The plan was to spend Thanksgiving at my parents' house. My brother and his family and my Gramps were all gonna be there (actually, they were).
So...taking a step back. My mom had hernia surgery last week. And my Gramps has a very weak immune system. Practically non-existent. And...wouldn't you know it, I woke up with the mother fucking sniffles.
Normally I wouldn't think anything of it. Take some zinc and make sure that there's plenty of tissues on hand. Might be allergies. Could be the beginning of a cold. Could be the tail end of one. Don't know. Like I said, normally I wouldn't think anything of it.
But I'm in a situation where there are two people that I love very dearly who could be in some serious trouble if I wound up getting them sick. It could kill my grandfather.
So...I dropped off the corn and the crockpot this morning wearing a surgical mask. And I picked up the rolls and dropped those off.
And I came home.
Like I said, it was probably allergies...but it wasn't worth it to me to take a chance.
So...spent the rest of the day at home. Cleaning a bit. Watching really bad TV (Sharknado...)...and some not so bad TV (Louis C.K., MisFits).
Dad brought a plate by not too long ago. So...Thanksgiving wasn't a complete bust.
And here's the crux of the day, I am thankful.
I am thankful for the people in my life that I care about.
I am thankful that I have a roof over my head.
I am thankful for this life I now find myself living.
And that's really what the day is all about.
And my answer will be straightforward and concise.
I don't intend to date. I don't want to meet someone that I have to date. Dating sets all kinds of crazy expectations and weird social mores. Who pays for which meal...what are casual dates...which dates are romantic...when do you have to buy gifts...what date can you kiss on...how long before you call (or text) someone back...blahditty blahblah.
Forget that horse shit.
I want to hang out with people. It's not a date. We're hanging out. If we're hanging out at a movie and you want pop corn and I want Reese's Pieces...we get them. No weirdness.
Hanging out implies living in the moment. No foreshadowing of future events. If scratch an itch on my calf, it's just an itch. Not some ancient family way of saying we need to have kids and get a cottage in the country (that always involved elbows anyway). Whatever happens happens, and I'm cool with that.
I don't know where that came from...other than now that paperwork has been signed...shit's real. Ya know?
Alright. It's been a rather long and somewhat trying day. Time for bed.
This was me driving home today. After the 'big event.' The Big Event, of course, being the Dissolution Hearing. The end of 11 years spent trying to build a life with someone. Well...at least 6 or 7 of those were spent trying to build a life together. The last years were spent trying to just co-exist in the same house.
I'm not really sure what I'm feeling. Or even what I'm suppose to feel to be completely honest.
Anger. Disappointment. Resentment. Relief. Elation. Satisfaction.
Who the fuck knows?
And in the midst of trying to wax all nouveau-angsty-philosophical just now, I'm thrown by the fact that my neighbor's washing machine is out of balance. And they wonder why there's water all over the floor down there.
I took today off work. I felt it best give the "Stepmom Incident of 2000" as it has come to be called. Drove home from the hearing and chilled. On deck today was laundry...grocery shopping...mindless Facebooking...and a trip to White Castles. Technically it's not part of the 24 Day Challenge, but I'll burn it off with some cardio and it'll all work out just fine. Don't you worry your pretty little head about it none.
Got my first Christmas decoration hung. I'll be working Friday and probably most of the weekend so the traditional hanging of the decorations after Thanksgiving likely won't happen this weekend. Meh. It's all good.
I'm basking in a flurry of birthday wishes from yesterday. The feeling of love and well being from my friends and family very likely acted as a shield against the cold indifference I felt this morning. Seriously. It looked like my wife. Sounded like my wife. But as of 10:01, she was no longer my wife.
It's for the best.
Which...to be fair is a bullshit phrase. Whether it's for the best or not, that phrase is usually uttered at the pinnacle moment when someone is going through some shit, the immediacy of which prevents them from seeing the long term picture. When you're in the midst of the short term pain and discomfort of a situation "It's for the best" seldom does more than indicate that the person saying it knows that you're going through some major shit and they wish they could help, but they don't really know how.
And that's OK. Hallmark doesn't make a card for this. "Dear Friend, I know you thought you were building a life together, and today you ended your marriage. All the best to you!"
It's funny to me, both the Judge and the court clerk said 'I wish you luck.'
What's that mean? What luck? Neither one of us is going to wake up down the road and pine for the lack of intimacy and having a stranger in our bed that used to be our best friend. It isn't going to happen.
And least not for me. I don't know her any more. And the unfortunate thing is...that always leads to the inevitable 'did I ever really know her?' line of questioning. Which, to be fair, never does anyone any good when you get right down to it.
