01 Sep

Halves & Have Nots

I’ve heard it said that you don’t know someone until you’ve lived with them. Some folks would argue that living together isn’t enough since people change after marriage. Half of all marriages end in divorce and I’d bet those couples learned things about their “better half” they’d never have known otherwise.

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We met in person the second week of September. Dave moved in two months later. He’d just gotten out of the military and it made sense to share the bills since we planned to stay together after the baby was born. The following September we said ‘I do’ in front of a handful of family, friends and our 8-week old son. We moved five times before the divorce was final in April, seven years later.

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I rented an apartment on the third floor. I dated four different guys, two of them seriously. I played ‘Mom’ twenty-six weekends a year for six years. And then I remarried my ex-husband.

Now, listen. I know what you’re thinking. Why would I reinvent the wheel? Especially when I already knew it was prone to blowing. Here’s the thing – as bad as I was at being married, I was worse at being divorced.

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After dating everyone else’s ex-husband I realized maybe mine wasn’t so bad. I mean, he did go to work every day. And he had a stable job. He didn’t stop off at the bar or strip club or dog track on his way home. Other women never, ever texted his phone. Sure, he snored and missed the laundry basket every single time but his ex-wife was awesome and I didn’t hate his kid. Really, in comparison he was sort of a catch.

When you remarry your ex you get half of your stuff back.

Things were good for the first four years. We picked up right where we’d left off and didn’t talk much about the time in between. Our son was in high school; I worked from home and the house was large enough to give us space apart. We got another dog and started planning for the future.

But then something changed.

I don’t know when it happened and I can’t tell you why but sometime over the last year my husband remembered why he let me leave in the first place. I thought maybe it was a mid-life crisis when he paid $2500 for a mattress for the spare room. At our counseling sessions, he insisted he was willing to work things out but then he’d hole up in the other room for days. I didn’t care for the silence but I wasn’t willing to admit knowing exactly what he was going through. Four months ago I hired a divorce attorney. Six weeks later Dave moved out of state. Next month my son will leave for the military and I’ll find myself alone on the other side once again.

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Looking back, I can’t say I know much more now about the man I married even after divorcing him twice. I do have a better handle on who I am, who I’m not and who I want to become.

When you divorce someone, you get the other half of yourself back.

And so, as I move into a new phase I think it’s cool to be a part of the promotion for HBO’s new series DIVORCE starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church that premieres Sunday, October 9th at 10pm. It’s the story of a very, very long divorce, the show follows Frances and Robert as they grapple with the fallout from their failing marriage, not just for themselves, but also for their children and friends, ranging from awkward public encounters to difficult private therapy sessions. You can learn more about DIVORCE via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Let me ask you – would you remarry your ex? Do you think it would last if you did? Leave a comment for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card.

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No duplicate comments.

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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

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24 Nov

Missing Parts & Perfect Mates

black entertainment stand

Yesterday I went to see Brian for an individual session. Last week, he wrapped up our ‘chat’ by asking me to make a list of what I wanted in a husband. The assignment was odd because, hello, I already have one of those. It’s a tad late to create The Husband List don’t you think?

And what good would it do to pen a wish list of attributes that may or may not apply to a guy I’m already hitched to? Unless I only jot down traits and qualities Dave already possesses I’m pretty sure the areas he falls short on would stick out like a sore thumb.

I’m not naïve enough to believe that if I write it down the universe will somehow make it so. If, in his professional opinion, the shrink feels I should shitcan this relationship and start over well there’s no guarantee anyone new would check all the boxes on the list either.

So, I opted not to open that can of worms. Instead, I found myself comparing my husband to discarded furniture.

I spend most of my time in the shop. It’s in our basement and the whole space is home to tons of furniture that has been around the block a time or two. Most pieces are on their last leg. I rarely rescue stuff that has much life left according to society’s standards. When most folks look around the space all they see is junk.

The pieces hanging around my shop are usually missing something – a leg, an arm, one or more drawers, shelves, doors – but are still in salvageable condition. Some truing up here, gluing up there, swapping this part out for that one and structurally they’re as good as new. Sure, it takes a little more work to uncover their beauty but once I do I’m certain they’ve never looked better.

And then I send them out to live purposeful lives again.

You know what I don’t do during the course of any of my furniture reinventions?

Never have I written a list of what qualities I wished a dresser possessed. Nope, I haven’t ever rattled off all the things that would make a dining set ideal. I just take the pieces as they come and listen to what they have to say. What hurts? What needs fixing? Which part should be the focal point? What areas should be obscured?

I don’t waste time thinking about what isn’t there.

The art is in working with what I’ve been given. Besides, working around those missing pieces usually sparks ideas for reimagining new uses for those old items.

Let me ask you this – aside from product labeling what makes a buffet different from a tv stand?

Is it in the wood that’s used or how the wood is used? Technically, both provide a large flat surface to display things and each has ample storage to stow stuff out of sight. Either can be painted or stained to suit the décor so what is it exactly that differentiates one from the other?

Because the way I see it, I’ve got a finished buffet I have no use for.

black buffet

And I’ve got a lame tv stand taking center stage in my living room. Schematically speaking, I see no reason why the former couldn’t be modified a bit to replace the latter. Would it mean a little more work? Sure. Could mistakes be made? Certainly. Might I be happier in the end?

