Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Walk the line

Johnny Cash

I've been thinking a lot and talking a lot and writing a lot about {fine lines}.  Jane and I decided to write a tandem post about walking the {fine lines}.  
So, after you read here be sure to read her list too.

It's a fine line between:

Limbo and Complacency
Awareness and Hyper-vigilance
Staying and Leaving
Safety and Disaster
Intimacy and Fear
Detachment and Indifference
Shame and Guilt
Self-care and Selfishness
Love and Co-dependancy
Boundaries and Control
Support and Gossip
Accountability and Punishment
Sanity and Insaniy
Great Sex and Scary Sex
Trusting Your Heart and Anxiety
Grief and Depression
Eating too many Oreos and not eating enough!  just kidding, just kidding
Motivation and Pain
Recovery and Fake Recovery
Being Brave and Being Stupid
Triggers and Lies
Forgiveness and Bitterness

I could probably go on and on but I'm curious, what are your {fine lines}?
See Jane's {fine lines} here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Camp Scabs Survey

Time for Camp Scabs!  
This is an idea that's been brewing in the back of my mind for awhile.  

Alt Summit just finished this last weekend with loads of fashionably dressed blogging minds converging together in a beautiful resort over yummy dinners and inspiring speakers.

Camp Scabs might be similar except we have a small group of ladies,
wear sweatpants, we would be our own speakers and you don't have to blog.
It's a girls weekend!

What do you say?
(the survey will be open for one week and I'll publish the results)

Filters, Smartphones & Anonymous Questions

Mountain Bike Trail

...I do have another question to pose to you, Scabs. I have no forum or means of asking this and hoped maybe you could open it up to your readers for feedback. How do you handle the smartphone? My husband has to have it for work. He previously told me there was a filter. Tonight I asked to see the filter, so I could feel more comfortable. And "somehow" the filter doesn't work anymore. He is an addict walking around with his drug in his pocket. What do others do with the curse of the smartphone?

Dear Anonymous,
Sometimes, fighting against my own rationality, I throw my hands in the air and decide to be brave.    
In October, my cousin took me to the top of a rocky, craggy mountain in Idaho.   It was crisp and gorgeous!  Heart-stoppingly beautiful.
At the tiptop of the mountain is a steep down hill mountain bike trail.  Perched on the teetering top of the trail my cousin and I straddled our bikes, clipped our shoes in the peddles and with all the un-natural surrender it takes to muster that kind of courage, we kicked off and bolted down the breakneck trail! 

Like wreckage flailing down the mountain, my bike violently bobbed between rocks, over logs with near misses, white knuckles and scraped shins.  If you've ever been down hill biking, you know that ridged control of your bike always ends in disaster.  You also know that staring at the rocks only leads you straight to them.

This is what I think of when I think about letting go of smart phones or computers or ipads or whatever ails you.  It takes all the un-natural surrender you can muster to find the kind of courage it takes to let go and stop staring at the rocks.

Staring at our obstacles, handicaps and our partner's web history is only natural.  Letting go is a  learned art.  In the beginning, if you feel a bit crazy and you hold tight to controls, filters, passwords or demanding frank conversations, this is normal.  With all the rocks that might be on the path, letting go is a terrifying thought.  We're teetering on the mountain top with white knuckles.  

I can't help but think, "How can we let go when we don't know what it feels like to hang on?"
Opposition in all things, right?

Halfway down the mountain, I came skidding to a shaky stop.  I had to change.  Blood was trickling down the back of my leg, I had swallowed a grasshopper and was covered in dirt.  And, I was scared.  Really scared.  So scared I could barely breathe.

After a deep breath, I mustered all the un-natural courage I had, put my feet in the peddles and looked forward to the clear paths ahead of me.  I knew if I stopped staring at the rocks I'd stop crashing straight into them.  

After all, I only have control over myself.  

At our house, there's a filter on our family computers.  Mr Scabs laptop is his responsibility.  One day, about a year ago he asked me to put a filter on his laptop for him.  I did.  Our smart phones aren't filtered.  They are unlocked.  Our boundaries include not deleting history, text messages, emails etc. and transparency in disclosing mistakes.  The unfortunate consequence for continued breaking of our boundaries is detachment.  

This is me,  with all the un-natural surrender it takes to muster the kind of courage to let go.
I throw my hands in the air and decide to be brave.    


p.s.  I have more to say on this topic but that is the part I have chosen not to publish.  For those of you who have asked, I sent the email as a continuation of this post.  If you didn't get it, email me again.  

