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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Who would play me in the movie version?

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Hi, I’m Adrienne.  If you enjoyed reading about my life in Giving Myself Away, maybe you’d like to help me cast the actors and actresses who would play me and the other main characters of my life in a movie version.

I didn’t describe my appearance too thoroughly because I’m pretty hopeless about looking pulled together.  I told you I have frizzy hair and I get fat when I’m pregnant.  I’m tall and sometimes awkward.  I think anyone you pick would have to play down their Hollywood side to portray me accurately.

How about my ex-husband, Drew?  He’s about my height, but is blessed with a much better metabolism.  He has short, curly brown hair.  If he were an animal, he’d be some kind of a terrier – alert, energetic, sometimes annoyingly distractible.

I’ve probably described Drew’s paramour, Amy, the most because I found myself comparing myself to her.  She’s petite and adorable and it does not seem possible that she could be a mother of three.  She wears tight yoga pants and doesn’t look lumpy in them… totally unfair.  She’s as chipper as Drew and probably a better match for him than I ever was.

And then there’s George, a big part of the reason I have a story to tell.  He makes me look like a fashion star because his wardrobe consists of worn-out athletic gear alternating with black suits.  There’s nothing in between for George:  he’s either working a funeral or slobbing it.  As goofy as he can be, I certainly wouldn’t have been in the predicament I got myself into if it weren’t for wanting to get to know him better.

We can’t forget George’s fourteen-year-old daughter, Christiana, lover of horror movies and pop star perfume.  She’s a girlie girl to the core.  I’ll never forget her calling me a whore very loudly in a public place!  I got over it.

Melanie was my perfect boss, the most organized human being I’ve ever met.  I didn’t think she was human until I got to know her better and she shared some big secrets with me.  She had a way of making me feel like a real slacker.  I can’t line up my Post-it notes straight and, yeah, I spend a little time at work on Facebook, but if you’re on hold half the day with insurance companies, you need something to do.  Right?

Stacy is the potential adoptive mom.  She jangles wherever she goes because she is big on accessorizing with lots of gold stuff.  She loves to wear black everything – hair, clothes, boots, and eyeliner.  She might be going to the mall, but she looks ready for a 1980s rock concert.

Marty is her doting husband.  He carries big wads of cash and is ready to peel off a few large bills whenever Stacy bats her eyes at him.  He has hairy knuckles, but he also has adorable dimples and long dark lashes.  I am sure any child of his would be spoiled rotten.

My sister Kristen doesn’t like kids, junks up her junky car with fast food wrappers, and curses a lot.  I’m not sure how we came from the same parents.  My main issue with her is that she only seems attracted to married men.  She can’t totally help it that she meets a lot of married men who are inclined to cheat on their wives.  She’s a massage therapist.  She knows how to draw the line, though.  Her favorite quote is, “This ain’t a Disney movie. You have to create your own happy ending.” Lol.

I haven’t included my kids or Amy’s and some other friends and family, but if you have ideas for who should play them, tell me your thoughts.

Please let me know what you think!  I can’t wait to hear which actress is going to make me a star.

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Even moms need their mommies

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The kids and I recently found a baby bird lying on the side of my parents’ driveway.  It was probably old enough to fly, at least a little bit, but it wasn’t moving very much.  I didn’t say it to my children, but I thought it was dying.  A few hours later when we were leaving, the bird was gone.  “It flew away!” the boys exclaimed.

I’ll never know whether my mother moved the bird so they would think that, but I didn’t ask her.  I wanted to believe it flew away too.  I still wanted my mom to take care of me.  When you get married, you feel like such a grownup.  When you get divorced, you need your mommy again.

All the things I did when I got married made me feel like an adult.  Referring to “my husband,” signing the papers to buy a house, giving our first dinner party – I believed I had crossed some threshold into adulthood, never to return to dependence on my parents.

But when Drew left, I suddenly felt like a little girl again.  Getting up to make breakfast for my kids, I felt like a fraud – like I was trying on my mom’s makeup and heels – even though I had made them breakfast a thousand times before.  When I made an appointment with an attorney to represent me in the divorce, I wanted to bring my parents with me.  I realized that wouldn’t look very mature, and I reluctantly went alone.

A spouse fills so many spaces left open by parents.  My husband gave me reassurance that I was loved, like my dad.  He told me my outfit was perfect on the first day of my new job, like my mom.  He let me be the baby sometimes when life seemed too much and I wanted to stay in bed rather than get up and fulfill my adult responsibilities.

When you’re suddenly the only parent in the house, it can be scary.  I have to pay all the bills.  I have to decide who to call when the pipe bursts.  I have to tell my kids, no, they can’t watch that movie that “everyone else” saw.  The worst is those late nights when one of your children is sick.  No, the worst is those late nights when you’re sick AND your kids are sick.

The fact is, getting divorced made me grow up much more than getting married ever did.  Getting married meant going from the support system of my parents to that of my husband.  Getting divorced meant I was finally going to have to figure it out on my own.  Luckily, my parents are only an hour away, and my mom still lets me be a kid sometimes, even if it’s just preserving the fantasy that nothing bad happens to baby birds.

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