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So, here I am!

Man, doing without internet is like losing an eye.  Or, something like that.  It really sucks, though, so I’m glad I have access during the week.

I’ve been super-busy lately…

I took care of D.P. after he had hernia surgery on Tuesday, August 19.  I stayed with him Wednesday-Saturday that week.  It was a terrible time for him, as he ended up getting an infection, but it cleared up quickly with antibiotics.  [I can’t say I didn’t enjoy playing ‘house’ with him, because I did.]  He’s feeling much better but becomes tired very easily still… he’s supposed to go to work this week…

E started 2nd grade on Monday, August 18, and both the kids went camping with my parents Thurs-Sat that week.  My parents were in town for a class reunion, and the Monday E started school, we went to dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory.  Our family that night consisted of: my parents, 3 of my 4 brothers, my sister and her boyfriend, and me, D.P. and my kids.

M is with a new babysitter now, and she’s having a blast while E is at school.

As far as my new job goes, I’m in love with it.  There are still some kinks to be worked out, but I can see myself staying here for a long time.  FINALLY!  It ends up… all the hard work and interviews paid off.  It is challenging at times, but completely what I was looking for.  I was able to secure a pay increase of almost $2/hr from what I was making at my last job.  Plus, there is plenty of opportunity for overtime and bonuses.  Sweet!

I’ll write more tomorrow or so.

I’m not quite sure where to begin with this entry, and I’m not quite sure where I’ll end up. I suppose I should just start writing.

The past few years that I’ve been separated from Rob, I’ve tried my very best to concentrate on doing what I needed to do as a mother: to make sure my kids were taken care of. From my point of view, life sucks as a single parent. There is no silver lining in sight for me, being alone with two small children! I’ve tried my best to be a good example – like any other parent, I’ve fallen down and flat-out failed and, other times, I’ve overwhelmingly succeeded. I’ve tried not to depend on Rob for anything, and it makes me angry at times to think that he is not willing to ‘step up to the plate’ and be the father he should be. After all these years, he still views his time with the kids as ‘babysitting’, and threatens me on a regular basis that he’s going to stop ‘watching the kids’ if I don’t stop being a pain in his ass. I’m not sure why I expect anything different from someone who never stepped up to the plate to be the husband he should have been. Harsh? Maybe. True? Absolutely. But, anyone who knows me knows what I have been putting up with for years.

I’ve spoken before regarding how I felt growing up – that no one would ever want me – and now that I am in a serious relationship with D.P., it baffles me how easy it was to (mostly) let go of those feelings once I found the right person. I still struggle with a couple of minor things but, for the most part, I feel good about who I am.

I don’t recall ever feeling this way when I was with Rob – in fact, my self-esteem became progressively worse the longer he and I remained living in the same house. On several occasions, I felt completely helpless and hopeless – I began thinking I would never thrive as a mother and wife. I remember being so depressed I would lie in my bed all day and would barely get up to do anything… I’d feed and water the kids, and essentially let them play by themselves all day while I watched TV. I never cleaned the house. I let my kids do pretty much whatever it is they wanted to, and very rarely disciplined them. Instead, I’d let Rob be the bad guy – he was so very good at it! I was so damn bitter and hateful towards Rob, it carried over into family relationships, too – man, I was such a bitch! I was mean to my kids, and mean to my family. No one wanted to be around me, and I was so lonely for their love!

Even still, it was a very hard decision for me to make in September of 2005, when I told Rob I didn’t want to be married anymore; I’d have to go back to work full time and I wouldn’t be able to stay at home with my two children, plus I’d have to admit that I was delusional regarding my thoughts of what my marriage was. While it was completely liberating at first, to be alone in that apartment with the kids and doing my own thing [not answering to anyone], I remember becoming increasingly lonely and afraid that I had made the wrong decision. After all, taking care of two children (they were 4 and nearly 2 at that point) was no small feat. Even though it was scary during Rob’s violent outbursts, he was still a second body to help with the kids and, because I had been depressed for so long, I didn’t have the energy or wearwithall to deal. I quickly realized how much I had underestimated the result of a decision I had originally deemed to be worthwhile.

Fast forward to Christmas 2007.

