Calamity Jennye

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Otherwise, you'd cry your eyes out...

This weekend was great. The kind of great where you start to think things are really turning around!

I got to go shopping on Friday for 12 hours. Any of you who actually know me, know that that is a dream come true. My best friend, Alyssa and I got to head down to the cities, kid free on Thursday night and then had all day Friday to shop. We also had a great chance to sleep in, and where were we at 7am Friday morning? In the living room, looking at each other, saying, seriously??
So, we had a great breakfast and were waiting outside Nordstrom Rack as they rolled the gate up. It was a great day. A great day made even better the only way you can, by including the purchase of a new bra that actually puts those puppies where they belong.
The whole weekend was really so great in a just normal life kind of way, great with the little things, that I started to feel like life was on the upswing. It was a culmination of the whole last week. There have been a lot of ups and downs. But overall it’s all up.

And that of course, is always when a challenging day comes along. One of the landlords from the house my husband and I rented was in our office today. Before she even made it out of the waiting room she was already having a conversation with someone about the state of the house after he left (he lived there alone, with just his name on the lease, for 6 months). I couldn’t hear the details of what they were saying, then or when the conversation continued later between three of them.
All I could feel was the panic moving through my body. It wasn’t just that I felt so horrible about the way he treated their house, it was mostly that I couldn’t believe that was my husband. My mind was racing, feeling so horrible about myself, wondering how I could have been the person who sticks around for that? What must people think of me? People must think I’m as crazy as him if I could stick around as many years as I did.
I’m well aware these are not wholly rational thoughts. Like I said I could feel the panic moving through my body, and it felt horrible. At the end of her visit the landlord sat at my desk to checkout, as I choked back my tears, trying to convince myself I was fine, she mentioned that if I ever need it she would be happy to come testify in court about the ways in which the house they saw after he moved out was not suitable for a child.

Later, I was able to get a rundown on the conversation and of course the conversation was not what I imagined it to be. In fact, this woman who had met my husband a total of two times, maybe. Just based on the contents of his house after he moved out, was able to tell my co-workers things they had only ever heard from me (things very few people have heard, and even fewer believed). As my friend repeated the things she had said this amazing light dawned for me. It was like the night I talked with the two therapists. I had another, “maybe I’m not crazy” moment.
Maybe I didn’t imagine these things that made my marriage an uphill battle for so many years. And to hear this woman talk in detail about the state of the house, my friend said, “can you imagine you held that much together for that many years?”  “Yes, I can imagine it, because it felt like it for so many years, felt like an uphill battle, almost every day, for so many years”. Like I was just barely holding on, and I never quite knew when it would just slip through my fingers.

Maybe I laugh so hard at the image of those damn chickens running around the basement because I feared for so long that I would lose that battle, things would slip, and before I knew it there would be chickens in my basement. I can laugh because I escaped with just months to spare.
I have to laugh…because we all know the alternative!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

An early Thanksgiving

I had this great realization on the way to work today:

This week I was supposed to appear in court for an inattentive driving charge from my car accident earlier this summer. I pled not guilty to the citation because I simply did not feel that I was driving inattentively. What happened was a terrible accident, someone nearly died (which is why the officer felt the need to cite someone). But he didn't die. Everyone was okay. And there were four separate things all contributing to the cause of the accident. I just happened to be the last thing.

That's what got me thinking. Any of these decisions/happenings could have been the thing that actually led to the accident:

The dump truck driving a bit faster than he should have.
Causing the pickup in front of him to feel he needed to immediately pull into a driveway he clearly could not proceed down and thus blocking my view.
Same dump truck causing the motorcycle coming in the other lane (which I now could not see because of said truck) to hug the white line in order to be as far from the truck as possible.
All of this causing me to begin edging out not knowing any other way to break the gridlock the truck and I had going in the driveway.

Ending in me not seeing the motorcycle soon enough (since he was really hugging the white line) and him not being able to swerve, since the dump truck was now practically even with us in the other lane.

So yes, without me beginning to edge out, the accident would not have happened. But what came clear to me suddenly, is that this is how decisions in life work. If you don't take a second to really think through the impact of your decisions, before you know it you've arrived at the decision that actually brings it all tumbling down. And if you haven't stopped to think about the little decisions before that one. Or worse yet, if you've actively kept yourself from thinking about the little decisions, you will not think before acting on that last decision either.

And that will be the decision that you will live to regret.

I was extremely blessed to have collided with a generous, honest, forgiving man. One who wrote a letter to the court saying that from his perspective I, indeed may have ultimately caused the accident, but my driving was not inattentive. Thanks to his thoughtful, careful decision to speak up on my behalf my citation was dismissed.

And I've walked away certain that I want to be that careful and thoughtful in my future decisions. I want to take an extra moment more often than not. Not just to look both ways an extra time at intersections. But to, metaphorically speaking get out of my car and walk a circle around it when my view is blocked. In hopes that in those extra seconds, which really don't cost me anything, I will gain invaluable perspective.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid.

