Thursday, July 19, 2012

Catholic Guilt Only Works If You Are Catholic

Every time I'm about to post something that I think will be offensive to a lot of people, I like to preface it with a warning. It would seem, though, that those are always the posts my readers like best. Also, I suppose "a lot of people" is relative. Even if 50% of my readers were incredibly offended and started some shit in the comments, that would only be like 6 people, and that's closer to a bar brawl than the sort of viral, internet,  hate-filled shitstorm I keep imagining. Anyway. This is one such occasion. Consider yourself warned.

In my last post, I told you guys that I'm moving. Without my husband. The thing of it is, we have actually been separated for almost 3 months now, but as I also mentioned, he had refused to move out, so I went out and found a place on my own.

You would think after being separated for months, with him asking for a reconciliation more than once and me refusing each time during that period, that Rodolfo would not have been shocked when I told him I'd found a new place to live. But of course, he was shocked. It was a little over a week ago that I told him I'd be moving at the end of the month, which gave him a solid 2 and a half weeks until I left. It isn't a ton of time, I realize, but again, I'd like to reiterate how he should have not only been expecting this, but also preparing for it.

Rodolfo's immediate reaction was to tell me how much I'd screwed him over, and to heap on serving after serving of guilt about the financial and logistical ruin our break-up would cause him. He decided in less than 5 minutes that he would also need to move, because, despite making more money than I do, somehow he simply can't afford a 1 bedroom apartment. He informed our landlord the very next day that we would be leaving on August 1st.

Yesterday afternoon, Rodolfo called me to let me know that he had spoken to our landlord, who informed him that we would be losing 1 month of our 1 and a half months security deposit, because we did not give "enough" notice before our move. Now, I could absolutely go off on a tangent here about the fact that we signed a one year lease that did not have an automatic renewal clause 3 years ago and were never asked to sign a new one after it expired, which would make our current situation month-to-month. I could point out that even if we were basing it off the old lease, there is not a single word in that lease that specifies what our landlord considers "enough" notice. I could rant about the fact that he just arbitrarily decided to keep our security for reasons he made up right there on the spot. But you know, that isn't what this post is even about. I simply brought it up because I think I know the real reason he decided to keep our security, and it's definitely not about notice:

So. Last night comes and I'm making dinner. Actually, I had just finished making dinner. The dog was in his cage and our food was on our plates (our = mine and Caitlyn's. Rodolfo was at work), sitting on my kitchen counter. I had just set out to wrangle Caitlyn into her high chair so we could eat, when I heard a knock at my door. I ignored it. A minute later there was a second knock and I knew she wouldn't go away until I talked to her.

It was our downstairs neighbor. I should mention that our landlord is her son. She and her husband live in the apartment downstairs and their son owns the house. I opened the door and she asked if she could come in. I told her that I had been packing and my house was a ridiculous mess. "Don't worry", she told me. "I'm not here to look at your apartment, I want to talk to you". Ugh. Backed into a corner, I let her in. I should also point out that while I was distracted talking to her at the door, Caitlyn had let the dog out of his cage and so I spent the entirety of the ensuing conversation swatting him away from our dinner. I think it's important for you to have that as a part of this visual as a whole. This woman saw that our dinner was sitting on the kitchen counter, uneaten, and did not even offer to come back at another time. Nope. Saving a person is something you need to do right away, I guess.

Apparently, Rodolfo had mentioned to her that the reason we were moving is because I had decided to leave him. And when I say she was there trying to "save" me, let me assure you that I do not mean she came there with the intent of helping me get out of my marriage. There were no questions about my safety or finances or emotional well being. No. She had a different agenda. She was there to intervene on behalf of Jesus.

Her first words after she walked through my door, were to tell me how upset she was. "Feel my heart- it's racing", she insisted. At first, I thought she was upset because we had been friendly tenants, on good terms with them, and they always took the time to play with Caitlyn and Joey when they saw them. I thought, when she told me she was upset, that she was expressing some sort of sadness because we would be leaving.

Her next words, though, cleared that misunderstanding right up. "You know, 2 of my sons are divorced and it really hurts me. What religion are you- Catholic or Protestant?". Oh. None of the above, thank you very much, but I did make the unfortunate distinction that "well, my father is Catholic, but I'm not religious". "Well," she said, "if your father is Catholic, he's really going to suffer if you get divorced".

She then proceeded to ask me if Rodolfo and I had sought out the counsel of a priest to help deal with our marital issues, and when I made it clear that that would never happen, she suggested a non-religious counselor. I thanked her for her suggestions and even gave her a little hope so that maybe she would leave me the fuck alone "well, we aren't technically getting divorced yet. We are simply spending some time apart to see what our next step is". That was a mistake. She latched on to her mission to get me to stay with my husband, despite never having asked a single question about WHY I left (maybe he was beating me, lady. What if that were the case? Oh, that's right, Jesus still wouldn't approve of a divorce).

