Thursday, November 26, 2009

Shit Creek - It's Not Just a Tourist Attraction

I suppose I should give you fair warning at this juncture.

Because we are irreparably, irrevocably and irreversibly tied together through our kids, there will NEVER be a conclusion to the Mr. Sunshine (with much more than a chance of pain) postings.

There seems to be no end to the insanity, or as I like to call it exceptional blogger-fodder.

There is no and has never been any child support between us, we share joint custody. I'm certain that's why we get along so well. However, there are bills that come which need to be shared. These are expenses relating to education, medical, extra curricular activities, etc. For the most part, we have always reconciled these balances and paid our equal share to the other.

About a year ago, I noticed Mr. Sunshine was experiencing a sudden change in his financial status. The kids were talking of these awesome, amazing and quite expensive things dad was buying them. I was hoping he hadn't fallen back into the old habits of spending on credit and pretending to be something he was not.

Then the really big purchases materialized - a $90,000 lot to build a home, paid in cash, an engagement ring and a car for the fiance, paid in cash, and a three week cruise to the Mediterranean, you guessed it, paid in cash.

Mr. Sunshine couldn't have reestablished his credit by that much, that fast. The dude must be pulling in some ginormous chunks of moolah. When I asked him, he told me he was running an Ebay business on the side and had stumbled upon a great opportunity. Within six months or so, he left his "real" job, once again to pursue his dreams of being the proprietor of his very own entrepreneurial enterprise.

This was not unexpected, who would work if they didn't have to? Good for him.  You go, Mr. Sunshine!

Then that freakish little devil that occasionally appears on my shoulder thought - I could be a greedy, money-grubbing ex wife and go after him for child support since he so obviously far exceeded my level of income but it was just a fleeting fantasy.  The better part of me, the chubby, diaper-wearing, cherub that has to counter balance the devil gave it a resounding "Nah".

Good thing I didn't. Turns out, that "great opportunity" he had stumbled upon involved taking inventory from his employer and selling it to a wholesaler overseas. Apparently HIS freakish little devil was a better negotiator.

As the story unfolded, or as he tells it - he left the employer, stopped running the Ebay operation and started his new Ebay business, which is similar to the other one but without all the stealing, fraud and stuff. He left without being caught and thought all was well and right with the world until he received notice that he would be facing federal charges, damages in excess of half a million and possible jail time.  Oops.

Now Lord knows, I'm a reasonable woman.  When he came over to tell me all this - out of fear it would hit the press and I would find out anyway - my main concern was for him. Nobody wants to see the father of their children go to jail. When he was pulling in the big bucks, I was happy because I knew the kids would always be taken care of.  I was equally as devastated to learn - he was now so far up shit creek, he might never be found again.

Mr. Sunshine's confession had occurred in late summer, just before the kids were to start school.  In an effort to ease his burdens, I covered all the back to school expenses along with paying some medical bills that included counseling for The Commando. I told him he could pay me in increments if it would help. If I had enough money to cover all those expenses without hurting my own cash flow, I would have done so, but alas, I'm blogging for free, ya know. Girlfriend hasn't been optioned for a book, well at least not yet anyway.

Last week, needing money to pay some bills, I asked him if he could just pay me something towards the balance owed. He refused to pay me anything, saying he did not agree with the counseling charges.

In his opinion, The Commando is fine, doesn't need any counseling.

Okay, then just pay me for the educational expenses and we can deal with the rest later.

No.  Unless you agree to drop the other charges entirely, I won't pay you anything.

Look, if you're hurting for money, I understand.  Just give me $200, less than half the educational cost.

No. Listen, AN- GE -LA, I will not pay you anything!  I made you an offer and you turned it down so you will get nothing. No soup for you. Next!

I then reminded him of all the health insurance premiums I had been covering at no cost to him, along with tons of other things I've let slide all in the name of sweet peace and harmony.  I told him if he forces my hand and I have to take him to court, it would be a substantial amount of money. If you will simply show me you are a man of your word and you will honor your obligations to your children, I will continue to work with you but you gotta give me something.

I don't think I need to tell you his answer.