I'm still trying to sort out how to deal with that phone call last week.

The one thing I've never talked about here, for better or for worse, is that my husband is an Episcopal Priest. I know there is much that is inherently built in to any conversation around priests and misconduct and there are many ways in which his vocation does not matter to 90% of what I've been dealing with.

But last week, the phone call I received was from the bishop of the diocese that ordained my husband. He was calling because, while he was not the bishop that ordained my husband, while he has never met us, and while my husband has never actually served as a priest in that diocese, word had reached him of what was going on with my husband and he was concerned.

While it is clear that he is concerned because his job compels him to be, it also seems clear from the conversations that he's had with me and with others, that he is concerned because he truly understands that the things my husband has done give cause for concern. Both on a priestly and a personal level.

I felt stymied in my conversation with the bishop, too stunned to actually figure out what were the right things to say. I agree whole-heartedly that my husband is in no place to be leading, counseling, caring for any group of people, but I also feel that the degree of his dysfunction goes much deeper than that. I couldn't actually find any words (shocking I know, to those of you that know me) that would adequately convey the depth of my concern for my husband without first sounding like a vindictive, betrayed woman.
This is just not a situation that lends itself easily to genuine-ness of emotion, especially when that emotion is concern for the other party.

While I feel extreme concern for any "flock" that my husband would try to lead I also feel greater concern for him, for his girlfriend, for friends that are mislead by the diplomas and ordination certificates he has hanging on his walls in their expensive frames. I feel concerned because they don't know how we ate almost nothing for a week after he spent so much to frame those useless documents without telling me about it. And I feel concerned because that makes it so much clearer to me in ways almost no one else can see, the lengths he will go to for the preservation of that facade. Lengths he was never willing to go to for something so much more tangible and life giving.

I've heard rumors my husband is going to meet with this bishop and that leaves me with so much mixed emotion. It leaves me hoping that someone will see the depths of the help that he needs. And then it just leaves me depressed, feeling that this is just another person who will walk away dazzled by the stories he is able to spin into such convincing replicas of the truth.

I would be lying if I didn't admit that I want him to pay. But not exactly how that sounds. There has been no one yet who has been able to call my husband to account for his actions. Throughout a year long affair with a married woman, throughout all the lies and pain for so many people, there has been no point where he has taken even an ounce of responsibility for a single one of his actions. That is not healthy for any human being, in any vocation.

My husband should not have to be more perfect because he is a priest, we are all human and flawed and bound to make mistakes along the way. What he should be is more willing to take responsibility for his actions. I think that is what the bible calls us to over and over again in story after story. Accountability. Give what you can, throw the first stone if you are blameless, find the place in yourself where you so believe in forgiveness and God that you can be willing to sacrifice what's most important to you for the things you believe are right. Be honest, and true and God will provide.

Nowhere does it say life will be perfect or easy. We will all make mistakes.But over and over again the bible also shows how it takes a community to fix those mistakes. Life isn't something we were created to do alone. If you brush your mistakes away, lie about them, refuse to admit you've made any, you can't honestly contribute to a community much less lead one.

And I guess there is one way in which he does have to be a bit more perfect as a priest. He took a vow not only to our marriage but to the church and to all of it's sacraments. What he's done was a clear choice to violate multiple vows. Our marriage vow, the marriage vow of someone he helped to wed, and vows he took during his ordination. There is one section of the ordination service that sums it up for me:

Will you do you best to pattern your life [and that
of your family, or household, or community] in
accordance with the teachings of Christ, so that you
may be a wholesome example to your people?

 Could you all say a little prayer for the bishop as he hears my husband out, pray that somewhere in the midst of it all he will hear the truth?

Outfit of the Day

Sunday was a cold and rainy day here. And for some reason it was one of those days where Esme and I were really getting on each other's nerves. Luckily about halfway through the day her friend Liv came over. They were like happy little tornadoes around our tiny house then settled on the couch to watch a movie. It turned out to be a great day!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Analyze This...

So I got a very unexpected phone call while I was at work yesterday. And while I'm not quite ready to deal with the phone call itself I have to say that the brainwaves it set off, coupled with the impossibility of sleeping comfortably on hard ground while strategizing how best to save my child from a bear, (these things happen in the woods all the time you know) made for some very odd dreams last night.

In the first dream my husband came to me distraught because someone had given him an ultimatum. Face up to what he's done, fix our marriage, or lose something he values as part of his identity. He was in tears because he honestly couldn't figure out what to do. I felt bad for him, we both ended up in tears and before I could reach a resolution for the dream, the hard ground won out and I was on to another variation which was him being told he could keep that part of his identity if he just moved to a different country. My first response was dismay, but even in the dream I quickly thought, "their loss, have a nice trip."

