Thursday, July 22, 2010

One hell of a day, a.k.a. turning a corner.

Yesterday, I regaled you with what was going to happen today.

  1. Daddy's knee replacement surgery.
  2. The ex coming to finally pick up his car.
Yes, both happened as planned.  But, you know me, I wouldn't title it "One hell of a day" for no reason.

Let's set it up...

Last night, I was wound up tighter than a top.  I was so amped with worry that instead of going to bed as I had planned, I worked on the finishing touches of the major clean up on the apartment.  I had already finished all my laundry and had it all organized by color, pressed and hanging in my closet.  The refrigerator was cleaned out, the dishes were done and in the dishwasher.  Every last detail of the mundane chores was done, and the day before I had gone to battle with my shredder after seeing the news clip on CNN about how police had to cut off the roof of a house in Illinois because a woman died in her very cluttered house.

Ok, we know that my ex was Mr. Clutter.  There is no other way to describe it.  I have a feeling had he not run off with the Bassett Hound Faced Bitch, I would have probably met a similar fate as the lady in Illinois.  Death by clutter.  To me, that's hell.  What got me the worst is that the folks in Illinois were entering and exiting the house via tunnels through the debris which is very similar to my ex mother-in-law's house.

After seeing the clip on CNN, I freaked.  I shuddered, got one hell of a case of the crawlies and then proceeded to go on a Joan Crawford "Mommie Dearest" kind of cleaning binge.  And oh did I clean.  First bill of fare was shredding all sorts of old documents left behind by the ex that had no further use.  In the process, I jammed up my shredder so bad that I sat for two hours unjamming the thing with a wire coat hanger (don't worry, it was unplugged).  I shredded, sorted and took out so many garbage bags full of garbage and clutter that I lost count along the way.  In total, over the last year that I've been blogging about recovering from the ex's departure, I've taken out close to fifty, that's right, "five zero" garbage bags filled with nothing but clutter and garbage that the ex had filled the apartment with.  Feeling me yet?

So anyhow, because I was worried sick about my dad going into surgery, followed by worrying about what kind of idiot stunt the ex was going to pull when he got here that I couldn't sleep.  There was no way, I was just too damn wired for my own good.  I cleaned all the way through the night, watching 2am-7am wave to me as they passed by while I was bleaching kitchen countertops, organizing, dusting, rearranging, redecorating and throwing things away, filling three more garbage bags in the process.  As I watched the sun come up, I knew I was on borrowed time.  I finally became completely exhausted and by 7am, when I knew my father was going to call me at 8, I fell into my bed and after battling my racing mind for a few minutes, I fell asleep.  An hour later, the phone rang, it was Dad.  I told him that I only had fallen asleep and hour previous and when he asked why, I explained how worried I was about him and what the ex was going to do.  He told me everything was going to be ok and that I needed to not worry so much.  Since I was awake, I got up, made a pot of coffee (ironic isn't it being that I was on a collision course with a pothole?), took my levothyroxine with some cranberry juice and slowly began to wake up again after my hour nap.  

After I gained a bit of coherency, I showered, got myself all made up, dressed and got into the car.  I was responsible for taking Daddy to the hospital and I was NOT going to blow it.  It was my job to look after Daddy today and by gods, nothing was going to keep me from it.  This is Dad we're talking about.  He's #1 priority when he needs me.  I don't care if I've got limbs hanging on by a thread, if it's for Dad, it's getting done.

I picked up my Dad, drove him to the hospital and while he and I were waiting for him to be taken back to the prep room, Mom joined us.  She sat and visited with us until Dad was called back to the prep area and she and I were made to wait another ten minutes until we could get back to visit with him after they had marked his leg and put in his IV's.

When Shannon, the knee surgeon's assistant, called us, Mom and I were on our feet quicker than anything you've ever seen and we walked back to find Dad in the hospital bed, prepped and ready to go into the operating room.  I sat on the side of the bed and held Daddy's hand as we waited and the nurses asked him the final questions he needed to answer before going into surgery.  When the anesthesiologist came along, I gave him "the look" which said, "Sucker, my dad better come out of that room in one piece or you and I are going the rounds", remembering the very large scare we had the last time when they had such a hard time reviving him from the anesthesia he was given.  It was not happening again, and that's something that Mom, Nan, Dad and I completely agreed on, so Dad had called the anesthesiologist this morning and made him aware of what happened last time and asked him to take steps to make sure it didn't happen again.

Well, the time came when it was Dad's time to take center stage in the operating theater.  As they rolled him away, I told my Dad I loved him very much and that I'd see him later, all the while thinking, "please, let him come out ok..."