Monday, January 28, 2013

Happy Birthday Mr. Scabs


After a weekend of rare desert drizzling rain and not-so-rare efforts to patch up some arguments and hurt feelings, I made some wicked double dutch brownies and our daughter stuck a bunch of candles in it.  We sang Happy Birthday to you ...cha cha cha!  

With a big puff of air, Mr. Scabs blew out the candles.  Will his wish come true?

Then we all sat back, cuddled up and watched back-to-back Operation Condor movies staring Jackie Chan.  If you haven't seen these, you should.  It's like Indiana Jones plus the mad talent of Jackie's karate chops.  

My hurt feelings were still blistering under the surface.  Mr. Scabs felt it too.  He reached out, took my legs onto his lap and rubbed my feet on his birthday.  This is what he does.  He reaches out. 

Happy Birthday Mr. Scabs!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

lamest post ever

The colour green - - antique typewriter and typist.jpg
How do real bloggers with thousands of readers and just as many emails and comments keep up with blogging and their real lives?  It takes a lot of energy to think, respond, write and connect with readers (which I love) besides that fact that it is all too easy to get distracted from the task on hand thanks to Pinterest or shopping for the perfect navy blue nerd glasses here.  Ahhh, the dang Internet!

High-5 to all the real bloggers out there!  Amazing.

I've always been in the slow blogging pack and maybe not the best at time management.  So, one by one I am working on the comments, questions, emails, next posts and other projects (sorry to break the deadline Jane but I need another day, please).

You know what?  I really like you guys.  You're rad, smart, strong and you look out for each other.     Like a tribe.

With that, I leave you with the lamest post ever.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Dear Mrs. Anonymous,

{Read Mrs. Anonymous's original question here.}

Dear Mrs Anonymous,

Last Sunday I made potato soup and Mr. Scabs made bread.  It was one of those freezing days where we were craving some comfort food.

For Christmas I got a new set of knives.  Sharp ones.  Really sharp ones.  I've never owned a good set of knives.  But, I am a Cub Scout Den Mother.  I teach knife safety and know how to whittle.

Despite these credentials, I sliced my hand like it was a russet potato.  I took my eyes off the knife for literally half a second.  I cried and yelped and jumped up and down!  Pressing deeply, I held my filleted flesh to my palm wishing against all wishes that it would just instantly glue back in place.  PLEASE!  I have no greater phobia than sharply sliced body tissue.

I tell this story because I think it relates to where you are.  Every week I hear from women who have the same questions as you.  And every week I hear from women who's story began just as you described.  In fact, that is also how my story began.  It just may be the beginning of every story.

But, it doesn't have to be the beginning of your story.  It can also be the end.

Because you are at the beginning, you and your husband are at the greatest advantage.  You are right, now is not the time to lose you shit.  Or become obsessed with the what if's, maybe's and other stories out there (including mine).  Our story is extreme and it's an intriguing story to tell.  Which may be why you read it for 2 days straight.

I believe you did everything right.  Beautifully, in fact.

And now, you have a gigantic pile of advice to sift through.

I'd like to thank the women and men who reached out in their vulnerability and shared their thoughts.  I will always back you up and respect you because your experiences, feelings and thoughts are real.  Across the screen and into your living rooms and houses you are real people, with real lives and so am I.  You can be safely vulnerable and real here.  Thank you.

After a few silent moments of teeth clenching and deep breathing, I gently released the iron grip on my palm to reveal the fresh wound.  The sharply sliced skin was pressed white.  Then the blood came.  I've seen what happens when a wound goes unchecked.  It's inevitably eaten by bacteria and turns a horrific rainbow of colors. You may need to amputate to survive.

Such a small thing can literally poison you into an incredibly slow and painful death.  

A dab of Neosporin would save your life.

Now is the time for Neosporin, my dear Mrs. Anonymous.  Communicate with your loving husband.  Attend 12-step.  Tell someone you both trust.  Don't be naive.  Trust your gut.  You aren't overreacting.   Reach out to those who understand.  Set up boundaries and changes to your life style that make sense.  Work together.  Love him.  Love yourself. Believe.  Don't be afraid.  Heal your wounds of trust together.  Life is for making mistakes and making up for those mistakes.

Believe me, I've learned my lesson about really sharp knives.

                               Mr. & Mrs. Scabs

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

good-night mr. scabs


It's 11:37 at night here in AZ and outside temps are hitting below freezing.  I'm wearing my long-johns tonight!  There's a man in the bathroom brushing his teeth.  The man I have chosen to love.  You know the sound brush, brush, brush, swish, swish, spit.

Girl Cat, who is bunny-soft and mean as a badger, is cuddled next to me on our fluffy white bed.  The silence is thick and the unearthly laptop glow is starting to hurt my eyes.

