An Interesting Evening…

Fast forward to 2 days before what would have been our wedding anniversary and the kids’ college tuition is due, a deadline that night which sets us all on edge because a) we’re talking about money and b) because kid is doing this at last minute, and the numbers that are due aren’t adding up properly.

A text exchange, first one since 2019 begins with the ex and me. I send him info as I try to unravel Financial Aid, loans, amounts that aren’t credited properly, hoping to get the numbers right, get the tuition paid and get on with my night. At first, it’s a battle to mathematically unravel this mess. We are each typing the numbers and mathematical equations of 60/40 with the word ‘agreed?’ to punctuate one’s own correctness and to agree to this and let’s be done. On both of our parts. I admit. I was doing the same thing. The competition is palpable. A never-ending result in the demise of our over 20 year marriage.

He’s got a way of getting under my skin because when he’s in the mood, which is often, he’s ready to pounce on anything that’s remotely not detailed, exacting and correct in his favor. He questions everything I say, do, am. And I feel it. Right to my bare bones and I’m triggered immediately as he’s pushing my buttons. I feel myself beginning to spin like in the old days. He’s gaslighting me.

I take a deep breath and stop. I cease texting, but he’s continuing to push. “Agreed?” “Do you not think my numbers are right?” More menacing texts come as I remain silent trying to center myself. The numbers are not adding up on my end either. At least we’re in agreement for that. So I make the bold decision and pick up the phone. (yes, I called him). We hadn’t talked since I dragged his deadbeat self through the court system a few years ago after he owed me thousands of dollars and was refusing to pay his share of the kids’ expenses according to the divorce agreement.

He answers and a wave of hyper-vigilance ensues in my head along with the surprise of how strange he sounds. I take the lead and ask him for his help in figuring out these numbers which are really frustratingly difficult and considering it’s already 10:30pm, I’m too tired to deal with the whole thing by myself. So I invite the narcissist to help with the mathematical gymnastics because that gives him something to do besides berating me. And it works. Together, let me repeat that…TOGETHER…we figure it out – at least I think we did!

Of course by the time we do this, he’s also told me that he has to pay with a credit card as he doesn’t have any money (his constant excuse but with his high paying salary, I don’t know what he spends all his money on) and the website is only allowing one payer for the entirety as I can’t figure out how to add him in order for him to pay his portion. While there’s a rebate on the financial aid part, it’s easier if it’s me who pays the whole amount as I can get the refund faster because the kid is living with me. He says that he’ll pay me back if we don’t get the refund. Sorry. But I don’t trust him. I’m playing all nicey nice, but I don’t trust him at all. So in a joking manner I make him repeat that he’ll pay me what he owes if I pay the whole thing now while on speaker in front of our son. He doesn’t find me funny, but I do. Probably because he’s bilked me out of THOUSANDS and I’m calling him out quietly. Luckily I have every confidence that the rebate will come through which is the only reason I agree to paying it up front. Well, that and the kid is having a panic attack now because this is all last minute and he’s a mess (but that’s a post for another day).

After the payment part is complete, we end up on the phone talking for another hour. That’s a post for another day, but it’s interesting to say the least. We’ve come a long way.

I’VE COME A LONG WAY…so can you if you’re the ex-wife of a narcissist. There’s hope for us to see it clearly and still be able to manage when we have to deal with them…it does get easier…you just have to know how to navigate it.

Posted in divorce | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

8 Weeks Since OHS

It’s been 8 long weeks since open heart surgery. Time flies when you’re not motivated to do anything and the days just seem to slip by without you being aware of them. At least that’s been my experience. I’ve not had a summer per se, except to feel the heat as it’s been really hot here in the rental house. The AC units can’t keep up so it’s a balmy 80ish degrees inside which isn’t fun.

I’ve been having heart palpitations. I got off the meds that I didn’t like for a short time. For the first few days I finally felt like me again…but then the old feelings of ‘why did I have this surgery’ (which wasn’t optional) came in again. The perky Janie got lost after a few days again…not as lost as when I was under the medications, but lost nonetheless.

But the intensity in the fast heartbeats got worse. So I went to the cardiologist yesterday and he put me on new meds which of course, slow your metabolism (hello more weight gain- grrr) with additional non-motivating exhaustion. I feel like I can’t catch a break!

Maybe this round will be different. Maybe my body won’t react the same way as it did in the past. Maybe this will ease the rapid heart beats. Heck, I took the first med this morning and definitely noticed my heartbeat quiet down. But I have to see how I do on this med because it can make you tired with fuzzy thinking (not good for driving). So far, so good, but of course I’m on the computer and not behind the wheel…

Anyway, that’s what’s going on here at Chez Leeds. How about you?