After Mom and I said our goodbyes and wishing Dad luck, we headed out of the prep area to find Nan driving up.  She missed out on seeing him in prep, but we filled her in on what was happening.  At that point, the phone rang.  It was my agent over at the employment agency.  She had a job for me that was long term and would probably turn into a permanent position.  Being in the situation I'm in, I jumped at the job.  Truth told in this economy, if you get offered a job, you don't stop, pass go or collect $200, you say yes immediately.  Well, sure enough, all I had to do was go get a drug test and I have a job waiting for me at 6am tomorrow morning.  The workday is 6am to 2:30pm.  The pay is decent, but I'm not discussing it here.  There are just some things that aren't everyone's business, so I hope you'll understand.

So, with Dad in surgery, a new job waiting for me, all that was left for this day was to deal with the ex.  I waited for hours for him to call, only for him to finally call at 3pm, after I had done my drug test for the job and picked up the directions, details and such for my assignment through my temp agency.  After taking the paperwork that said I had completed my drug test (ironically done on the 10th anniversary of my sobriety) back to the temp agency, I grabbed some food and headed home to wait for the ex to show up.

The day wasn't turning out to be so bad that far, and I figured with the good fortune of the ex showing up to pick up his car, it was also a great excuse to get rid of the last remnants of him in the apartment.  On Wednesday evening, I took all of the things he left behind like old dishes, his wok, his Central American sculptures, his down coat, his ski pants, his rollerblades, ice skates, old running shoes, clothes, sheets, you name it, it all went into garbage bags and carried down to our storage area for him to take with him.  

When he finally arrived this afternoon, the smell of canine urine was overwhelming.  And I always felt guilty because I was a smoker...NOOOOOOO...the smell of dog piss on clothing is far worse than any cigarette, ever. Taken aback by the stench of the Bassett's five Chihuahua's on him, we had a very "friendly" visit.  I teased him a bit here and there, nothing vicious or venom laced.  Truth told, I'm just grateful I have a car and a roof over my head, so I didn't want to rock the boat, but I did sneak in a crack about how he could leave me for a bitch with the face of a Bassett Hound.  He looked none too pleased when I said that, so I backed down and just let him be. 

During our visit, I thanked him for all of the things he taught me, in which I relayed a tale about a WoW guildie who was battling all sorts of venereal diseases his girlfriend brought home after she screwed around on him; and the fact that KP and I had spent night after night playing nursemaid to our fellow guildies' broken heart and shattered nerves.  The three of us had become our own "recovering from relationship disaster" support group.  I told the ex that I had learned that screwing around on someone is absolutely unforgivable and that it gave me a firmer resolve when it came to dealing with my family and my friends.  In which case betrayal of any friend or family member was beyond forgiveness and on par with the worst thing you could ever do to someone you supposedly "love".  I also let him know that I took the very horrible situation he put me in to and made it into a positive.  That it taught me to keep moving forward, one very painful step at a time, that I needed to find my own way, and that ironically, I am now at the same point I was at before I married him.  His presence in my life was a painful pothole-filled detour on the road, and that I wouldn't be grateful for what I have now had I not gone through it, learning to take the nutritional value from the experience and use it to become a better person who will never betray her friends or family.   I looked the ex dead in the eye and I told him, "I want you to look me in the eye when I say this, because it's the gods to honest truth, I don't date.  I don't screw around, I don't go out.  The only people I see in person are people that you know personally which amounts to my parents, my sister and her boyfriend.  The only social contact I have is through my online worlds.  I talk to my friends on the phone that are far away and that is it.  I don't leave the house for a social reason unless it is with family.  On a piece of paper somewhere, it says I'm still married to you, so until I sign divorce papers, that's the way it's going to stay."  He had nothing to say to that, except a very ashamed look.  After our talk, we proceeded to jump start his car and go through boxes that he needed to take with him.

Ironically, all the ex and his new girlfriend do is fight.  She called in the middle of him collecting his things and I could hear her screaming at him on the other end of the line.  Poor bastard.  I can only say that "you reap what you sow" and well, when it came to yelling at him, I never once did over the course of the seven years I was living with the man.  It was always, "I have to yell at you now, but before I do, here are the reasons why..."  I'd calmly explain what was wrong, ask him if it were possible to fix or remedy the situation, hug him and get back onto other business.  In seven years I think we had a total of two fights.  Only one of them ever had a single voice raised.  But there he was, taking the phone call very calmly, excusing himself outside, just as he did when he talked to her when he lived here, and all I could do to not laugh my fool head off was go to the furthest point away from him inside the apartment and do my impression of a yipping dog, whining and barking.  It was hysterical to say the least.  Hey, you lie down with dogs...what do you get?  FLEAS.  He made his bed, now he's got to lie in it, sorry to say, it's flea infested.