There’s something about spending time surrounded by the fruits of your own labor that make all the effort worthwhile.

black entertainment stand

I guess that’s why it seems more productive to see Dave like the furniture in the basement. Sure, he’s got some wear and tear and might be missing a few parts. But he has a lot of potential. With a little work and some reimagineering I’m sure he can find renewed purpose.

17 Nov

Same Trailer, Different Park

mountain trailer

Tonight, I was planning to post an update on some recently completed projects but as I was gathering my thoughts I came across a post I published just over a year ago (you can find that original post here).

Sadly, it doesn’t seem that I’ve gotten very far in the last 365 days. I’m still trying to figure out where I want this blog-thing to go. I really want to spend more time writing but my days are consumed with projects. I’ve slowed down considerably on commissioned pieces but have 17 dressers, 35 end tables, 8 dining room sets and so much more to knock out before packing the house up to get it on the market. The alternative is to liquidate my treasures or lug them to Colorado.

In some ways things are much different today than they were last November. For starters, the move is right around the corner. For 17 years I’ve said “some day I’ll live here” every time I hiked through the Garden of the Gods. Lately, all I’ve found myself saying is “Crap! I need to get that finished/started before we move”. This will be the first Christmas in a long time that I’m not somewhere in the mountains out West. It’ll be the last one we spend as a family under the same roof.

It’s crazy when I stop to think about it. Technically, we’ll be empty-nesters before I’m even 40 years old. About a month ago we started seeing a Christian counselor. Dave and I have been having issues and it was time to get some professional help. Although I always knew we’d find ourselves at this crossroad, I couldn’t have imagined how up in the air everything would be once we arrived.

Brian (the counselor) had Tyler put together a 6-month plan to prepare for his transition out of the house into the real world. He asked me to do the same. The problem is that my plan is completely dependent upon whatever happens with Dave and his job, Dave and our marriage, Tyler and his graduation, Tyler and his enlistment – I don’t have the time nor energy to come up with 12 different short-term what if scenarios. I’d also rather not focus on the precarious situation I’ve found myself in.

Against all of my mother’s wisdom I find myself at the mercy of a man. I’m sure she’s thrilled to know that I don’t have a real job. I don’t make my own money. My car isn’t even in my name. Besides, I’m not sure if I want to leave the house for the real world.

And seriously, I know that even if I had a plan it wouldn’t work out the way I envisioned anyway so I see no point forcing decisions for productivity’s sake. I’ve played that game before and where did it get me? I know I wouldn’t be any less frustrated than I’m tempted to be now. I would be no less busy and I doubt I’d be any more content with what the future held. So, I think I’ll forgo the planning process a bit longer.

I trust that when I look back six months from now I’ll find things worked themselves out. Maybe, I’ll even manage to get a few project updates posted too.

24 Jan

Stop Stealing My Joy

Hello friends! It’s been a while and I’m sorry. I could spend the first few lines here giving you all sorts of excuses about how busy I’ve been, detail the long lists of projects I’m working on and parade my ever-growing To Do List in your face. Or I could publish a new project post and pretend I never skipped a beat. Read More

25 Dec

Merry Christmas

Wishing you and yours the merriest of Christmases today! Right now, I’m enjoying a latte at the top of Mount Werner in Steamboat, Colorado.

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The ride up was beautiful. I wasn’t even afraid of falling out and breaking my legs (gondolas are the way to go).

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It wasn’t super busy since most people were still celebrating the holiday.

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And as I explored I came across the sweetest little snowman.

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I also caught a glimpse of someone very important enjoying his day off.

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I caught up with Dave on one of his trips up and down the hill.

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He said the powder was the best he’d skied to date. I’ll have to take his word for it. Tomorrow, I’ve got a snowshoe tour planned complete with gourmet lunch and wine.

That’s my kind of winter sport.

A couple more days of r & r then it’s back to the shop to work on client projects.

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Until then Merry Christmas everyone!

27 Nov

A Tale of Thanks Giving

It was the day before Thanksgiving and I was stuck at the office.

Hours after everyone else had gone home, I braved the cold towards the parking garage, hopped in my new Honda Civic and threw it into drive. As I made my way to the grocery store, I gave thanks for great friends willing to open their home to us the following day. Read More

14 Nov

How you doing?

I got an email the other day from a reader asking if I had given up writing blog posts and project tutorials. She’d noticed the website redesign (still in progress) and assumed by my latest Facebook posts that I had gone back to work full-time. After assuring her that the blog was still a go (and realizing I completely missed its second birthday last month) I sat down to whip up a new post. And had no idea where to begin…

See, she wasn’t exactly wrong in thinking the focus of this blog had changed, it has. And she wasn’t wrong in assuming I was working full-time again, I am. And if I’m being honest her “its okay to have nothing to say” felt like the out I’ve wanted to give myself for some time now.

But I won’t because, as I told my sister the other day, I am not a quitter.

I am, however, real enough with myself (and complete internet strangers) to admit when something isn’t working. And I guess not saying anything came through as loudly as spilling my guts (which I was avoiding) would have.

And I have plenty to say. So here goes…

Read More