At one time, I thought I knew her. I thought our hopes and dreams found mutual support. At one time there was love. There was laughter. And that's good enough for me. At the time, it was probably the right path. Where it deviated, I may never know. But to spend my days second guessing it isn't going to do anyone any good. It's not like I'm going to go back and fix things if I suddenly did figure out where they went wrong.
Not gonna happen.
Dude...seriously...fix your fucking washing machine.
Alright...there's not really anything left to say right now.
For those of you concerned about my well being, thank you. I'm fine.
It's for the best.
So...it's Friday. My last Friday as a 'married' man. I use air quotes because I haven't felt like a married man in quite some time. But that's neither here nor there. Monday will be the last day married.
Let's try that again..
So...rolling in to this weekend I feel very much like I'm in line for the Roller Coaster. This is one bad-ass roller coaster. It kinda has me terrified and excited all at once. I rode a similar ride about 14 years ago, but for some reason that one seemed less....daunting.
I have friends who have been on this roller coaster. They assure me that I'll wind up just fine. I have other friends who have never been on this ride, can't fathom it , or have been thinking about getting a ticket to this ride themselves. Their assurances are equally positive, but less certain.
The time has arrived. When I leave work today I will officially be on the ride. I expect this ride to last all weekend and go through on in to Monday morning when I will finally be off of this ride and free to explore other attractions in the park.
I know there are going to be ups. I know there are going to be downs. And curves and loop the loops. What I don't know is how I'm going to actually process all of that this weekend as I'm going through it. I don't expect a complete meltdown by any means, but I know it's going to be a bit rough.
And that's ok.
It's just a ride.
It seems real, but as Bill Hicks reminds us...it's just a ride.
Best to just grab hold and enjoy it at this point.
Started the Advocare 24 Day Challenge Monday. Weighed in at 302 on Monday. This was down 28lbs from my original starting weight in 2011.
Today I weighed in at 298.
I felt the same elation I did so long ago when I broke the 300lb. barrier the first time. And I realized that it's not about comparing myself to anyone. It's not about being better than anyone. It's about living in the now. Yes, the last time I was on a scale, this was my weight. Now...in this moment, this is my weight. This is who I am.
By sticking true to my dreams and passions, who I am to be will emerge. By focusing on who I want to be, I will be trapped in a state of wanting. I need to remember to be. Just simply be. The person I am is who I am to be.
Sounds odd I know. I've been oddly reflective this morning. Class pictures are coming up tomorrow at KMA. I thought about asking Master Circle if I could attend (Afterall, I was part of the class for 6 months 2013). There is one problem. My Do Bok doesn't fit.
I know at least part of the answer of when I will return to Hap Ki Do. In addition to when my flexibilty and stamina in my knee has returned, the short answer is 'when my do bok fits.' And that's cool by me.
I don't have much more to say today. I'm in a weird state of flux right now.
Birthday is Sunday. Dissolution is Monday.
Excessive partying is Saturday.
And that's about all I have to say about that.
People thought I was nuts to start a diet so close to the holidays. But I knew the truth. Two truths, actually. The first truth is that it's not a diet. It's a lifestyle change. One that I've let go lax a bit this summer/fall. Diets never work. Changing your habits and lifestyle is the only thing that really works.
And this was the first step for me.
The second truth I knew is a simple one regarding the holidays. If I couldn't make this lifestyle choice stick during the hardest time of the year (the holidays), then there was really no point in continuing down that road. I needed to prove to myself that I could do it. My birthday and Thanksgiving both fell in the middle of the 24 Day Challenge period. And with a few minor hiccups, I stuck with it.
I lost 16 lbs in the first 24 days. In the next 18 months I got down to 265. 65 pounds down from my starting weight. I was looking good, but more importantly I was feeling fucking fantastic.
I decided to tackle something on my bucket list (or as I call it, the Fuckkit List)--The Warrior Dash. A 5K Obstacle course on the slopes of Clear Fork ski resort. It was a muddy, physically demanding mess. I thought I was ready for it. I wasn't. Physically or mentally I wasn't. I thought that the 10 months of kickboxing and Hap Ki Do I had been doing 3 times a week would be enough to get me in shape to face the 'Dash. I wasn't enough.
There were 12 obstacles on the course. I jumped off of the 3rd one and wrenched my ankle and knee. I wound up walking the rest of the course. And you're damn right I still went through every obstacle. I had come too far to turn back. I wasn't going to let the course beat me.
As a result of my perseverance, I wound up with a sprained MCL. Kickboxing and Hap Ki Do were on hold. At least for the next 4-6 weeks.
