Sunday, October 24, 2010

Quick Update from Crazy (or should that be lazy?) Town

A whole day has gone by and I am still sitting here in my pajamas gazing into space.  I feel incapable of movement.  Any physical action seems to require such a momentous exertion of energy that I feel immediately light-headed and nauseous.  I can't quite seem to stop the muscles in my legs and arms from trembling.  I can't quite seem to stop my brain whirring, with hypochondriac tendencies, convincing myself that I am definitely on the verge of a major ailment.  Probably a stroke.  Surely not something as simple as a panic attack.

However, if I look on the bright side...if I tell myself that the main objective of the 'wasted' day was to conserve energy and to do as little as humanly possible...then I guess I could say the day has been a roaring success.   And maybe it is little wonder that I feel so physically and emotionally depleted.  It has been another insanely busy week here in Crazy Town.  Hurray for a sofa free of Gormiti's and Lego and back-to-back episodes of America's Next Top Model.  Perfect fodder for the temporarily brain dead.

Finally - FINALLY - all the references, applications, bank details have been submitted for the house we are trying to rent in the UK.  I also wired the money, using my new Smart Currency Account, which saved $$$'s on the exchange.  With any luck the money will be with the estate agent early next week and the contract will be finalised.  Maybe then I will be able to take a breath.  Maybe then I will be able to stop the sensation of falling through space, even with my feet planted firmly on the ground.  Maybe then I will be able to control what appears to be the early onset of Lockjaw and grinding my molars into stubs.

You see, it all sounds like this process was quite simple and straightforward.   The Estate Agent and currency company asked for information - I provided information...and, hey presto!  Of course the actual process was fraught with hourly setbacks and issues, compounded by the time difference which meant that if I couldn't get everything achieved by 11am Chicago time, I was pretty much snookered until the next morning.  Even the straightforward process of getting documents printed and scanned turned into a scene reminiscent of an Abbott and Costello sketch.  I don't have a printer.  I don't have a scanner.  I emailed information frantically to friends - only to find that their printer had, without explanation, died a death, or the scanner would only work at a freakishly high resolution, resulting in file sizes too big to email.  I tried to resort to faxing information, standing forlornly with my credit card in hand at Kinko's, but none of the fax machines would pick up.

Nothing went smoothly.  Anything that could go tits up, soared like a bird.  And in the back of my head, while I raced around like a blue-arsed fly swatting at issues in a vain attempt to resolve them, a little voice kept reminding me of all the other things I needed to achieve in order to move home: apply for UK schools, apply for a UK bank account, ship a house full of stuff in 4 weeks time, move into a friend's for a month, plan for Xmas, find a new home for my cats, sell my car, sort out utilities (UK and US), buy and organise delivery and assembly of boy's bedroom furniture for the UK (before we arrive), organise rental furniture until the shipment arrives...oh, and get bloody divorced!

No wonder then that I felt a little overwhelmed.  It felt at times that if I didn't physically wrap my hands around my neck that my head would start to spin.  I am pretty certain that if I hadn't developed this incredibly attractive habit of gulping like a baby bird desperately trying to swallow a fat earthworm, then I most certainly would be projectile vomiting lurid, green goo while my head repeatedly turned a full 360.

As I said to my sister, I can't cope with all this.  I truly can't cope, but what choice do I have?  The option of running off, celebrity-like, to a clinic to drink chamomile tea in a perfectly white towelling robe while having my head massaged by a lackey well-paid therapist for a month is not one that I have to take.  There is no other choice but to minimise the gulping reflex in public settings to avoid looking like I am losing my tenuous grip on sanity and just get on with it.

Seems so easy when I write it down.

Wednesday morning was time for mediation.  I get up at 5am to sort out the previous day's cock-ups with the UK and then start the drive to our appointment.  There is nothing civil or pleasant about mediation, I have learned.  Medieval torture would be a more accurate description.  The thought of sitting across from  my husband of 12 years, as adversaries, while we dual the divorce agreement to death, practically brings me out in hives.  My stomach is knotted to such a degree that my fail safe gulping mechanism is now a physical impossibility.  Just as I am nearing the mediator's office I receive a text from Ex: he can't make mediation, he is sick.  I am instantly furious, yet overwhelmingly relieved.  The hangman's noose loosens.  The gulping technique reinstates itself.  Maybe this meeting can be productive after all.  At least there is less chance of a bun fight, followed by my hysterical tears.

It ended up being a productive meeting (well, as productive as it could be with only one person there to agree to anything).  After a bit of a verbal tussle, I concede on several financial areas, because after arguing the toss for an hour I finally saw the mediator's point of view that It Just Wasn't Worth It.  And ultimately I felt quite calm when I headed home.

A couple of hours later the mediator emailed both Ex and I, summerising the discussion and highlighting points of agreement - which Ex immediately responded to with an email stating categorically that he has NOT in fact agreed to the maintenance amount.  Which immediately sent me into a tailspin.  WHA???  My throat constricted and my head began to spin again.  I felt totally sick, couldn't breath, couldn't swallow - just felt stressed to the eyeballs at the thought that he was now going to start fighting me over the maintenance sum - because without it I really can't afford to live in the house we have just rented in the UK.

