OK, so the interview didn't turn out to be the exciting and hope-filled venture I thought it'd be. But I definitely think it's a good thing I ended up there. You see, it turns out my interview was with a recruiting firm. I've never heard of the company before, but it's obviously a well-respected and very successful company, given their extremely professional-looking office suite with lots of awards and honors decorating the lobby.

The woman I interviewed with got down and dirty, going over my resume, asking me all kinds of questions about what kind of job I wanted ideally, my strengths, my weaknesses, etc. As for that first criterium, I told her what I wanted, but at this point, I'll be happy if I'm getting paid to make coffee and pick up drycleaning.

The actual job that I had applied for doesn't sound like it's a good possibility, as well as all the other jobs I've applied for thus far. I guess that the job title of 'receptionist' is a lot more than answering phones nowadays! Functional knowledge of MS Office is a must, even for this bottom-feeding position.

The recruiter said that given my sorry excuse for a resume (meaning, I have no recent job experience or college degree on it), my best bet will more than likely be getting into a temp pool. Fine...whatever. Just as long as it comes with a decent paycheck! I just wanna work! She wanted me to do some skills testing before I left, but once we got to that point in the appointment, we discover their computer system has just locked up. So she says, "OK then...I'll send you an email in a little while with a link in it and you can take the tests at home." I go about the course of my day after the IB around the house, get the RK off the bus, homework, dinner, blah, blah, blah... So I get both my kids in bed and settle in with my beloved laptop and get crackin'. I did the five-minute typing test first, and I scored 64 WPM with an average of 1 mistake per minute, for a net score of 63 WPM. Not too shabby...

Next is the Word 2003 test. It was 30 questions, and I got 28 correct. I wasn't too worried about this test; I've used Word quite a bit over the years.

Up next: Excel 2003. This one I was a little more nervous about. I've used Excel quite a bit, but never in an actual spreadsheet functionality. I've only used it for making phone lists, rosters, etc. Not for anything remotely related to math or calculating. I was very pleased to have scored another 28/30, but I took quite a bit longer to complete it than the Word test. I was still very impressed with my score, though.

Regarding these previous two tests: The right-click shortcut menus were blitzing out on me, so a lot of functions that I normally do using this shortcut I had to figure out a different way to do them. And thinking back, I think one of the two mistakes I made on each test was because of this. The other ones I have a feeling I'll feel like a big dummy when I learn what I did wrong.

And finally....PowerPoint 2003. I've never used PowerPoint before. I barely know what it's for or what it does. But I'm pretty resourceful and determined when it comes to computer applications, so I'll give it a shot. I spent about 30 minutes on it, and only got 20/30 correct. 67%. But frankly, I think that's pretty darn good for never even having opened up the program before! And just think of the presentations I could create if I actually get some training on the software!

The recruiter told me they have training on computer applications there as well, so I definitely plan on taking advantage of that. I still have a lot to learn about Excel, and PP for sure. And I'm eager to become skilled and proficient; to become a valuable asset to some company who doesn't even know yet how much they need me.

So now the ball's in her court, and she's gonna start selling me to prospective employers. See what I mean about it being a good thing I wound up there? Now I'm not in this job hunt alone...I've got someone out there working with me to get me gainfully employed! And I'm so eager to start getting some experience, something to start padding my resume with.


Now for a funny story. The other night, I sent the RK up to take a shower, and when he got out, he came downstairs with one of the IB's bath toys suction-cupped right in the middle of his forehead. We laughed, and cut up, I took some pictures, and when he pulled it off, there was a nice, perfectly round circle right between his eyes.

So yesterday morning, the RK gets up, and in place of that red circle is a bruise! Ha! I desperately tried not to laugh, but I'm ashamed to admit I failed miserably. So off to school he goes... When he gets home yesterday, I ask him, "Did anyone say anything about the bruise on your forehead?"

He says, "Yeah, my teacher and Mrs. B the music teacher. I told them that [the IB] accidentally hit me with one of his toys last night."

I bust out with a ginormous belly laugh, saying, "Poor little [IB]...taking the fall for your silly actions!"

We laughed it off, but this did raise a bit of a red flag with me in how he was effortlessly able to come up with a story to save himself from embarrassment. This was a pretty harmless fib, but it's definitely raised my awareness for the potential of this happening again, with perhaps more serious connotations. Tucking it away in the back of my mind...