In July I tried to go back to kickboxing. I focused on my upper body and took it easy on the knee. I didn't mentally process that I hadn't gone this hard in 7 weeks. So I didn't think I needed to dial anything back.
I paid for it by jacking up my trapezoids. This resulted in another month or 2 of physical therapy just to get my muscles to the point where I wasn't waking up screaming in the middle of the night.
I haven't been to Kickboxing or Hap Ki Do since July. I have to be honest. I'm scared that I may need to find a different exercise of choice. I used to do 50-75 squats a session (it damn near killed me, but I did them)...now 2 squats has me almost in tears. The flexibility just isn't there.
I'm getting old.
So. This journey started 2 years ago. I've come through some shit since then. And truthfully, there's still some shit on the horizon to go through. I have no misgivings about that.
But I started the 24 Day Challenge again yesterday. The timing is such that my birthday and Thanksgiving will fall in nearly the same place in the challenge they did 2 years ago. And that's ok.
I'm back in to cooking my meals. Cutting out the fast food that had someone crept in these past few months.
It's not going to be easy, but I'm going to get back to kickboxing and Hap Ki Do. Not this month. Maybe not next month, but I will make it back. Like before, I will let my body tell me when the time is right.
That's really the key to making this shift work--listening to my body.
I'm currently at 300lbs. It's not as heavy as I was before (thankfully), but I know it's too heavy for me. I can sit comfortably at 250, maybe 225. But 250 definitely would work for me.
And I'll get there.
I rolled back in to town last night. 10PM is about when I got in my door. Or somewhere thereabouts. And I was tired. Still am tired. Napped off and on all day. It happens after these out of town work things...my body says 'ok...you can stop pushing us to the limits now' and just kind of crashes. For some silly reason I thought I could avoid it this time. Not so lucky.
It's not a huge deal. Just makes the weekend seem busier. And the rush to get back in the office on Monday a bit hastier. But I'll survive.
It's what I do.
Survive and adapt. Adapt to Survive. ATS. Adapt to survive. Andrew Todd Skaggs.
Somehow fitting I suppose.
Still adapting to this whole cooking for one thing. Most recently in the area of Concerts.
Movies are fine. For some reason, I don't mind going to movies alone. Never have. I think it's because when the lights go out, no one knows who you came with or not. And there's not the kind of shared experience of say...a concert. I'm not quite up to going to concerts alone yet. And it's too bad..I've missed a few good ones. Blue Man Group....Pretty Lights...Justin Timberlake. Thing is...I have been to a concert or two by myself. Most notably Foo Fighters last year. I went. And it was no big deal. The wife stayed home. It was fine.
I don't know why it's different now. Other than the whole shared experience thing. When I came home from Foo Fighters last year, I could gush at how awesome it was and she could (I thought) be happy I had fun and share in my joy. But there's no one right now at home to do that with. And then there's the whole pre-concert ritual. The excitement that builds. The drive to the venue...do you play their new album or not? It's all part of the shared experience.
And I don't know that I want to do that by myself just yet.
There are still aspects of this life change that I struggle with. Sure...the last few years were just the barest shell, but there were good times. Times when we did go to concerts together. The rush of the performance. It was good. And it's not that I expect that again. It's just that I'm...meh. I don't know. I guess I'm just not ready for solo concerts yet.
In 8 days I will be legally single again. A two time divorcee. I'm not sure that there will be a third marriage or not. I don't want to be Ross. I always pictured myself more of a mix of Chandler (with a little Phoebe thrown in).
I guess if there's someone that I'm really dying to see (like if Foo Fighters come back this way), I'll get tix and go. Not sure if I'd get two and try to find someone to pick up the other ticket or if I'd go solo. I guess that would depend on the act/venue blah blah blah.
Some aspects of this process flat out suck. But that's part of it, I suppose. Adapt to survive.
or something like that.
"I'm going to help set up the new store..."
If you're not sure, the lyrics (from what I've found on the googles) are as follows:
I'm sailing away
Set an open course for the virgin sea
'Cause I've got to be free
Free to face the life that's ahead of me.
For some reason today, however, I heard them as follows:
I'm sailing away
Set an open course full of urgency
'Cause I've got to be free
Free to face the life that's ahead of me.
And I have to be honest...that makes more sense. If he's got to be free, then it's an urgent matter. So it stands to reason that the course he takes would be full of urgency.
I don't know. For some reason that whole sense of urgency to get on with the next phase of life just resonated with me.
Although to be fair..the sea full of virgins things has its appeal I suppose.