Once she thought there was a chance, she spent the next 5 minutes or so telling me how bad it will be for Caitlyn when Rodolfo and I split up. "Children who live with both parents are much better off- it's bad for them when the parents aren't together. Those children aren't as well-adjusted". That right there? The fact that I responded with a polite "well, my mother was a single mother, so I don't agree with that"- that might have actually proven to me the existence of a god. Because maintaining my decorum in that moment and NOT telling her to go fuck herself? That was patently miraculous.

After that she spent a few more minutes Catholic-guilting me. She explained to me how much easier it would be to fix this problem if I were religious, because "then you could just pray and God would help you". She told me that, when her son split with his wife, he wanted to go to counseling but she said no. Then, when she decided she wanted to go, he had already found another woman. Another woman who interacts with his children, even! Tragic, really. I mean, what kind of family values are those?

After each argument she made, she would stop talking for a moment and look at me expectantly, as if she was waiting for the moment when I would realize she was right and thank her for saving my soul from eternal damnation. About 10 minutes in, after repeatedly making it clear that she did not approve of my choice, no matter the reason or my own personal belief structure, she realized that, alas, she would not be able to get me into heaven, and finally left, obviously dejected.

I'm going to try to not turn these last few paragraphs into religion-specific hate. That being said, this is why I hate organized religion (Yup. Contradictory like a motherfucker). I managed to maintain my composure because she's a nice woman and I know she meant well, but in my head, I spend the entire time screaming "who the FUCK do you think you are?" at her.

Okay. And really, WHO THE FUCK DOES SHE THINK SHE IS???? She's not my fucking grandmother or my best friend or a trusted confidante. She didn't give a flying fuck about my reasons for leaving or my well-being. All she cared about was her own personal belief system, and cramming it down my throat as hard and guilt-riddled as possible.

And then it occurred to me. Is this why I'm getting screwed out of my security deposit? If my husband and I had found a house like we had originally planned, would it have been all sunshine and puppies and rainbows and prompt return of my fucking money then? I sort of think maybe it would have been.

I really wish I hadn't taken the high road during that conversation and instead shown her the exact same level of respect she showed me. You know, none. Nadine seems to think I should have told her I was a bisexual Muslim and I was leaving Rodolfo for another woman that I had been cheating on him with for the entirety of our marriage. God, that would have been so fantastic.

In a completely unrelated note, why did I spend half my train ride today thinking about "The Human Centipede", a movie which I have never seen and never ever ever want to see? I'm going to put it right out there and say I blame Jesus.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Time to Go

It's been a stressful couple of weeks. As you may remember, a couple of months ago, I decided to leave my husband. Since that point, we've had at least 4 or 5 conversations on the matter, most of which revolve around the fact that he would like to make it clear to me that I do not have the right to make this decision. He's called me selfish. He's begged forgiveness. He told me that he had no intentions of leaving the apartment we shared.

I gave it some time. I made it clear that I was not going to change my mind. When he insisted that he wanted to work it out, I pointed out to him that this was happening on my terms and if he really wanted to prove to me that he has changed, that he would need to stop fighting the inevitable. Still, he resisted. What he never seemed to grasp is the fact that the more he resisted, the more convinced he became that he could simply impose his will on me, the more he pushed me to get my ass in gear and leave.

Last week, I found a new apartment. On August 1, I will move on, really, truly and finally. I will be on my own for the first time in my life. And it feels great.

I'm really looking forward to not having to compromise on absolutely everything. I get it. Marriage is about compromise. Anyone who doesn't understand that should never get married. Generally, I'm pretty easy to get along with in that way. I have no problem compromising. With Rodolfo though, every decision down to the tiniest detail, was a power struggle. I could never simply decide anything, whether it was what time I should come home from a friend's house or the color I wanted to paint a wall. Everything was measured for my response. It seemed the more trivial it was, the more he insisted that I consider his "feelings" on the subject. And I mean, really, why does a grown man need to have "feelings" about his 30 year old wife coming home from a party past 11pm?

I spent the weekend bouncing around garage sales with Nadine, making simple decor decisions about my new home without having to consider the fact that Rodolfo doesn't like... let's go with anything. Or at least anything I might like. We found some really cool stuff. And can I say, on that note, why haven't I been doing this garage sale thing forever? I got a brand new box of glasses for $1. My budget will be better for garage sales.

The next 2 weeks are going to be jam-packed. I wasn't necessarily expecting to find a new apartment until September 1, but when you find the right place, you jump on it. I'll be sorting and packing and dealing with the sad reality that I'll need to get rid of most of Caitlyn's baby stuff, because I probably won't actually get around to giving her a sibling, as much as I would like to.