(I think he learned more of a lesson about sticking stuff on his face, though, as opposed to learning how to throw blame.)

Must run...I hope to be back later today!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Here we go...

Woohoo! I've got an interview in a little less than an hour and a half! I've got a babysitter lined up for the IB, and the RK is off to school. I told him he's going to school today, even if he's dying. He can just die at school. All joking aside, his cough seems to be breaking up, and he seemed like he was school-worthy today. I told him, though, that if he needs to come home, to at least try to make it through lunch. He was very understanding and willing. What a great kid!

OK...gotta run. It's time for me to go freak out about my clothes, makeup and hair.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Remember me?

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Matthew 6: 25-27

Just wanted to let anyone out there know that I'm still around, and hanging in there. Sorry I haven't posted in over a week. I've been spending my computer time searching job listings and applying...I'd guess I'm up to somewhere close to 25 resumes being sent out. I applied with the UM temp pool, so hopefully they'll get my app processed this week and they'll find me something on campus somewhere if hell doesn't freeze over and I'm not offered a permanent job right off the bat. My resume is also posted on as well as the local job search agent, and I've applied for a handful of jobs from those sites.

The fear and anxiety is really starting to take hold, because I have now sponged off my ex-husband for the last time. And for my grand finale, I really cleaned him out. So hopefully I can get some of my cc balances shrunk, and perhaps pay my lawyer some of the balance I owe her. But as for the mortgage payment coming up, and other bills I can't stand the thought of being late or delinquent on, I have no idea what's gonna happen.

I've also been researching the procedures for getting on WIC and food stamps. It's a shot to the ego, for sure, but there's no way I'm gonna let my babies go hungry. I'm calling DishNet. today to bump our channel package way down, and I think I might even give their new satellite-based internet access a try. It's a lot cheaper than what I'm paying for cable access.

The RK is home sick today. He's acquired another one of his coughs that sounds like an old, sick dog gasping his last breaths. The last time this happened, he never really got sick, and the cough started loosening up the next day. Hopefully it'll remain true to form. He's probably good to go to school, but I don't think his teacher would think so if she could hear him. So he's got a free day today.

Allrighty then...looks like the IB is done with his canned peach half and he's ready to terrorize my living room. For those of y'all that are of the prayin' kind, remember me, wouldja?

Oh yeah...on the update & the "Yay me!" fronts, I got my new printer installed, and it's one of those that has the flatbed scanner for making copies and sending faxes. And the bonus of it all print server works with it! Which means I can get something printed without having to haul the laptop into the other room and plug it in to the printer. I can keep my little butt parked right here on the couch, expel all the effort it takes to click on the "print" button, and after a few seconds, I hear the printer kick into action in the other room! THAT'S SO COOL!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I'll take potpourri for $200, Alex...

I finally did it. I called my vehicle's dealership and got it in for its 40,000 mile maitenance. I never got its 35,000-mile oil change, and right now the odometer indicates I'm right in between the two maintenance milestones, if you will. So I just decided to get it all done a little early.

I'm driving an old beater p-o-s loaner car. These types of cars make me appreciate my Honda all the more! The three hours I must wait to have my car returned to me is all I need to have the love for it fully renewed.

So I took off in that little p-o-s to the local Panera. And here I am. I miss my babies. There are kiddoes all over this cafe, and just makes my heart yearn for my boys!

Let's see...what else...

Oh yes. I had to take the IB to an appointment at the hospital yesterday morning to check if his left testicle has descended over the course of his first year or not. And we found out it hasn't. So that It's an outpatient thing, but still. So the date scheduled for that is Oct. 1. Oh, the dread.


The Longhorns are playing today! Yeehaw!!! And it's being televised on ESPN2, so I'm a happy camper. I should be getting my car back just in time to cruise home and flip on the game. I'm hoping that the 'Horns get the rout against Central Florida today that I was expecting against Arkansas St. two weeks ago.

