Tag Archives: divorce

17 Easy Steps to Fitting an Antique Buffet into a Prius

Exactly 4 years ago, (minus a day) I posted this blog. I’m helping the earth by reusing, recycling, and reposting. This has absolutely nothing to do with being busy with stuff. None. I was looking up post hits since I started my blog, and this one was pretty high up on the list. Even better I have an update. Not only have the recipients formally adopted the buffet, they have also adopted a little boy. Congrats!

Step 1: In your twenties, gain possession of one large, antique buffet for free from a friend who is cleaning out a family home and already has one.

Step 2: Be thankful for such friends.

Step 3: Allow the buffet to make up for feeling insecure about your working class roots, where no matter how many family houses you clean out, you will never find a piece of furniture like this.

Step 4: Be absurdly proud how it fits perfectly in your large apartment that actually feels like a home, and not a starter apartment with milk crates and hand-me-down particle board furniture. Revel in the pantry, a built-in china cabinet, dental molding (which you will have to learn about because you have never seen such carved beauty), pocket doors and a fireplace (Ok, neither the fireplace, nor one of the doors worked, but still – it was a FIREPLACE and POCKET doors!)

Step 5: Be blissfully ignorant of how the pride in step 4 only highlights your insecurities.

Step 6: Get priced out of said apartment and cool neighborhood and buy a condo in a less expensive, working class town. Be whiny and curse the fates that have brought you back to the type of place you thought you’d escaped. Cling to the buffet even harder, even though the condo does not have a formal dining room. Tell yourself it will be great for extra storage.

Step 7: Do not hug the movers who manage to wedge into the condo what you now realize is a monolithic piece of furniture.

Step 8: Find yourself 12 years later post-divorced, post-condo, and moving into a four-room apartment, but still in possession of the buffet. Be clear with yourself why you still have it and understand your attachment to it. Don’t let that stop you from putting it in storage and playing out a twisted Scarlett O’Hara kind of fantasy that one day, as the universe is your witness, you will never live in a formal dining room-less place again!

Step 9: Be sure to have other, more likable traits and make the kind of friends who don’t hold Step 8 against you.

Step 10: Get a grip and realize paying storage fees for over a year is stupid. Gather tolerant friends to see if anyone has space to hold the buffet for you or use it until your plan for formal dining room domination is complete.

Step 11: Get another grip and realize all your urban friends have small urban spaces. Widen the search to out-of-state friends with more space.

Step 12: Find a home in southern Maine. Have a Prius-owning good friend who will help you, even though you are way past the age when friends should ask friends for moving help.

Step 13: Have the Prius-owning friend also be the type who will measure to see if it will fit in the back. All of it: 5 feet, 6-inches long x 37 inches tall x 21.5 inches deep.

Step 14: Pick up the moving van you will drive to Maine in case the buffet doesn’t fit in the Prius. As you climb into a van that smells heavily like sweaty workmen who smoke, be more fervent in your prayers that the buffet will fit into the Prius.

Step 15: Spend 15 minutes, pushing, cajoling, and sliding the buffet in the back. Spend another 5 to 10 minutes adjusting the front seats to somewhere between buffet-sticking-out-the-back-an-inch to can’t-feel-your-legs-because-knees-are-in-your-chin. Settle on abnormally bent legs and pit stops as needed to reintroduce circulation.

Step 16: Deliver the buffet to Maine friends, who quickly find it won’t fit in their basement either. Discover it fits perfectly between their open floor plan dining room and living room. Smile and enjoy when their daughter begins using the buffet immediately to have her toy frog practice his skate board moves.

Step 17: 4 years later, move into an apartment with a dining room and realize that you really don’t need the buffet anymore. Let the stewards know they can keep it.

And a big thank you to my friends: Tim (furniture donor), Brad (for trying to help me find a home closer to home), Becky and Susan (Prius owners), and Gloria, Mary, and their daughter — current stewards adopters of the honking, big buffet, and as of last month, adopters of a sweet little boy. May they all have a long life.

Photo:  A perfect fit in the Prius: the buffet arrives safely in Maine. The driver and passenger were off to the side coaxing the circulation back into their legs.

Happy Anniversary

Because I’m not acknowledging Friday until it happens, and I will acknowledge it on Saturday in Boston at one of 370 the sister marches across the country supporting the Women’s March on Washington, I am instead today writing about looking back.

