Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Late Night Listening XXVIII: Answering the Call for Updates

The Drunken Housewife writes:
TIME FOR AN UPDATE. It's been 2 weeks!!!

Thanks for the nudge, Drunken! :-)

Tonight's musical selection is an exercise in irony... Sarah McLachlan's "U Want Me 2".

It's been about two months since my soon-to-be-ex wife (hereon out referred to as "STBX") moved out, and it's been a mixed bag, as separations often are, but overall a move toward the better. I have no regrets about our decision, and I think we made the right one.

Our daughters have been handling the transition well. They like their new place, but every once in a while, one of them will express that she misses the parent who isn't present.

The older daughter seems to have adjusted well to kindergarten. It helps that five or six of her classmates from the preschool co-op are in her class. There have been a few times where she's had some trouble sitting still and paying attention, but she is picking up on the material well. Each week, the teacher sends home a couple of worksheets of things that the parent and child are supposed to do together. I try to help out with those things as much as possible. The younger daughter started preschool in early September and goes twice a week. Also in early September, both resumed their Tuesday evening dance classes.

The visitation routine has been worked out. I get them on alternating weekends, and I get them on Tuesday nights after their dance class. On the Thursdays preceding the weekends where I won't have the kids, I spend time with them, too. These also coincide with their bath nights. In practice, I haven't had a totally kid-free weekend yet. There have been a couple times where the STBX has either needed me to watch them or my relatives had a gathering of some sort, and I needed to bring them along. The STBX hasn't been unreasonable about asking for the extra time, though.

The STBX continues to live the kidaholic life. She works the dance school supply store on the nights our daughters have dance class. She is currently chairing the fundraising committee at the preschool co-op, and organized a huge bake sale last weekend. And, yes, she did bake for the event. She's also been going to PTO meetings at our older daughter's school. I'm not sure when she finds time to get her 32 hours a week of at-home work in.

Last week, we cleared another milestone in the separation with the division of our cell phone accounts. After spending a while double checking the legalese with the folks at CanUHearMeNow cellular, I figured out the appropriate steps to do this with minimal red tape and no early termination fees. The STBX's phone is now on a family plan with one of the preschool moms. My phone now becomes the primary line. I feel a little more free.

We've come to agreement on division of liabilities and assets, so the next step will be actually filing for the divorce. Since the terms of the divorce won't be contested, this should be a pretty cheap and straightforward process. I downloaded the forms from the Hoosier State's website, just to see what all is involved. I highly doubt we will pursue the case pro se since I want to make sure the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed. With some luck, we my have the dissolution finalized before the end of the year.

There have been two major family gatherings since the separation, and I dreaded both of them. My nephew's birthday party, held a couple weeks ago, was one of them, and I almost didn't go to that one, but forced myself to do so. One reason was that it included my aunt, about whom I have written in this space before. Because I don't have an open channel of communication with her, she did not get firsthand word of the separation and divorce, and I was worried about how she might act. Fortunately things were civil.

The other event took place last weekend. My dad and stepmom watched the girls while STBX worked her bake sale, and they asked me to come down to see them and watch the fall festival parade with them. I wound up going to that, but really didn't want to because I didn't feel like seeing people from my distant past. For the most part, I managed to survive the day unrecognized. Only one classmate from my grade school years, someone I didn't know too well, stopped to say "hi" for a few moments.

During that visit, my stepmom asked if everything was okay with me. She said they were worried about me, and that they didn't want to pry but wanted to. I told her that I was doing okay and that we were trying to do this in a way that would minimize the disruption in our daughters' lives.

On a followup item, I found out that the STBX did indeed take the corkscrew with her. She made a mention of how I had purchased a new one and was surprised because I usually only drank wine when I was around other people. I asked her why she took the corkscrew when she doesn't like wine. Her reply was that her best friend drinks wine and wanted to have it around if they needed to open a bottle.

As an expression of gratitude for downgrading my service, my cable company decided to charge me some service fees for changing my service and picking up surplus equipment. The total cost was about that of a full month's service. It's too bad that the Blueberry Snowball's all-in-one service isn't available in my area, or else I would reciprocate the love by dumping the cable altogether.

We just capped off a big release a couple weeks ago at work, and we had a minor release last week. One thing I've noticed over the past month or two is that we've been running into post-release glitches that require rolling out emergency fixes. While my boss doesn't like it when these things happen, he is not a blame shifter. We've put a lot of time into identifying where things went awry and we've been trying to learn from them. We just had our first bi-weekly code review, and from that emerged several good ideas on coding standards.

Some of the problems, however, were completely unforeseeable. In one case, a slowdown arose from a weird way that one of the libraries upon which we depend implemented a standard. The common thread in a lot of these cases is that I wind up having to set aside what I'm doing and spend a good chunk of the day isolating out causes. It suffices to say that those moments can prove to be stressful.

Also on the downside, I haven't been as diligent about housework as I would have liked. It's been a few weeks since I mowed the lawn. It's far from code violation, but it is a bit shaggy. I can't seem to bring myself to clear off the pile of papers and such from the kitchen table, although I've managed to keep the bills promptly paid. I still need to get a frame for my mattress and move into the master bedroom. Right now, it is the sole domain of my dog. I also should start to look into putting up some new decorations to make this place my own. The house is still a bit too empty.

I broke out of my shell on Monday night and attended a local meeting of technical professionals at my favorite coffee shop. It was nice to exchange some business cards and learn what other things are being done, but the crowd seemed to be light on developers and heavy on marketing types who are interested in creating e-commerce or social media websites.

I have made a few contacts here and there on the personals websites. I'm starting to learn that there are some other interesting, intellectual (and even quriky) souls out there. Consequently, this town seems like a less lonely place. Still, there are times where I feel like I don't fit in with any social circle. I am geeky, but not geeky enough in hobbies to feel totally at home with those who usually work in my profession.

Listening to McLachlan's poignant, yet very real, lyrics...
So what are we saying
Our eden's a failure
A made-up story to fit the picture-perfect world
The one with "I do"s
and I love you
And we are made for each other
Is forever over now?

I've become increasingly aware of a feeling lurking in my subconscious, and I'm almost afraid to admit that it exists. I think I have become so disillusioned with marriage and romance that I wonder if I could ever have those feelings again. Maybe this is just a self-protective response to avoid the rush to a rebound, and it may well be that this fades with the passage of time. But for now, my capacity to love, with the exception of my daughters, seems totally depleted, with no pool of renewal in sight.

As readers of related blogs may know, FTN is organizing a meeting of bloggers in my neck of the woods in about a week and a half, and I intend to be a full-participant. I even went so far as to make sure that I don't have the kids that weekend. While meeting bloggers in real life is hardly something new to me, I've never done this on the level of a group. It should be fun!

Did I miss anything?
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