Sunday, March 30, 2014

YOUR WEDDING QUESTIONS: ANSWERED

We’re getting married! Huzzah! Hooray! Yipee! Wahoo! And all manner of other exuberant exclamations of joy and merriment! Enter everyone’s many questions. Answers to the most common ones:

• When?—May 15. Yes, in a little over six weeks. Jim and I are getting married in six weeks.

• Where?—Jim’s backyard. (I have become obsessive about checking his trees for budding leaves. C’mon spring, please get green already.)

Who is marrying us?—Our bishop. He was around during the whole affair and divorce stuff and he and his adorable wife couldn’t have been more supportive and available and wonderful. It means a lot to Jim and me that he will be the one to sign our merger.

• Will I change my last name to Elliker?—Nope. I’m Megan Romo. However, I’m not uptight about the whole thing. I believe that being Jim’s wife makes me Mrs. Elliker or Sister Elliker, and I’m not going to correct anyone. I’ll informally hyphenate here and there for the sake of clarity regarding who my husband is, but I don’t intend to change my legal name.

Where will we live?—I’m moving into Jim’s house. Which means a lot of work for my sweetheart to morph the space into something that works for us, and I’m terribly grateful to him for getting that stuff done, like, very overwhelmed type of grateful. He’s blowing me away again and again with how he's so on top of all the changes we agreed on. At the very top of my list of what needs doing is having the interior painted. The ex-Mrs. Elliker, whoever she was, painted the entire inside of that house a color that I keep saying I’m fairly certain must have been entitled Decomposing Small Intestine. Think brownish mauve. Gotsta change that stat.

• Wait, Megan, wait just a second here—you’re moving into the house that used to be occupied by the woman who had an affair with your husband!!!?—Oh yes, yes I am. Admittedly, at times it’s hard for me, but I keep reminding myself that I’m tougher than other people and Jim is awesomer than everyone else combined, so we can work through this. We agreed (and my shrink too) that keeping the kids in the house where they can stay in the same school and same ward at church was the best thing, despite how hard it might be for me sometimes. So suck it up, little Romo, ‘cause you’ve got this.

• What will we do with my house?—Rent it out.

Prenup?—Absolutely, but not for why you may think. Jim’s kids saw their dad get utterly screwed financially in his divorce, and they don’t ever want that to happen to him again. We constantly hear observers say, “Geez, if I was the one that had an affair like Carrie did, I sure wouldn’t have gone after Jim’s money. Have some decency!” Decency was absent. Jim had to fork over much dough. Thus I personally was adamant about a prenup so that Jim’s kids could see that I’m not in this for their dad’s money. (And I can support myself anyhow, thank you very much.) One of Dustin’s first questions when we told him that we were getting married was, “Are you guys signing a prenup?” I was happy to be able to say yes. In fact, because of him very specifically, that was the first thing we got started when we decided to get married. Long before the ring or the cake or the date or anything.

• Six weeks isn’t very much time, how’s your stress level, Megan?—Eh, it ebbs and flows. But were Jim not super duper terrific, I’d be a basket case 24/7. My head is a minefield of wedding and fusion realities, details, and to-dos, and that means that other stuff is falling by the wayside pretty regularly. Put plainly, my wits aren’t so much about me at present. I am, shall we say, distracted. But I’m distracted for the best of reasons—I have fallen unexpectedly, helplessly, and so happily in love with a man who gets a kick out of surprising me, does everything he can to make me happy, reassures me when I struggle, picks me up and puts me on the counter so I’m at a better height for kissing, values my input, listens when I speak, remembers the important stuff, and instead of ever fretting, he just follows through and gets things done. If I have to deal with a little uncharacteristic distracted brain in order to marry this man, no problemo. He's worth that and so much more. 

At Evandrewline's wedding back in September.

Friday, March 14, 2014

THE SWEATY PROPOSAL

I go to yoga most every day which means I get to practice twice as much as my boyfriend. Since Jim has his kidlings every other week, his practice is limited to a week-on-week-off situation. When he does get to practice we try to work our schedules so that we can get our sweat on together. 

The kids were with Frick and Frack this week, but according to the marital separation agreement, Jim gets a few bonus hours with Benjamin every Wednesday that he’s in his mom’s custody. So Jim picks Ben up on Wednesday afternoons and they go eat or drive go-karts or ride bikes and then Jim drops his son back off at his mom’s house where neither the little boy nor his older sister has a key or a code to get into the house, so, like usual, Benjamin had to ring the doorbell and wait to be let into the home he lives in 50% of the time.

After that, Jim and I headed for the studio so that we could go take the last yoga class of the night, the 8:30PM. 8:30s are out of our norm. 6:30PM is when we usually practice together. But Jim wanted to get in some yoga even though he’d been with Benjamin during his usual 6:30 class. So we decided to tough out the late one.

When we got the studio Jim took our mats in to the yoga room to set up. That’s our routine. One of us takes both mats and goes in to lay them down. When he and our teacher, Stefan, came out of the hot room Stefan told me that he had to move us to the front row; it was looking to be a big class, and he needed space in the middle for newcomers. Cool. No problem. Not the first time that’s happened. I tend to gravitate toward the middle, but I like the front row just fine.

While we were jawing in the lobby before class Tanya and Cam showed up. And Cameron and Jonathan. And Barry was there and Keira too. It was shaping up to be an unusually great 8:30 class. All those people, students and teachers, have great discipline and it rubs off. But in this class they were a bunch of gigglers. Tanya couldn't stop smiling. And nobody had discipline. Jim whispered sweet nothings at me between poses. When Stefan helped him with his grip in Rabbit Jim told him that he wasn’t actually trying, and Stefan just laughed. “You’re not supposed to tell them that stuff,” I whispered at Jim. Stefan heard me. He let it go. 