Posted in health, heart, women 50, women's health | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Can It Be The Meds Or Me?

My brother acts like I’m lazy now that I’m 6 weeks since surgery. I’m not doing enough. He’s got to check to make sure I”m exercising (walking) and am doing as the dr. prescribed. Which I am doing by the way, if not to the nth degree because I’m over tired all the time.

I wish I’d never had this surgery. There. I said it. What did it do but make me feel even worse? I’m not myself. I find no fun in this life. I’m not going to take my life, but this situation is cruel. It’s nothing. It’s apathy. It’s so. not. me.

And I can’t say it aloud to anyone because they’ll not understand. Not that I am sure you do, but I have to say it, to write it, to express it because God only knows this is an awful space to be in. This in-between motionless zombie existence. WTF?

I’ve heard that the one med I’m on causes weight gain (yup) and also increases tiredness (yes again). I don’t feel like doing anything anymore. I don’t want to see friends. I don’t want to talk with them. I don’t want to do anything. I just. don’t. care. anymore.

Posted in finding happiness at 50, women's health | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

I Dropped Off

I feel like I’ve been dropped off the face of the earth. As tired as I am from the surgery and subsequent painful healing, I don’t feel like myself anymore. I’m in this weird transition phase (for lack of a better word) and I can’t seem to explain it.

I am just existing. Perhaps that gives you an inkling into what I’m experiencing. I spend the day in the family room at my home with the kids upstairs taking care of the dog. Netflix and me chill out for hours with my butt on the new recliner waiting for the dog to bound down the stairs to go outside for a potty break or the kids to tell me they’re hungry or for them to check on me with meds or taking my BP (blood pressure) because I can’t do it myself.

Otherwise, there’s nothing. And I have no interest in talking to friends really. I used to be on the phone all day, all night, chatting happily to friends. But now? Nah…I don’t know what to say. I’m just trying to get through the day.

Maybe I’m depressed, I don’t know. I feel like nobody understands me because how could they? They haven’t been through this and I can’t really explain how I feel. I just don’t care really and that’s so not me. People are nice to me and I’m like, that’s nice. I’ll send a thank you note. But otherwise? Nothing.

I’m flatlining…heart pun, heart joke. Get it? Bad joke really. But you know what I mean?

I’m tired. I’m bored. I’m sad. I don’t know what to say anymore. I don’t understand what this is that I’m going through at all. It’s so not like me. Then again, who am I anymore?

Back to the drawing board Janie…I guess at 55 we’ve got to find our authenticity again….want to ride with me anyone?

Posted in finding happiness at 50, health, heart | Tagged , | 16 Comments

I’m Back!

Hi my friends! It’s been awhile…all is quiet right now and it’s early morning here at Chez Leeds. I’ve been through the proverbial wringer, but happy to report I’m still on this side of the daisies. Boy am I playing with metaphors today – and probably wrongly! LOL But I’m here…and for that, well, it says everything.

It wasn’t an easy ride having open heart surgery. Not by any means. In fact, it was a rough ride full of complications and I’m still not out of the weeds yet. A little setback here and there landed me back in the hospital which wasn’t fun especially when they can’t figure out what the hell is going on.

But I thought I’d write while I had the chance in case there was someone out there wondering if I am still here – and I am! The only good part of this whole thing is that my bother and I have become extremely close and my friend group has been absolutely amazing. I’ve even gotten closer to my SIL (bro’s wife) which has been a long time coming for which I’m grateful.

Kids seem to be doing ok and going with the flow. House is running ok even though it’s not perfect. Heck, I’m not perfect, so I’m not worried about it. I’m just so appreciative for all of the helpers in my life.

Oh the other part of this journey which is good is that I’m losing weight fast! It’s so fucking wonderful to see the pounds just fall off every morning when I weigh myself. You know I think I talked about (or maybe I didn’t) that I gained the Covid 19 (lbs) in the last two years. I didn’t talk about how I couldn’t lose it though, but now it all makes sense. Heart inflammation puts weight/inflammation wherever it can on the body to help the heart when it’s under siege. So the double chin, the pudgy feeling (and look) around my body is easing and I feel a little better! I can’t wait to see how I feel in a month’s time!

I know it’s not about looks, but I’m so scarred up on my chest that my ‘zipper’ will probably always be visible except under a turtleneck. Oh well, at 55 I wasn’t planning on modeling LOL

So if I get some energy this afternoon I’ll scroll through the reader so I can catch up on all of you. In the meantime, HELLO! I’ve missed you all!

