One year later…

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A year ago, I wrote a lengthy blog post and detonated the remains of a really important relationship in my life. I’ve thought often about what might have been different if I’d known we’d be moving in six months. Could I have been patient? Would she have actually talked to me? Or was the feeling that she was ghosting out of our friendship correct? Who knows…

Healing is a funny thing. It has helped tremendously to be in a totally new environment. (Especially one in which I didn’t know her when I lived here before.) And for the most part, I’ve made my peace with the situation, but I find myself wishing I could text her about super random things. Like when the guy in front of me is buying a bag full of lemons. Or my mother-in-law goes to an impromptu Jazzercize class down the street. And those are the times that I miss her the most.

And while I am tremendously sorry that my blog post hurt her, and there are definitely things I would have phrased differently if I hadn’t been in such a messed up place myself, I can’t say that I’m sorry that I wrote it. I learned exactly how universal and strange losing a close female friend is and had some amazing conversations with people about it that I never would have otherwise. It definitely helped the healing process.

I still wish that she’d reach out, but I’m not counting on it. Whatever happens, I hope that life is treating her well and that she’s happy. I’m grateful for the parts of our friendship that were awesome and for the lessons learned from the less-awesome parts. I guess that’s all we can really hope for, isn’t it?

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Hanging in

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First off, I want to thank everyone for your amazing support. I couldn’t believe how many people reached out with their own stories of lost friendships or just some sympathetic words. It made being the blocking on Facebook and Instagram (of not just me, but pretty much anyone she knew through me) a little easier to bear. It’s dumb how much that hurts, but I suppose it’s a symbol of the larger hole in my life.

I’ve been trying to deal with the whole situation in as healthy a way as I can – going to yoga, keeping the eating healthy, trying to focus on the positive things in my life and look forward. That’s not to say there aren’t the occasional “too much wine” nights or sulking in the backyard moments, but I’m working on it. It helped that we had some great sunny weather last weekend, which lifted the whole city’s spirits. Here’s Wally soaking up the last of it with me on Monday evening:

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This weekend, the boy and I celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary (!!!) He’s got some epic surprise planned, so I’m sure there will be some good blogging material to come. Then after that, I’ve got a few awesome adventures planned for the first part of May, so this blog will get back on track soon with some more light-hearted posts.

Like a sister

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***Warning: this is going to be a VERY long and emotional post about my personal life. If I had a shrink, I’d be sharing all of this with them, but due to my crappy health insurance, that’s not an option right now, so I’m sharing this with you lucky people.***

This is a blog post that I probably shouldn’t write. It’s personal and it is never a good idea to put delicate thoughts and emotions out for public viewing. (People who know me in real life/long time readers of this blog will know who I’m talking about, but I’m not going to call her out by name or initial.) I know I should write this down in a private journal instead, but I’m putting it out here anyway, because I need to voice my side of the story. Because I don’t know that I’ll ever get to say any of this to her in person. Because it’s eating me up inside. And because, over the last week or so, reading other people’s blog posts about similar situations has been very comforting and helpful to me. Here’s hoping this will help some other poor bastard. (Hope you like to read, sir or madam… )

I knew that her having kids would change things. I’m not stupid, I don’t have to experience it personally to get that having a baby changes every fiber of your being. It’s a huge thing and I was prepared to roll with the punches, neither of us knowing what those would be. And for the first year, it was challenging but we rolled along pretty much okay. There were definitely sucky times where I really could have used the old her’s support, time and attention. But I still felt like she was there for me to the best of her ability.

Then, little by little, our friendship just felt more and more one-sided. It started to feel like her problems were a higher priority than mine. And that my friendship just wasn’t as important to her any more. She’d always seem to have time and energy for her other new mom friends, while our plans seemed to get cancelled more often than they used to. But I still believed that, when it really mattered, she’d be there for me.

Then T had a heart attack. And when I called her that first night, she unhesitatingly came to the emergency room and “distracted” me with the trials and tribulations of putting an offer in to buy her dream house. And I appreciated it at the time. But, the next day, when I asked her to come to the hospital to visit T and help me keep his spirits up, she begged off because “she hadn’t slept well the night before and just wasn’t feeling great.” They came by to visit when T was finally home from the hospital, crushed from losing their bid to buy the house. And somehow, I found myself comforting her, serving her wine on the couch while her toddler ran rampant in my home. I was devastated. In the days that followed, as other friends checked in to see how I was doing, she was not among them.