I met with an attorney yesterday and we're moving ahead. The total amount he owes me exceeds $8,000.  I am hoping to receive a judgment and then attach a lien to that expensive piece of land before the court orders him to sell it for remuneration to his employer.

I am broken-hearted over the loss.  We have lost our ability to hang out together and show mutual respect and appreciation in front of our kids. We are taking that precious gift away from them. I am saddened but I believe all will prevail.  One day, everyone will know what went on and each of us, Sunshine and I, will have to be accountable to our children for our actions.

I do hope for the best and I pray everyday that he won't go to jail. I hated it when he pretended to be something he was not in front of the kids. "Daddy is going to get elected and change the world", he would say as he headed off for the results of another failed election.  Like many other 11 year old boys, The Commando still believes his dad has super powers.

Now, I wish he truly did too.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mr. Sunshine - The Epilogue

Mr. Sunshine and I, aided and abetted by father time,  worked through the whole gambit of emotions after our divorce. I know it seems odd, but on the very DAY of our divorce, we walked from the courthouse into the parking lot and decided to spend the rest of he afternoon together, sitting, reflecting; talking about past, present and future.

It took him a long time (my viewpoint) short time (his viewpoint) to come to terms with the reality of us not finding a way to reconcile. During those agonizing months, he did not handle himself well in front of the kids. The girls were too young to be affected but The Commando was tuning into his dad's pain and turning into his dad in so many respects; including, but not limited to, holding me accountable for the cause of it all.

When Sunshine finally came to terms, to grips, to reality, we were able to begin to reconstruct our friendship and respect for each other as parents. Parents of these three fully functioning, beautiful, astoundingly cognizant souls we had ushered into this world  Our relationship continued to recover, ever so slowly; one day he's good, the next day he's the spawn of Satan. Finally, he seemed to get his own slap from Cher and he snapped out of it.

We have since enjoyed one of those seldom accomplished Bruce Willis/Demi Moore type post divorce harmonies. Holidays, birthdays, teacher conferences, kid's plays and concerts - all done together. Most recently he came over unexpectedly with his girlfriend/fiance and sat on the patio with my girlfriend and I talking for hours. Later my friend commented how unusual it was to have such a close relationship. Sometimes it has been too close, as in, watch yourself or he will take advantage.

Nonetheless, my position has always been - let's do whatever it takes to let go of our personal agendas and do what's right for these remarkable kids of ours.  With few exceptions and the occasional flare up here and there, it has mostly always worked. We speak respectfully, willingly trade days, plan vacations and other deviations from our court appointed schedules - all with little to no discord whatsoever.

We would often sit down and talk like old friends, sharing stories of family, knowing the other can understand from the historical context in a way that new people in our lives cannot. My favorites were always when he would update me on the continuing scams involving The Anti-Christ. Mr. Sunshine seemed to be doing financially very well. He spoke of paying off debt, saving money, planning to build a home. I was so proud of what we had accomplished.

I was thrilled to learn about the proposal to his girlfriend. The kids spoke highly of her, she seemed to be educated, dedicated and most importantly not a crazy, psycho, fatal attraction kind of bitch. I was happy for them. I embraced them and let the kids know of my acceptance and joy by demonstrating a welcoming atmosphere. 

This is the way I envisioned the end of the Mr. Sunshine chapter of my life. It all seemed to be conclusively, definitely and properly solidified. It was, for all practical purposes - a happy ending.

While I have been writing of this chapter of my life, I was elated to know I could end one of these Mr. Whatever series on a high note, with some semblance of hope - letting you all know, anything can be overcome if you keep your priorities straight.

Five years of happily un-married accord. Until just one week ago......

(Artwork entitled, "The Leaving" by Angela Hayden at

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mr. Sunshine (Part Five) - The Reformation and Resolution

He came back to me, changed and seemingly broken. He appeared to be coming out of his self-imposed delusions and moving toward the honest, somewhat shocking realization of who he really was. He would not consider himself a failure but he had failed, in so many, many ways.

He no longer wanted the hot, sexy young sales girl. He wanted a life with me. He wanted to be a father. He wanted to start going to church, to get a "real" job, to finally be a man and oh by the way, in order to accomplish all of this, we would need to move to Wisconsin.