This January marks the 6th anniversary of when I decided to stop a year of couples therapy and “take a break.” At the time, the 3 people in our family were seeing 4 therapists. I think the ratio for me and my ex was 3:1. We were getting individual therapy, couples therapy, and spending spend time with the kid’s therapist. The kid was getting off easy with just having to see one. Suffice to say, we were outnumbered, and on many days I felt outgunned. We were extraordinarily lucky that our insurance was paying for it all, and while I generally don’t have great things to say about health insurance companies, we were most certainly eating into their profit margins that year, and I did not get one nasty letter from them.

If you’ve ever been to therapy, you know it’s very time-consuming. The time spent in the office is just the beginning. It’s the hours of traveling to and from the appointment, the time spent processing all the damn therapy and doing whatever home work they assign you — hey, that 5 minutes sitting in the waiting room remembering what is was you were supposed to do for this session adds up over time. And don’t forget the hours when you sit on your bed and stare out the window, wrestling with the guilt that your kid is in therapy because of you, when you know for a fact that no other kids are in therapy because of their parents. It’s a wonder I had time for my job.

My then-husband and I had been in couples therapy once before when our son was around 2. Things improved for a while after that, but it didn’t stick. I should’ve known this second time wasn’t going to work either. We went back to the same therapist and while she remembered us, after a few sessions she confessed she couldn’t find the records from our previous time with her. And it wasn’t that she had purged her records. Oh, no, she had records from before us and after us, and where there should have our records, there was a big empty slot. I can’t think of a clearer signal from the universe, except maybe for that cartoon of the giant anvil falling on Wile E. Coyote.

I would even venture that the therapist was less than enthusiastic to see us, and many days she seemed kind of tired of us. Who could blame her? We were tired of us, too. We were also probably the most boring kind of couple for a therapist: no juicy infidelity, in-person or online, no meddling in-laws, no addiction issues to Pokemon Go or Netflix binging. Just plain old drifting apart and ineffective communication skills. We were actually highly skilled at being ineffective communicators, having honed it to a razor-sharp edge over 20 years. Yes, 20 years, so I find it amusing when divorce is described as a”failed marriage.” We were pretty good for about 8 years and had a great kid. Then things were rocky, and we decided to go to therapy round 1. That took about 3 years. Things got better for about 4 years and then they started the inevitable slide to the disconnection destination for 5 years. By my count that sounds a lot like life: some wins, some losses, and some what the hell are we doing here?

How many people even have friends for 20 years? Or a job? Or even piece of furniture? Do people call their couch that they are dragging out to the curb a “failed sit-upon”? Do people call a friendship that ends a failure? No, they probably say something like it “ran its course.” Hmmm. O, language, you tricky mistress. For the record, I have close friends who I’ve known for 20, 30, and even 40 years. So clearly  I am a successful friend maker; it’s the marriage thing that mystified me.

So there I was armpit deep in personal therapy, couples therapy, and secondhand therapy from my son’s therapist. When it took my ex about 8 months before he could articulate what he was angry about, a vision of being in therapy for the rest of my life flashed before my eyes. That’s when I knew I couldn’t take it anymore. Of course I had to talk about it with my therapist first. When he suggested we take a break from couples therapy, my relief was so visceral, I nearly slid out of my chair. I was just so happy to have an open slot every other week, I forgot that “taking a break” pretty much means the same thing whether you’ve been dating for 5 months or married for 20 years. No one is fooled that it means something super good is coming after the “break.” Except me, but I was so overwhelmed with all the therapy, I didn’t think past that freed-up hour. My ex understood better than I did, and of course asked the inevitable question, “For how long?” In my head I said, “Forever. Is forever good for you?” Then I knew I was truly done with everything.

Six years later, and despite the election, I am currently therapy free (we’ll see how long that lasts), I have a great life, a great kid, my ex and I work pretty well together on his behalf,  and we respect the separated lives we’ve created.

So go ahead and call it a failed marriage if you need to. I’ll say it ran its course, and maybe we can agree that I had a very successful divorce.

 

Top 11 Posts of 2014, With Thanks to Spinal Tap

Here we are at the end of the year when those of us in the entertainment industry run out of funny steam and cover it up with top 10 lists. Because I really want to push up the volume, I’m going for the top 11 posts. I was going to list a mix of posts that WordPress stats tell me you liked and add some of my own personal favorites. But as I reread them I realized I had a lot of fun writing most of them, so it’s too hard to pick. Plus, if you don’t like the list, you only have yourselves to blame.