I've been writing tonight.  Returning emails and reading comments writing bits about last years fiasco with my paralyzed legs.  It's true what they say about the difference of one year.  

A few readers have asked your advice.  Do me a favor, read the Anonymous comments here and give your two cents.  Questions about what to do next and what to do about smart phones.  

With sparkling fresh teeth, Mr. Scabs climbs under the covers.

"Hello Mr. Scabs.  How was your day?

"It was good."

"What was good?"

"Well, everything.  Everything from therapy to baking bread (a new Mr. Scabs habit) to meeting with Laura (one of our closest friends who he apologized to today...I'll tell you all about this another time)." 

He sounds happy.

With that, Girl Cat tip toes across the computer screen, crawls up on his belly and begins her midnight purrrr.

Good night all!

p.s. the old Mr. Scabs would have answered the question of 
                           "how was your day?" 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Flipping the Bird


Follow the story. 
Read the previous entry here.
Just to recap: 

In the wake of canceled yoga and Divine intervention, I had caught Mr. Scabs red-handed.  I make an appointment with our shrink, Bill, for advice.  With a sad heart, Bill agrees that divorce is the only choice for a woman who loves herself.  And, I do, I do love myself.  It's the most impossible decision, but I draw the divorce papers.  I separate our lives and quantify our contributions.  More than all the infidelity wrapped up into one terrible gut punch, I hate the fact that our divorce will be the crux, the turning point, the stinking needle.  That this moment, this decision will play out heavily in our children's lives.  I understand that they will pay the greatest price for our decisions.  That guilt burns the tears out of me each night as I lie awake instead of sleeping.


November 2011

His incredible selfishness, apathy, addictive nature and attitude of immunity has changed everything.  everything.

I like the way my middle finger can stick straight up, so when I flip the bird it feels like an exclamation point!  A big old "F" you exclamation point.  I'm not usually an F-word kind of girl, but like my therapist says, there's no other word to describe what's happened.

Anxiety seems to be knotting off the opening to my stomach.  I can't eat, sleep or breath.  Before submitting the Dissolution papers to the court, I need to get away.  I need to be alone.  Clear my mind and unknot all my anxiety.   I need to eat again, and sleep, and breath and welcome my new life as single mother, divorcee. 

Before I walk toward airport security and TSA, Mr. Scabs accuses me of leaving town for a sultry affair.

Raising my middle finger, I flip a perfectly straight bird.  An exclamation point!

I'm healthy.  I exercise.   I eat broccoli.   I floss my teeth.
I boarded that plane in compete health.
The flight home was terribly different.

That first morning, while the hot water showered my skin I felt a deep heavy cramping in my right thigh.  Had I pulled a muscle?  I couldn't massage it away.  Stumbling from the steamy shower, I reached for Ibuprofen, then the Icy Hot, nothing worked.  The cramping crescendoed like a million wild mustangs running across my thigh.  Their hooves denting my damp skin and crushing the muscle beneath.  I cried out loud as the unrelenting pain brought me to my knees.  Forcing myself to stand, I clench the edge of the dresser.  Walk it off, I tell myself, walk it off.  bewildered at why the pain wouldn't subside i fling myself to the bed and manage to climb under the covers soaking wet and naked.  Shampoo still in my hair from the shower.

The pain was almost intolerable, my thigh and calf crushing into charlie horse spasms that suck the breath from my lungs.  Just like I wanted, my mind was clear and the anxiety unknotted.  NOTHING could co-exist with this pain.

By the third morning, a sheer outburst of adrenalin pushed me to throw my bags together and get to the airport and back on the plane to Arizona.  Tears in my eyes as I ferociously hobble myself through the front door.  Like a maimed wild animal, I howl down the hallway and with one muscular contraction my good leg flings my entire body across the room and onto my bed where I curl up in agony.  Whimpering through my pain.  My plans to submit the divorce papers, forgotten.

Doctors poked me, prodded me asked me every question under the sun.  All tests came back inconclusive.  My right leg was crippled.  Besides the intense pain, I couldn't walk and it was getting worse with each day.   They issued me enormous amounts of narcotics and sent me to specialists and physical therapists.  I needed full time care.

I am blessed with the most beautiful, loving, gracious, kind friends who fed me, cleaned my house, brought me books, car-pooled my children and even helped wash my hair.  I am forever taken by the sweetness of their generosity.

But, there was the hopeful Mr. Scabs waiting silently in the wings.  And, it was his beautiful, loving, gracious kindness that changed everything.  everything.