While the thought had certainly never entered my mind that I might one day be living in Wisconsin. We were losing the house anyway. I had shut down the business and filed bankruptcy on the remaining debt. I didn't really like my new job and I was restless. We had visited Milwaukee many times to see his mom. It seemed like a city on the verge of cool; well at least much more on the verge than Oklahoma City was at that time. Why the hell not, let's do it!

We moved in August of 2000. It was glorious, fresh and new. It smelled clean and crisp; fall, my favorite season, was already in the air. Those first few months were exciting as we searched for a place to live, settled #1 Son into his freshman year of high school and began to explore our new surroundings. Mr. Sunshine had landed that "real" job for a national company, no less.  It took me a few months to find work back in my field. We were on our way, at the dawn of a new life. Time to rebuild.

When December rolled around, we had our first big snow storm. I had seen snow before, but never anything as beautiful as that. The entire place looked like a giant Christmas painting or Hallmark card. I bought snow boots for everyone and it continued to snow. We frolicked around in it and it continued to snow. We made snowmen and had snowball fights and it continued to snow. We went sledding and it continued to snow. By month end, we had received an all time, record breaking snow for the month of December - a whopping 52 inches.

It is the perfect metaphor for how my life with Mr. Sunshine evolved and eventually ended. Some snow is good; in fact, it can be great - a helluva fun ride but 52 inches in one month can put a damper on things.

Sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself.

The reformation of Mr. Sunshine With a Chance of Pain had begun. He started to dabble in politics, his first love and perhaps his only true passion in life (besides his children).  Within two years he was heading up statewide committees, running for county and statewide elected office, volunteering for national senate campaigns, pursuing a Political Science degree at night and making a name for himself among the most conservative of the ultra-conservative-elite.

Taxes are three times as high in Wisconsin as they were in Oklahoma so I was proud of him for his fiscally conservative position; however, he couldn't hang with the big dogs without drinking from their water bowls, much like those poor souls who drank the Kool Aid in Guyana. (Yes, I intended to portray it in such a shocking context.)

Our fundamental belief systems began to sharply contrast. Soon, I found myself on the receiving end of many a diatribe over such things as abortion, gay marriage and family values, you know - things like infidelity and divorce, which a few of my friends were going through at the time.

"You shouldn't hang out with them" he would say, "They are a bad influence". After a long pause the only thing I could think to say was:

Excuse me, but have we met?

In November of 2001 I found I was pregnant again.  He was, believe it or not, a top notch partner during the pregnancy. He had to be when they put me down to bed rest. But after the babies came and the stress of two premature infants became apparent, he was again skipping out the door for work, night classes and political commitments. When someone suggested he run for office, he had to go back and fix an itsy, bitty, teeny, weeny little mistake.

I will never forget the shock and romanticism of it all when he came home from work on my birthday, handed me a gift box and said something to the tune of well, we've had three kids together, we might as well get married now.

The son of a bitch bought me an engagement ring on my birthday to get out of having to buy me a present.

The girls had been born in May, this was August.  We were married the following June.  There I was in the bathroom, crying so hard, knowing I didn't want to be married to him, knowing I would have to wait many years for him to truly grow up, but telling myself - I want to put the bow on this package and make it legitimate.

I wanted to share the last name of my children and I didn't want to have to explain why mommy and daddy were never married.  I walked down that aisle. If you look closely at the photo of me from Mr. Sunshine-Part One, you can see my red nose and red, squinty eyes, swollen shut from the profuse emotion; yet also, perfectly matching my red dress. Does anyone still question why I selected red as an articulation of my bridal bliss?

There were many interesting things that happened from June of 2003 to November of 2004 when I decided to leave him for good. At the height of his political involvement, he was spending most of his time volunteering for the Tim Michels campaign for the U.S. Senate seat held by Russ Feingold. I was invited to attend some events for the staff and volunteers at the Michels' home. It was difficult for me to sit and listen to them go on and on and on about abortion, knowing the man sitting next to me had paid for the abortion of the drug addicted whore he had knocked up.