I asked Rob if he can use his own plethora of cash to buy gifts and write both of our names (and some Santa, too) since I was still struggling and wasn’t able to afford anything. He agreed to my request. I was also contacted by M’s daycare director, who said she offered our name to a friend of hers who was looking for a family to ‘adopt’. While I was shocked and felt a little guilty at first, I graciously accepted the gifts and the kids loved it! While my life finally seemed to be working out for the most part during that time, there was a dark side that was about to come through.

While my parents were in town, they made up an excuse as to why they couldn’t stay at my house like they had done several times since they moved to New Jersey. They ended up staying for a few days, but it was really awkward, and they eventually went to my brother’s house for the rest of their visit. I was pissed off beyond belief, especially after getting into a heated argument with my mom (someday I’ll share what we discussed), and I could feel myself creeping back into a depression. It was not a good time for me, to say the least.

Soon after, I received a message from a friend that said she had someone she wanted me to meet. I wasn’t quite sure about it at first, because she said he was almost 43 years old, but I decided to give him (and myself, really) a chance, and I’m so glad I did because January 27, 2008 was the first day of the rest of my life. I am so lucky to have found such a special person to share my life with, and I know he feels the same way… ’cause he told me so last night. While my life outside of my relationship with D.P. is still very much uneasy, I am much happier, and my family has noticed it. My kids think he’s the bee’s knees. Life looks so much better when I think of D.P. sharing it with me.

I think I’m in a sort of Dreamland. How can I explain my life with D.P. in it otherwise?

I’ve got plenty to update!

On D.P.’s side:

Grammy is being transferred to an assisted living facility today, not too far from where I live.  It’s been a rough year so far but, from what I understand, this will be the best thing for her.

Marsha is going to be starting therapy (radiation?) very soon.  Other than that, I believe she’s been feeling pretty good.  She looked great when I met her on the Fourth.

D.P. is getting ready for a trip to Cancun with his kids.  Valerie is doing very well lately, except for the short stint in the hospital due to a burst cyst.  😦  D.Z. recently took a trip with his buddies to Wyoming and, as far as I know, he’s staying out of trouble.

On my side:

My mom’s uncle Floyd has been moved to a nursing home in Denver (he and Aunt Pat live in Nebraska).

My sister-in-law, Charlotte, hasn’t been feeling well over the past few days.  She had a severe headache yesterday… so bad she started crying and, trust me, this chick doesn’t cry.  I received a call from my brother this morning, very early, and he said she was admitted to the hospital last night due to meningitis.  Yikes!

Please say a prayer or positive thought for all of these people.

Waking up at 5 am is NOT fun, especially when you’re me. Luckily, I had taken a shower the night before. I had to put my nice clothes on (just in case we were able to get First Class on the flight home), but I didn’t have time to eat breakfast or put on my makeup. No matter, I’d just do it on the train. (Yeah, right.) Since my mom was still sleeping, I hopped into her bed and gave her a hug and told her goodbye. D.P. had already said his goodbye the night before. We said goodbye to my dad when he dropped us off at the train station just after 530 am.

One of the ‘locals’ showed us how to use the machine to buy our tickets, and we had to wait just a few more minutes until the train arrived. I was so tired, all I could do was try my best not to doze off… but D.P. encouraged me to rest, so I did. About an hour later, we arrived at Penn Station.

[I have to halt the story for a moment and say we tried the night before to figure out a solid plan to get from Penn Station to LaGuardia airport. We went through a few different scenarios, and some with good outcomes. None were perfect – in fact, at least one plan would have gotten us to the airport ten minutes prior to the flight leaving (no good!) – but overall we had options. Instead of cementing what we would do, my mom offered the suggestion that once we arrived at Penn Station, we ask what the best way back to LaGuardia would be. It was my mistake thinking anyone would be willing to help us once we got there.]

This is where I get a little fuzzy about details traveling from Penn but, when we tried to hail a cab, the driver wouldn’t give me an estimate as to fare or drive time. Of course, I knew both topics depend on the meter, but MY GOODNESS! In the end, we decided to go back inside and check on getting to the airport by train. We walked over to the window where my mom had bought our train tickets on Friday, and I was told we would have to use the NJ Transit downstairs. Okay. We headed downstairs and I looked at the paper my mom had originally given us when we researched routes the night before. “N”. I looked for the N signs, but didn’t see any, so I asked a lady running a newspaper stand. All she knew was where to find A, B, C, 1, 2, and 3. Gah! We continued walking, looking all over the place for the stupid N train. Tempers began flaring, and D.P. and I started getting on each other’s last nerves. At one point, when he was being particularly poopy in attitude, I walked as fast as I could, assuming he would keep up with me. Of course, he probably wasn’t too fond of me at the time. LOL Eventually, we found ourselves at a NJ Transit help center.