Thank you for hanging out with me this year, and I promise more shenanigans in 2015. Have a happy new year!

11. Black Lives Matter Thanks for reading this one. It was a bit of a departure for me and more serious, but something I needed to write.

10. I would Have Gotten Away with It if It weren’t for that meddling Hamster, Who knew a hamster could be such a rich source of blog material? As a follow-up to this post, yes, he did need surgery, it cost a bundle, I learned that there is actually hamster medical literature, and he is still with us to ring in 2015. More Hamphrey posts to come!

9. Real-Life math Sucks. It still sucks, but I got to let off steam about my divorce and laugh at math, so it’s all good!

8. Let’s Do Things Without Shoes. This was the oldie, but goodie–misheard lyrics. I had a lot of fun reading people’s responses to this one.

7. It’s All About Me, Hannah. Alas, I never did get Lena Dunham to comment on this or respond to my tweet about it. I’ll increase my celebrity social media stalking next season.

6. California Steamin’ I wrote about two East Coast friends who left me for the Left Coast. I saw one at Christmas and I am happy to report he still has his Masshole chops. To the other one, who still hasn’t read this post and is from New York, I say, Boston’s bettah and Yankees suck!

5. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Divorce.  If your divorce isn’t funny, please feel free to laugh at mine.

4. I’m Sexy (if Only in My Head).  Perhaps it’s bad taste to be amused by your own writing, but this one still cracks me up. It made the top 5, so both you and I have excellent taste.

3. Radishes, Carrots, and Kale, Oh My! I love that this post is the third most popular and it was the second one I wrote this year. Foodies and their gastronomic obsessions are all over the blogsphere, but I’m a Cheez Whiz and Parmesan-in-a-can girl, as this post proves. Seems like I can work with that.

2. Thanks a Lot. I was surprised by how much the “kid table” really resonated with people. I also need to add a post script about my brother. For the record, I was describing our holidays from 20 and 30 years ago, because I’m a bratty youngest sister and that’s how I roll. He actually has been attending our holiday get togethers in recent years and seems to enjoy himself (as much as anyone can when they are with their bratty younger sister for more than 24 hours).

1. And what continues to be the Number One, most visited piece on my blog? Yes, It’s still that crazy serious piece I did about women and shaving many years ago. Shaving, Waxing, Electrocution: A Primer on Women’s War on Hair. So much for my humor ego. Go figure. Next year, I’m leaving that thing out of my stats or will try to sell the movie rights to Seth Rogen.

See you next year!

It’s Nothing Personal

So here I am four years post-separation and marriage. During the summer I amused myself by getting reacquainted with girlie things—dresses, shoes, and those whatchamacallits…oh, yeah, accessories. I couldn’t quite pull off sexy, but I got and had a lot of laughs. Summer slipped into autumn and winter is nearly upon us, and even though the girlie dresses are getting cold, I still want to wear them. Out. Somewhere. With sincere apologies to Keats, I now find myself slouching towards dating Bethlehem. I’m still not interested in actual dating, but I’m interested in the idea of thinking about maybe seeing what might be out there. Makes me a perfect catch, don’t you think? I am the consummate researcher and thinker, which, for your information is absolutely very different from a procrastinator. I’m a writer, I know the nuances of language better than you.

In any event, I realized I’m in a good position to evaluate the personals. What do they look like compared to when I answered my ex’s personal ad in the Boston Phoenix, Boston’s alternative weekly newspaper, more than 25 years ago? Of course the internet and apps have intervened in the interim, but I limited my research to just personals because 1) I’m too lazy to actually create a dating profile on a site like Match.com, 2) I’m still scarred by my friends’ stories about how brutal and dishonest these dating sites are and 3) I’m not quite ready for an app like Adult Friend Finder—no explanation needed for that I think, except to emphasize that the technology allows you to meet someone RIGHT NOW. No judgment and call me old fashioned, but I just like to get a drink or two and dinner first.

So where to go? Craigslist personals, that ubiquitous, democratic, free internet space that provokes pretty much the same response from people as the Boston Phoenix personals did 25 years ago. Mild shock quickly followed by admonitions to be careful of all the murderers on there. The similarity was downright heartwarming. So far so good! I plunged on with my research, and here, dear reader, is my take on personals then and now:

The Phoenix had the regular personals and a section where sex was a main feature. I believe it was hip enough to also have the basic categories for gays and straights. Craigslist has nine sections and within in them, evidence of the wonder of human variation and preference. Since I’m kind of boring, I stuck with two, “casual encounters” and the “men seeking women.”