At this point, I absolutely should have sat down and had a conversation with her. Initially, I was just emotionally reeling at the whole “heart attack” experience and wanted to wait until I wasn’t so raw. I was afraid I’d say really hurtful things that I didn’t mean and couldn’t take back. But really, I was just afraid. I suck at telling people they’ve hurt me, because I fundamentally believe that they just won’t care. I hoped it would get better on it’s own. (I realize how dumb that is.)

Life went on. The feelings of not being important in her life, except for as a person to complain to, continued. Plans continued to be cancelled, to the point where it became a punchline for T and I. Texts and visits stretched further and further apart. It hurt and it sucked. Then the second pregnancy was announced. And it was “announced” by her not having some of the special wine that we’d opened at Thanksgiving and quietly confirmed by her husband in the kitchen. Later, when she “officially” told me (and another friend while we were out at a diner), she explained that she didn’t want to make a big announcement to the whole group. And I absolutely understood that.

But it was telling that we hadn’t spent any alone time together in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving or in the two weeks that followed. And that it wasn’t important to her to share this level of information with me any more. (In sharp contrast to the first one, where we were pretty much the first people who knew.) And that’s when I saw just how big of a shift had happened in our friendship. That she didn’t regard me the same way. And I didn’t know what to do about it.

We muddled through the holidays and tried to get together. And couldn’t seem to make it happen. We finally ended up popping by their house, (which was good, because otherwise I would have had a Christmas present for her kid lying around my house for two and a half months). I made a New Years resolution to myself that I wasn’t going to drive all of our interactions any more. That I’d happily respond to any overtures that she made, but I wasn’t going to make all of the effort.

Months went by, and except for 20 minutes when she brought back some items that she’d borrowed from me, I haven’t seen her. There have been some texts back and forth. At one point, I strayed from my resolution and sent a text about hanging out. Which was rewarded with a sharp text about how she was sick and potty training a toddler and didn’t have time to socialize. I really wanted to say something hateful in response. I was so hurt, but I forced myself to write something pleasant and hoped that some overture of friendship would follow.

Except for a text complaining about her crazy sister, that never happened. I didn’t respond to her text about her sister drama, but I felt bad and I sent her a happy birthday via text that went unanswered. Then I went to Catalina and ran a really crazy marathon and she wrote nice things on my social media, which felt hopeful. So, T and her husband tried to set up plans for us to hang out when we got back, only to have her pull the plug on them without suggesting other plans. There was this weird, obvious distance between us that I didn’t know how to fix. I invited them for dinner in the hopes that it would kickstart a conversation. And, success, she suggested that we sit down and have a conversation about what was going on between us.

While it would be overselling it to say I was happy, I was glad to finally have something on the calendar. Due to her mother-in-law being in town that weekend and then both of us being in Oregon the following weekend, we set a date that was two weeks away, (today, as it turns out). During that two weeks, I thought a lot about our impending conversation and noticed that she’d stopped following me on the social media that I can see (Instagram and Pinterest). It definitely gave me an ominous feeling, but even if she wanted to “break up with me” I would at least get some closure.

So, Friday rolled around and I sent a casual text asking her what she wanted to do. No response. There were shots from her beautiful maternity shoot on Instagram, but no response. Saturday around noon I sent a follow-up “Hello?” text to see what was up, knowing that it wasn’t likely to go well. I finally got a response saying she was having a rough time, that she didn’t respond to texts as quickly as she used to and that if I’d sent her a text saying hi and asking her how she was doing, it would have made her feel a lot better. And that she’s just not ready to have an emotional conversation about our relationship.

I’m going to pause here and remind the reader that my friend is pregnant and chock-full of hormones. I want to be very clear that I really do believe she is going through a hard time. This is not dramatics on her part, and I want to represent that fairly. But, at the same time, I have no way of knowing any of this and the text makes me really, really angry. But I take a few deep breaths and write the gentlest version of what I want to say, which is basically: I can’t possibly have known that and it’s unfair of you to hold it against me. I love you and I don’t know what to do anymore. When you’re ready to talk, I am here.

And so, a million words later, we come to the present moment. I obviously don’t know what the future will hold. I don’t know that we will ever have the conversation that needs to happen for us to be friends again, nor do I know what that friendship even looks like. I do know that we’ve been through a lot together and I would be very sad to see our friendship end like this. I have no doubt she could write her own lengthy blog post of grievances and I’m positive there are things that I’ve done that have hurt her just as deeply as she’s hurt me. And for that, I sincerely apologize. (Especially since this blog post may very well be one of them.)