If you don't hear from me for a while, just know I'm super busy being awesome. It's not you guys, it's me!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


There's so much going on right now. Where to start? I should probably start with the important stuff, but fuck that. Let's start with some fun shit:

Caitlyn is a bad ass. This is a known fact. Still, sometimes she surprises me with the level of badassery she exhibits. Saturday was one such day.

Rodolfo and I, in the spirit of keeping Caitlyn's life as normal as possible, have been continuing to do family outings with her. Saturday we took her to The Land of Make Believe. It was supposed to be 100 degrees out and LOMB has a water park and a regular park. Also, it's not at the fucking Jersey Shore, which means we wouldn't have to spend 4 hours sitting in traffic on the way there.

We started at the water park, and I've got to say, it was perfect for young kids. In general, it seemed like the entire park was created by someone with a gaggle of toddlers. The park was on the small side, in a good way. There was no dragging of a toddler half a mile to the next thing. There was no burning of toddler feet as we walked from the lockers where we left out flip-flops to the water. You know why? Because the water's edge was roughly 8 steps away from the lockers.

It was fantastic. There was a huge pool area that was, at its deepest, only 18 inches, so Caitlyn could walk around in it without ever being deeper than waist high. There was a pirate ship with slides coming out of every side, and a half dozen other slides spread around the kiddie pool. And at the bottom of those slides? Fucking PADDED landing platforms. Because, awesome, that's why. Then there was a bridge to cross to get to the side for bigger kids, that had a lazy river and what was essentially a huge jungle gym with water squirting out of it from every angle. We spent the majority of the day hopping back and forth between the two sections of the water park area, but eventually we moved on to the dry park.

The dry park had about a dozen or so rides, a little farm and a train ride around the park. The park is clearly meant for smaller kids, so the rides were carnival-type rides. They were smaller, so they could also be closer together, which made it easy to hop from ride to ride without anyone getting tired or cranky. And because a lot of people were still at the water park, we never waited more than 2 minutes to get on a ride. Caitlyn, naturally, wanted to ride all the rides.

We started at the carousel. She enjoyed that, as she always does. Then we went to a mini-version of the swinging pirate ship ride. You know the one I'm talking about? Anyway, this was a smaller version and the ship swung around in a circle instead of just going back and forth. I was not anticipating this ride to be scary or fast at all. That's the thing about rides though- they always feel much faster than they look! Caitlyn was sandwiched between us, but not even remotely held in by the bar across our lap- the one that was a solid 8 inches above her lap. A few seconds into this ride and I began to panic. This was not what I expected and Caitlyn was going to freak out. She was absolutely going to cry. Except she didn't. She smiled and laughed and LOVED it.

After that we jumped on a bunch of other rides. Spinning dinosaurs, flying hot-air balloons, and a tilt-a-whirl. There was even a canoe ride that she would need to ride alone. I was tentative. I wondered if she would try to stand up mid-ride and fall out. I explained to her, sort of hoping she would decide to skip it, that mommy and daddy could not ride with her. There would be no skipping of rides that day. Caitlyn went it alone. She did fantastically well and my fear of an emergency stop while she tumbled out did not even come close to happening.

Then we saw the roller coaster. Surely she was too small for it. Roller coasters ALWAYS feel faster than they look. Still, she ran into the line and we waited our turn. With every other ride, there was a minimum height for kids to ride alone, but this was the first we came across where there was an actual minimum for kids to ride at all. It was 33 inches. I quietly hoped that she was too small. A roller coaster? Really kid? This was going to end in tears, I was sure of it.

Apparently Caitlyn has had a growth spurt since her 2 year check-up. She cleared that 33 inch mark by at least an inch or two. I sat on the inside seat, since that was the side that curved in when the roller coaster went around the first sharp turn, and prepared to spend half the ride convincing my toddler that I wouldn't let her fall out. I was fully prepared for sobbing and terror. Really. Especially around that first turn. The ride started.

Caitlyn did not respond to that first turn with the fear I'd anticipated. She responded with squeals of joy. She loved it. In fact, she loved it so much that when she filed out in front of me after the ride was over, she tried to get back in to the car directly behind ours. There was a man waiting in line with his kids, his mouth agape as she tried to get back on the ride. Apparently, he couldn't believe how much my tiny little toddler obviously enjoyed herself. I don't blame him. What two year old likes fucking roller coasters?

We rode one more ride after the roller coaster, one that was right next to it, and when we finished, Caitlyn ran back over and got right back in line for the roller coaster again. Yes. She made us ride it twice.

In summation, jeez my kid is a fucking bad ass.

Also? A bad ass who has peed on the potty 3 times this week. It makes sense, I guess. Who wears a diaper on a roller coaster anyway?

This is getting a bit long, so I'll save the marital drama for another day. You're welcome.