All I remember from the Phoenix was that the personals pretty much sounded all the same. The guys liked dinners, movies, and walks on the beach, which was pretty useless—what kind of food? What kind of movies? My ex’s ad actually had specifics, which made him stand out. Now? Holy acronym Batman! LTR, BBW, HWP. Within minutes I was Googling “Craigslist acronyms”: long-term relationship, big beautiful or black woman, height-weight proportional. And that’s when things really got interesting. At one point I forgot I was looking to see if there was anyone I maybe wanted to think about contacting because the specificity is fascinating. This ain’t no dinner and movies crowd.

First there are all the attributes. Ladies, if you get discouraged about all the ways the media reinforces ridiculous standards of beauty, just go to Craigslist—fair warning you are going to see more pictures of men’s junk than a porn site and the fetishes are rampant, but once you get past that, you will find guys looking for BBW, bubble butts, big breasts, small breasts, requests that a woman have a little meat on them. Tall women, petite women, single mothers, HWP, geeky women, tiny waists with big hips. Something called “thick” which even the guides can’t agree on. I thought it was maybe somewhere between HWP and BBW, but then I saw a picture of a “thick” example, and I thought she was actually HWP, so what do I know? I guess the poster will know it when he sees it. Of course there are the straight out requests for being hot looking and thin/athletic. But there are not as many as you would think, and the guys claim to be the same. And that has been going on since Adam was hoping for a hot babe who was an independent thinker and had healthy eating habits.

When men do make very specific or even wacky requests, they often apologize for it and explain they don’t mean to offend, it’s just what they prefer, which I found kind of touching. Sure they may have gotten flamed by some pissed off women or they are simply savvy marketers. But I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. It’s a nice touch.

The details included in the personals turned out to be my downfall. I stopped looking for myself and got lost in my writer’s curiosity. I tend to be attracted to guys who make me laugh, and so don’t really have a type. How do people get such specific types? For example what is it about a bubble butt that gets you going? Honestly, thank goodness they included a picture, because I wasn’t even sure what that was. Of course the pictures, clearly of real people, got me started on a whole other line of thought. Where are these people now? Do they know they are a Craigslist poster girl for a ______ (fill in the blank). Then I think how many women actually respond? How many of a type can there be?

Which of course brings it around back to me. I’m happy for all the women out there whose type is being called out and worshipped (a lot of guys promise to worship these various parts). But then that means I have the opposite, but equally annoying problem of 25 years ago when the ads were too vague. Then it was OK, we both like movies, but what if I like “Equalizer” and you like “Her”? Now I have to figure out where my body fits into the acronyms. I can knock out the extremes—I’m proudly not fit or athletic. Which is just as well because the guys who ask for a fit or athletic woman always list their hobbies as hiking, running and all manner of exercise—ugh. I tend to gravitate to the guys who talk about food and wine. Also, I’m not a BBW or a bubble butt. My breasts have never been big, and thanks to my recent weight loss, they have actually gotten slightly smaller (you really can’t win sometimes). I have big hips, but my waist ain’t anywhere near tiny. It actually was a while before I encountered HWP, which shows you how many requests there are for just a regular gal—not many. I guess they are all on Match.com.

Once I could tear myself away from these fascinating guys and their requests and I decided I was HWP, I started lurking among this small number of ads. I could eliminate at least 75% of the guys off the bat. They are in their thirties or younger, and I’m not quite ready to be a cougar (although that is not an infrequent request).  Of the remaining men, there are the people who are looking for love and long-term, while others are uncomfortably honest (married seeking same). A few are just liars/too creepy if true. One guy claimed to be very successful and was looking for someone to travel with him on his boat and winter in Florida. Um, I was just looking for dinner, wine, a few laughs, and home by midnight, thanks! And that leaves me about one possibility every few weeks. And even at that point the general rule of Craigslist is that half the time, people will flake out on you and not show up.

So through very careful, research, combing through pages of original documents, I have come to a very scientific conclusion about dating today versus 25 years ago. It ain’t any easier, whether you are looking for an LTR, an Adult Friend, or just looking for dinner, wine and a few laughs. But at least if you have been hiding your Craigslist lurking habit, you can tell people you only know about it because you read it here. You’re welcome. The girlie dresses can wait until spring.

Photo credit: Glamour.com, “Here Are a Few Not-So-Solid Dating Tips From the 1930s”

Why Do I Always Have to Be the Oldest One in the Room?