I hope that we can find our way back to friendship. And I’m struggling through the anger, hurt, and other seething emotions to wish her well, should our friendship be over for good. (I’m not quite there yet, but I will be.) We once bonded over the phrase “like a sister” meaning super closeness because she had as tumultuous relationship with her sister as I have with mine. Our friendship allowed me to feel like I could understand what that could be like and we frequently joked about how we wished we could trade with our actual sisters. Ironically, now our relationship is like I’ve always personally interpreted that phrase: a confusing, emotional mine-field, filled with only my side of the story. It’s completely heart-breaking.

Crossroads

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So far, 2015 is off to a strange start. Some parts good, some parts not so much, it’s hard to put into words. I feel like I’m at this crossroads where, I’m not happy with where I am, but also not sure how to fix it. I find myself torn between wanting to leave Seattle and wanting to fix it. T had a lengthy job interview process at a well-known outdoor retailer based here in the Pacific Northwest, and the longer it went on, the more it started to feel like I was standing on this crossroads – one path: he got the job and the roots to our life here grew deeper, the other path: the universe is telling us to go. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the job, so we’re back to square one. 😦

Sorry for the downer intro, let’s move into some more positive territory, shall we? I’ll start with a random tidbit, we took advantage of a Kasala sale and finished upgrading our dining room. It’s looking pretty high-class up in this joint!

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I’ve also kept up with my trail running. It’s good for my brain and I’ve met some really awesome ladies. I signed up for the Catalina Marathon in mid-March and have been spending most weekends out on the trails:

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Occasionally, I bring along this little troublemaker. His joyfulness is something to behold. It’s like taking a kid to Disneyland. Even if my legs feel like crap or I’m struggling, he makes it better.

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The highlight was a 20-miler on this beautiful trail:

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It has been three years since I tackled this distance and I’d forgotten how much it hurts. But I tried to keep my head in the game and not fall into the mental death-spiral that has haunted so many of my long runs. It helped a lot and I’m pretty proud of myself.

There has been some socializing. I spent the Super Bowl playing Mexican Dominos with these two lovely ladies:

0215_SB-Dominos(The boys were actually watching the game… Whatever!)

We also recently got together with these bad influences:

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So, of course, there was good food and cocktails:

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Sadly, I don’t see too much of M these days. Motherhood and life seem to have swallowed her whole. I try to be understanding, but the bottom line is, it sucks. It’s lonely and contributes to my desire to leave Seattle.

To keep things “interesting”, T’s back is all messed up, he’s got a slipped disk and has spent much of this month in a lot of pain. (I’m starting to believe that someone has put a voodoo curse on him or something.) Thankfully, now that it’s been diagnosed, he’s been getting better, but still has a ways to go. He does have the healing power of these two goofballs:

0215_WallyTongue0215_CouchBoys So, that’s the state of things right now. I’m trying to figure it out, we’ll see how it goes!

What a week…

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In an effort to shake things up, I decided to try some new stuff last week. T is still doing a lot of travel for work, so I particularly wanted some activities on the calendar so I didn’t just hibernate in the house and get weird.

On Tuesday, I went to a meet-up book group called “Reading Between the Wines” that my friend Jenn had found. It’s never easy to go meet a group of strangers, but I really want to expand my social circle here. Plus, I’ve been wanting to join a book group for the longest time but had no idea on how to find one. (Kudos to Jenn for looking on meet-up.)

The group was great and I had so much fun. One of the women lived in Seattle at the same time I did in the nineties and even worked at the same theatre company as me. (The one that I moved to Seattle to work at and where I met T.) Crazy small world. I’m definitely looking forward to future meetings and getting to know everyone better.

My other big leap forward was finally going to a Husky Masters swim workout. I’ve been talking about going for the better part of a year, but just couldn’t seem to work up the nerve. But when I told Jenn about it, she agreed to go and thus I had an accountability partner. Then I roped T in and the three of us went to the Sunday workout.

It was scary and intimidating, but I just did the best I could. Luckily, it wasn’t super crowded, so even though I was probably in a faster lane than I should have been, it worked out. I swam further and for a longer time than I’ve done in a pool, probably ever. And it went by so quickly, I couldn’t believe it. I’m definitely going to make myself keep going. It will be tough, but my swimming will definitely improve.

Unfortunately, the rest of Sunday took a nose-dive as I was driving home from the grocery store and the Camry completely crapped out. It had been doing this weird gearing thing, but it had suddenly gotten worse and we were planning to take it to the mechanic on Monday. But one day earlier, it just wouldn’t go forward anymore – 3/4 of a mile from home on a rainy afternoon with a car full of groceries.