Bye for now,
And I like it that way. One of the things I realized about my previous life was that there was always some kind of background noise...and not the good kind. It was the manufactured kind. And I could never get out of the way of that. There was always something on TV...or some video game noise. And I had to listen to stuff in headphones just to get my own background noise. It wasn't the silence I craved, but at least it wasn't that other junk.
So...I like silence. I like it when I can be still. When I can read, or write with nothing but the natural background noise.
I don't know that I'm necessarily sensitive to noise, but I know it affects me. I spent nearly 12 hours today on a construction job site. The BEEP BEEP BEEP of no less than 6 scissor lifts in a 30,000sq ft space with only limited access to the outside. I have to put in ear plugs within minutes of being there or it starts bugging the fuck out of me. Usually that's all it takes. I can muffle the din and get on with the job I'm there to do.
Imagine my surprise** when I leave my room to come down to the hotel lobby tonight to place an order for dinner and the noise in the bar/lounge/private-meeting-room-turned-wedding-rehearsal-hangout was louder by a shitton than the noise today at the construction site. I didn't necessarily want to be stuck in my room writing and what not, so I ate dinner down here.
The cacophony is nauseating at this point. Thankfully dinner is done. I can head up to my room. Do a little reading...a little photo editing...a little Words With Friends (or PoopScrabble as my friends call it).
I'm not going to get many posts in at lunch in the next week or so as I'm in Queens and lunch is really just a break, not 'Todd Time' like it is back home. Please bear with me. I'll post as I'm able.
*--I hate on cooking/shows where someone is judged for what they create when the contestant says "I was going to make so and so, but I didn't." Foo. The judges don't know what you were 'going' to do, let alone care. They only want to see what you did do.
**--Surprise was not the right word. The title of tonights post came courtesy of one of the first thoughts that left my head when I heard how fucking loud 30 people in a hotel bar can be.
I suppose it could be worse than having my knee in such an uncomfortable position that it's aching with 40 minutes left to go in the flight.
Admittedly, these are first world problems. Inconveniences really. But those things weren't actually the worst part of todays sojourn to the land of the Queens. What was the most annoying piece of today's travel actually happened in the good old Buckeye State.
I got 'pre-checked' by TSA to make sure I was in the right concourse I get it. No big deal. Understandable after recent events. I had tucked my shirt in for two reasons. 1. To keep my shorts up. 2. To avoid the awkward "Sir are you wearing a belt?" question. I go through the scanner and they start to pat me down. Again, no big deal. The big guy was gentle. It was all good. Until I saw my outline on the scanner's monitor with an orange square around my belly.
"Sir, I'm going to need to pat down your stomach."
Are you fucking kidding me? My stomach? Dude...I get that I've put on weight, but there's no cache of munitions in there my friend. But it was a work trip and I needed to fly, so I rotated and proceeded to get my tummy patted.
I was resisting the urge to do the Pillsbury Dough Boy when his gloved hand ran the rim of my waist line. WHAT THE FUCK? Dude...that's not patting down my stomach. That's seeing how loose my shorts are and you should at least offer me coffee or a scone first.
Of course my shorts are loose...my belt's off, dude.
I don't know what he was looking for. In my stomach or the belt line of my pants. I can only assume he was disappointed. Or maybe not.
Fuck. I don't know. It can't be an easy job. Especially when twats like me can fire off semi-sardonic posts about agents hoping to get lucky.
It was enough of a thing to make me think "Dude...just exactly what do you expect to find down there?"
I had to bite my tongue, but the first thought that came to mind was "Dude...WHOA! HEY! If you're looking for a dirty bomb, check the backside, because think that little pat down just made me shart a little bit."
But really, I don't think he would have thought it was as funny as I did.
And he's probably right.
There's really nothing funny about dirty bombs.
Here's to you TSA guy.
I'm probably not alone. And this is likely not new knowledge if we've been friends for any length of time.
I'll let you in on a secret...you may or may not know this...but Reality TV is more scripted and crafted than Pro Wrestling...and most 'serious' dramas on TV.
"But Todd...there's no scripts."
In some cases that's true. But here's how reality TV works....cameras run for HOURS. The editors and producers then go through all of that footage and put it together to tell the story that they want to tell. So, while it may be unscripted, but in no way is it cinema verite.
It's the next generation of fishing shows.
In a half hour fishing show, the host will catch fish after fish after fish.
Most of the time that is the careful editing of sitting 8-10 hours in the boat not catching shit.
"Reality TV" is the same way.
It's bullshit and it's dumbing down society.