After the phone call with the Bassett, he began to hurry, I helped and remained cheerful as we took things down to the storage area.  Along the way, I asked him, "Was I so horrible to make you do those things?  Is this my fault?  I always showed interest in every single thing you did, but when it came to me, you always said you had no interest whatsoever in what I was doing...that hurt.  I have always done every single thing you've ever asked of me, so what did I do so terribly wrong?"  He looked at me, tears springing into his eyes, and said that it wasn't my fault what had happened, that there was absolutely nothing wrong with me, that I was beautiful and funny, sexy and smart, and that simply there was something wrong with him and that he didn't know where he was going to end up.  He cried.  Hard.  At that moment I knew he was more screwed than I'll ever be.  He dug himself into such a hole that he was looking up to the surface and had realized he had severely screwed up.  He admitted it outright.  He said in plain terms, "I screwed up."  Would you agree with me that that is a far worse punishment than I could ever give him?

As he was leaving, he gave me a huge hug and a kiss on the cheek and asked if he could see my dad at the hospital.  The smell of dog urine was more than I could withstand, but I just took it as run, realizing that shirts can be washed and sterilized (and believe me, my white t-shirt with the big yellow flower on it WILL be washed alone, several times, before I'll wear it again.  I had considered incinerating it, but it'd be a loss of a really cute top, so washing it alone will have to do.  I went with the line I had told y'all about yesterday, that we appreciate that he "cares" but given Mom will be right there, it wasn't a good idea.  With that, I got another dog piss smelling, tear-filled hug, and he got into his car and drove away.

I can very accurately say that outside of a really horrid tablecloth and a serving plate, he is officially out of the apartment with the three foot long fork and spoon running along behind him, trying desperately to get into the car for the ride to Kentucky.  His apartment key and magnetic gate key are now on my kitchen counter.  I can officially say that he's gone and likely never to return.  More to the point, I know when I leave the apartment and lock my deadbolts, there is no one, and I mean NO ONE coming into my apartment.  I now feel completely safe and I feel like I have complete privacy which, to me, means more than anything in the world.

At that point, it was time to go back to the hospital.  Mom had called while the ex was here.  I missed the call.  I called her back as soon as the ex left and Mom let me know that Dad was resting comfortably after surgery and he was just fine, giving me the hospital room number where I could find everyone.  I told her how the ex had asked if he could see Dad.  Expecting several explicatives, I was surprised to hear Dad say, "It's ok." Dad relented on his stance, after all, they'd been through this before and they had been pals.  It was then I looked at the counter and let out an explicative.  The ex had left his mail on the counter.  I figured I could kill two birds with one stone, calling the ex, I let him know that he forgot his mail AND that he could, if he chose to, go and see my Dad in the hospital.  The ex sounded thrilled as I hung up the phone, grabbed the mail and headed back to the hospital.

When I found my Dad's room, I was thrilled to see he looked far better than he did the last time we went through this.  His foot wasn't very swollen at all and Mom was right by his side, feeding him his dinner and Nan sitting in a chair next to the bed.  Dad is so spoiled, he's got three nurses who will jump when he asks for anything.  Nan immediately asked about what happened.  In hushed tones, as not to disturb Dad, I told her the tale, even down to the dog impersonation of the Bassett Hound Faced Bitch.  In the middle of the tale, guess who walks in?  The ex.  My mother froze as he walked in.  She, much to my outright amazement, greeted him warmly and even hugged him.  Dad and he spoke for a few minutes and you could see by the uncomfortable look on the ex's face that he knew he had screwed up royally.  My family was nothing but a class act around him.  Mom, almost in tears with disappointment in my ex, finally left the room.  She held in all she could, then excused herself as the ex asked about how Nan's chemo was going and visiting with Dad a bit more.  It was at that point that I remembered I had left the ex's mail in my car, so I excused myself, went down to my car, grabbed the handful of letters, went back upstairs to Dad's room and handed them over.  At that point, the ex uncomfortably looked at his watch, bid us all farewell and he's now on his way to Kentucky with a real bitch, plus two dogs.

I kind of feel sorry for the guy.  In one day I conquered a lot of stuff.  Dad got through surgery with flying colors, the ex has been exorcised from my apartment and I got a job.  All with an apology from the ex to put a cherry on top of it all.

Holy shit, what a day, huh?

I finally feel like I've turned a corner.  But I found it very ironic how my day went because on Tuesday I had written: 

"It's a long uphill battle coming out of the failures of the past.  It's something that while you're doing it doesn't seem so huge, but little observances of interesting moments along the way that make it worthwhile.  Then one day, poof! You're back on your feet like nothing bad ever happened to you."

And poof!  In a single day I'm back where I started, a little worse for ware, but all the wiser.  

Life is pretty amazing, isn't it?

But the one thing that NONE of us should EVER forget is that life is a process.  It's always one step at a time, always moving forward.

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