While we were laying in savasana just before final breathing, a piece of the ceiling tile above me broke away, and before I knew what was happening, that piece of the ceiling had slowly descended to rest on my abdomen. By way of Jim’s carefully constructed apparatus, Stefan had used a thin wire to lower a little wood structure housing a small jewelry box in that telltale robin’s egg blue color.

The oh-my-goshes started there and didn’t let up for the next ten minutes. My only pause was when Jim leaned toward me and asked if I would marry him. I said YES! and went back to oh-my-goshing. While the class did the final breathing exercise, I sat cross-legged on my mat stunned, very sweaty, and staring down at the tiny Tiffany box. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. 

“Open it,” Jim said.

Oh yeah. I removed the white satin ribbon and the blue lid and dumped out a black ring box. In the box was the ring for me. It’s simple. It’s dainty. It’s perfect. He’s perfect. I’m pretty deep in this love thing, and I am so excited to be that man’s wife. There just isn’t anyone better. I won the dude lottery with this one, and I get to keep him.

My boyfriend proposed to me at our yoga studio, my favorite place in town. He made sure to do it on a day that my friend Cameron would be in town so that he could be in class too. He got help in putting up the special ceiling tile. He had our teacher be the one to lower the apparatus. He employed my team—my yoga family—to create a story to go with the proposal. The concept was made for especially for me, and it was flawless, right down to that famous blue box. My Jim done good. When he asked, there was simply no other answer than, “Of course.” 

Giddily, I will be his wife.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

SPECKS

• Push-up bras don’t work if you don’t have anything to push up.

• Basically I get out of bed so that I can go eat my gummy bear vitamins. Once I’ve done that I’m like, “Well, that was a productive day. Let’s go back to bed.”

• On Saturday Jim walked around Virginia City with a green head tucked under his arm. We were there for pizza with his family and while meandering past tourist traps of all sorts, I spied a green glass head wearing a hat for sale. I tapped it’s nose and told Jim, “I want to get one of those.” “Well then let’s get you this one,” he said, picking up the display and taking it inside. Moments later, I had a green head of my very own. “Everything’s for sale,” he told me.

• Mine is the most dysfunctional gaydar of all time.

• I like to write, but I loathe writing bios about myself. Which is strange because, as a general rule, I looove writing about myself. I’m sort of the only thing I know how to write about.

• It is safe to be honest with my James because he doesn’t jump to conclusions.

• Cameron and I tried rock climbing. I failed. So we will go take a class and try again. Cameron posits that since there’s a chance we may get stranded on an island or need to survive somewhere someday this is a skill that may come in handy at a future time so getting proficient is just good sense.

• Josie has been denim shopping lately. The other night she was looking for a tape measure and when I asked what for she said she needed to know how long her legs are. Let me remind you: she is TWELVE. I am THIRTY-ONE. She’s, like, four inches shorter than I am. You see where this is heading. I know my inseam, and so I had her find her hipbone and we matched it to mine. My hipbone is only about a half inch above hers. “Hey, you can wear 12-year-old clothes!” she said. “That would be true,” I replied, “were it not for my lady hips and thighs.” I told her we were now fighting seeing as those are the legs I signed up for in heaven, and God went and gave them to her. Jim was ROTFL. Yessir, I wrote that.

• Cake.

• What with all my yoga stuff and work junk and personal laptop and girl tools and toiletries I require to reconstruct myself after yoga, it’s not uncommon for me to leave in the morning hauling 40lbs. worth of gear. I know because I have weighed it.

• 18.5% of my body is fat. That sounds like too much, though I know it isn’t.

• When I sit next to Jim in his truck or even in the passenger seat in his little car, he wraps his right arm over my knees and tucks his hand into the top of my boots.

If I made a list of all the candy I eat in one week, it would be far too embarrassing to share (this coming from a girl who has no problem writing an essay about a trip to the gynecologist and sending it out for publication; apparently my shame threshold is uncommonly high). Yesterday day alone—all before noon, mind you—we’ve got white candy melts, an Airhead, Grapeheads, and a York Peppermint Patty. An entire week’s list would look like a candy shop inventory.



• Anyone had those Jolly Rancher carmel apple suckers? Are they good? I nearly snatched one from a basket by a doctor’s desk today. Then I remembered I’m supposed to be a professional, and I kept my grubby little hands to myself.

• I do not know where the big bruises on my shins came from. I never know where my bruises came from.

• Sunday night while we were eating dinner Jim asked me, “What’s a common misconception about you?” Hands down, most common of all? That I eat healthy. “Vegetarian” isn’t synonymous with “healthy.” At least not in my case.

• Why am I always cold after pounding a lot of water even when the water’s at room temperature?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

COURTING

I haven’t posted in three weeks. Been a busy girl. Yoga, of course. My friend, Tanya, has introduced me to aerial silks, and that bug’s bit me hard. Jim’s going to hang silks of my own in my—wait for it—living room. (It’s my house, for heaven’s sake. I can hang whatever I want wherever I want.) I’ve been throwing myself at my drug job. And I’ve been writing lots and lots, just not on here.

I was talking with my mom the other day and she said, “You’ll be here soon,” (My sister, Cat’s, new babe Walt is getting blessed in a week, and I’m off to the ‘Tah for it.) “so we can catch up. There’s been a lot going with you since we last talked.”

“Actually, I think you’re up to speed,” I told her, “I have a boyfriend I love. He has kids. It’s complicated.

That really is the story, but I will fill in a few in-between bits—

On the boyfriend: I’m stupid, silly in love. We are pathetic. It’s adorable. And annoying, I’m sure. I love everything about him, right down to the shape of his head. I am finally able to trust that he will see things through; he has always done what he said he would, but it took a long time for me to be able to believe that a partner could follow-up. His legs look like something Renaissance sculptors would chisel out of marble. The only accurate descriptor that I can come up with for how that man kisses is YOWZA!