Friday, January 11, 2013

I love spam


Just for a laugh before the weekend, read this spam comment I got a while back.  And please don't click on the link or send an email unless you want to be hacked, spammed or otherwise hijacked by internet weirdos trying to steal your identity or get you to agree to sign your bank account over for a foreign millionaire in return for a certified check of 100,000 dollars.  Don't be fooled by this magic spam priestess!


A couple of years ago then i was still in Utah, my husband and i got into a fight and he moved out and said he cant live with me and his son anymore because i cut him cheating seeing the messages and emails on his phone, and even pictures they snapped in the beach with a yong girl, he denials it and left for another state so that he can have al the time in world to be free with this girl. My heart could not contain the pains that i had to travel to my home town, The a friend told me about a spell lady who helped her when she got dumped by her boyfriend. this sound crazy to me that my husband i trust with my life could do this to me. it was so unbelievable. I cried all night long, locked myself in a padded room, and thought about how miserable my life was, so i look at the web site my friend gave me about the spell lady at, and i saw how powerful and helpful she would be. i contacted her and she decide to help me and guarantee me of results in 2days, i thgouht this was a joke, how can i see result so quickly, but i gave in to see, and at the actual time, my husband came apologising for all his stupid act, this looks sacry because this was so fast and accurate, But the most happiest part is that my family is once united again just as it was when we got married.
The spell lady has no measure and i can never stop spreading her good works for bringing me happiness and joy. She helped my friend and now am testifying to it, why not do the same and dont make mistake in meeting rip you off on your pain. her email,
Thanks spell goddess. you are wonderfully sweet to meet. 

Enjoy your weekend my friends!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Cheater's Story


I couldn't help but burst into tears reading this heartfelt letter from a husband to his wife.  I do not believe that people are stuck, that people can't change, that once a cheater always a cheater.  
I believe in metamorphosis.

I’m A Cheater,
Growing up, this word didn’t really mean much to me.  I cheated on tests at school, cheated in races and even cheated in golf with the odd kick or flubbed score.  Sometimes I would get caught, most of the times not (so I think…).  Then in 2008, everything changed….
I was married to my best friend, my confident, my rock Wendy.  We never had any issues or major fights, we fit like a glove.  But for some reason I pushed those thoughts and feelings aside, and had an affair.
I have always been a person that everyone likes, and I want everyone to like me.  I will help people out whenever possible and even sometimes when it is not.  I met the other women (OW), at the gym and we developed a friendship.  Over time she started telling me her problems, and I would try and fix them or just listen and let her vent.  We talked a lot, and it seemed that I was talking more to her than I was to my wife (I was working 2 jobs, 1 was at the gym).  The OW gave me a gift after a few months; it was a gift cert. for a restaurant in the area.  I told my wife about it, I didn’t want it, but felt that I should take her out of awkwardness since she wouldn’t take it back, I told Wendy and so it went.  We trusted each other whole heartedly, and never would an affair be even a thought in our minds.  That was the first time I moved part of my “do Not Cross” line over a bit.  Over the next weeks and months, we would meet for coffee or have a quick bite while on my breaks.  Then one day came a kiss, I don’t remember who kissed who or how it happened, but looking back I can see that my “Do Not Cross” line was no longer a line but a line with great hills on the other side from all the pushing.  What was I doing?! What was I thinking?!  It had to stop; I won’t tell Wendy and just bury this in the vault.  And that is what happened, for a while…
Read the rest of the letter here on Wendy's blog

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Miracle #1


Follow the story.
Read the previous entry here.

November 2011

This one is for Snowy (she commented here) and all of us who've spent entire nights crying instead of sleeping.  The uncertainty of the days before us trapping us into slobbering, blubbering, sleepless zombies.

Dissolution.  The "Dissolution of Marriage" documents weighing like a bag of stones in my lap.  It's a deep word.  To abolish, rupture, eradicate, not just erase but cruelly dissolve, reducing our marriage into liquid form and then evaporating into a black puff of smog.

That night I dissolved too.  Reduced to liquid; leaking tears and uncontrollable nose drips.  I spent the darkness, alone, burning into the cushy softness of my king size solace.  The clock ticking farther into the inky night.  The tick-tock drowning in my ears, vibrating in my brain.  Crying hot tears till my eyelids felt like sandpaper, grating and burning the whites of my eyes until I looked like the devil himself.  My misty blue eyes blistering from the burning hell of my eyeballs.

It feels like a weary, bottomless hell, doesn't it?

I begged God to please knock me out.  Tranquilize me.  Sedate me.  And you know what?  Miracle #1, He did.  I was knocked out.  I slept blissfully in a snoozy mess of tear soaked pillows and sheets.