So I finally got my resume all in order, and have begun the complicated, red-taped, pointless and frustrating process to start applying for jobs within the University of Michigan system. The first part of that is submitting my resume for a pre-employment screening. That involves waiting half an hour from submission, then calling this number for a brief phone interview. A face-to-face interview is then scheduled, and I'll be off to the races. So I got my resume submitted, waited the half-hour, and called. Whaddya know...voicemail. So I left my message, and didn't let my phone get out of earshot for the rest of the day. And....nothin'. And nothing again on yesterday. I'd better get a freakin' call on Monday, or I'm gonna be pissed. I'm also going to apply for the temp pool at U of M, but I can't apply for that online. I have to print up the application and either mail it in or drop it off. And my printer blows. So I think after I'm done with this post I'm gonna go climb in my little piece and head to Best Buy to get this HP all-in-one printer I've had my eye on. Remember I got my computer paid off, so the balance on my Best Buy card is now $0.

I'm craving Whataburger right now. That'd be so good. That has to be one thing I miss the most about living in Texas. McDonald's....blech. BK...blech. We don't even have Sonic! Michigan sucks.

OK...I guess that's all I have. For now, anyway. Off to my favorite store in the whole wide world...Best Buy!


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Where were you?

What were you doing? How did you learn of it? And what did you feel?

It's hard to believe it's already been six years since our sense of security...or rather, our
complacency...was destroyed. Destroyed with the carefully-arranged tons of concrete and metal that represented all that this country stands for. Free trade, fair commerce, prosperity, hard work.

The RK was a sweet little four-year-old. The IB was still far off in my future. I was a women's Bible study facilitator for a group that met at church on Friday mornings, and I had just sat down at the dining room table to play catch-up on the lesson that I had to lead discussion about that following Friday. The RK was sitting comfortably on the couch watching PBS. I remember this was the first week of the Bible study, and I was mad at myself for already letting myself get behind.

Around 9:00 AM, my phone rings. It's my mom.

"Hi Mom! What's going on?"

"Are you watching the news?"

"No, of course not! [The RK] has reign over the TV, of course."

"Turn on the's just terrible..."

So I go and commandeer the TV remote, turning on the Today show. The second plane had just hit the south tower of the World Trade Center. Once I overcame the immense shock, realizing this was actually happening, the first words out of my mouth to my mom were, "I bet this was the work of Osama bin Laden."

She said, "Who?"

I reminded her of the various attacks abroad that had killed Americans...the Khobar Towers, the embassies in Kenya & Tanzania, the U.S.S. Cole. He was credited with all those.

Mom and I stayed on the phone for a little while longer, watching the horror unfold on our TV screens. Then I decided I better call the IX. I discover that my cell service is having issues, all the way over in Michigan. I finally get through to my husband, and he immediately starts telling me about how there's no power at work, and he thinks they're about to get the day off. Somehow I interject to tell him what has happened.

I sit there, staring at the TV in disbelief, not exactly knowing what to do. I have moments of sobbing, moments of inspiration. And the RK doesn't quite know what to make of me. He had never seen me behave in such ways. That freaked him out more than what he was watching with me on TV. After all, what he was watching was something we all see on TV everyday. But up until this point, it was always in movies, TV of fiction.

If you ask him what he remembers of that day, that's it. Not the attack itself, but his mommy's reaction.

I remember how there was such hope that there could be survivors amidst all that rubble. Desperately wanting to do something to help, anything, I put the RK in the car and drove to our local Red Cross office, hoping to donate blood. It was closed, but I was later able to make an appointment for the next day. There was another guy who got there the same time I did, with the same thing in mind. I wonder how many more people drove over there that day with the same thing in mind.

I've never been able to successfully donate blood. But given the circumstances, I was determined. The next morning, I ate a good breakfast beforehand, and went to try to contribute in some small way. But alas, I still wasn't able to fill a full pint bag before I started breaking out in a cold sweat, hearing the high-pitched hum in my ears, sparkly spots before my eyes. I'm still not sure if that's a physical or psychological response...but whatever it is, it makes me mad.

Afterwards, in the cookie-and-juice area, I just cried. Cried over my failure. Cried for perhaps that one person who I could've helped save by sharing my blood. Just cried.

In the coming days, we'd learn that such a need for blood, extra emergency workers, medical personnel, equipment, etc., would not be needed after all. If I remember correctly, something like only six survivors were pulled from that rubble? Whatever it was, the number definitely wasn't more than just two digits.

I remember a few days after that, when I was having dinner with my family, the ABC evening news with Peter Jennings was on the TV. And the last shot of the news was from London. It was tape shot at Buckingham Palace, where the royal band played the Star-Spangled Banner. When it was over, it cut back to Peter Jennings, a Canadian, mind you, who was noticeably choked up. As was I.