I told the woman behind the counter what our problem was, and asked her if she had any idea on the best way to get where we were going. I believe she said NJ Transit wouldn’t get us there, that we would need to go upstairs. W-W-W-WHAT?! A colleague of the woman was in the office at the time, and offered to direct us to the place within Penn Station that we needed to be to buy a Metro card. Excellent! It was such a relief to finally know where to go.

We found our way to a Metro card machine, and I wondered how much a fare was. Should I put $10 on the card? $20? Good Lord. D.P. said we should go talk to the man in the booth behind us. Good idea. We waited patiently in line and, when it was just us and him, I told our problem to him, too. Not to worry, he said, all you have to do is take the “E” train to Roosevelt Avenue and then hop on the Q33 bus (Queens), which would take us straight to LaGuardia.

We found the E and decided the first one was too full. By this time, I was so hot and sweaty that I imagined my pores having a field day with building up all the oil they could and popping out dozens of zits all over my face. I hoped I didn’t smell bad (I put deodorant on, right?). As we stood on the next train, we became extremely squished with other passengers and I held on to the bar as tight as I could. I even prayed to God I wouldn’t fall over on top of two women who were sitting next to me. At one point, I was able to sit down and towards the end of the ride, D.P. was able to grab a seat, too.

When we arrived at the Roosevelt Avenue stop, we walked until we saw a sign for the Q33. Upon its arrival, we stepped up into the bus with our suitcases and sat down. We were almost to our final destination!

We arrived at LaGuardia at approximately ten minutes ’til 9 am, and proceeded through security. When we got down to the gate, I switched my shoes from tennies to dressy. We were so tired already, but waited patiently to hear if our names would be called for the 930 am flight back to Denver. A few minutes later, an airline employee announced there was a small mechanical issue that mechanics were working on. I told D.P. I was going to use the restroom. When I saw the line to the womens restroom was about 8 people long, I texted D.P. and told him to call me if our names were called to hop on the flight. When I got back to him, D.P. said nothing had changed, so he was going to go to the bathroom and asked if I was hungry. I told him I was, and he said he’d be right back.

A few minutes later, he came back to me with a small bag in his hand filled with a cinnamon roll and muffin and asked me if I had seen Matt Lauer ‘over there’. “No!” I said. He pointed to the area where Matt was standing, and I walked over to see if I could see him. I really hope Matt didn’t see me being a lookey-loo. We wondered where he was travelling to. Chicago, it looked like. I saw him on the Today show the next morning, so it must have been a quickie trip.

Finally, the rest of the passengers for our flight boarded the plane. Then, an employee started calling names for the stand-bys… I was one of the names. D.P. walked up with me, and told them he was an employee and I was his (flight) companion. The employee said that they only had one seat left. I told D.P. I didn’t want to go, and looked at him with scared puppy-dog eyes. He firmly told me I *had* to go, and he’d see me later. My heart sank. I didn’t like feeling the way I did when I had to leave him, especially after all the trouble we went through earlier in the day to even get to the airport. I was fortunate enough to have one of D.P.’s co-workers from Denver on the flight with me, so I felt a little better in the end. It was a long flight home, especially with Mr. I’m-gonna-spread-my-elbows-over-into-your-personal-space sitting on my right. Good thing the stand-bys and I were able to choose our own seats so I could have an aisle seat.

I called D.P. when I arrived in Denver, and he told me he hadn’t been able to catch a flight yet. He was NOT happy. I told him I would wait for him as long as I could, until the last flight if I needed to. At one point, when the situation wasn’t looking good at all, I asked him if it might be better for me to hop on the bus and head over to his house to at least rest for a while before I went home. He said he would leave the decision up to me, and that’s what I was going to do until I received a call from him while I was waiting for the bus. Poor D.P. had waited (semi)patiently all day, until the very. last. flight. He’d be home by about 8 pm Denver-time. I asked him if he wanted me to wait, and he said it was up to me. I told him: “f you are leaving it up to me, I’m going to your house to wait. If you want me to wait at the airport until you get here, then I’ll do that.” He asked me to wait and he’d see me soon. I was ecstatic that he was going to make it home that night! After all was said and done, I waited eight hours at the airport for D.P. to come home.