Remember that entry about how I had to go to the kids and divorce class and I was the oldest one there and most likely the only one there who recognized the video tapes as a form of media? Well, I should have predicted that it wasn’t going to be any different in the actual divorce court. My soon-to-be ex and I appeared on our appointed day, for the afternoon shift. The instructions said to come at 3 pm, which we did, but it was like waiting for the doors to open at a show—everyone was in the courtroom and there was a long line of people waiting to get checked in at a desk near the front. How did these people know to show up earlier? Had they done this before? There was a court session from 9 am to 3 pm, so I had figured there was no point in coming earlier—the court would have had people from the previous session in it. As we became the last people to get in the line, I hoped this wasn’t first come first served. I was grappling with that idea when I noticed the youthfulness of our fellow court mates. Then the judge began to call us forward two by two, like some sort of demented Noah’s ark. She confirmed—out loud—each couple’s marriage date and the date they last lived together. She made the two people state their names and affirm that they had read and agreed with the terms of their divorce, and then she pointed out any problems in the agreement. The marriage dates rang out—2009, 2011, 2007.

I looked around the room. No gray hair, not even any covered up with blonde dye. At 49, I have already been having some small anxieties about age, especially as it relates to my career. Boston is full of start-ups which is very exciting to think about as I contemplate my next job; however, a few informational interviews revealed there is hardly anyone over the age of 30 working at these places. I was starting to feel not just old, but worse, irrelevant. I was still struggling with this new information, so I was not happy to also have to face it in my personal life. Here I was awash in young people who clearly had thought marriage was something else, or maybe they had mistaken the wedding for marriage, or maybe the statistic I read was true—that 30 percent of people who get married know before the wedding they are marrying the wrong person and do it anyway. As I did with the children and divorce class, I wanted to jump up and tell them to get back in the ring—did they think life was a fairy tale and there was a happily ever after? 2005, 2008. Finally there was a couple who got married in 2002—she wasn’t my age, but closer than the rest. I wanted to run over to her and kiss her, but I don’t think the stern looking court officer would have approved. And just as I was calming down, I heard, “Married October 2012, stopped living together April 2013.” Whaaat? What this some kind of Vegas wedding? They looked younger than 20. I wanted to punch them both. Then I wished every person in this country who claims that gay marriage degrades a “time-honored institution,” would sit in divorce court for 10 minutes. We straight couples were doing a pretty good job of destroying the institution ourselves. The judge called us up. “Married in 1991, stopped living together in 2011.” I wanted to answer with a championship game-winning fist pump—THAT’S how it’s done, people—but I think courts frown on that sort of thing. I wonder if it would work at one of those no-one-over-the-age-of-30 tech startups?

Photo credit: The Guardian

Real-Life Math Sucks

In honor of the start of another school year, this post is the answer to “When will I ever use this math in real life?” If you have a child and want to get divorced in Massachusetts, the state does a great job of giving you an opportunity to use every math skill you’ve ever learned and may send you to the book store for “Math for Dummies.” It could also be a discriminatory way to discourage divorce among humanities majors—but I digress.

In Massachusetts if you have a child, the divorce process begins by filling out the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. I would love to know the number of web hits this form gets, because believe me, right on the heels of “I can’t stand to be married anymore” comes “Oh my god, can I afford to be divorced?” which sends you careening to the web and you land on this form. It sounds promising—the “guidelines” part lures you into a false sense of security that you will be guided along this serpentine bureaucracy. At first glance it looks simple enough, although the impersonal use of the word “payor”—I assume they mean your child’s other parent—should have tipped me off. They ask for income and then four other amounts for you and the payor: child care costs, health insurance, dental/vision insurance, and other support obligations. Even a busy working mom like me can make quick educated guesses, and I was relieved that I didn’t have to go digging into my financial paperwork like I would for my taxes.