Let's suffice it to say, I wasn't invited to many more events.  They could smell a social liberal at fifty paces.

Then there was the time they all went out after some rally or something and one of the young paid staffer girls got so drunk, Mr. Sunshine brought her home, carried her into our house, while she was kissing on his face and neck and put her to bed on our couch.  That was a tough one to explain to the nanny the next morning.  "Oh, don't mind her, my husband brought her home last night."

After that, I checked Mr. Sunshine's email on a regular basis and found he had quite the emotional affair (that's all I can prove) with a another young volunteer who was incensed that he had stood her up at a fund raising event he had promised to attend.  As I recall, he missed the event because I forced him to accompany us to my annual company picnic. I didn't feel comfortable keeping up with two babies and a four year old by myself.

It didn't make sense to me why he said he couldn't come with us. Why was a campaign event more important. Then I understood, he wasn't just showing up to support the candidate, if you know what I mean.

In late October, I came home from an overnight business trip to Chicago and woke up the next morning to discover another woman's panties in my bed.  Actually, I didn't discover them, one of my toddler twins had picked them up and placed them on her head.  I grabbed them, checked the size (small, not me) the label (Calvin Klein) again, not me and the smell (most certainly used and NOT BY ME).

Twin was immediately scrubbed down similar to that of a potential hazardous waste exposure.

All of that nonsense aside, I still wasn't totally done until I realized the guy was never going to work a real job, live real life, be a real husband - no matter what I did.  He had been laid off by the big national company when they noticed his head was in the political clouds instead of with them. He had not found a new job, opting instead to start his own consulting firm and supplement his income from county or state elected positions.

All of this cost money. He had cashed out everything from his job, borrowed money on our house and put us in debt, again to the point where we didn't have enough money coming in to cover the bills. When there was no more credit to be extended, he went to his mom and asked her to finance some home improvements, selecting the colors and fixtures behind my back.

I came home from work one night to see carpet torn out, cabinets demolished and new items slated to go back in, which I had previously objected to.  Said objections were not solely a cost issue - I hated the idea of pedestal sinks when you have no cabinetry - where's a girl supposed to put her shit?

It was a life changing moment. I sat at the edge of my bed, looked at the debris around me and felt as if Cher had suddenly walked up to me, slapped me across the face and said, "Snap out of it".

Thanks Cher. You were right. I am 41 years old, I make a good salary.  It was a revelation, a resolution and a glory hallelujah, I was unquestionably resolved. I could support myself and my children without him, I had to if I wanted to survive.

Just as I felt on my wedding day, I was done, so very, very done. However, this time it was "real".

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mr. Sunshine (Part Four) - Diapers, Dirty Deals and Denial

It's been one day in blog time but two years have transpired for the protagonist of our story.

The Commando had arrived, in spite of a tough pregnancy replete with daily shots of heparin to prevent another blood clot, preclamsia near the end of the term and a sudden drop in his heart rate during delivery, forcing the doctor to slap an oxygen mask on me while manually repositioning the bun by means of inserting his entire arm into my oven.

It would be too difficult, too drawn-out and too much life to accurately epitomize if I were to write in copious detail of all that had unfolded, or perhaps unraveled during those two years. I feel I must abridge and again, edit the hell out of it, in order to avoid a Mr. Sunshine (Part Twenty-Six).

We sold one house, designed and built a new one and then gave it back to the lender when our business was failing. Mr. Sunshine and his brother-in-law (The Anti-Christ) had convinced me to quit my job and finance a start-up home improvement operation. Wait, that sounds too legitimate. It was actually a window and siding company, a tin man operation with Mr. Sunshine handling the marketing, the Anti-Christ heading up sales/production and me, bringing considerable cash, excellent credit, accounting/business savvy and my baby to work with me every day.

At first, all was as advertised. The business pulled in ridiculous amounts of profit. Within three months, my two partners were each requiring new cars, cell phone accounts, gasoline credit cards and cash advances on jobs they had sold. Mr. Sunshine needed it to cover our household expenses while the Anti-Christ was feeding his ever present, ravenous gambling addiction.