Once, while I was waiting, I wished he had given me his car keys so I could have driven myself home and then come back to pick him up instead of waiting. It was far too late at that point to be thinking of something like that, though, so I tried to keep myself busy: getting something to eat and drink, reading two magazines, checking e-mail, reading my book, and walking around.

As we were driving home, he told me he had one of the guys from work see what was going on that day, see why he wasn’t able to get out of NYC. Apparently, to keep the flights on-time, employees were sending planes out that had empty seats! I guess he said something to an employee there that was loud enough for another stand-by to hear, and she questioned what was going on. I’m pretty sure that’s why D.P. was on the next flight back to Denver. LOL When we arrived at D.P.’s house, I made him a sandwich for dinner while he quickly showered. We talked for a few minutes and then I left to go home and be with my kids.

It was a long trip home, but it was fun while we were there and I will never be the same.

I just received an e-mail from my mom’s cousin:

Just wanted to let everyone know that my Dad [Floyd] is in the hospital in Cambridge again, he’s just there for observation and to get his medication regulated. I talked to his nurse yesterday and she said that he is hydrated and his labs are good, but he’s “considerably weaker” than he was when he was discharged last week, they don’t expect him to be discharged today. Ed talked to Dad earlier today and said that he sounded pretty weak and because of that he couldn’t hear him very well. Ed is on his way down there today to help Mom out with decisions, options, etc. They might put him in the Cambridge Manor Nursing Home (connected to the hospital) or they might try to get him out here to Denver and either do home health care or place him in a nursing home here.

Please send this to all the Finches in your email address book also, since I don’t have email addresses for everyone.

Please keep my Mom and Dad in your prayers. 🙂

I will send updates as I get information, Thanks!

I neglected to mention our stop at Bryant Park in my ‘Day 2 and a half‘ entry. Bad Dez! Bryant Park is located one block from Times Square in midtown Manhattan. According to the BP website, the park typically hosts over 5,000 business people during lunch hours in warm weather months, and counts 20,000 visitors by the end of the day. Check out the webcam now!

Walking around, we saw some really beautiful flowers and greenery. There were several tables dedicated to chess playing and, rumor is, there was a boule board (game: Petanque), too. At least a dozen people were taking advantage of the free wireless access. Interestingly, there were thousands of folding chairs all around the park, I’m guessing to encourage people to ‘take a load off’ and enjoy the scenery.

I noticed no one was sitting on the grass, and realized there was a sign posted that said the grass was being tended to. I assume the City was preparing for the HBO Summer Film Festival, which is opening today (6/30). That’s when we headed over to Times Square.

So, Day 3 rolls around. Sunday. Our day to sleep in. Dad made himself, D.P. and me eggs and potatoes for breakfast (Mom had her own breakfast). Dad and I showed D.P. how to eat eggs and potatoes the family way, which is to slather them with mustard. D.P. tried a little mustard, but I don’t think he was as convinced as Dad and I had hoped he’d be.

The four of us got ready to go, and headed out the door right before lunchtime. A short drive later, and we arrived at The Great Wazu in East Hanover, one of my dad’s favorite places to eat. They planned on just picking up the sandwiches and then taking D.P. and me to the Frelinghuysen Arboretum where the four of us would eat lunch, but the skies clouded over and rain began to fall lightly, so it was decided we would eat at the restaurant instead. Of course, as soon as we ordered and sat down, the rain had already stopped. The four of us ordered the same, based on the very strong recommendation of my dad: Number Three with proscutini, cheese and capacola. Each added our own ‘toppings’ to our individual sandwich (I had lettuce, tomato, black olive and basil mayo [I may be forgetting something]). I could easily see why my dad ate there often! The bread was fresh and not too crunchy. And, the meat! The meat itself was music for my tongue and tummy. I can still taste it.