In the morning, my crusty eyes opened.  I peeled my face from the wrinkled damp pillow.  Everything looked the same, but I was restored.  One night of sleep was all I needed to shake the zombie and step into the uncertainty of the days before me.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

the beginning of the end


Follow the story.
Read the previous entry here.

My decision to stay began the day that seemed like the end.  The beginning of the end, the end of the beginning, or something like that.

This is what happened.

November 12, 2011

Our 8 month separation has been pieced together with some sporadic 12-step work, weak therapy and our general half-ass attitude.  Sometimes I let him stay the night.  There's been some good sex and some really, really terrible sex.  Triggers eat away at me most days and my mind re-lives all the traumatic details of his undercover life.  Conversations weren't always peaceable.  Most ended with yelling, blaming, name calling and door slamming.  We didn't even live in the same house.

Desperately, I try and take care of myself and my children.  I listen to my sponsor.  Read.  Meditate.  Reach out to others and practice yoga.

One morning, Mr. Scabs offers to stay with our son while I go to yoga.

Riding my bike feels like freedom.   Cool air.  Hair.  My tires hit the wide sidewalk leading through the park.  Nodding to the homeless man on the park bench with his 2 dogs.

Freedom to let my mind wander...
"Being the dog of a homeless man would be the best dog life to live.  Running all over town, no fences and cuddling up with your owner each night.  Rummaging through trash and chasing cats..."

Swerving down the empty street I pull up to the yoga studio.  The door's locked.

Strutting with her free-bird confidence, Izzy, with her legs clad in tie-dye yoga pants and bouncy  short orangy-red curly hair, is waving wildly at me.  She teaches the 9am class.  Hollering, she announces that the studio is locked and she doesn't have a key.  Our class has been cancelled.

Back on my bike, I ride toward home.  Passing the thrift store, the bakery, the music store where my BFF works.  I pass through the park, by the man with 2 dogs, down Pepper St. then turn left up my road and into my driveway.  Chucking down the kickstand and balancing my bike, I turn the knob to the back door.  Everything is silent, like the house is keeping a secret.  My footsteps are mute and my breath is stolen.

Passing the office, I see the glow of his laptop.  He doesn't notice me.  My mute steps taking me within inches of his back.  Peering over his shoulder, I see everything.  The alluring photo of a dark-haired, half-dressed girl and a description of how she can satisfy anyone with cash.  I watch him scroll and click and scroll and click and then delete the history.

Watching from behind, I can smell his freshly washed hair and count the familiar moles on his neck.  I begin to think, "If I don't leave him now, this will be the rest of my life."

I'm not sure if he felt my body heat or if I began to breath again but he turned the chair and suddenly realized I was watching.

"What are you doing?"  I ask.

"nothing" he says.

My teeth clench.  What the hell?

Denial spilling from his lips. Stuttering, stammering completely lost.  Ping-ponging between what he wants and what he does.  He knows he has lost.

Everything breaks from this moment forward.  We lock, head to head, into a full scale brawl. A hurricane of piss and vinegar, grasping for shreds of dignity and scraps of some kind of understanding of our desperate life.  Yelling, blaming, swearing and maybe one dramatic face slap later Mr. Scabs is expelled, out the door.  I am finished.

Livid, pained and finished.

Two weeks later, a pile of papers entitled "Dissolution of Marriage" comes in the mail.  Thumbing through the pile, it's our life, broken into child support, co-parenting, property separation and the rules of divorce.  Each paper feels thick and important, officially ushering the termination of our marriage.

I sit silent, in the same room where everything ended, preparing myself for that final conversation with Mr. Scabs,
and ill with the thought of the terrible, terrible conversations I must have with my children.

This is the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Big Thaw

The holidays are over.  The new year is here.  It's time to plug back into the word and give some of my time back to regular writing here.  Thanks to all those who kept in touch via email, text, phone calls and the occasional awesome Christmas card!!  Thank you!

The Scabs home has felt a healthy dose of the Big Thaw.  Thanks to Mr. Scabs this holidays season has been the most memorable, the most loving, the most fun.  We have felt more whole than ever.  I see the difference in our children.  

The Big Thaw is fragile but it feels like a tipping point.

Enough change, transparency and humility from Mr. Scabs has allowed me to warm up to him.  Enough solid action and honest apologies.  Change is slow.  Even one year ago this change seemed impossible.   In fact, one year ago divorce papers were burning up a folder on my desk.  I had made up my mind.

So, this year I will tell the story of how and why I decided to stay.  
Isn't that the million dollar question?

Why do you stay?

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