Within six months, we were falling behind - taking profit from completed jobs to buy materials for new customer's homes. I would express my concerns. I would show them the books, the projections, the bills, the supplier accounts that had been shut off and in return, they would walk me to the large white grease board in the office and point out all the thousands of dollars we had coming in. "You worry to don't understand how THIS business's not like the work you used to or two more jobs and we're back on top", they would say; and then, the Anti-Christ would tell me he needed another cash advance.

At one point, I clearly remember having no money and no diapers. Mr. Sunshine sold a job that day and asked the customer for a $5,000 cash advance. He told her it was standard operating procedure and would be used to purchase the supplies needed for her work. It was really used to catch us up on our mortgage, buy food and stock up on those ever important diapers. Desperate times, they were indeed. 

We clung for life, managing to complete our jobs, keep the customers happy and somehow stave off that ever present wolf at the door. We were in deep, or more accurately, I was in deep, to the tune of around $350,000 in business credit/supplier accounts that had been extended. I was scared but with each walk to the while board, I would manage to pull from my strength and fight. After all, we were building a life for our little makeshift family and we were in it together.

I trusted Mr. Sunshine to always be at my side, to battle with me, to be my shield against the fear and my net for the inevitable fall. I never trusted the Anti-Christ. I knew he would one day run us into the ground and seal the coffin with one final bitter nail. The person I should have trusted, didn't yet have my trust. I knew exactly how this scenario was about to unfold and yet, I didn't trust myself.  I ignored my instincts.  Call it survival, call it denial, call it impetuous, reckless and mad. Go ahead, I can take it.

When we had been in business for nearly a year, I suspected some of Mr. Sunshine's late night sales calls were not what they appeared. I checked his voice mail and intercepted a lengthy, gushy message from his girlfriend, the hot, young, sexy sales girl who came to our office one day to sell us, you guessed it, advertising, of all things. Sounds vaguely familiar.

She had enormous fake boobs and a tight, slim belly that hadn't recently given birth. I gathered up his things that night, placed them in the foyer and told him he had one week to be out. Then the next morning, I went to the office.

Word had spread and the news was out before I got there. Mr. Sunshine's sister had been working as our receptionist, she was the first person I saw as I walked in the door. I said nothing, choosing to go straight to my office and begin the end. The end of everything. The sister tried to talk to me, the Anti-Christ tried to talk, Mr. Sunshine even tried to open a discussion. The only person I listened to that morning, finally, at long last,  was myself.

Later that afternoon, I made the mistake of listening to our Telemarketing Manager as she bared her soul to me, telling me of other infidelities she witnessed and even aided by allowing her home to be used as a place for Mr. Sunshine to have sex with an underage employee, high school drop out, druggie (but hot) girl he had knocked up a few months before. Sunshine, of course, denies the baby was his, noting how this girl had slept with loads and loads of guys.

"Let me see if I've got this right, you slept with a drug addicted whore, did not use a condom, paid for her abortion, then brought your stinky ass, infected-with-God-knows-what penis home to me?" Wham! That's the sound it made when I slapped him with all of my pinned up forbearance. I must be the luckiest girl alive to have made it out of that without a permanent STD or HIV reminder. Thank you sweet Jesus. On second thought, I don't think Jesus was having any part of this.

I know, I know, at this point you're thinking - this is the abridged version? But wait, there's more.

(To be continued.....)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Mr. Sunshine (Part Three) - Impervious but not Impregnable

All frolicking, cougar antics and underage drinking references aside, I embarked upon my next journey. After our infamous night out, we began to flirt while simultaneously conducting business. I opt to refer to it as multi-tasking.

In short order, Mr. Sunshine was booted out of his brother's house for arguing with the live-in, pregnant girlfriend-in-law. I don't know exactly WHAT he said to provoke the violence but I do know she socked him a good one, breaking his watch as he put his arm up to defend the intended target, his face.

He advised me of the situation and told me he was sleeping on the floor of the "office", which essentially consisted of the space next door above the garage in the eclectic low rent neighborhood in which they lived.

Being the compassionate, somewhat outrageously amorous, most certainly older and thereby more experienced divorcee I was - I obviously invited him to rent my spare bedroom.

