What were you happiest your ex took with him in the divorce?

Adriennes blog 15 brown recliner picHi, I’m Adrienne.  I’m one of those people who likes to make lists.  You’ll find them stashed in drawers, hanging in the kitchen cabinets, and in the reminders app on my phone.  Not all of my lists are things to do.  Some of them are things to be grateful for.  There’s a list I pull out from my jewelry box every now and then when I’m feeling sorry for myself about being divorced.  The paper is getting fuzzy along the edges from being folded and unfolded so many times, but I’m happy to say I don’t need to look at this list as often as I used to.

Things I’m happy Drew took with him in the divorce:

  1. His hideous brown recliner.  You know the chair, the one that comes with you into your marriage.  You know it’s a bad idea to let him bring it with him, but you’re so happy to be pulling your separate lives together that you overlook that chair.  It might be a hand-me-down from his parents or he might have picked it up at the Salvation Army, but either way, it was part of his bachelor life and now it’s got memories.  Never mind the fact that it’s ugly as all get out, stained, and not even that comfortable anymore.  There’s no slipcover that’s going to make that lumpy excuse for furniture look respectable.  It doesn’t match anything else, and you just have to hope you have one of those man-cave rooms to hide it in, because it’s not going anywhere…until you get divorced, that is.
  2. His “collections.”  Beer steins, baseball cards, comic books, you name it.  The monetary value or the space it takes up is completely irrelevant.  The older his collection is, the more determined he is to keep it.  You can bet his mother can’t wait to get it out of her house.  I never saw Drew’s mom lifting such heavy stuff as the day she finally unloaded Drew’s boxes from their attic to ours.  Or maybe your man had a mother who threw out his stuff and he still resents her for it.  These are the ones to watch out for because if you so much as throw out an old receipt of theirs for a hot dog from a baseball game ten years ago, you’ve just discarded a piece of his life.
  3. His snoring.  I put up with it and I learned to sleep despite it, but wow, I’ve never slept so well in my life now that I’m single.  I can sleep on the left side of the bed, the right, or the middle, and there’s always room for me.  No one to snuggle up to, but at least it’s quiet and roomy.
  4. His clothes.  Clothes = laundry and some men never learned to unball their socks or take the stuff out of their pockets.  I’m already mom to two kids; did I really need to be his mom too.
  5. The love letters I wrote him.  I promised I’d love him forever, and of course I believed it.  Who doesn’t think their romance is the best, truest love the world has ever known?  I might be tempted to look back and get sentimental about old times I can’t recapture, but thankfully he’s removed the temptation.
  6. The petty resentment.  I spent a lot of time being mad at Drew for not doing the household things that I felt like he should be doing, such as taking the trash out, mowing the lawn, or fixing the broken vacuum cleaner.  Now there’s no one to nag but myself.  My “honey-do” lists are only for me, and I can check off the items or ignore them at will.
  7. His debt.  Some of it I was responsible for, but now that we’re divorced, what he does or doesn’t do financially can’t hurt me anymore.  There’s no one to negotiate with over what we can afford.  If I put something on the credit card, I know I’ll be the one paying for it.
  8. His pet snake, Lulubel.  Drew and his roommates bought a ball python during a drunken night of college partying, and somehow he inherited her by being last to move out of the guys’ apartment.  I will not miss weekly trips to the pet store to buy mice to sacrifice to Lulu, or the semi-regular dreams I had that she would escape and kill one of us in the night.

You might say this list sounds like sour grapes, but it gets me by on the days I miss being married, miss having the comfort of a spouse and someone to share all the joys and sorrows of life with.

What were you happiest to let go of when you and your spouse separated?

You can read more about my lists and my adventures with and without Drew in Giving Myself Away, available now.

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Available at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle format

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Seven Worst Ways to Start the New Year

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Hi, I’m Adrienne.  Happy new year!  I’m one of those people who gets bogged down by high expectations from the possibilities of January 1.  Learn from my experience as I present to you The Seven Worst Ways to Start the New Year:

 

7. Hung over and in a carb coma.  This was no big deal when I was younger.  But that was before I encountered the TWO-DAY hangover.   Just as our eyesight and hearing tend to get worse with age, apparently so does our liver’s ability to deal with a toxic blast of vodka, chicken wings, and Doritos.  What an awful way to start the new year – full of resolve and too sick to do anything about it.

6. Paying upfront for a gym membership.  I also went to the other extreme… there was that one year when I decided to go to bed before midnight and start the new year right with a grand workout routine.  The tan, fit college girl with blonde braids at my local gym convinced me to sign up for six months because I’d save a good chunk of change over paying month to month.  She failed to tell me I’d lose all that money anyway after I made one visit to the gym, completely overdid it to save face in front of the regulars who work out all year, and then limped home in shame never to return again.

5. Making resolutions for other people.  Sometimes I can’t believe how pretentious I was.  It wasn’t enough to make my own resolutions that I couldn’t keep… I had to make a list for my husband too and post it on the refrigerator.  It reliably gave me something to nag him about, which gave him a chance to ignore me, which allowed me to snap out on him for ignoring me, and well, you know how that goes.

4. Deciding that your entire wardrobe needs to be sorted and organized TODAY.  It’s a scientific fact that I am my fattest self at the end of December.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, and eating for hibernation in the fall all lead to me wearing the same couple of big sweaters and pants for a month or two until I rein myself in (with New Year’s resolutions!).  One year I pulled every item of clothing out of my closet and drawers, started crying when I realized how few of these clothes looked good on me, and then slept on the sofa to avoid dealing with putting them all away.

3. Looking at anything that comes from Martha Stewart.  If you want to feel like a failure, you need only check out her lists for keeping a household running smoothly.  What, you missed cleaning out the gutters and wiping down the undersides of your baseboard radiators?  Don’t worry, there are overwhelming lists for every season of the year as well as the BEST way to do your laundry, cook fresh cranberry sauce, and assemble party favors.  Thank goodness she doesn’t delve into the BEST way to rear children, or I’d be suicidal.

2. Making resolutions you can’t keep. I’ve written those lofty lists in which I vow to do everything better without having an action plan for how that’s going to happen.  No wonder it fails.  Goals work best when they are achieved by incremental changes, not complete and instant overhauls.  Our society is always looking for the quick solution.  What else would explain the popularity of shows where people lose a hundred pounds in a matter of months, become professional dancers in a few weeks, or meet, date, and get engaged in less than a season?

1. Doing nothing at all.  For as many times as I’ve failed, I’m still not giving up.  A new year is a chance to reflect on where we’ve been and where we still want to go.  I’m giving up the lists.  I’m not using my day off to make major changes that will overwhelm me.  But I am going to resolve to be more patient and loving and to appreciate the blessings in my life.

Thanks for reading!  If you enjoyed, you can read about some even bigger mistakes I’ve made in Giving Myself Away.

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Available at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle format

Available at Barnes and Noble in paperback and Nook format