My knee jerk reaction was to call the mediator and my lawyer and lose the plot, along with the shreds of my remaining dignity.  That's It!  I fumed.  The Final Straw!  The @#$&%*@#$.  But then I remembered advice that my lawyer had told me several weeks ago: just because Ex says doesn't mean it is so.  I fretted all afternoon, sniping exhaustedly at the boys, hanging on by a thread until they were in bed.  No wonder they enjoy being with their dad more right now.  Their mum is on the verge of being a professional loony-tune - if I can't keep up with my swings in temperament, then how can they be expected to?

I called a friend and let loose, fear gripping my bowels, sobs caught in my throat.  I feel like a puppet with no control over my life and know that the time might be approaching where I take a different tack, a more aggressive, offensive approach with Ex.  I know I need to calm down and not do anything rash - the world is not coming to an end after all.  It all feels monumental, but I know my reactions are hyper-sensitive right now and this constant feeling of being in fight or flight is not going to be the best basis for decision making.

I wake up the next morning (well, when I say 'woke up' that implies I actually had some sleep...maybe it is more accurate to say 'stumbled out of bed in a sleep deprived fog') to a text from Ex.  A long text.  An unexpected message.  The gist of it being - he was sorry.  Sorry for not going to mediation.  He is going to be fair and not fall out over money.  Too many years of happiness.  Too much love.  Too many years ahead of us.  That he is really struggling to deal with the situation, but he will try harder - and we will be fair to each other and the boys.

The world tilted on its axis and swung back around 180 degrees again.  I breathed and got on with getting packed lunches ready.

I texted Ex a little later, thanking him for his honesty.  And also sharing with him that I too am really struggling.  That even after the death of Mack, this feels like the toughest situation we have ever faced.  Made even tougher by the fact that, in all the crap over the years, he was always by my side, always my rock.  It will be over soon.  And then just the memories of the love and happiness will be left.  That's what we have to hold on to.

I press 'send', wondering if I have been a little too open.  Whether this honesty and expression of vulnerability will ultimately come back to bite me in the arse.  I do still love this man, in many, many ways, but it feels a little dangerous to give him a glimpse of that, to expose how I am struggling.  I feel a sense of calm that I have put down my weapons and spoken from the heart, but wonder if it will be used in  retaliation.

Just then I receive a new text, an instant response from Ex.  "Ok - you just made me cry at [global business meeting]...thanks ;-)"

I'm relieved that I let down my guard and feel an overwhelming desire to sleep.  My mode of panic, which I have perfected to a degree of professionalism, abates.  I'm exhausted but my inner feeling of strength reinstates itself.  The next few weeks are going to be hard but I feel a sense of confidence that we can get through it.  That we will continue to find a way to draw on the love we once shared to endure all this stress.

Physically I am totally depleted.  My body is heavy, yet weightless.  I drag myself through the motions of daily life.  Yet know with certainty, that This Too Will Pass.


  1. Oh honey. It sucks. Oh, don't I know it. It sucks. I can't tell you how glad I am that he came to his senses that much. Hopefully this marks the beginning of a new level of cooperation on both sides.

    ((((HUGS)))) and lots of strength to you.

  2. I'm glad you two exchanged those texts though...

  3. Those texts needed to be sent. I'm glad you've said what you needed to say and that he responded in such a considerate way.

    You do have a lot to deal with right now, and it will be tough. Very tough, but you can do it. You have to really, in order to get back to the Uk and forge that new life for you and the boys that you all deserve. Wishing you strength and happiness. xxx

  4. I'm here for you Nic.....give me my 'to-do' list - ok?
    If I can't assemble the boys bed, the I'm sure I can find someone who can.
    Delegate, let others help.
    I love you.....and it's only a matter of time before you are over here and all settled in.

  5. Wow, what an emotional rollercoaster you've been on. Excuse me, while I wipe the tears away. I'm so relieved for you that he sent that first message, that your world was able to tilt back to it's regular self rather than spin further out of control. So glad that he did right by you and the boys and that he remembered that your past held happiness for him.

    I wish I could be physically there for you, to catch you when you fall and help with the boys.
    But, I'm just words, so my words are - know you will get through this because you are strong, even when you don't feel it, it will be hard (even when we think it should be easy) and in your own words, this will pass. Loads of hugs to you. Jo

    And listen to lulu - let your friends help you.


  6. That Which Does Not Kill Us Only Makes Us Stronger...One day you'll look back on this period of your life and be amazed and proud of yourself - as well you should be. Keep putting one foot in front of another and before you know it you and the boys will be settled on a comfy sofa in England drinking tea and complaining about the weather...Eat well, drink well and take lots of deep, calming breaths.

  7. Helen is absolutely spot on - you'll look back and be so proud of how you survived this period of your life. Hang in'll be home soon.

  8. It will all come together. I promise you. Moving with small kids is so daunting but you just have to go with the flow. It will happen, and you will sort yourselves out when you get there - so please, please don't worry yourself silly about stuff like utilities now.

    Glad you and Ex are getting on better now - that is very good news.

  9. wow. I feel for you. That is too big of a situation to handle for one person. So wonderful that you managed to have those texts.

  10. Brilliant post....X
    Hope you are feeling better today.

  11. Big big hugs hun.

    I didn't see this till now. You know where to find me if you want to chat.

    It seems like a lot of us have a lot on our plates.

    Hugs to chic mama too.