Posted in finding happiness at 50, health, heart, women's health | Tagged , , | 18 Comments

Nothing Left Unsaid

I have loved my first boyfriend for years, decades even if I’m honest. He was my first kiss and while we could never really be on the same page at the same time (couldn’t live with him, couldn’t live without him), there has been a connection continued throughout our whole lives.

We’ve reconnected since the ex left me. The OB (old boyfriend) is married though and his wife and I have talked. She knows I am not a threat to their marriage. The OB has evolved into an old friend only with whom I can talk (and he can too). Last year they had some difficulties in their marriage and I did my best to help him through it as she walked out on him briefly. Secretly though, I think she reconnected us in hopes that we’d hit it off again and she could blame him for cheating, but I’m not that type of girl. Nope. You want to come to me, you’d better be free and clear as I am no man’s affair.

We email occasionally and when he reached out recently, I told him about the upcoming surgery. He called me a few days later and we talked. And I don’t know what got into me, but there was a huge inclination to tell all, to leave nothing unsaid and so at 10am in the morning, without liquid courage (aka a big glass of wine), I told him how I felt. I told him that I had loved him my whole life. I brought up a few past events and told him what was really going through my mind at that time and how I felt about it now. Nothing was left unsaid because in my. mind, I have nothing to lose by speaking my truth.

I wasn’t trying to sway him to me. Heck, I don’t even know if I’ll make it through the surgery so what better time to ‘fess up! The OB and I have beaten around the bush for years, not saying what we mean and playing games to protect our hearts for decades.

What was really awesome was that he took it all in stride. He met me exactly where I was in this process. He told me how he felt during those events and even brought up a few others, sharing what he was thinking at the time and asking if I remembered them in a similar fashion. How strange it is to hear now so many years later that we were thinking the same thing, but scared to take a chance for fear of rejection. Not that any of it matters now as it is water under the bridge, but still, it was nice to share.

And he told me he loved me, without hesitation and it felt good. I’ve always felt he loved me and vice versa. But it was a great way to close the chapter…feeling loved.

Posted in heart, inspiration, love | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Saturday Ponderings

I’m trying to make up lists for the kids and for anyone who may be here after I get out of the hospital. Making a calendar of when garbage goes out, recycling, and daily chores that I do has been keeping me busy today. Then trying to make a list of phone numbers that keeps everyone in the loop, I’m exhausted!

But I started thinking about writing letters to my kids in case something goes awry. You know, I am not trying to be a pessimist in any way, but I’m more of a realist, I’m a just in case kinda girl….dot my I’s and cross my T’s…not that I’m expecting anything bad to happen, but hey, you never know…

Then I thought about my friends and how many of them have made such a big difference in my life. I want them all to know it. You know what I mean, know it deeply in their hearts. But then I think – am I being too dramatic? Silly? Ridiculous? And lately my hands don’t write as well as typing so is that too impersonal to type a note? And if I were to write these notes, would I mail them or just put them in the safe in case something does happen to me so that they’d be found at that time.

These are the things that keep me up at night. Do you think me silly for thinking this way?

I guess it’s how I’m trying to alleviate my stress levels. Tying it all up in a nice bow just in case and praying that it’s not needed. Because I want people to know how much they mean to me. And even though I think they know, I am one who likes to write it out, say it so it can be reread when/if needed. I have many old letters that I’ve kept from over the years that still feel very precious to me because they were written with love. Even old boyfriends’ letters remind of that period of time when we connected, when we were ‘in love’…even though we fell out of love afterwards.

Do you hold onto old letters? Would you think it strange if I wrote them?

Posted in health, heart, women's health | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Landlords

I need a safe place to vent so here I am. I told the landlords via text that I am having surgery so I was dropping off the June and July rent checks. In that same text, I told them about the bats in the chimney, updated them about the termites, said the dehumidifier that’s stopped working and asked for confirmation that I pay the pest control company bill for the next year. One of them is super nice, kind and always answers. The other is a narcissist who thinks he’s really nice, but he’d bite your head off in a heartbeat if you asked him to pay for anything when it comes to upkeep of the house. And yes, we’ve battled before, but the nice one comes to my rescue.