So now it's six years later. I'm a mom of two now. And divorced. I have my own house. Peter Jennings is no longer with us. We still haven't caught the evil bastard that did this to us. But life has gone on. Things are different now, but slowly, this country has fallen into a new state of normal, including the family members of those that perished that day.

So now, I offer my best wishes to the almost 3000 different groups of families and friends whose lives were turned upside-down on this date six years ago. You all are in my thoughts today, and most definitely my prayers. I hope today isn't too painful for you, and I hope your lives are so blessed.

So that's my personal story. I'd love to hear yours, if you're willing to share it. What are the memories that stick out the most in your mind from that day, and how has your life changed these past six years?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

I must finish my resume and get it out there. I'm so terrified. This job market sucks. Why in the world would anyone hire me? At least at a job that pays what I need to take care of my family. I MUST do this, since the man who said he'd take care of us has no longer decided he really wants to.

So let's see...I days before this lameass child support arrangement kicks in and I'm on my own to find a way to come up with more than half of what this household needs to function.

And that means daycare for the IB. Don't EVEN get me started on how I feel about this.

I hate that man. I don't know how he can stand to look at himself in the mirror. How does he sleep at night? So disgusting.

Oh dear Lord, please take care of us! Give me courage. Increase my faith. Ease my mind. Give me everything I need to get this taken care of.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Thank you, DishNetwork! (Yes, really!)

I am just so excited, I don't quite know what to do with myself! It all started around 7:00 tonight...

I keep a close watch on the programming schedule for Longhorn games up here. Right now, with the Longhorns ranked so high, I get to see the majority of games during the season. But a few years ago, when they weren't making such waves on the national radar, I was contributing significantly to my cable company, being forced to order quite a few games on PPV.

Earlier this week, I checked to see where and when the Longhorns game would be on, and discovered that it was scheduled for FSN at 7:00. "Awesome!" I thought. History dictates that Big XII night games are aired on pretty much all the FSN regional channels (mine being FSN Detroit). So I skip ahead a few days to today's schedule on the programming guide, checking to make sure my FSN has the Texas game. And then heartbreak. It's got the Tigers baseball game on the docket. I notice that a couple of channels lower, usually labelled as 'Sports Alternate' on the programming guide, it says 'TCU at Texas.' And not just on one of those alternate channels, but on three or four. But my hopes are still dashed, knowing that I would probably have to subscribe to a higher channel package to receive these alternate channels.

So tonight, as I'm watching the train wreck taking place at Michigan Stadium, I decide to turn on one of those channels listing the Texas game on my PIP. Just in case. And whaddya straight-up 7:00, the heavens opened, the angels sang, and the Longhorns took the field right before my eyes! I just couldn't believe it! It made my night.

The game started out a little shaky. TCU had the lead at halftime. Texas' running game was rather nonexistent, and McCoy threw two INT's in consecutive possessions. But in the second half, the more familiar Longhorn freight train took the field and smeared the Horned Frogs all over it. It was a huge relief, given how the Longhorns' performance last week against Arkansas St. was barely enough to get the W. Now my nerves are settling down now a little bit. It did my heart good to see the Longhorn football team I've known and loved for the last few seasons.

But how my heart breaks (vicariously, thank God) for the Wolverines. An ESPN commentator mentioned something about this being the first time Michigan has started the season 0-2 in something like 70 years, I think he said??? The Oregon Ducks spanked 'em hard, 39-7. Major insult on top of injury. Some headlines I've already seen making a play on 'Maize and Blue' are "Malaise and Blue" and "Black and Blue." Talk about devastation!

I think I'm gonna wind down the evening with a celebratory cocktail. 'Nite!

Oh, and....


Thursday, September 6, 2007

To market, to market

This afternoon, I decided to grab the IB and run up to the grocery store to pick up the few things we needed before the RK would get home from school. I didn't have a whole lot of time to play with, but wasn't too concerned, since my list wasn't all that long.

On our last few trips to the grocery store, I've been noticing that the IB hasn't hardly been getting any attention from my fellow shoppers. And it's not from lack of effort on my part. All through the store, I'm talking my baby talk, interacting with him, shamelessly yet subtly trying to draw attention to my baby, who just happens to be the cutest baby in the whole entire world. And here lately....nada.

But today, the grandmas came out of the woodwork. He got so much attention; just about on every aisle we cruised down. I was loving it.

But I'm afraid I'll have to give him a new nickname. And that would be Michigan J. Frog.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, and if you have an extra seven minutes to kill, may I present one of the finest examples of the comic cartoonic genius that was Chuck Jones:

So it goes with the IB. He's become a very proficient waver, waving at every single mention of the word "bye-bye". That is, as long as there's no one else around but me and the RK. I feel like such an idiot when I finish my brief conversations with the ladies in the grocery store, and as we begin to part ways, I always look at the IB and try to get him to wave. And nothing. Argh.

What a little diva.

Heartbreak in Flushing Meadows

What does it feel like to be Andy Roddick right now? The word that comes to my mind is frustrated. He just lost in straight sets to Roger Federer in the quarterfinals. But if you look at the match on paper, it's hard to believe. Roddick's first serve percentage was 71%. Amazing. His winners to unforced errors differential was +18. He served 14 aces, just one shy of Federer, with his average first serve speed clocking in at 130 MPH, 11MPH faster than Federer's average.

There was nary a break of serve for either player in the first two sets; Federer won those in tiebreaks. And finally in the third set, Roger got the one and only break of Roddick's serve that sealed the deal.

Roddick is playing amazing tennis right now. But against Federer, it's still not good enough. He cut out of the stadium tonight before the commentator could get to him to do an interview, and I don't blame him. I wouldn't talk to anyone publicly either after getting wiped across the court like that. Even though he didn't really get wiped...did he?

I hope Andy's got good people in his corner that will encourage and motivate him to keep working to raise his game. I'm hoping to see these two players meet many, many more times, getting to the point where they can start trading sets in a match. The match tonight was thrilling, but the thought of it being closer and more down-to-the-wire excites me to no end.

So James Blake is out, Rafael Nadal is out, and now Andy Roddick is out. It looks like Federer will be cruising to his fourth U.S. Open trophy in a row. As far as I'm concerned, the best matches have now all been played. I'll watch the rest, but much less enthusiastically now.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

All college football, all the time

One week into the 2007 college football season, Michigan and Texas have something in common. They both played presumably puffy-fluffy teams (Michigan vs. Appalachian St., who are the Div I-AA champs for the last two years, and Texas vs. Arkansas St., who were basically just looking for the paycheck), the plan being to start off the season with their own individual routs. Nothing new there. But they both failed to get said routs. Michigan didn't even win. And Texas only won with an 8-point advantage. I have to admit, I was expecting something more like 80 points. OK, maybe not 80, but something definitely around the 50-point-advantage range.

I know what you're thinking. "Come on, Trish...isn't even a 50-point differential still a little unrealistic? Don't you think you might have on rose-colored glasses when it comes to how good the Longhorns are?" Let me offer you a statistic that I researched myself. In the previous nine season openers the Longhorns have played with Mack Brown at the helm, their average final score differential is +40.8. And that's even with a -3 point advantage factored in for their loss against North Carolina St. in 1999. Their biggest season opening rout was in 2004 when they beat North Texas 65-0. So I think my expectations this past weekend were quite realistic.

Yeah....but who's fluffy now?

And now, as far as the national rankings go, Michigan and Texas both took hits. My experience in watching the AP poll, USA Today coaches' poll, etc., is that teams really don't suffer that much as long as there's a new mark in their 'W' column. But this week proved that wrong. Texas fell from #4 down to #7. And since Michigan's little chalk mark didn't even go in the 'W' column, they fell completely out of the Top 25.


As far as Michigan is concerned, I'm so disappointed for them. I'm developing quite an affection for the Maize & Blue, given that my son was born in their world-renowned hospital, and even spent five days in their intensive care unit where they took very good of him. The RK is becoming a big Michigan fan, and if we're still here when he graduates from high school, I'll be more than happy to have him go to college less than ten miles from home. In relation to the Longhorns, buried deep down in my soul is the little bit of hope that someday I will have the opportunity to see these two teams play each other again. I have two scenarios for this meeting. First, I'd love for the Longhorns to travel to Ann Arbor and play the Wolverines right down the road from my house in Michigan Stadium. I would be completely decked out in my burnt orange, and I promise you I'd be screaming louder than all 109,000+ UofM fans combined. Scenario #2, of course, is the two teams playing for the National Championship in early January. After the 2005 Rose Bowl, which until the 2006 Rose Bowl was the most exciting football game I had ever watched in my life, I know that any time these two teams get together to battle it out again would be nothing less.

The RK only had a half-day yesterday for the first day of school, so the IB and I took him out to lunch after he got home yesterday. We went to his favorite little sub shop not too far from Michigan Stadium. All over the restaurant, they have U of M's season schedule posted. When I was paying for our lunch, I made a comment to the cashier about the copy of the schedule posted there at the register: "This should say, 'Game 1, Sept. 1 vs. Appalachian St.,' then below that, WHO CARES?" The town of Ann Arbor is utterly deflated. It's really quite sad. The guy who lives down the street from me works in Lloyd Carr's (UofM's head coach) office. I haven't talked to him since last Saturday, and I don't think I want to. I might want to give that a little more time.

Now as far as my feelings about the Longhorns go, I'm just SOOOOOOOO relieved that I'm not experiencing that heartbreaking deflation for them that has blanketed my neighborhood for the Wolverines. However, I am a little nervous. This weekend UT plays #19 TCU for the first time since the dissolution of the Southwest Conference. Hopefully I'll be breathing a little easier after that.

Michigan is up against the Oregon Ducks, who are just out of the Top 25 rankings as well.

I'm sooooooooooooo hoping that both the Wolverines and the Longhorns are able to dust themselves off and start fresh this weekend. Given that these were the first games of the season, there's still a lot of time and opportunity left for redemption. Michigan won't be competing for the National Championship this year, but they can still save a lot of face if they can remain undefeated for the rest of the season. The Longhorns are still on track in their mission to reclaim their sparkly crystal football, and as history has taught us, there are many one-loss teams to be revealed throughout the course of the season. And with every one, Texas gets a bump in the polls.

That is, as long as Texas doesn't join their ranks. I'm a little freaked after this past weekend. The vibes aren't good.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Well...I've learned my lesson.

The boys came back from their dad's last night. And after grilling the RK for a recap of what they did over the weekend, I come to find out that my Idiot Ex-Husband and the Homewrecker went to the race after all.

The RK said that he spent the night Sat. night over at the HW's sister's house, and spent the day Sunday over there. And he also said something about a babysitter coming over to the sister's on Sunday to watch the IB. I guess the sister didn't want to have to keep up with him and all the other kids as well.

You have absolutely no idea how LIVID I was to hear that. So the IX got this email from me last night:

So you went to the race after all, huh? It was so important to you that you were willing to blow off your kids and pawn them off on [the sister] and the babysitter. That's disgusting.

Your kids deserve so much more out of you than this, [IX]. And I think it's such a shame that you don't cherish them more, and jump at every opportunity you have to spend time with them. They're growing so fast, and if you keep going like this, they're gonna be grown before you know it, and all you'll have is regret. I think it's such a shame that that race took priority over them.

OK...the next time you want to cancel on your weekend plans with your kids, I won't try to stop you. I'd much rather keep the kids here with me than to have what happened this past weekend happen again. I'll be more than happy to blow off any plans I might have to get to spend the extra time with them. And I'm really sorry I just didn't do that this weekend. Another lesson learned.

If you keep acting like this, you're only hurting your kids, and your relationship with them. I was only trying to help you see that and understand that. But obviously, you don't care. So be it. Like I said, just let me know if you have to pass again on your weekend with them, and I'll just say ok; no more grief from me. I'll do my best to pick up the slack you're creating, but I'll never be able to do it completely.

And shame on the sister, who was also a very close friend of mine before all this, for agreeing to that f'ed up arrangement!

Excuse me...I must go. A wave of nausea just swept over me.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

A day of upsets

Wow, this has been a huge day in the sporting world. The University of Michigan got upset by Div. I-AA champions Appalachian State. At home. Ouch.

Maria Sharapova, the defending champion, was ousted from the U.S. Open in the 3rd round. Mega ouch.

As far as I'm concerned, that's enough upsets for one day. The Longhorns are in progress of spanking the Arkansas St. Indians...lemme check...14-3. And once this women's tennis match that I have turned on right now is done, James Blake is set to take the court.