All good things.

But there is a sad thing regarding Jim. My sweetheart’s dad died a week ago. Though it’s a rotten loss, I know Jim has enjoyed being able to see all his sisters, brothers-in-law, and other family folk a lot this last week. And the viewing was a sight to see. (That was a strange sentence.) Shirl, Jim’s dad, was the quintessential 49er fan. So we all wore 49ers gear to the viewing. (Yes, even me. I now own a 49ers t-shirt. That’s weird.) The room was a sea of red. After the sad but lovely event, Jim, kidlings (sans Dustin; the boy was missed), and I went for froyo:

I swear Ben was having a good time. In the photo I took right before this one he was giving an enthusiastic thumbs-up, but Katelynn's eyes were closed, so I went with this one. 

That photo is just moments before I dropped my frozen yogurt face-down on the floor. Gravity put me on a diet.

Court happened too. I mentioned that Thing One and Thing Two subpoenaed me. It was about this blog. As part of a convoluted case wherein they ended up being required to pony up the child care costs they refused to pay Jim and got slapped for refusing to tell Jim who is watching his kids when they’re not with The Inconsequentials, the exes were trying to get me to stop writing about them. Mean words. Hurt feelings. No shit. God bless The First Amendment. It got in their way a little bit. Holla holla free speech.

But don’t think they’re the only ones who got their asses handed to them. Regarding this blog, both Jim and I got it from the judge. Listen, I’ve had some really venomous moments on here, there’s no denying that, but it’s been part of my working-through process. There was a story I needed to tell. I told it in the way that best suited my feelings at the time of writing. The judge, a truly fair judge, said that things I’ve written about the affair/divorce are poisonous. He also said my writing’s like heroin. You can’t stop coming back for more. (Okay, that may not be what he meant with the heroin reference.) And then he told Carrie that if she doesn’t like what I’m writing, to not read it and to remember that she did, after all, have an affair with my husband and then marry him.

When we were out at dinner after the hours of court, I told Jim, “That was a seriously fun date.” I meant it. The circumstances were lousy, sure, but I learned things, got to see our terrible exes get reprimanded, and I got to hear the judge read aloud in court the mean names I’ve called Carrie on this blog. Here is where Thing One and Thing Two miscalculated—I really liked getting reamed for what I’ve written. It was a sort of dream come true. Here’s why: something I wrote got under my targets’ skin such that they ended up paying thousands of dollars to an attorney in order to fight about it.

I admit that there are times I’ve gone too far. I am constantly honest on here, and the times I’ve gone too far were my truth at the moment. I am not taking down or changing posts where I’ve pushed it too much, because the vehemence in those posts are part of the story. Sometimes I’ve been so angry or so hurt that those feelings have dominated the tone of what I wrote. That tone is where I was then, regrettable or otherwise. Here’s where I am now: I hope they shape up. Apparently Mark got a job, which is astonishing and wonderful. Jim’s minor kids spend 50% of their time with the exes; it would be nice if Jim wasn’t the kids’ only up-close male example of work ethic and effort to provide for a family. That’s a step in the right direction, and it’s the first one those two have made in a really long time. Jim and I hope there are more to come.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

DOLLOPS

• In the lobby before yoga class last night, my Cameron-teacher told me, “Every time you adjust your outfit in class you have to bark like a dog.” Apparently I fidget a lot. He said, “I don’t want to say that it’s between every pose in the standing series . . . but it’s between every pose in the standing series.” While I didn’t bark like I was supposed to, I only touched my clothes five times—three times on purpose and twice on accident.

• I cracked myself up in that class. Earlier yesterday Cameron posted this on Facebook:
So that’s how I did Standing Bow. Then I laughed so hard I fell out.

A few weeks ago Jim and I tumbled into the SkyGuide app. It’s one remarkable piece of software. I took astronomy in high school and in college but that was more than a decade ago, and since I can barely remember what year it is, I definitely can’t remember anything I learned in those classes. I do remember though how much I enjoyed the subject. Not the parts of the topic that talk about stars’ size and death and black holes. I just like learning where the constellations and significant stars are. You know, the unimportant stuff. But go ahead and bet me $20 that I can’t locate Betelgeuse in under five seconds. I’ll take your money, and that will feel pretty important to me.

• Which reminds me—last year Jim, Josie, and I went to the planetarium for a show on black holes. While the topic is too big for me, the show was good. At least I thought so. Within ten minutes of the lights dimming, Jim was out. And he’s a snorer. Josie and I snickered and agreed that it was only a matter of time.

• While Mondays are an unequivocal bummer, there’s one part of each Monday that I always enjoy: the latest “Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me” podcast. While, sure, I like “This American Life,” and always get into “Radio Lab,” “WWDTM” is my best-loved show. I always hope that one or two of my favorite panelists—Roy Blount, Jr., Mo Rocca, Paula Poundstone, Bryan Babylon, and Maz Jobrani—will be on the show, but all the panelists are a hoot. Even though Capitol Public Radio broadcasts each week’s episode, like, six times from Friday until Sunday night, I’m never in the car long enough or at the right time to catch it all. So I listen to each week’s podcast on Mondays, making that dreary weekday informative and hilarious and something to sort of almost maybe look forward to.

• It would be really funny if adults started saying “lellow” instead of “yellow.”

• Sophie was angry with me all day yesterday. I wasn’t fun and I didn’t take her over to Jim’s to spend the day annoying Gus.

• DIY is my least favorite acronym. Why in the world would I want to do something myself?