But then I notice they wanted the weekly amounts. I get paid weekly, but my ex gets paid bi-weekly, so that involves some math—I’m an English major, but I have my pride, so I took a deep breath and  whipped out the calculator on my smart phone. I did the simple math and get some basic numbers. So far, so good, until I see the next section. It’s a small sea of numbers, letters, math symbols and instructions that put me into a mild panic. The letters refer back to the five amounts I just entered, and now I have to go back and forth between the letters that stand for a number, consult two different tables, execute an “if, then” statement, and perform the required math. Now I’m in a full-blown panic—it’s the SATs and my failed college computer programming class all over again:

CHILD SUPPORT CALCULATION

  1. Combined amount for one child (See Table A)
  2. Adjustment for number of children covered by this order (See Table B)
  3. Combined support amount 2(a) x 2(b) d. Recipient’s % of combined income Recipient 1(f) ÷ 1(g)
  4. Recipient’s % of combined income Recipient 1(f) ÷ 1(g)
  5. Minus Recipient’s share of combined support amount 2(c) x 2(d)
  6. Payor’s proportional weekly support amount 2(c) – 2(e)
  7. Weekly support amount as % of Recipient income 2(f) ÷ Recipient 1(f)
  8. Payor’s final weekly support amount if 2(g) is 10% or more, then enter 2(f) here _______________, otherwise, enter the lesser of 2(f) OR (10% + 2(g)) x Payor 1(f)

Say what, now? Here I am, reeling from the breakdown of my marriage, worried about making sure my son is OK, and you want me to do higher math? WTF? I’m guessing most of the non-math people stop here—the pain of doing math could very well outweigh the pain of divorce and make you go back into the ring for another go. I actually learned how to do this math at one point in my life, but what about people who never did? What chance do they have of figuring this out? For those of us who manage to persevere, more shocks await. After struggling with the math, I discover the form says my ex should be paying TWICE as much in child support than what we have decided on our own, based on our real life, not a disembodied math formula. I checked my math again, (it’ wasn’t any less painful the second time). We both make about the same amount of money and neither of us make six figures, so I know the state’s number would seriously affect his life.

So why does my ex need to pay so much? Apparently the underlying formula has not been changed substantially since the 1970s, when it was made for couples with one main bread-winner and one stay-at-home partner. Perhaps it still works for those couples, all 25 percent of them. Without negating the very real issues of child support, having the non-custodial parent living in a hovel because of an outdated formula isn’t any better than having the custodial parent and child living in a hovel. Without trying to sound like a revolutionary rabble-rouser, could we have, say, um, two or three formulas, based on real world scenarios? I know some data people who could not only come up with any number of alternative formulas, they could test them, refine them, and test them again all before breakfast and they would actually enjoy it. Heck, a couple of MIT students could probably fit it in between building their solar car from a hobby kit, designing a bionic body part, and launching a start-up. Maybe the state is afraid that if it makes the form easier and the formula more fair, it will encourage more people to get divorced. On the other hand, it just might help improve the population’s math skills.

Photo credit: The Neiderkorn Library

 

Blanche Says, Let It Ride Girl

During a particular low time during the divorce process, I got hooked on reading a relationship advice column online. There’s something validating in reading about other people’s relationship issues. It also let loose my inner, cigarette-smoking, world-weary vamp named Blanche. I just rolled my eyes at the 20-something writer who declared the person who just dumped him was the One and what should he do now? But Blanch took a long drag on her cigarette and exhaled a pointed stream of smoke at the advice seeker’s post. “No such thing as the ‘One,’ sweetheart,” she declared in her gin-soaked voice of gravel.

Another advice seeker claimed everything in the relationship was perfect, except she wanted a child and the partner didn’t. Could the partner be won over? I thought not, but stayed quiet to be polite. Blanche, however, tapped the worn wood of the bar twice next to her empty shot glass, watched the bartender fill it up with Gordon’s, tipped it back and slammed down the glass. “Not gonna happen. Put up or get the hell out.”

The ill-fated office romances and those contemplating divorce after a few years of marriage when a new “soul mate” appeared on the horizon got nothing more than Blanche’s derisive snort.

It was a pretty fun game for me and Blanche until the law of averages started to catch up to us. You read enough of these letters and sooner or later you’ll get to situations that are uncomfortably close to home: midlife folks asking about the rules of dating in the world of Facebook and texting. When to introduce the kids. And yea gods, trying to decide on divorce number two! Being solitary by nature and still processing my marriage and divorce, I have no interest in dating or finding another partner. But if I’ve learned nothing else during a 20-year marriage and subsequent divorce, it’s never say never. My guilty pleasure at making fun of the advice seekers transformed into an uncomfortable dread of having to face this situation at some point, no matter how unlikely. Then I would be one of the letter writers: “I finally got an interesting email on Match.com, what do I do now? Help!”

Blanche will flick her dangling cigarette ashes at me, before raising her shot glass. “Get back on the damn horse, girl, and let it ride.”

photo credit: Fooyoh.com