People don't watch reality TV to feel better about the world. In most cases we watch because we want to feel better about ourselves.
"My life is fucked, but at least I'm not a hoarder..."
"Look at that poor dumb redneck fuck..."
Yeah. That poor dumb redneck fuck duck call maker was a millionaire before his family had a TV show. Now in addition to his duck call business he has a cut of merchandising rights. Pretty smart if you ask me.
And think about this. The time you spend watching reality TV, not only will you never get that hour back. But for that hour those poor slobs you think you are better than when you watch held you captive.
It's fucked up.
Turn off the TV. Read a book. Go outside. Do something to be a blessing in someone's life.
Most of you know...I am going through a dissolution. It's like a divorce, only it's supposed to be more civil. As civil as the ending of a 'civil union' can actually be. Anyway...after 11 years, we came to the mutual decision that the mortgage, splitting the bills, and the occasional hockey tickets were not really worth the misery that was afoot the rest of the year.
So...yeah...it is the best thing for both of us. Well...I don't know. It's the best thing for me. I don't really know if it's the best thing for her since we haven't really talked in years. But that's a story for another post. Anyway...yes....it's the step in the right direction...and it's something that is best for both of us. And yes, I will be able to get on with my life and be happy.
All of those things are true.
What is not true is that all of those things make this process any easier.
Will I be happier? Most assuredly.
Will I move on with my life? No choice in that matter, of course I will.
Will I grieve for an 11 year chapter of my life being unceremoniously closed? You're damn skippy.
I haven't been happy in the marriage for a long time, but that doesn't make this transition easier. It makes it tolerable.
Friends and family helping me through this makes it bearable.
But "easy"? That's a fucking pipe dream.
This all came up in a conversation I had over the weekend about why I stopped watching Breaking Bad. I stopped watching because I could see the series going to some dark places. So I simply stated that I didn't want to get emotionally invested in something that dark while I was dealing with the dark shit in my own life. To which they replied, "what dark shit do you have in your life...I mean, there's the divorce, but...other than that..."
To which I laughed. In my head I heard "other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"
Other than that.
And then I realized something. Because the people that cared for me were rooting for me and supporting me this whole time and because I finally got my head out of my ass and did what was best for me...because of all of that, people think that this should be easy for me.
Yeah...not so much.
I'm not going to lie. I still struggle with the fact that someone who I genuinely thought was my best friend is no longer going to be a part of my life. In any capacity. That's kind of a kick in the teeth.
Because I know it was a long time coming...and because I have such a great network of people to lean on...the pain is less intense. It doesn't make it easier, but it makes it livable.
Day by day.
And after11/25, the chapter will officially be closed.
And with that I head back to housework and photo-editing.
To say that I had been a Apple geek for a while was an understatement. The problem was...cost of entry. I had found (and still do) that the best bang for the $ comes from the PC side of the table.
But no matter. It was 1999. My first marriage was ending. I thought it a pretty fitting time to take stock in how my life (up to that point) had played out.
The end result wasn't pretty, but it was real. It was honest. And I think there was some actual real self-actualization bullshit that I got from it all. Others who have read it seemed to have gleaned some wisdom here and there as well, which is always cool. I mean, to be honest...I wrote it just to get the demons out of my head, but if it helped others, then bonus!
I banged that thing out on the PowerBook. I took it to work with me and had it set up next to my work PC. And any free moment I had, I was writing. To be honest, the book really wrote itself. I look back on it and don't really recall writing any of it.
Fast forward 14 years later. Another marriage ending (guess I didn't learn well enough the first time). And another shitton of thoughts and ghosts in the machine rattling around in my brain bucket. Time to exorcise those bitches.
As if on cue, I get a chance to get a MacBook. It's not the newest model. In fact it's about 4 years old. And I have to say...it's perfect.
And it all seems to fit. I was thinking it was just about time to start writing again...get that shit out of my head...and bammo...in my lap falls the catalyst to the opening the floodgates.
I gotta say that I'm pumped. Clearly. Why else would I spend Friday night upgrading the RAM, updating the software, and getting my ducks in a row.
I think that's the end of the rambling for the evening.
I've got some writing to do.
Disclaimer: This post is not really for you. It's for me. It will quite likely be disjointed and random and provide too much information...
I woke up with a though this morning about love. I sat down to write it as a poem, but quickly realized that my thoughts on it could not be...
If the title surprises you, it should. The post that follows saddens me. It saddens me that in this day and age I even have to post somethin...
It's 5:40 AM on a Wednesday. I have been up for an hour. I have an outline for a work in progress that I intended to work on this mornin...