Hi y'all. First, I want to thank everyone who was kind enough to take the time to email or comment to check on me, especially since I missed CCC Monday. No, I didn't meet some untimely demise, but a really really lot has been going on and I've either not had time or energy to get in and make a post, although I have been leaving a comment or two here and there on other people's blogs. I'm okay - quite well, actually - just way busy. Soooo I suppose an update is in order to cover the activities of the last couple of weeks. Settle in, this post is going to run a little long - even for me.
We traveled down to the other side of Austin to Texas State University in San Marcos over Memorial Day weekend for the All-State Solo & Ensemble competition. The Girl made a second division on her memorized class I solo. She had a little bauble in the "easier" first movement, and never fully recovered from it. She played the second movement that she was so worried about the memorization almost flawlessly. She had a little stall in the third movement, but overall she did a great job. Then again, they say that a I at region is like a III at state so her II is flippin' awesome for a Freshman, really. She even got a little silver medal to put on her letter jacket - yeah, she lettered when she made All-Region symphonic band back in December. If I haven't mentioned it before, she's a phenomenal flute player. Better than I EVER was, and I was damn good, as in full-ride scholarship good.
I've been watching the situation with the boyfriend and it's not been meeting with my approval, especially since the Hickey Incident that I didn't blog about but has kept me from allowing The Girl to go over to his house again - ever - even with his parents at home, since clearly this type of behavior isn't unacceptable in their world. Recently some of his friends called her to tell her that even though he's been pushing for exclusivity with The Girl, he had sex with another girl at a party at their house, and that they had gotten into a physical altercation with him over it. Naturally, he denied it. To her credit, she told him "You know, whether you did it or didn't do it is irrelevant. I don't need the drama," and broke up with him. The friends called her a few days later to tell her they made it up so she took him back.
She and I went to his high school graduation last week and had an interesting and character-building experience. His family wanted us to sit with them. I was trying to not do that, but they were waiting for us near the entrance (grr). The dad was drunk off his ass, reeking of scotch and behaving inappropriately - big damn surprise. Now, this was the same high school I graduated from over 20 years ago and it was the White Trash Capital of Texas even then but oh. mah. gawd. There didn't appear to be any respect or decorum for the nature of the event. People were there in cutoff shorts, tank tops, flip flops, walking up and down the stairs, talking on their cell phones, screaming and yelling when their graduate's name was called so that the next name couldn't be heard. I couldn't hear any of the speeches over the din of the funkified white trash parade. It was not good and I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I am rather proud of myself for having the self-restraint to not commandeer the microphone and loudly proclaim that the graduation was off and if they would all kindly return to their trailers, the world would be a better place.
The Girl got really upset with me earlier this week over him. I told her I realized he was the first boy who ever really liked her back, but asked her what she could possibly see in him. He doesn't have a job, doesn't have a car, doesn't follow through and is mooching off his best friend & his live-in girlfriend (who are barely scraping by with their high school diplomas and minimum wage jobs) since his dad kicked him out of the house (again). He's been "gonna" get a job since we've known him and hasn't made that happen. He was supposed to swear in to the Army several weeks ago and still hasn't done it, putting him in danger of being arrested, and us being arrested for harboring if he comes to our house. The government is really funny about making sure people who have signed contracts with them hold up their end of the deal, and he doesn't believe that they WILL come after him if he doesn't follow through. Call me neurotic, but I'm not willing to go to jail and lose everything I've worked for for the last 10 years over his skinny ass.
There are millions of guys out there who would love to have a smart, funny, pretty girlfriend like The Girl - guys who understand that a date is when the boy picks the girl up, takes her somewhere and pays for it...not the girl's mama driving over to pick him up in another town (and/or taking him back home), then bringing him back to her house where she has to cook the food that she bought and watch movies for which she paid. He told me once that he wants to be a good husband and father and I told him that in order to be those things, he has to be a good boyfriend first. So far he's not showing me the model of a good boyfriend. I told him that I'm tired of it, tired of her being so worked up over him when he has not proven himself worthy of such drama and that I'm not going to allow her to see him until he gets his act together. Basically I dared him to go out and be successful - then, we'll talk about whether he's acceptable boyfriend material. I've been fortunate to have other strong women like my mom, my best friend and an unsolicited waitress at the ready to reinforce my hard line of "No Scrubs." I don't think I'm being too harsh about this. We'll see if he actually leaves for boot camp July 9th like he's supposed to. I have a sneaking suspicion he'll find more excuses as to why he can't live up to his word.
Between taking her to class with me, shopping for party supplies & band camp gear and having friends over to swim nearly every day, I've been keeping The Girl inordinately busy. She'll be at band camp 150 miles away all next week. Then she'll be too busy helping prepare for 3 parties in just over 3 weeks to even think about boys. Well, except for one of her best girlfriends - Jason, which is a story for another day.
The Home Front
Mother's Day found me with a brand new gas grill that I'm still trying to adjust to the subtleties of proper flame adjustment but I'm getting there (as seen in the above pic of the eastern half of our magic pahhhtio). See, our family is a little back-asswards. Usually it's the dad who does the grilling. Around here, it's me. The Man smokes a To. Die. For. brisket on the 4th of July, but overcooks my steaks, so I don't let him near my grill. The Girl and I like 'em bleeding and twitching and he has never grasped the concept of putting ours on several minutes after his. Besides, with his work schedule he barely has time or energy to eat, much less cook.