• The other night Jim and I were sitting in his room talking and Ben was on the floor using his imagination. He built an X-wing fighter out of pillows. Deep in a Darth Mal performance, he wore a pillowcase cape and leapt off the fireplace with his light saber. Then he went into the bathroom and came out with the cape turned around like an apron and a shower cap over his hair, declaring himself a lunch lady. He used a bike pump to make the sound effects when he was an astronaut walking on the moon. He was a ghost, a droid, a zebra, a ninja. He put me in a jail made of chairs. That’s something I love about Jim’s kids—they don’t park themselves in front of video games or TV. Sure, they’ll play Wii from time to time or watch a show, but it’s not often. Mostly it’s rollerblading inside (don’t fret, Jim’s floors can take it), playing with remote-controlled anything, climbing the house, diving through the dog door, setting off rockets, jumping on the trampoline, playing ping pong, riding bikes, baking, and so on. It’s not uncommon for me to come over and within ten minutes be coerced into some kind of handstand contest with Josie. (She always wins.) Those kids are doers.

Canadian jokes—that is, jokes about Canada and Canadians—will forever and always make me laugh.

• I love loving Jim.

• Little excellent bits: Vlasic’s dill pickle Snack ‘Ems, wearing fuzzy-on-the-inside boots without socks, unlimited cell data, a ceiling fan with a remote (thanks for fixing that, sweet Jim), secret Pinterest boards, Ambien (only from time to time and only half a pill, of course), and Hannah’s haircuts.

• Lately Jim’s been a garage-cleaning fiend. It’s a constantly evolving and improving space. His commitment to the task is titillating. And just seeing the piles of stuff he’s tossing leaves me breathless and blazing with passion.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

OWNING UP

The thing that most readers find appealing about this blog is that I don’t sugarcoat things or hide stuff. So lemme throw it all out there—

The truth: I physically cringed when I clicked Publish on my By Any Other Name post. As I sent that post to the public, I told Jim, “Crap. This time I’ve gone too far.” I’d already read him what I wrote before publishing, and he replied, “Not really. It could be worse.” But I was hesitant about that post because up until that point I hadn’t really attacked Carrie ad hominem. Usually I’d just lay out facts that didn’t put her or Mark in a flattering light because of the shit choices they made. In that post, however, I got catty.

My practice has mostly been to let the infidelity story itself do the damning, but then I decided to get spiteful, and, honestly, it wasn’t one of my finer moments.

While I do lay claim to a certain amount of intelligence, I don’t profess to have fantastic judgement. It’s like this: if I eat a bunch of chocolate cake I know I’ll regret it and end up repenting for a week. But I’m human. I want the cake. So I eat the cake. This was that. I knew I shouldn’t. But I wanted to. So I did.

I got attacked right back. It’s bound to happen from time to time. I’ve been [perhaps overly] feisty my whole life. This ain’t my first rodeo, and I do understand consequences.

On that blog post, some commenters with fake names went to town on me under the guise of caring for the innocent kids involved. (I’m not going to repost the comments here because they’re really damn long, but I strongly suggest you click over to read them. This post will make more sense that way.) And whatever. Really. Personally, I’ve been back and forth about my blog and its potential affect on the kids. Their mother made some horrible choices and I tell the world all about it. Dustin knows I write a blog. He’s not interested in reading it. I think Katelynn knows, but I’m pretty sure she doesn’t care either. And the only way the two littles would know what’s on this space is if Thing One and Thing Two showed them.

When Jim and I began dating and I’d say something in conversation disparaging about Carrie, I’d stop and apologize, saying, “I’m sorry. She’s the mother of your children. I shouldn’t insult her.” His responses would go something like, “Rock on. She effed up your life.” He has never tried to decide for me what I should think and say. 

When I started blogging about all this affair/divorce nonsense, Jim and I talked about if it was okay. Until he got a feel for what I was writing, before publishing I’d read to him the posts that had directly to do with him or his kids or his ex and get his buy-in. But it was never him “allowing” me to post things. It was a courtesy for me to show him. I wanted us to be on the same page. We are. And that means that sometimes we make mistakes together. It means that sometimes I make a mistake and need to apologize to him. Which I did when I realized that in posting the By Any Other Name post, I'd done a not-terrific thing. He said that when I read him the post he knew that it wasn’t a great idea for me to be malicious, but didn’t express any concerns, because, well, he wanted to eat the cake too.

Mark is crap. Everyone agrees about this. But there are times that I’m harder on Carrie because it pisses me off that she gets very little blame for her actions. People condemn Mark for the affair and subsequent splits. They say that Carrie was mentally sick, that she couldn’t be held totally responsible when Mark was so aggressive and persuasive. That’s more than I can handle. While, yeah, Mark screwed up, he is only directly responsible for leaving me. Carrie left more than a spouse; she left her kids. But because she is a weak personality people just let it go and blame everything on my ex. Her responsibilities were more significant than his, but she gets a pass, and it infuriates me. 

(Hey Carrie, if you want your old life back, all you’ll have to do is “get help” and your entire previous world will open their arms up wide to take you in, because they feel bad that you got tricked by a serpent named Romo when you didn’t have the mental strength to resist. It’s right then that I will slip into a coma and die.)

As for Carrie being “drop dead gorgeous,” that’s a matter of opinion. The other night after I saw her at a church thing I told Jim that it does amazing things for my crummy self esteem to see his ex-wife. “It makes me feel super hot,” I said. Which is actually a good thing in my progress. When I was dealing with the fact that my husband was leaving me for another woman, I really struggled with the looks thing simply because Carrie and I couldn’t look more different. He went for my exact opposite.

And then there was the issue of size. I’ve got problems in my head when it comes to weight. I’m up front about that. I travel with a damn scale, for heaven’s sake. I’ve always seen skinny as superior. The skinnier the better. And Carrie’s a twig.