Thankfully, I could call T to come help me push the car out of the driveway it was blocking and wait with the car for AAA, while I walked the groceries home. When I got home, I discovered that young Austin decided to make my day even better by chewing up my favorite sandals:

BadDogHe was not my favorite dog. (T was also in trouble for not checking the living room for shoes, since this is a known target of young Austin… )

The next day, I was expecting the worst on the Camry, so I was very surprised to get a text from T that they thought it was only going to be a couple hundred bucks to fix it. Score! But then a little while later, he called back with “Oops, the transmission is shot, that will be thousands of dollars… ” So, for all intents and purposes, the Camry was dead. Luckily, our fabulous mechanic had a soft spot for Camrys and he offered us $500 bucks for it. Plus, it sounds like he’s actually going to fix it/drive it, which makes me happy for no good reason.

Good-bye, little Camry. You were very good to us!

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So now, we face the dizzying prospect of buying a new (to us) car and all of the idle thoughts of what kind of car we might want are suddenly all urgent and feel kind of overwhelming. Plus, T is traveling again this week and we’re going up to Jenn & Bryan’s cabin next weekend when he gets back, so there isn’t a lot of action I can take. Honestly, there’s not a lot of action that I need to take. I already take the bus to work and have easy bus or walking access to most stuff that I need. I think it’s more of an emotional panic since I haven’t not had a car in 22 years and it just feels weird and wrong.

But the upside is, I should have get an amusing blog post out of the car-buying process! Stay tuned…

 

Broken heart

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I suspect most of the readers of this blog have already seen this all on Facebook, but we had a little excitement in the DragonFire household this weekend. I sometimes find writing this blog to be very helpful in processing things, so that’s the main purpose of this post. Plus, you know… posterity and stuff.

Around the first of the year, T started back with running and swimming. And, no surprise, it wasn’t going well. He kept complaining that he couldn’t breathe well and it was harder than he expected it to be. He went to the doctor and they thought it was just lingering effects of a cold and we sort of wrote it off to getting back into the swing of things. Then on Friday, he texted me that he got winded walking with a co-worker and was making another doctor’s appointment to have things checked out. Great. Saturday, we ran some errands and I went out for a run and he took the dogs for a little walk. He came back sweaty and looking like he’d just done track repeats. I changed out of my running clothes thinking “We’re going to urgent care, I don’t care what that boy says!” and came out to find him looking up urgent care locations on his phone.

So, we headed off to urgent care. They thought it was angina, but didn’t have the equipment to test it and recommended we go to the ER. Luckily, we live pretty close to a nice hospital (where M had Rowan, btw.) The ER was pretty calm about it, saying they wanted to do an echocardiogram, but that they were sure everything was probably fine. For the next hour, that was pretty much the tone/standard phrase. They did the echo, the ER nurse said it looked pretty good, but that the cardiologist would be by soon. They took a bunch of blood for various labs. It all felt pretty routine. So much so, that I took this picture and put it on Instagram with the caption “Big fun Saturday night”.

BoyER(You can’t tell in the picture, but he has all kinds of little electrodes stuck to him already.) The cardiologist swung by and told us that it was likely they’d want to do an angiogram at some point, where they run a wire up through the artery and inject dye into the heart so they can see blood flow. And then the labs came back and they decided to do the angiogram right away. It sounds funny to say this, but everything was still very calm and matter of fact, there was no sense of panic or chaos. Even when there were four people in the room, putting in IV’s, shaving patches of T’s chest and sticking more things to him, it all felt totally in control and normal. I suspect this is a testament to the excellence of their staff, sort of like how dancers make their movements look effortless.

I accompanied T as far as I could and then headed home to feed the dogs and get them set up for a friend of ours to keep them company for the evening. I was gone probably 45 minutes to an hour and got back to the waiting room just a minute or two before the cardiologist came through. She sat down with me and explained that T did in fact have a pretty significant blockage in one of this arteries and that they’d put in a stent. She said he’d need to take it easy for a few weeks, but that she expected he’d make a full recovery. Then about 15-20 minutes later the surgeon came out and talked to me about the procedure. He even brought a printout for me to look at (I added a few details in Photoshop, cause I’m fancy like that):

StentBasically, that top circle should look like the bottom circle, that’s how much it was being blocked. The stent is like a little wire framework holding the artery open and keeping it clear. It’s kind of crazy that they can just do that with the casualness that you or I would put on a bandaid. I’d called M and she joined me at this point, right about the time they let us go up to see him in the ICU.

It was very surreal to see T in among the really sick people. On either side of him, there were folks with tubes everywhere who looked TERRIBLE. And except for having to lay very still from the hole in his leg where they ran the wire, T looked totally fine. He had been awake through the entire procedure and generally was pretty upbeat. We chit-chatted with M for a little while, then she headed home and we hung out for a little while longer. But he was starting to look tired, and lord knows it had been a long day, so I left him to get some sleep and headed home for a few hours.