Sing it with me.....

And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson
Jesus loves you more than you will know (Wo, wo, wo)
God bless you please, Mrs. Robinson
Heaven holds a place for those who pray
(Hey, hey, hey...hey, hey, hey)

Honest engines - I willingly admit, I am editing out the imprudent details and freely using the creative licensing bestowed upon me when I became a blogger, purely for the sake of a good blog job; whatever, however, whenever, oh my God never, the deed was done. He became my roommate, my lover, my business partner and eventually, the father of my children.

After nearly a year, we had developed what I could only refer to as a relationship clinging to it's life by means of artificial life support.  Yes, when my dad was dying, he overcame his fear of hospitals and rescued me from the Woodstocking vigil our family had insisted upon by taking me upstairs to look at the newborn babies.  Yes, when my dad died, he overcame his fear of funerals and arrived in support of me - seeing a lifeless body for the first time in his life and yes, he was too young, too inexperienced and had too many fears to overcome to be with a woman like me.

Getting kicked out of his brother's house for provoking a pregnant woman to a state of insanity and malevolent fury should have been a sign. I was exposing #1 Son (now between the ages of 10-11) to a person of questionable influence. I had a professional career to consider, as well as family and friends who were interrogating me as to who/what this thing, this presence, this young man who was obviously beneath me, was doing in my life.

The person I was then would say: None of it mattered because my heart, mind, body and soul had ascended into his pretend world, believing he was some sort of intellectual savant who would one day transform his words into reality, his Anthony Robbins inspired goals into reality and his reality would one day be a reality - for real.

The person I am today would say: I was craving attention from someone who was exciting, challenging, aloof, distraught, salacious, perplexing, decisive, resourceful, hungry, ambitious and everything else one would want after coming out of a marriage with boring Mr. Dependable and a sexual awakening with Mr. Plentiful. I wanted more. But, I momentarily lapsed and forgot to stop, reflect and take a look at what I actually desired and rightfully deserved.
    I was beginning to awaken from the delusion, question the reality and apprehend the absurdity of it all when I was given a healthy dose of  "Surprise, guess what, you're not in charge here". I had collapsed in my office, unable to breath, pulse and blood pressure weakening - I was rushed to the hospital. They couldn't get an IV in my arm as my veins had started to collapse. I had experienced a pulmonary embolism or blood clot to my lungs. Most people simply fall over and die - but not me, I was wheeled to the emergency room while hearing and seeing my dad in a way that is difficult to explain.

    I didn't "see" him like he was standing in front of me in a visceral sense.  I saw him inside of me, while I was outside of me. He told me to relax and not be afraid for I would not be with him now, i.e., I would not be dying today.

    One month later, I conceived my second son. The doc had told me I would be off the birth control pill immediately. It was the only plausible explanation for a blood clot in a woman of my age who didn't smoke. My apologies doc, sorry you wasted all your time and resources on that medical degree. For you see, this one, you will never be able to explain. He didn't know what was supposed to happen in my life, what was going on behind the scenes - so to speak. He wasn't aware of the second son, who was preparing to come to me. He didn't know there was a powerful soul who created this blood-clot-ruse that threatened my life.

    I am comfortable calling it a ruse or perhaps a manipulated destiny.  I had previously been diagnosed as infertile after seven agonizing years of yearning, pining and praying for a baby with Mr. Dependable. The myriad of tests had soundly concluded, they all said it. They all agreed. It was not him, it was me.  Regretfully, the likelihood of you getting pregnant would be about the same as electing a black man to be President of the United States. Enough said........that will never happen.

    The birth control pills were later recommended by the gyno purely as a measure to lessen the emotions, length, intensity, cramps and other accoutrements that hobnob with a woman's menstrual cycle.

    I was impervious to reason, impervious to judgment, impervious to influenced or persuasion. But, as it turns out - I was not impregnable after all.  The Commando was on his way. Now what do I do?

    (To be continued....) 

      Wednesday, November 11, 2009

      Mr. Sunshine (Part Two) - Balls, Beers and Cougars

      I suppose one could say I was a cougar before cougar's were dernier cri. Though technically I don't think you can be a cougar while still in your thirties, I was more likely a Puma.