Listen, I’m little. Not many people are smaller. But my husband went and found, like, the only person who was smaller than me. Is there anything that could make me feel fatter? (For all I know Mark left me for a flat lower belly. I’ve never seen Carrie’s abdomen, but I know that my gut is capital-D disgusting.) So in Mark going for her, my head problems told me that I was gigantic and grotesque. Which rationally, I know isn’t true. However, this isn't a rational thing for me. Numbers-wise, I’m little—I tried on clothes yesterday and a 0P was too big—but in my messed up head, I’m elephantine. While I hate my body’s shape and will never give up my futile battle against it, the facts say that I’m anything but fat.

So it was a point of progress when I saw how skinny Carrie was the other night and was still able to say to Jim, “Damn, I’m hot.” There’s a mess of improvement combined with regression there. My therapist would be glad that I was able to see past thinness and would be terribly disappointed that I am still stuck giving a damn about Jim’s ex. I doubt that will ever wholly go away since I was married for ten years and my husband picked her over me. You think I can get past making comparisions? Maybe someday. But not yet.

One commenter said that my blogging isn’t the action of someone trying to get healthy after affair fallout, and my therapist would agree. I’m not totally healthy anyhow. Sometimes I am working really hard at getting healthy. But sometimes I get tired of it, trip over the high road, and end up lambasting Thing One and Thing Two beyond what I know is reasonable. Whoops. And it doesn’t make me happy. I know that. I write something that’s hateful and dangerous and post it and I know it’ll put me in a bad mood and make Them more of conversation than they merit. Yeah, I admit it’s not the actions of someone actively healing.

This last Sunday I curled up on Jim and cried into his shoulder. “I’m sorry your husband cheated and left you,” he said as he rubbed my back. I cried harder. No matter where I go or what I do or how I change, my history will always include the fact that I’m a girl who got left. There are instances where I choose to let that make me stronger. Other times I let it make me rotten.

I’m abrasive and often too honest. It'd be lunacy to think that everyone is gonna land on my side. There are crazies out there, and we can’t discount the validity of their opinions. I think that’d be discrimination.

I also got accused of narcissism, and that can’t be entirely wrong. Writing on a personal blog is its own form of being narcissistic. These are my thoughts, my life. Writing on here can be self-absorbing. I think where my blogging diverges from true narcissism is the self-love and admiration thing. That’s not my bag; I’m more into self-flagellation. It can be a problem.

So there you have the truth that you show up for. I did something unadvisable and I know it. I’m healthy sometimes and sometimes not. I'm bull-headed. I’m smart but can make poor choices. I am insecure and a careful reading of my egocentric blog makes that obvious. I’m in love with a man I got to know under unfortunate circumstances, and collaborating with him brings me joy. He makes me feel more beautiful than I am. He makes me laugh harder than anyone else ever has. And a truth perhaps not often apparent here but terribly important if we’re focusing on honesty: even though I’ll always be a girl who was a wife who got dumped in favor of another lady, my life is more than that. I have a big, messy family that is constantly growing and who I miss all the time. I have friends who care about me more than I deserve. I am part of a yoga community that makes me a better, more interesting person. I have adventures. There was even one day this week where I had lunch at a whorehouse. Now, that was weird.

•••

As for you, Annie, I find you impressive. Your responses were thoughtful and written better than I could have done. Like I’ve said before, I’m grateful that my sharing all this garbage is useful to you and others. Thanks for not being anonymous.

Fake Name Commenter Guy, regarding the part where you called me beef jerky, that was a total crack up because it was so accurate! When I read the comment I’d just come from back-to-back Bikram yoga classes. I was shriveled ‘cause I’d just sweat out all my moisture. My fingers were pruney. I was literally dehydrated meat! And smelly? Oh, absolutely. If you sniffed the yoga stuff drying in my garage you’d puke or pass out. I work hard for that, and I swear that since my divorce my sweat has started to smell worse. I think it’s liquid hate seeping out of my pores, and there’s no way that has a nice fragrance.

That said, if you want to insult me, don’t go the meat route. I’m a vegetarian, so that’s not relevant enough to hurt. If you really want to get under my skin, call me fat. Even if it isn’t true, I’ll believe you, got on some severe diet, and damage my organs. Calling me fat would be way more effective than saying Carrie is a piece of steak and I’m jerky.

Hey, and high five on the fake names. They’re a lot more creative than what I would have come up with in your situation. I probably would have used stuff like Huck Fun, Temperance Brennan, Ender Wiggins, or Darth Vader. Yours were almost believable.

Friday, January 31, 2014

ASSORTMENT

• The strangest thing happened at the end of last year. My yoga studio people named me yogi of the year. What the what? It’s a distinction I’m sure I don’t deserve but am nonetheless honored to receive. It means a lot for these favorite folks to think favorably of me. However, because I’m not just a little stitious but superstitious, stuff like this freaks me out some. I worry that if I’m designated yogi of the year my yoga practice will suddenly fall to ruin. So I tried to counteract that by kicking off 2014 with 31 classes in January’s 31 days. Even though it's meant doing eight doubles (which doesn’t sound as many as it feels), I’m gonna end up making it. Cameron's music class tomorrow night will be the perfect way to tie a sweaty bow on this mini challenge.

I’m often asked about Jim’s practice. Is he still going to yoga? The answer’s yes. With or without me. I don’t want my boyfriend coming to yoga just because I like to be there. I want him to get all the benefits he can, so he’s got to have his own reasons for showing up. Apparently he’s got ‘em, ‘cause the man took advantage of a bargain and bought 50 classes.

• A journal finally said yes. It only took a bazillion rejection letters. Hippocampus Magazine’s gonna publish my essay “Lady Business” in their April issue. So with that sliver of hope, I have decided that today is not the day to throw in the towel.