Since The Man's daughter and her family moved to a house nearby, we've been spending a lot more time with them. The Man's first wife and her husband have also been spending a lot of time there. It's a little odd to hang out with the first wife but I like her and I guess since it's been over 20 years since they divorced and they have both moved on, it's kind of a good thing. They are planning to come for the 4th.
Speaking of, my house is party central this summer and we have loads of reasons to celebrate. We are hosting 3 parties in the next few weeks. First will be The Man's birthday gathering on the 16th. I'm going to keep it simple and low-key for about 20 guests. I'll be grilling steaks over the fire pit and serving them with salad, baked potatoes and some kind of bread. Instead of birthday cake though, I'm going to make his favorite dessert - coconut meringue pie. The following weekend, Suz, my best friend since age 3 is getting married here. She's hired a kick ass blues band for the party afterwards and has already made arrangements for a couple of kegs and the margarita machine. Cool thing about that is that we know the margarita machine guy - I dated him briefly in high school, we've done business with him for years, and Suz's beloved graduated with his wife and they were really good friends. They'll be here for the party and depending on how much margarita machine business he has between the wedding and the 4th of July, he may just leave the machine here since he'll have to bring it back anyway ;oD. We won't be able to leave the house! My liver is screaming, already... Party number 3 is our legendary annual 4th of July bash, which we will be having on the 4th this year because of The Man's work schedule and our July travel schedule will make having it on either of the surrounding weekends a problem.
Speaking of The Man, we had a bit of a spat Friday night. Instead of screaming and crying or pouting about the situation, as women are wont to do, I gave him a very sweet Hallmark card, wrote him a heartfelt letter encouraging him to leave his place of employment and gave him the "Get Out of Jail Free" card from the Monopoly game Saturday when he got home from work. I can hear the brakes squealing, now... "WHAT!? You aren't working but you want the breadwinner of the family to quit his job!?" In a word, yes. You see, we were never better as a couple than the year and a half he was unemployed. He was happy farming his hay and cattle and doing a little consulting work on the side. He had energy left over at the end of the day to be "present" with his family and friends - not just taking up space or squeezing them in when he had a minute. He was a better husband, dad, friend, brother...he was just better and we all miss that Man terribly.
The job has literally sucked the life out of him. He leaves for work at 5:30 in the morning and doesn't get home until after 7 in the evening most nights and he has to work every other Saturday - in a place where the company culture is steeped in negativity and crazy-making bullshit. When he gets home he barely has the energy to eat dinner, then he passes out on the sofa in front of the TV and I have to wake him up when I go to bed - and it takes several attempts to rouse him. I've tried to be patient, loving and understanding, but it has taken a toll on our nearly 14-year relationship and has essentially killed our sex life (<--decidedly not good). Unfortunately that was pretty much the first thing to go.
Sure, the money was a little tight but we made it work and considering that we didn't have all the extra expenses like the gas from driving 90 miles a day, $200 a month in dry cleaning, all of the business lunches he pays for, and his work clothes, which includes custom made shirts (our sales rep Ann Atkins is fabulous, by the way), $200 shoes, $40 a pop for ties - on sale...the list goes on...maybe when you factor all that in, the job isn't worth the money.
I want my husband back. Our friends and family want him back, too. We made it before, we can sooo do it again. Besides, I'll be going back to work again soon so that will generate some income aside from what he can draw from the interest in his retirement fund. I saw him slide that little yellow card into his shirt pocket this morning. Keep sending that positive energy his way.
Okay, so (Queso!? I LOVE queso!) I turned in my dissertation May 22nd, fully expecting to get slammed with another round of revisions. Didn't happen. Wednesday, June 6, I got the "officially official" official notification that I get to defend my dissertation July 19th and graduate July 21. No shit. Cool thing about my program is that they don't let you defend until the dissertation is at a point where they know you cannot fail. I received a few very minor edits from beloved second faculty reader a couple of days ago and talked to him on the phone about them last night. I was seriously prepared for a lot of shit to be thrown at me but he just wants me to expand my discussion section a little and add something about the Yerkes-Dodson Law. Then, once Her Majesty My Dissertation Chair is happy with it, he's happy with it. Of course, she said once he's happy with it, she's happy with it. So if everybody else is happy, I'm happy. Then I have to put together about a 45-minute Keynote (sort of like PowerPoint but way better) presentation about it for July and if there are any more minor edits, I can do them after graduation. Even though I've made all the appropriate travel plans and reservations, addressed the invitations and have ordered the academic regalia and signet ring, (although mine will be antiqued yellow gold with my school seal on top, PhD on one side & 2007 on the other) it doesn't seem real. There will be much partying going on that week, too, it just won't be at my house, but more on that later.
Shit. Now I have to start actively looking for a job. If you know of anyone looking for an already-licensed neuropsychology postdoctoral fellow in the Dallas/Fort Worth or Waco areas, send 'em my way. They won't be disappointed.
I think that's everything for now. The pool's warm enough to get in...I think I'll go do that.