After our very tasty lunch, we were treated to the sights of the Arboretum. D.P. and I took lots of pictures (and some video) of what’s in bloom there. Unfortunately, the rain came back (this time in full force) and we had to head back to the car. Earlier that morning, we had looked over the show times for a local movie theater and it was at this time we decided maybe we needed to go see a movie.

We chose Get Smart with Steve Carrell and Anne Hathaway (as well as my favorite hotty of all time, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). You can read the plot summary here. Steve Carrell’s character, Maxwell Smart, reminded me a lot like his character in the TV series The Office. You know, the office idiot who seems to be one sandwich short of a picnic. There were several incidents during the movie that had me cracking up so hard I thought I was going to run my mascara – thankfully, I didn’t lose too much eye makeup. All in all, it was a good movie, and definitely a good first date movie. Romance for the chicks, and action for the guys. Two thumbs up.

We drove back over to the Arboretum after the movie. This time, I was able to get some really good shots of the flowers, plants and trees and some of the buildings. The scenery was really amazing, and its history is rich!

“George G. Frelinghuysen, a patent attorney and son of Frederick T. Frelinghuysen, Secretary of State under president Chester A. Arthur, was married in 1881 to Sara Ballantine of Newark. She was the granddaughter of the founder of the P. Ballantine Brewing Company.

In 1891 the couple commissioned the Boston architectural firm of Rotch and Tilden to construct a summer home and carriage house on property they named Whippany Farm for the river nearby. The Colonial Revival style is evident in such details as the Federal urns and swags, Ionic columns on the porte-cochere and the large Palladian window on the second floor landing.

The family only lived here during the summer months. In the winter they resided at 1 Sutton Place in New York City. The property was a working farm. Vegetables and flowers were grown for the family’s consumption and sent to them in New York City via train. There were greenhouses, several barns and some smaller houses on the property. Some servants lived on the property year around.

George Frelinghuysen died in 1936 and Sara Frelinghuysen died in 1940. This property was left to their only daughter, Matilda (1887-1969). Miss Frelinghuysen had an interest in gardening and was a member of the Garden Club of Morristown. In 1964, she began plans for turning the estate into an arboretum. Upon her death the land and house was bequeathed to the people of Morris County for the use as a public arboretum. The Frelinghuysen Arboretum was dedicated in 1971.

The Haggerty Education Center was opened in 1989. It contains a multi-purpose auditorium and two classrooms. Its purpose is to provide continuing horticultural educational programs for the public. It is also home for various regional plant societies.” (Frelinghuysen Arboretum)

We stayed for quite some time, and then decided D.P. was getting hungry (okay, I was, too) so we headed home.

In my family, we have a few recipes that are cherished – special. Every so often, when we meet someone we really like and want to spend more time with, we lure them in with one of our family recipes. At the top of my family’s list is my dad’s canoli recipe. [Technically, it is a calzone/stromboli, but when it’s a family recipe, you call it whatever your little heart desires.] It was at my request that we were served canolis for dinner after the Arboretum, and my dad was nice enough to oblige. While D.P., my mom and I relaxed, Dad slaved over the stove making what I hyped up to be the best food known to man. Or, something like that. I told D.P. it was damn good, and I meant it. We enjoyed some wine with dinner and, later when no one was around but D.P. and I, he confessed his complete adoration for my father’s recipe. He followed that up with, “When you made it, it was good, too.” Nice save, buddy.

After dinner, we played games for a couple of hours. When we were deciding which games to play, D.P. said he didn’t really play board games, but I knew he would love it once he got started. I told him: “Tough! This is what my family likes to do.” Sure enough, we had a lot of laughs and it was a really good time!

D.P. and I had to check the flight load on the computer so, when we were done playing games, we headed upstairs to the den and got online. When I found out we’d have to wake up no later than 5 am, I about blew a gasket. I lamented how early it was, and how I understood the process of flying stand-by… but why did it have to be so damn early? Word around town is, people were rolling their eyes all around me. I’d like to take a moment to say that my PMS was acting up that day – that’s why I was being completely unreasonable. It couldn’t have been the fact that I am completely unreasonable most days, no way! Shoosh. Anyway, as I was getting ready for bed, D.P., who was in another room, texted me with “Sleep well.” I immediately felt bad about how I had acted, and promised myself I’d make it up to him soon.

Jump to Why I’ll never be the same: Day 4.

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