Right now I’m up to date on logging my calls on doctors.  !!!  That’s a major area of opportunity for me. On a daily basis I log the calls where I've had to get a signature for samples, but for the no-sig calls? Well, it hasn’t been uncommon for me to get days and days and maybe weeks behind. Then the calls pile up. And I dread logging them. And I put it off. And therefore more piling up. But I'm on it now. I told my boss that I’m going to turn over a new leaf, and for the last two weeks I haven’t missed logging all my calls on the day I made them. It’s not like logging calls is hard or takes time. Each one takes under 30 seconds, and I log them on my iPad. I don’t know where my defect is with this, but I’m fixing it. 

• I did an online grocery order for the first time in a month and a half. Single living has its benefits, and one is that I get to eat stupid, but sometimes I look around my kitchen and have to say, “Megan, you’re 31 years old. It’s time to take a break from living off of applesauce, pretzels, and Nutella.” I tried meal planning. I failed. So now I’m aiming low and just adding string cheese, strawberries, cucumbers, and frozen pizza into the mix.

• I can’t stop using the Oxford comma. I love it too much.

• Last night I went to a basketball game. Yeah, you heard right. Me. College ball. It happened. Jim’s oldest daughter Katelynn and her husband Nathaniel asked us along to the UNR game last night. I got into watching the game and learned some of the rules. UNR won. (I think. I don’t actually remember.) I enjoy Katelynn and Nathaniel. They’re smart-funny. Katelynn’s extra-dry humor tends to scare the hell out of me, but I’m working through it.

• All four of Jim’s kids are pretty rad. (Duh, else I wouldn’t be dating him.) It’s interesting to be involved with a family where the kids’ personalities are developed. I prefer it this way. While kids aren’t my thing to begin with, baby-age kids really aren’t my thing. I don’t know how to interact with them. I start to develop relationships with my nieces and nephews when I can have conversations with them. Before that, I’m at a total loss. Jim’s kids are 7, 12, 19, and 22 (and is Nathaniel 25? I’m not certain there, but he needs to be included on the list, because Jim considers Nathaniel one of his own), so I don’t have to wait around until I can figure out how to interact with them. The 7-year-old is a snuggler and has a flair for art. The 12-year-old's got a knack for humor and when you combine that with her smarts, you get a wit beyond her age that’s seriously engaging. The 19-year-old is his father. He’s a hard worker, funny, frank, inappropriate, ambitious, and liked by everyone. The 22-year-old is sweet and cerebral. Her husband is kind and committed to family. And Jim and I love watching how those two support, tease, and love each other.

• I need a haircut so badly that I think every day about texting Hannah and begging her to fit me in. But my appointment is early next week, so it’s not necessary. My bangs are in my eyes and my ends are split. That hasn’t happened in years. And while I’m liking my longer hair, it way sucks in sweaty, sweaty yoga. I’ve got lots of hair and apparently triple the amount of sweat glands on my head that everyone else has, so I have to ring out my locks a few times during every class.

• Tonight sister Whit texted me to say that she saw the Wayfair commercial with my art in it. What a swell way to end the day.

• Hopefully this little blog purge will lead to sleep. My mind is too active, and it usually doesn't let me sleep well. I wish spinning thoughts burned lots of calories. Then I could eat Swedish Fish all day long.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

BY ANY OTHER NAME

My last name is quite the conversation starter. Everyone has an opinion. Still. I've been divorced for more than a year, and I'm still asked constantly if I'm maintaining Romo as my surname.

On this blog sometime in early 2013, I mentioned in passing that I'd be keeping Romo, but I didn't delve much into it. I didn't think it was a thing. Apparently it is. Most people can't understand why I'd want to keep "Mark's last name" and my retort, "but it's not 'his'; it's mine now" hasn't been good enough.

The one person who understood immediately and without a word of explanation from me was Jim's 19-year-old son Dustin, who, it should be said, isn't one of Mark's fans, seeing as my ex-husband had an affair with his mother that ended up fracturing Dustin's family. In conversation one night when my last name came up yet again, and the question was the usual one, "Why in the world wouldn't you go back to your maiden name?" I didn't have to answer. Dustin jumped in and did it for me, and the gist of his dead-on answer was this:

I've built a career with that name. It's under this name that I've spent all my adult life. I have email addresses and a URL and a graduate diploma with this name. I am this person: Megan Romo.

Sure, I can have all that changed, but my name is mine, and it doesn't offend me. And, as Dustin said, most people who can't understand why I am so attached to my name as it is don't have careers and searchable accomplishments where they are known by a specific name. If you're not sure what I mean, google "Megan Romo."

Then there's this: words and letters arranged into sounds and cadences matter to me. I like the flow of "Megan Romo." I never liked my maiden name, Peterson. None of the girls in my family do. Name-wise, we all believe we married into upgrades (or in Mally's case a lateral shift). Even my mom sees Peterson for the bummer that it is. She liked her maiden name Samson better and is happy it lives on in my sister, Cat's, son, Samson.

All this doesn't mean that we don't appreciate the Peterson name. We love and honor the people on that side of the family. Just because I think Peterson sucks doesn't mean I don't appreciate and love my dad, the man from whom that name came. It's not the name that made the man. And along that same thread, my keeping Romo isn't some tribute to the loser off whom I got it. This name is mine. I adopted it. I'm keeping it.

And that is something special that Carrie and I get to share now. When she married my ex, Mark Romo, she changed her name from that of her children—Elliker—to Romo. So now we have even more in common! For a few months, we shared a man (only one of us was in the know about that though, and it sure wasn't me), and now we share a last and middle name.

I'm Megan Lynn Romo.

She's Carrie Lynn Romo.

It's like we're sister wives! 