So when the phone rang yesterday after being ignored for the last few months by Mr. Narcissist I took a deep breath and answered. I never know what he’ll bring up when he calls because he’s always got an ulterior motive beneath a badly disguised fake caring. And so it ensued with him telling me that if the kids or I need anything that he’s a phonemail away. (Meanwhile he never answers texts for help or to answer any questions or even to acknowledge that he knows the rent check is in his mailbox every month because yes, I drop it off to his house, on time, every single month even though he sometimes doesn’t cash them for months…seriously?! But I digress…

He casually mentions that he didn’t want to tell me, but that they want to sell the house. Immediately I’m on high alert. Like I need a freaking heart attack right now? Seriously did he think it a good idea to tell me that after he just finished peppering me with questions about the surgery and heard that it would be 8 weeks post-surgery before I will be back to myself. And let’s not forget I’ve been the ideal tenant. Mostly I take care of everything myself and never bother them. I’ve never given them any problems, never in 5 years been late on rent, never asked for covid relief, even had the funds ready when he took 3 months to cash my rent checks. And I put up with their workmen coming and going on the property all the time because they put up a shed where they store stuff.

So I asked when he wanted to sell. He said sooner rather than later. Ok, so what does that mean to me? Luckily without knowing any of this I had already given him the June/July rent so I have until hopefully August? He brushes it off and doesn’t really answer except to say that he wants to put it on the market for $700K and would give me the first refusal if I wanted to buy it. While that’s nice, this place is a dump. They don’t keep up with repairs. The foundation is cracked and there’s no central air so it’s hot as hades in the summers. Never mind there’s no insulation. I didn’t answer him about buying it. Instead I just thanked him and said I had to get off the phone.

This was a good place to land after the divorce, but obviously my time is up. I’ve been looking for a few years for a new place for us, but I have yet to find it. Rentals are hard to find these days and the housing market is so over priced that I couldn’t afford anything decent. One more thing to add to my worry list. Just when I thought I could quietly have the summer to heal.

And I get that they want to strike while the market is hot so that they can make a profit by selling the house. It just comes at a really bad time for me. So wish me luck. I knew this day would come, but its timing stinks.

Posted in divorce, finding happiness at 50 | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Microblading

As a woman of a certain age, and maybe you’ve noticed this too, my eyebrows have thinned along with the hair on my head. However, strangely enough, occasionally I find a sprout of coarse hair on my chinny chin chin…ugh. This growing older is not for sissies. What the heck? How can this be? But I digress.

I’ve had sparse eyebrows for my whole life, but after I lost my hair to chemotherapy, they never quite came back. Even when I lost them completely, I had a hard time drawing on eyebrows and perpetually looked surprised as I could never make them even. It was awful.

Fast forward to lately and I’ve been trying to color my brows because that’s the style, but I look like a four year old colored them with crayons and not inside the lines either! LOL I can’t seem to get the color right, nor the shape. Well, I have no shape, just a line that goes across, but at least it’s not a unibrow. But there’s no arch. Not a lot of hair and the hairs I do have tend to stick out from my skin instead of lying flat. No fun.

So when I saw a friend who recently got microbladed and while she had great brows to begin with, they looked even more fabulous afterwards, I was hooked! So guess what…I did a thing yesterday. I got my eyebrows microbladed. And let me tell you, it hurt, but it was well-worth it if today’s look stays. Luckily my friend drove me which was good because I’m not comfortable driving by myself long distances or to places I don’t know because with the heart issues, I don’t want to take any chances.

I figured I can’t try drawing on my brows while in the hospital for 7 days. Not that anyone’s looking at me, but still, there is a bit of wanting to look decent, isn’t there? And why not spoil me if it makes me happy? I figured I better do it before the surgery date because afterwards, I can’t do anything that could cause any infections. In fact, had I known, I would have had my eyelashes tinted and curled if I had known this woman did that too. Why not at least have the eyes looking ok without any effort while in the hospital, right? LOL

I have to confess though that there was a bit of panic when I saw the outline of where she was going to micro blade my eyebrows. They looked like two huge caterpillars in a weird color shade and I felt nauseous. My mind was on a loop of ‘what am I doing? does she know what she’s doing? how will I feel if this goes really badly? people will make fun of me!’ and so on…it was bad. My friend who was with me said the look of panic on my face was real. But I decided to just trust the process and the results that I had seen on my friend that this same lady had done. But it was hard to trust. Especially when you can’t change it and it’ll be that way for 2 years…

But alas, it’s just the brows and I’m fine with it. The eyelashes will just have to wait until later when I am healed. And who knows maybe I’ll not be up for doing that by then. This was a whim as it was. Now I’m just waiting for someone to notice. LOL So far, the kids haven’t noticed although I don’t understand why…I guess Mom is Mom and they didn’t see the redness around my brows yesterday…even though I did! Luckily today there’s no redness today which is good.

I think this makes my eyes pop a bit more too. There’s something about framing the face that makes my eyes look bigger, brighter…or maybe it’s my imagination.

Have you ever had your brows microbladed? Did you like it?

Posted in #womenofacertainage, heart, women 50 | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments