First Installment: Friday Facts and Fiction

By Mir
May 28, 2004
Category About

Awesome; you’re game for this! Let’s see if it’s any fun.

Julia asks: What’s my ideal job? Where would it be and what would I be doing?

I’ve always wanted to be a taxidermist. In Alaska. Something about all that time with dead animals in a place where this isn’t any sunshine for half the year…. (Fiction!)

I’m not sure I know what my “ideal” is, otherwise I might actually be working now (and working towards something). If I get to assume in my fantasy that I no longer have a short attention span, then by all means I’ll take being a Famous Novelist for Gobs O’ Cash please, Alex. I also think I might enjoy being a Personal Shopper, but I suspect that after a while I’d want to kill all the people I’d have to work for. As for the where… I love the heat, hate the snow, hate humidity. If money and friends/family were no object, I’d be in Arizona or New Mexico in a heartbeat. (Fact.)

Michele asks: Okay Mir, will you give us the dirt on your divorce??

The story is short and simple: He decided to become a she, she now leads a life of intrigue as a pole dancer at an elite Boston transgender bar, and we are still good friends and she sometimes helps me with my hair. (FICTION!!)

The story is long and complicated, and any holding back has less to do with my not wanting to share than with it just being, well, very long. Here’s the shortest version I can manage: I was looking for “mate” material (as many of my previous paramours were not) and kind of talked myself into this nice, stable, responsible guy who in many ways was really not my type. He was painfully shy, had never dated (when we met he was 25), and was looking for anyone, I think. We both wanted kids; lots of kids. We married (too soon and too young), we went through infertility, miscarriage, and eventually, arrived at parenthood. At which point, whatever little spousal relationship we’d built up was completely thrown over in favor of Being Parents To The Almighty Children. The ex became involved in a start-up company and his life reduced to work, the kids, and his family. Oh, did you think his family was me and the kids?? Silly! His family is his parents and siblings. I never made it past second-class citizenship, I’m afraid. Anyway, his dad was dying of skin cancer, and we spent every “vacation” with his family our entire marriage (nearly 10 years); before his dad fell ill, during, and after.

Two years before we split, his dad died. According to the ex, this was “the first bad thing” that had ever happened to him. (Apparently having our dead offspring scraped out of me was no big deal.) Ex fell into a deep depression from which he made little effort to emerge. It wasn’t long before he had some very scary, chronic health issues… all of which turned out to be psychosomatic illness from the depression. The final straw was when he lost his job and completely lost it. He wasn’t diagnosed and treated until he’d been in the hospital for his “mystery illness” several times and then confessed to a nurse that he was trying to think how he could kill himself and make it look like an accident so that the kids and I could have the insurance money. I basically had to take him to our local hospital’s psych ward and have him committed, during which time I found out that he had punched our then two-year-old in a fit of rage, then lied to me about it.

Every fiber of my being wanted it to be over right then. I was All Done.

But I stayed, for almost another year. He went to counselling. I went to counselling. We went to counselling. Our couples therapist was a raving lunatic who “sensed the delicate frame of mind” the ex was in and delighted in telling me I was too uptight about everything to make the ex feel like she was on his side. Her solution for everything was “You two just need to go out on a date and have some fun!” (Example of her brilliance: It was a recurring theme that the ex was cultivating a bizarre and sick co-dependence between himself and our daughter, and she had all but stopped eating unless allowed to sit on his lap and be hand-fed by him. I wanted this to stop. She told me I was too controlling. It took our daughter’s therapist phoning this lunatic to tell her, Yes, this NEEDS TO STOP RIGHT NOW for her to concede that perhaps he shouldn’t do it anymore.)

We ditched the couples therapist. We did some counselling with our pastor. Only, I am good friends with the pastor’s wife, and so I underhandedly swayed him my way, dontchaknow. He never told me I “wasn’t allowed” to get divorced, which was his responsibility, being a man of God and all! Are you getting the picture, yet?

As soon as he got a new job, I told him I wanted a trial separation. He kept saying “you don’t want a separation, you want a divorce, just say it!” No, I said, I needed some time apart if there was to be any hope of salvaging anything. He fought, he bullied, he spoke of how he’d been a model husband and I was just planning to rip his children away from him. Oooookay. We separated, the bullying got worse; I filed for divorce.

The divorce was long and ugly, with the only saving grace being that–although he made a lot of noise about it–he never fought me for custody because that whole nervous breakdown and subsequent lockdown in the psych ward thing meant he would never win, and even he had to see that.

Ya know, I could’ve skipped all the previous and summed it up in one sentence: At the tender age of 33, my ex suddenly discovered that life’s not fair and he’s never really recovered. (Truth, sadly.)

Snowball asks: What (besides my kids) gives my life the most meaning?

I have a small pet rock named Gunther who tells me what to do and say, and we will always be together! (Fiction.)