I'm the bright wife with a job, a graduate degree (though admittedly in liberal arts and therefore pretty worthless), a vocabulary with polysyllabic words, wit, a birthday in the 80s, decency, a right to self-respect, and an honorable man as mine. And she's the dim wife with the downgraded significant other, fake boobs, a penchant for country music, half her children half the time, no hobbies and thus nothing to do during the day, a bad back, no ass, and a truly laughable, trying-too-hard-and-failing-miserably, stylish-perhaps-eight-years-ago, and-firmly-rooted-in-Reno taste in clothes.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

PUTTING THE FUN BACK IN FUNDS

Since Jim will never be rid of me—not that he wants to be—I will never be rid of the loose, selfish woman who banged my husband or that poser to whom I was married for 10 years.  Strangely—even though I see them as two of the most disgusting people polluting Planet Earth—that didn't get in my way. Or perhaps it's not strange at all when you consider how good Jim is to me, what a catch he is. The man makes me all girlish and swoony. I've known from our start that dating Jim meant that Carrie, the floozy who had an affair with my spouse, would be a permanent fixture in my life, seeing as she and Jim have kids together, and Carrie is still dependent on him for all the funds to pay for her life.

And since she is the Wasband's meal ticket, there's no getting rid of him either. That is, until he finds a woman better able to provide for him. Which may be sooner than later, Dear Reader, because Carrie just lost nearly half of her monthly income.

See, my ex and my boyfriend's ex—the ones that had an affair with each other, in case you're new 'round here—just got married, thus ending Jim's obligation to pay them $2,500/mo. in alimony.

You just gasped. You may have cheered. And if you're anything like our friends and family, your first fully-formed thought in regard to the nuptials had to do with Jim's wallet. Everyone we know is so happy for my boyfriend, since even though he's the one who got cheated on, he's had to continue providing the livelihood for his ex. When it comes to the alimony part of things, that's over now, and, quite honestly, we wonder how they are going to live on the $3000-some-odd that Jim's still stuck forking over to them each month (child support, etc.). Neither one has a job and there are some very expensive tastes in that relationship.

(On that, curious minds want to know what kind of ring Carrie bought for herself. Well, that's probably not fair; maybe Mark saved up his weekly allowance of Jim's money that Carrie gave him so that he could purchase the ring "himself.")

Now, don't let yourselves believe that their marriage means those two have some kind of commitment to one another that will increase their relationship's longevity. Marital promises certainly didn't get in their way before.

That being said, I'm just so happy for them. Thrilled. Elated. Dizzy with joy on their behalf. Wishing them the buckets of happiness that they certainly merit. So I thought and thought of what could be an appropriate wedding gift for that loafing failure and his elderly tramp. It was my friend Lara though who came up with the best idea: a referral to a divorce attorney! It's only a matter of time before the once-a-cheater-always-a-cheater exes will need that wedding gift.

So any bets on how long the ill-fated and dishonorably-started union will last?


•••

Oh, and Mark and Carrie, you nitwits, although you had the subpoena served to me before class at the yoga studio, today's was a killer practice. I worked hard, sweat buckets, executed one of my better standing bows, and came out feeling powerful. And, bummer again, no one witnessed the very nice man give me the papers. Don't worry though, when I got in the studio, I made sure to loop in my friends.

Monday, January 20, 2014

BITS & PIECES OF THIS & THAT

Last Wednesday I got a text from my Whitney-sister that said, “I feel like you dropped off the face of the planet. Where are you?” I’ve been here. And there, I guess. I haven’t been up to anything all that out of my ordinary. I just haven’t been very interested in The Online.

• This is my current Facebook profile picture:


Karla, my kindred soul in the spirit of badassery, said that in this photo she sees my dad in my face. She said I have his jawline and his mouth, and she said that he and I share the same “piecing eye contact that says ‘okay, engage but don't waste my time.’" Caught us both. She made my day with that.

• I do not like truffles. The fungus kind. The chocolate kind I love.

• I do, however, like tater tots. Lots and lots, I like tots.

• I fell. I gave in. I got a Kindle Paperwhite. I resisted ereaders for years because I like physical books. I like the way they smell, and I look forward to breaking their spines. But I wasn’t reading them. I wasn’t remembering to bring books when I leave the house. I wasn’t reading in bed. But my Kindle is so damn convenient. It’s little and light and easy to keep on hand. The battery has lots of life. I can read it in bed with the lamp off, and perhaps best of all, it’s just books. The Kindle doesn’t have the same distractions that an iPad or my phone has, no Internet or texting, only words on a backlit page. With this Kindle thing I’ve got words at my fingertips, and that’s what I’ve wanted.

• I haven’t been designing. I haven’t been writing. I have been doing a lot of yoga. I need to start working harder in class though. I feel like I’ve been slacking off. While my knees feel much better than months ago, they are still quite problematic, but if I’m gentle and aware I can push it harder without injury. With increased dedication, I think I can get more from this body of mine.

• Jim always smells good. The number of times I’ve asked him how the hell he always smells so good are incalculable.

• Divorce is hardest on the kids. Everyone says this, and I think they’re right. It can take a toll pets too. During the affair/divorce stuff, my dog got too skinny and relieved her house-trained self willy nilly all over the downstairs. She’s doing much better now. In fact, my divorce ended up being the best thing in the world for my pet. While she lost one human, she gained so much more. She has a new dog best friend, Labradoodle Gus. They play together, chasing birds in Jim’s backyard. They snuggle up on Gus’ dog bed together. And she got Jim’s kids. Josie cuddles Sophie. Ben plays with her. Even Katelynn, who says she doesn't like dogs, tolerates tiny Soph. (Also, I've told Nathaniel that while my dog is about the same size as the bunnies he grew up raising for food, Sophie isn’t for eating.) And Dustin is my puppy savior. He’s the one who takes my girl when I’m out of town. It’s the ideal situation. She is in a house she knows and thinks she owns, she can go in and out as she pleases, and she gets to snuggle with Dustin at night. My divorce has come to mean that my dog got a serious life-upgrade: more people to adore her, a canine best friend, a dream dog sitter, and not one but two residences over which she believes—and not inaccurately, I think—she has free reign.