      I was 33 and recently divorced from Mr. Dependable. As you might surmise, the pendulum, known as my love life, is swinging back from the boring, predictability of my last marriage, rendering me susceptible to seek out a thrill this time around.

      The thrill arrived in the form of a tall, dark haired, articulate, disarmingly optimistic salesman who called on me to pitch advertising space in a local business publication owned by his brother. I had been snarky with him when I agreed to the appointment, apprising him of my tight schedule and granting him a mere 15 minute audience with me. I honestly don't know why I was so brash and nervy but the confidence had intrigued him.

      Our 15 minute meeting promptly became an hour and not once had he mentioned the impetus for our get together. There was no sales pitch, no polished presentation, no glossy subscriber stats or rate sheets tucked nicely into an embossed folder. We were too caught up in our rapport and mutual attraction to notice. Lunch time came to pass and I was hungry - for food - and for more conversation with this well dressed, handsome peddler of advertising. I invited him to join me for lunch wherein we continued to divulge our life stories over the next two hours.

      At the end of this prolonged business meeting-turned-date, I agreed to purchase ad space sans the presentation. Apparently, I was sold on much more than advertising.

      The following Friday he stopped by at the end of the day to drop off a proof of the ad I had purchased. To this day, he denies the conspicuous, intentional timing. I knew he was coming so I had worn a tight fitting sweater, shortish skirt and flirty sandals. Mind you, I managed to maintain my archetypal professional flare with this ensemble. Mama didn't raise no trollop.

      So I'm thinking, get on with it already. Gheesh man, you obviously came here to ask me out. What's wrong with you? Maybe I should drop a hint, tell him I'm free tonight or maybe I should take off one of these flirty sandals and club him over the head with it. He begins to wrap up the meeting and I realize he's not going to do it. He doesn't strike me as the shy type; in fact, he is bursting with the very confidence that would later become our unraveling. I'll be damned if I'm going to waste a perfectly sexy, yet demure outfit. I've been looking forward to this all day, so here I go:

      Zen: Listen, I don't have any plans tonight - would you like to grab a drink with me?

      Sunshine: (pause, insert sound of cricket here) I am embarrassed to admit this but my brother hasn't paid me yet, I am basically working for him for free to help him get this publication off the ground, I don't have any money to go out.

      Zen: Oh, is that all? Whew, what a relief - I thought perhaps you might be gay.

      Sunshine: Yeah, a lot of people think I'm gay - I think because I dress and groom myself well and I have this peculiar accent from Wisconsin.

      Zen: So, you are straight and available. I can live with the accent. Do you want to have a drink? It's my treat, I asked YOU out.

      Sunshine: (pause, insert sound of cricket here

      Zen: Now what?

      Sunshine: How old do you think I am?

      Zen: I don't know, I hadn't really thought about it. I would guess around my age, late twenties, early thirties. Are we playing a game, is it my turn? How old do you think I am?

      Sunshine: I figured you to be mid to late twenties.

      Zen: I like that answer. Let's go get that drink now.

      Sunshine: I can't. I'm not 21 yet.
      My birthday is next month, I will be legal then.

      Zen: (cricket)

      Zen: (more cricket)

      Zen: (plague of locusts)

      Zen: Now I really need that drink. Grab your things and follow me.

      We walked a few blocks to a local trendy bar/restaurant/pool hall. I knew the owner and was therefore able to get past the front door without a check of our ID's. Once inside, we made our way upstairs to play a game of pool.

      Zen: I'll go grab the balls and the
      beer junior. You wait here.

      Sunshine: What do you want me to do while I'm waiting.

      Zen: Why don't you just stand there and look cute.

      That's the story of a lovely lady,
      who was busy with a child of her very own.
      Her life was full,
      but marriage had been in vain.
      The last one was annoyingly dull.

      Till the one day when the lady met this fella,
      and she knew that he was somewhat of a mess.
      Her heart had overruled her brain.
      She didn't yet know about the excess,
      or the life of Mr. Sunshine with a chance of pain.