Not surprisingly it wasn’t a super great night of sleep, but I got a few hours.  The next day was a juggling act of time with the dogs and time with T. We talked to the cardiologist from the previous night and she confirmed that he did indeed have a heart attack. They moved him out of the ICU, but wanted to keep him another day in the hospital to see how he was doing on all of the meds, which was tough. He didn’t really want to be there any more, but obviously we would follow doctor’s orders. They did come into to do an ultrasound on his heart, which was pretty amazing:

EchoBoyLuckily, there were two big football games on to keep him entertained. I left for a little while in the afternoon and returned for the final fifteen minutes and it was pretty awesome to listen to the reaction from all of the nurses as the Seahawks won the game. It was like surround sound. 😉

The next day, they finally released him and he was happy to come home. He’s supposed to take it very easy for the next three days, so he’s lounging on the couch watching movies and playing on the Playstation. Then we’ll start the rehab process and figure out what kind of work schedule he can handle. I’m still taking all of this in, but compared to last year’s hip surgery/Smokey Joe, this all feels strangely manageable. We’re lucky not to be the average person in this situation for whom this is a huge wake up call requiring major lifestyle changes. For us, it’s minor if any changes to diet/exercise protocol.

Mostly what I am is grateful. Grateful that we caught it early. Grateful that I have such great friends/family. And that’s not such a bad place to be.

 

Family portrait

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This year my sister and her husband were visiting my mom for Thanksgiving. Combined with my brother’s visit to me, all of her children were more or less in the same place and she really wanted a family portrait. (Especially since our last one has my sister’s ex-boyfriend in it, for some reason.) I understand that my mother values these family portraits, but I find it a bit strange. I LOVE pictures (obviously, given how many of them grace this blog.) I love looking back through mine and being instantly transported back to that moment in time. Each photo, no matter how mundane, is an instant memory. But my sister and I are still not speaking and I wasn’t super excited about memorializing this particular period in time.

Add to it that we’d be driving to and from Portland in one day (7 hours of driving, woo hoo!) and I can’t really say I was looking forward to it. Sigh. But like I said, I know it’s important to my mom, so I was willing to suck it up. Despite the fact that it meant an even earlier wake up call, we decided to start our morning off with a trip to the Capitol Hill location of Skillet.

SkilletCH I added a decadent bruléed grapefruit to my already fantastic breakfast:grapefruitThen it was time to drive. Thankfully, everyone was busy shopping and not on the freeway, so there was no traffic. The plan was to meet for lunch near the Clackamas Shopping Center and we made it there without incident. It was awkward to be seated across from my sister but not talk to her or even say hello. Then it was even more awkward to feel like everyone else at the table was watching me to see my reaction, etc. Since I’m not typically the “silent treatment” type, the whole thing sucked. My mom, Nerissa and I had opted for a nice cocktail, which helped ease the tension. Erik also makes an excellent distraction and chattered with Allissa and Paul about the house they’re planning to buy, which eased some of the awkwardness.

Then it was time to head to the photographer’s studio. There’d been some talk about doing the shoot outside, which seemed like a bad idea to us, but we left it to my mom to make the final call. I think the photographer was really sold on the idea, as he didn’t really give my mom much of an option. The downside, besides the fact that it was freezing, was getting my dad to where he wanted to shoot. It was really difficult to get his wheelchair over the rough terrain, but we got it done. The photographer went to get some equipment, so we got back there to see a dark, creepy shed filled with hay bales:

CreepyShedAnd a mossy gazebo:

CreepyGazeboAt this point, it was feeling really worthwhile to get my dad back there… We all milled around in the cold while we waited for the photographer:

FamilyCircleFinally, things got underway. We’ve had a lot of these family portraits taken, with a wide range of photographers, but far and away the worst kind: the “schticky” photographer. This guy was from the “Take my wife. Please.” school of “comedy.” It was the worst. Particularly, when his patter would range into the insulting territory. Teasing my socially awkward brother about his receding hairline? Super uncool. But in our usual fashion, we made our own fun:

NerissaHijinksErik has “livened up” many a photo shoot with his inappropriate humor. I’m going to guess from the expressions on my parent’s faces, that this would be one of those times:

ErikHijinksA rare shot of my two brothers getting their picture taken:

BrothersThe whole experience was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. We had to pretty much drive back home right after the picture, since Wally was in his crate for most of the day (save for a visit from the dog walker). We came home, had some leftovers and had a fun evening drinking wine and playing Cards Against Humanity. Very much looking forward to getting to sleep in tomorrow!