Signing off from the sports desk (for now)...

Finally, I got to publish this post!

I really hate it when I let so, so many days go between blog entries. But this week, I just haven't felt much like doing anything. My living room floor is completely covered with the CD's the IB has pulled out of the shelves, as well as tons and tons of expired grocery flyers.

The boys went with their dad last evening. But it almost came crashing down. As you may or may not know, the IX & I had agreed to him having the kids every weekend for the summer once our divorce papers were signed. But for last weekend, he let me know that he was scheduled to work all weekend and wouldn't be able to take them. OK, fine. So earlier this week, he and I had an email conversation about his plans to take the kids this weekend. Everything was all set. He was even going to keep them an extra night for the holiday. The RK was really excited about that.

And then Thursday, via text messages, this (pay close attention to the time stamps as you go):

IX 10:57 AM: I seriously need to cancel this weekend. After two weeks of no days off, there are too many things I need to take care of on sat. Plus I need the r & r. On sun.

11:03 AM: planning on attending the [Indycar]race [in downtown Detroit]. I can speak to [the RK] about it as well. Please try to keep a good attitude. It will help the kids out. I will simply have them n [Character allotment for texts just ran out, and I didn't get the rest of the message. I'm guessing it said 'next weekend.']

Me 11:13 AM: It’s not my attitude that’s the problem. It’s a shame you want to be a dad when it’s convenient. I could use the r&r as well as time to take care of stuff too.

IX 11:23 AM: fine. I can take them. Sorry to bother you. Forget I said anything.

Me 11:24 AM: oh no, we’re so sorry to bother you!

IX 2:20 PM: will return them early Sunday morning then.

Me 2:22 PM : why can’t you just stick with our agreement? [The RK]’s really excited about the extra day with you.

IX 2:28 PM: want to spend time with them. Problem is I have tickets for the Detroit race. Can you watch them on Sunday? I’ll pick them back up afterwards. Work with me please.

Me 2:30 PM: did you forget about the race earlier this week [when we were emailing], or did you just now get the tix?

IX 2:32 PM: right. Just got them today.

Me 2:34 PM: so you basically are willing to dump on your kids when something better comes up.

IX 2:37 PM: no. I’ll just take them. Won’t go to the race. Thanks for your help.

3:38 PM: Boy, it sure does pay off being honest with you. Thanks for showing me your true colors.

Me 3:46 PM: What colors are they, exactly? Wanting my kids to have at least a halfway decent relationship with their father?

IX 3:52 PM: All I was asking for a little help [sic] on my situation. One more weekend or not even that just a day at minimum. You make it seem like I won’t see them again.

3:55PM: enjoy your weekend. It’s going to be a nice one.

Me 4:00 PM: all I see is you willing to disappoint your kids for your own selfish reasons. We had agreed that you were going to take them, so that means you don’t get to…

4:00 PM: go to the race. End of story…grow up.

IX 4:16PM: Have the utmost confidence in that lessons have learned [sic]. And won’t be repeated. Definitely count on that fact.

Me 4:18 PM: whatever

Oh, this whole thing Thursday sent me into such a tailspin! I was so angry, I was absolutely shaking. It just pisses me off so much to realize how messed up his priorities are.

I can tell by the messages he was sending me that I really pissed him off as well. I mean, I thought the whole thing was settled with my message sent at 11:24. But then three hours later, he starts it all back up again. And then after our next session, once again I thought it was all settled with the 2:37 message. So I can just see him in those in-between times stewing over it.

It's so interesting to think about how our relationship is changing through all this. During our marriage, he never showed anger towards me, rarely disagreed with me, at least over big things, and just kept everything all bottled up inside, leaving me twisting in the wind wondering what the hell was going on inside his head. I so desperately wanted him to get mad at me sometimes. To let me know that I affected him, even if it was in a bad way. Because in my case, even a bad way was better than my having no effect on him at all, which was my reality.

So I'm finally getting what I wanted from him, now that we're divorced. I guess it's better than nothing. I feel that during our marriage, I constantly put his feelings before my own, conceding in so many disagreements, doing what I could to make him happy. Now that he's no longer my husband, his feelings and his happiness no longer matter to me. My children's do. They are numero uno on my list of priorities, so hell yeah I tore into the IX and had absolutely no desire to work with him or facilitate his getting to that race.