      (To be continued....)

      Monday, November 2, 2009

      Strike Three - Meet Mr. Sunshine With a Chance of Pain

      This time around I stepped up to the plate knowing I was going to strike out, thus I chose to go down looking - scoring a backwards "K" on marriage number three. I watched the ball whiz past me without one consideration of taking a swing at it. Actually, I knew no matter how good the pitch or perfect the swing, this was not going to be a home run, double, single or even a fielder's choice. Perhaps I could have connected for a sacrifice fly but I didn't; for when you hit the ball on a sacrifice, you are still out.

      I locked myself in my hotel bathroom to avoid making eye contact with my girlfriends. These two had traveled from Oklahoma and Texas to support me and I was hiding from them. I didn't want them to see I had cried off my carefully applied wedding makeup. I didn't want them to hear me and bang on the door. I didn't want them to realize how much I didn't want to get married that day. I was afraid they would encourage me to suck it up, get dressed and get out there. After nearly seven years with this man, I was done, so very, very done on the day we got married.

      This is the story of Mr. Sunshine with a Chance of Pain.

      Mr. Sunshine seemed to have his feet planted firmly upon God's green earth but as I began to really know him, I realized his head was spending far too much time in the clouds and his vision was always marred by the bright, golden sphere he so often seemed to be chasing. As interpreted by this rendering, he would clench his fists and don a briefcase, preferring to make his mark by making a million or making a name for himself rather than making a living.

      My mom, God rest her soul, was the first person to see this. She came to visit us the week we got married. She watched him practically skip out the door one morning while whistling a happy little tune. He was leaving us with three young kids and a house full of boxes. We had just moved into our new home days before. There were projects everywhere, babies crying, madness and mayhem; yet, off he bounced to his sales job saying something about making the world a better place one sale at a time.

      Mom turned to me in her dry but always pleasantly blunt tone and said, "who's he think he's foolin' with that shit?" God how I miss that woman's way with words.

      She was right. I knew it and eventually even he came to admit it. It was all an act to cover up one scared, insecure young man who seemed to suddenly wake up and find himself with three kids, a wife, a house, an enormous pile of bills and not a chance of sun in sight.

      (To be Continued)

      Sunday, November 1, 2009

      Halloween Post Mordem

      The Ex was not happy with me for incorporating half of a devil into one of the twins costumes. She was told to say, with a coy, sheepish grin (while twisting one index finger to her dimpled cheek and cocking her head ever so demurely to the right), "but Daddy, you know I'm MOSTLY angel."

      Meanwhile, he felt it was perfectly appropriate to dress our ten year old son as a psychopathic killer, complete with a bloody machete. This was disturbing to me on so many levels but mainly because I've caught the little dude with a hand full of my good kitchen knives recently.

      WTF?! What are you planning to do with those young man?
      Nothing mom, just sharpening them for you. Muwhahahahaha.

      * Cricket*

      Nothing quite says scary like a ten year old with a knife fetish.

      Meanwhile, the other twin selected something of a sexy bat girl/saloon girl costume. She would now allow me to cover her neck with a warm sweater underneath in spite of the 40 degree temperature here last night so I decided to work with her. When I couldn't find her pumpkin basket from last year, I handed her a canvas wine tote.

      I think she liked it because she was able to organize her candy into sections. Finally, one of them is acting like me.

      The Psychopathic Killer wasn't feeling well. He only went to a few houses, then came home and curled up on the couch with me waiting to hand out candy. I may have a chance with this one yet.

      I want to know who or what sick, twisted mind invented War Heads?

      I am also wondering what happened to all the kids last night? I think we might have had a total of 15-20 trick or treaters.

      I know a group of kids from the neighborhood were going to church to avoid the pagan, ritualistic tradition of dressing inappropriately and begging for candy. Thank goodness somebody is paying attention to the long term damages being inflicted upon these children. I think the ADA may have sponsored the church party.

      Perhaps the scariest costume of all was yours truly. It transcends the present and takes us on a journey, back to the days of national championships, beating the hell out of Texas and proudly donning our OU memorabilia. I am the ghost of Oklahoma Football past.