After these dreams I lay awake for what seemed like an hour or two, thinking what would I do if this turn of events prompted such a confrontation. If he came to me and admitted things, asked forgiveness, wanted it all back. It honestly took me a while to work through all the iterations and land on the one answer I could feel good about.

"Find a way, a place, to go work on things. Someone to make you face it all, talk about every single part, relive it in all the vivid detail I've had to face things in for months. Then figure out what it is you want back. Make a list in detail. At what points in our marriage did we have things the way you still want them to be. What were those things specifically and how are you going to work for them? Then, maybe then, we'll start to talk." The thing that felt so different about this was that in the past when I've lain awake re-analyzing these possibilities somewhere deep in my mind I thought it might be a possibility.

Last night. I merely had to think it through because I'm the woman who also has to have a plan for a bear attack before she can go to sleep. I'm 99% confident the bear will never attack. But if he did and I hadn't thought through the best possible scenario to save my child it would really suck.
(PS tomorrow I'm teaching Esme how to dial 911. Because after I'm dead and she's locked herself in the car someone's going to have to come finish saving her.)

So the dream after that was this long rambling bizarre one where I started at some kind of fashion show/ party, in Denver, at this rich persons house/store. We were able to pick anything we wanted to wear, it was all designer. I chose these platform boots that took me an hour to get on because they had so many straps. I don't really remember what we did once we had the clothes on but later in the dream, Esme was with me and we were trying to get to the main area of this mall. Only we were stuck in the icky back hallways. We could not get out of this crazy maze and every time we thought we had the right door it was a pool. This was the one time in our lives we didn't want to swim. We just wanted to get to the mall. We even snuck into the men's locker room because we were convinced there was a door in there that went straight to the mall....nope, pool!
That portion of the dream somehow transitioned into this friend of mine from Philly (I have to say he's one of the most straight laced people I know) calling me out of the blue to say he'd found this great new way to make money:
"When there are lots of people in town for a concert or whatever there's this place where you can buy cigarettes really cheap then resell them and make a great profit...Only I don't have a lot of capital right now, would you like to invest?"
"Ummm...sure I guess, I've got some money we could start with."
"Okay great, meet me at the mall, bring the money, and do you feel about heroine?"
"I am not selling heroine!!"

And then the sun started coming up. Anyone want to analyze that dream?

Outfit of the Day

Esme's Babka took her on her first camping trip last night. We took a great picture of her in the tent in this beautiful sleeping bag that her Babka made for her, but somehow because we were out of range of my phone or something, the picture did not save. So we had to recreate the scene here in our living room.
Esme had a marvelous time camping. I drove an hour through a hail storm after work yesterday to meet them at their campsite, where miraculously they had had no storm at all. We ate dinner, roasted marshmallows, went for a quick paddle this morning and left early enough for me to be at work by nine.
Do I love my kid or what? Camping and two extra hours of driving...hold your applause, please hold your applause!
And Esme...believe me, I'll be redeeming these points some day!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming...

Everyone else seems to be interrupting their regular schedule for 9/11 remembrances so I figured I would join suit.
I hate 9/11 remembrances. I say this with all apologies to those who lost loved ones and with the utmost respect and gratitude for those who sacrificed to save others on that day. I lost nothing on that day. In fact I gained a ton because of that day and I’ve always been extremely grateful. But just now, remembering it, is the last thing I want to do.
My husband was in seminary in 2001, in New Haven, CT. Back before he was my husband, we were dating and I lived in Boston. He and some seminary friends, one of whom had done an internship with the New Orleans Police Dept. dressed in that friend’s chaplain garb and headed down to ground zero late afternoon on 9/11.
They spent 24 hours digging through rubble, sorting parts, bagging things up and talking with the rescue personnel. It was a life changing experience for all three. One became an alcoholic (I believe), one took up healthy forms of release like sky diving and deep sea diving. My husband came straight to my house, shared a little bit about his experience, slept, then told me he was leaving seminary and he thought we should get married.
We talked a lot about things before he made an ultimate decision but what was clear to me on that day was that he had experienced something that profoundly impacted him. I knew him well enough by this point to know that those things are rare for him. In the coming year, as the choices his friends made became clear I felt thankful mine had chosen the path he did. So glad that this experience caused him to realize the value of life rather than choosing to throw it away.
In retrospect, who knows. The decisions he made that day were potentially as reckless for him as skydiving was for his friend. At the time I felt thankful he came to his senses and realized how good I was for him.
Now, I have to spend days like this thinking about the aftermath in my life. Thinking of that changed man that I remember from the days just after. Remembering how different that man is from the one I lived with for the last few years. Hoping it doesn’t take another tragedy the magnitude of 9/11 for him to remember the things he once decided were important.

Outfit of the Day

We had a music festival in Grand Marais this weekend.
Coupled with temperatures in the high 70's for two days.
I think it was a dream come true for me, I could not get enough!
Esme got her face painted as a witch, with a flower and a heart she was quick to point out!