Ya know, come to think of it, I guess this goes both ways. I'm telling him what I really think, instead of taking his feelings into consideration like I did while we were married. So now he's letting me see his reactions. Interesting.

So anyway, thinking back on this whole episode, which makes me a little nauseous, to be honest with you, I think about how the whole thing could've been avoided if the IX would've just acted like the 35-year-old parent he is, and when the race tickets became available, had said, "I'd really love to go, but I have my kids this weekend. Maybe next year."


I've been trying to get this post published since yesterday afternoon, and I finally got the chance to work on it some more! I went through and edited the 'yesterdays' to 'Thursdays,' etc. And now I think it's up-to-date.

The reason I never got to publish was that not too long after the boys had taken off with their dad, I get a phone call from single mom friend #2. This past Sunday, I had tried to call her to let her know that I was still ready to honor our agreement made earlier in the summer about letting her son come spend the days of the last week of summer vacation with us like he did the first week of vacation. I didn't get an answer and left a voice message. And I never heard anything back. So all this week I've had the worrisome suspicion that she's done with me, I'm just too flighty & flaky for her.

So last night, my phone rings, and it's her, profusely apologizing for not calling me back, that when I had actually called, she was at the ER after hurting her ribs. She hadn't even found the message until right before she called. So we start gabbing on the phone, including my profusely apologizing to her as well, and after 45 minutes, she finally says, "What are you doing right now?"

I say, "Nothing." Although I was once again trying to work on my blog post. But really....priorities....

She says, "You just wanna come hang out and have a beer with me in my garage?"

So I dart out the door.

And we have tentatively made plans to go out tonight, if she can find a babysitter for her son. We sincerely need to try to finagle our weekends with our kids so they coincide.

This morning when I woke up, though, I feel like I don't know if I actually want to go out tonight. I have SO MANY things to get done around the house this weekend, and James Blake to watch tonight at the U.S. Open.
  • My house is such a complete disaster (thanks to my formidable force of destruction, aka the IB), I must get it cleaned up.
  • I must clean the bathrooms. They're funky. It's been entirely too long since I've cleaned them.
  • I need to mow. It's been three weeks.
  • I still need to clean out the garage and evict or murder about 5749305589 spiders living in it.
  • I need to take my plastics & cardboard to the recycle bins.
I really, really, really hate letting my list get this long (yes, that's long for me), but I just don't know where to start. It overwhelms me. I really need to get over that.

On a happy note....

Do you know what today is?



The Longhorns are playing Arkansas St. tonight, which should be a handy rout. I have the possibility of watching it on PPV, but after the last time I tried to watch a Longhorn game on DishNetwork PPV, I vowed never again.

You see, it was a game in the middle of the day, and the PPV PTB allotted exactly three hours for the game. When that three hours was up, the coverage abruptly switched to another game, with most of the 4th quarter in the Longhorn game still left to play.

Now tell me...when was the last time you watched a football game that took three hours or less? I don't think I've ever seen that.

So I get on the phone with the DN people, ranting and raving about how ridiculous it is that we, their customers, would shell out $29.95 for a football game if we couldn't see the end of it. She said that if I look back through my contract, I'll find that there's no guarantee of viewing the entire sporting event purchased.

I'm sorry, but I think that is the absolute WORST policy. Why in the world would we spend that kind of money to watch a football game if we weren't guaranteed to see the end? That has to be the most asinine thing I've ever witnessed in my life!

So anyway, the UT game is tonight at 7:00 PM EDT, with no game scheduled after it. I noticed on the program guide that they allotted 4 1/2 hours for the game, so I think if I decided to drop that big ol' chunk of change to see the game, I'd more than likely get to see the end.

But I ain't gonna. For one thing, it's Arkansas St. For another, I really don't need to be spending money on something as trivial and unessential as this. And thirdly, it's the principle of the thing...despite that little incident last year with DishNetwork, I love my service from them. But if that's their policy regarding PPV sporting events, I ain't gonna give them any more money than I have to! Take that, DishNetwork!

OK...I guess this post is long enough. I've been working on this at the coney island again, and I've been sitting here so long, my computer battery is down to 26%. Today I've been observing a bunch of people decked out in their Maize & Blue, grabbing a big ol' breakfast before going to the the U of Michigan game. I'm so geeked that football season is here again!