• Free the whales. I watched Blackfish. So I say we stop catching and exploiting the slippery beasts and do other things with our time, other things like, say, paint a wall, take a cake decorating class, or walk someone’s dog. Even falling into a reality TV show is a better way to be a human than capturing whales.

Being Jim’s perma-plus-one is boatloads more entertaining than when I was married to what I now see was a very boring man. A couple weeks ago we went to Jim's networking group’s holiday party at the Nevada Museum of Art. The featured exhibit was Toulouse-Lautrec, so the party was a Moulin Rouge theme. Yes, we had masks to go with our formal wear. I'm down with getting dressed up when it means we've got the museum to ourselves. I enjoy going to art museums with Jim. We stand in front of a group of pieces and try to pick out which one the other is most drawn to. I like to look at a painting while Jim tells me what he sees. Usually it’s a world different from what I see. I like art as a way to get to know your partner better. And after all that sotto voce picture lookin’ it’s fun to go downstairs where there’s a DJ and a bunch of inebriated entrepreneurs gettin’ down. My boyfriend is a good sport.

• I dig pie.

• I had my annual physical on Friday. I love getting my stats. Weight. Height. BP. Pulse, etc. I like being boiled down to a bunch of unique numbers that describe my corporeal self. But I don’t like the homework Doc gives me. She assigned labs and the flu shot that I’ve been avoiding. Therefore Jim, I’m asking you out—Sweetheart, I know you still haven’t gotten your flu shot yet either, so will you be my date to get stabbed with a virus? We can share the experience of watching me turn into a doughy ball of whimpering perspiration. Afterward I’ll buy you a smoothie.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

MY TWO

Since I’m awkward and an introvert and snotty and different and generally just not great with humans, I don't make friends easily. Or kind of at all. With my mom and my five sisters I have besties built into my family. Those six are stuck with me. And then I have Amber, and I have Jessica, the friends I met online. (That is true. Never you mind the details . . . )

These two are the best kind of friends. We don’t have to talk all the time. Sometimes we text every day. They’ve got wits that are quick and minds that are open. They’re educated. They're thoughtful. They’re good moms. They are bright and curious, and, perhaps best of all, they've got depth.

When we get together we don’t do worthless shit like pedicures and shopping. If shopping happens along the way, okay, but we never set out to blow time like that. Instead we sprawl on my couch and talk for hours. We eat in my kitchen. We learn things. We share facts and seek opinions. Sometimes we travel. And we patronize hokey local museums.

It all doesn’t happen often though, because we all don't all live in the same state. Jess is in L.A. and Amber’s in the ‘Tah. We three in one place is a too infrequent thing. Like, only once yearly.

But it’s happening now.

I’ve got ‘em both locked in my house at this very moment. Amber’s nestled in the guest room. Jess is on the bed in my office. Today we did what we do. We went to an old cemetery. We got Amber to make a spaghetti squash bake for dinner. I made hummus. We ate candy. We talked on my couch. And, as ever, my friends froze because I keep my house like an ice box.

These pals are the good part of being a grown up. (Which, as we all know, can really suck.) They’re why it’s so important that I have a comfy place for guests. I need these humans. They’re real and nurturing and reflective and responsible and thinking and pretty and fit and stylish and clever and talented and above-average and exactly everything I could want in people of my own. And right now they are right here.

Contented sigh.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A LONE

Last night I couldn’t sleep. Tossed. Turned. Looked at Facebook. Looked at Instagram. Googled myself. Emailed Jim to tell him that I couldn’t sleep. Resorted to food.

Only there is no food. I haven’t done for-real grocery shopping—not even online—in a month and a half. I was doing good for a bit there. I was so committed to feeding myself something more than crackers and candy, like maybe a vegetable a couple times a week, but I fell off the wagon. Thus the only edible—Jim would debate “edible” as a relevant adjective here—thing were some Mary’s Gone Crackers crackers.

Back when our relationship was new and I wasn’t yet taking the initiative to schedule his dog’s grooming or spending weeknights helping fold children’s clean underwear or sharing a calendar, back when I was ignorant of Jim’s dietary predilections, I gave him one of those crackers and said, “I think you’ll really like these. They’re delicious,” he took half a bite and said, “Tell me this is dog food.”

After grabbing a handful of crackers I went to the the fridge for water, and as I watched the glass fill up I thought, “Did I ever expect to live alone at 31?” You know what? I did, just not recently. When I was a teen I was a horrible bitch beast, more contrary than anyone ever, and had decided that not only did I not want kids, but I didn’t want to get married either. Back then I couldn’t imagine myself older than 25—I can never picture anything more than a decade away—but when I imagined that 25-year-old self, she lived by herself. She was a lot more educated than I am now. She was accomplishing things, things I haven’t done yet. She was knocking the stuffing out of life.

Side note: I just wiped my nose on my sleeve. And it was damp because I’d done the same thing five minutes ago. Banish me. I deserve to live alone—whatever that means.

But since I got married and planned that the marriage was going to, you know, work, I let go of that idea of a solitary self. I was yoked. I’d stay yoked.

Well, that didn’t happen.

So now I’m a version of what I imagined I’d be back when I was a truly terrible kid. And I’m not unhappy with this version. While I’m not the whizbang broad I envisioned, I am capable and occupied, and, like I thought I would all those years ago—for the time being—I do alone rather well.