This may surprise, it may revolt, it may sound trite… but my faith journey is the most meaningful segment of my life aside from my children. I was raised a mostly-non-practicing Jew, joined a very extreme Christian sect in college, and after a while settled in as a Methodist. (Hint: should you wish to switch religions and still have your parents’ acceptance, try switching first to some bizarre and scary faction, so that when you turn to a more socially acceptable alternative your folks think that it’s really not so bad.) I have travelled from an angry, “why me?”ish young person to the woman of faith that I am today, secure in knowing that I can handle whatever comes my way, and feeling–for the most part–very blessed. The particular church I’m with right now (I have moved around a lot, so this is the longest I’ve been in one place for a while) has been a church home for me like no other. I sing in the choir (and I had forgotten how I love to sing!), I’m a commissioned Stephen Minister, and I think I’m here for a reason. Despite my potty-mouth and overall obnoxious tendencies, I do love calling the Christian Community my home. Plus, many of the blue-haired old ladies get a kick out of me. It’s a win-win thing. (Fact.)

Zoot asks: If you could only eat ONE food for the rest of your life, regardless of nutrition, what would it be?

Pigs feet. (Fiction!! *gag*)

Just one??? I want to pick chocolate, but too much sugar makes me wacky (yes, wackier than usual… shut UP). I think avocados. You know what a guacamole whore I am. Yummy. (Fact.)

Zuska (hi Zus!! *waving*) asks: What toenail color is suitable for sassy Summer wear for both mother and daughter this season?

Black. (Fiction, fiction… don’t hit me.)

Well ya know, Those People (I don’t know who they are, exactly, but they seem to wield quite a bit of power) say that pale pink is this season’s new black. Oooooooookay. Ignoring the obvious–which is that pale pink ain’t gonna be black no matter how far you put your nose in the air, honey–this is a good solution if you happen to like pale pink, but not so much if you, you know, don’t. I suggest a trip to your local Gap store, as all of my toenail polishes came from the Gap outlet last season. My Chickadee and I both favor “chrome blue” right now, which is a wild and funky and fun silvery blue (for the toes; on fingers it would just be scary, I think) and matches nearly everything. Plus it is Not Pink, which is handy when the resident Monkey asks to have his toes done as well. (Fact.)

Jennifer asks:
Favorite book?
“A Prayer for Owen Meany” by John Irving.
Best childhood memory? When I was 8 we headed to Florida for our yearly jaunt to the grandparents, and my parents surprised me and my brother with a detour to Disneyworld for several days. Our family tended to put the DYS in dysfunctional but I remember that trip as being non-stop fun.
Favorite smell? Outdoors, right after it rains, mmmmmmm.
Secret crush? I don’t think I have one. I’m not quite through the whole men-are-useless thing, yet.
(Okay, those are all facts ‘cept one. But I’m not telling which one.)

Debby asks: If I could be any movie star, who would I be?

Elmo. (Fiction, mostly… he seems to lead a pretty good life, though.)

Glenn Close. She’s an amazing actress who has succeeded in spite of being fairly normal-looking and not a Barbie doll clone. And although she’s enjoyed critical acclaim, she stays out of the limelight and appears to lead a fairly normal life. (Fact.)

Also from Debby: What’s my dream vacation?

Is it ice hiking or snorkelling somewhere tropical? If you don’t know the answer, you haven’t been reading very carefully.

Hula Dula has wayyyyyy too many questions, yo. But I’ll try.
Naked wrestling really isn’t allowed?
Well naturally I discourage it. If I don’t get to, why should they??
Was I already working or did I go back to work because of the divorce? I “retired” from software engineering when we made our last move and the ex was busy co-founding a new company. I’d worked full-time before the kids came and part-time from the Chickadee’s birth. Then we came here, the kids went to preschool and I worked on some freelance writing. I had some success, but the whole husband-mysteriously-ill-and-also-by-the-way-insane thing cropped up pretty quickly, and I quit writing. When it became clear that we were headed towards divorce, I took an extremely sucky job with a local mortgage brokering company which–to its credit–allowed me very flexible hours so that I didn’t have to change the kids’ schedules around. I was laid off at the end of last year (seemed tragic at the time; was really a blessing in disguise because that place was chewing up my soul).
Ever streaked in public? Yes.
Most embarrassing moment? I know a couple at church who used to be in the choir. There are a few of us in the choir who are real wiseasses, and this couple could cut up with the best of them. It was a running joke with the husband that upon arrival for rehearsal, it was time to set cell phones to “pleasure” mode so as not to be disruptive. (Was it less disruptive when his phone rang and we all shrieked “He’s VIBRATING!”? I think not.) I think we sustained this joke partially because of how horrified many of the more senior choir members were about it. Anyway, they left the choir (but not the church) and started attending a different service than the one I go to, so I didn’t run into them for a long time. Came face-to-face with the husband one day, and this pops out of my mouth: “Gosh I miss seeing you at choir! I think of you every time I set my phone to pleasure mode!” OH. MY. GOD. (Next sentence out of my mouth: “Could we please pretend I didn’t just say that?”)
(I offer you the same deal as Jennifer: Those are all facts ‘cept one. But I’m not telling which one.)

I know I said I’d answer anything, and do it this afternoon. But I started on this in the morning because this cold is still trying to kill me. Jilbur, I love your idea. I’m going to go take a lot of cold medicine and go back to bed, and will try to come up with something brilliant for you later today.


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