Friday, September 16, 2016

My Cousin Vinny

The classic 1992 court room comedy starring Joe Pesci and Marissa Tomei is still a highly quotable and overall enjoyable film to this day. So, that being said, I'm going to completely contrast hilarious courtroom hi jinks of the 90's with my incredibly heartbreaking and somber courtroom experience I had on Wednesday, September 14th, 2016. Honestly, I'm beginning to despise Wednesdays. For some, it marks the middle of the week, inching everyone ever closer to the weekend, but, for me, it marks a day my wife abandoned our marriage, and a day my wife officially divorced me. So, fuck Wednesdays. Thursday, you're still okay, buddy.
So, yes, my lawyer called me last minute to attend court, as her lawyer and mine were hashing out the dissolution of our marriage and they apparently came to a swift agreement. So, I had to leave work and hump it out to Atlantic City Courthouse to finalize my divorce. I met my attorney in the hallway on the second floor, completely ignoring her, as she did me, and he gave me the basics of what was about to transpire in the courtroom. Shortly after that, we were all called in and sat at our respective tables. Mine had a plaque that read: "Defendant". Nick, Nicky, Nicholas, Mr. Bruno, Randy Watson, I had been given many names, but never defendant. It was surreal.
We waited on the judge, as he was in his chambers, presiding over another matter. So, we waited for around 15 to 20 minutes. In that time, my ex sat with her new b.f.f.l. (Best Friend For Life)/lawyer and they proceeded to laugh and joke about many a personal thing, that I clearly would have no knowledge of, in any capacity. In short, she was happy. A police officer had entered the court room who had known her attorney, she introduced him to my ex, and they flirted...right in front of me. I can see them now, recalling how they met, down the road, at our divorce. That alone was hard to bear witness to, and honestly I wish it upon no one. My ex chose to not treat the divorce process with the respect and gravity it deserved. She chose to act immature and childish. It was heartbreaking.
The judge entered, we stood, then we sat. He laid out how the proceedings would go and what we needed to say. My ex went first. Her b.f.f.l. asked questions they had most likely rehearsed dozens of times prior. It's as if she was acting and she couldn't wait to read her lines in front of everyone. It was, essentially, like a reverse wedding where instead of "I do", it's "I don't , not anymore."
I was next. My lawyer turned to me with the same line of questions. My responses were simple "yes" and "no". I stated them with a wavering voice all while staring at my blue, weathered plaque: "Defendant".
The whole proceeding lasted about an hour, it was the longest hour of my life. Her mother and sister eventually showed up to support her and sat behind me. I acted contrary to my normal, confrontational personality and simply stared ahead, at that plaque, into some fictitious abyss. After the divorce was finalized, she presented papers to change her last name, right then and there; using the final eraser stroke to completely remove me and us from existence forever. Then, it was over.
We stood as the judge left, she walked behind me to exit, I continued to look forward. Out in the hallway, I overheard her state something to the effect of "Thank God it's done." Again, immature and childish. My attorney, who had personally been through a similar situation, took the time to console me. It was kind of him. I walked down to the lot to my vehicle and proceeded to drive back to work. During that 50 minute drive, there was no feeling of relief, no joy, no hope...just sadness. Like that, it was over. Like that, none of it ever mattered.

*Not my attorney

Escape from New Jersey

Yes, my title pays homage to John Carpenter's/Kurt Russell's 1981 collaborative effort, "Escape from New York". Of course, their 1982 horror re-imagining, "The Thing", is still by far my favorite. Although, in order to use that title; I believe I'd have to reference my penis. I mean, I do like my penis, but I do not believe it deserves it's own article. Okay, enough about Mr. Wrinkles, because I want to discuss my eventual exodus from Southern Jersey.
So, after much thought and consideration, I've decided that, in the end, ultimately, I have to leave NJ in order to move on with my life. I lived down here almost 8 years, and as I reflect upon everything, I just can't help but think that I wasted my life down here. I mean, essentially, I'll be returning with what I had left with...plus two dogs. My choice to leave NY was for my ex-wife and our future marriage, and now that is gone. I've come to the realization that there is really nothing keeping me here and I'm not going to stay here to spite her. I've already wasted too much time away from my friends and family at this point.
Now, after all this, people wonder if I'm down on marriage or moving for the one you love. Short answer: no. Marriage is an incredibly rewarding experience when it works. As the years progress, at least for me, you end up loving the person more and more. Unfortunately, as my ex-wife, claimed in court, our marriage was beyond repair for the better part of three years, despite there being, oh I don't know, holidays, birthdays, vacations and the basic day to day in there that would contradict what she had stated. So, she would say she loved me less and less, essentially. But, despite that, I still believe doing anything for those you love with the best of intentions can be a good thing. But, as I'm a perfect example, best of intentions can be for nothing in the end. Which is a shame, but really, that's life.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Police Academy

I had intended to write and post a different blog today, but given the recent events in Dallas, I've decided to put it on the back burner, as I believe, the callous, cowardly acts of the shooters/snipers against the Dallas Police Department should be addressed. Why? Because, my older brother, Brian is a police officer. He's also a husband, a father, a son and a brother. He's a representation of a national police force that selflessly "serves and protects" all of us. The incidents that have occurred over the past several years in regard to the use of "deadly force" have been hotly debated, publicized, scrutinized, and sensationalized by all forms of the media and by extension, the internet; leading to an overall negative view of police officers nationwide.
We all have our opinions in regard to the police and the criminals/"victims" they've had to encounter while on the job. For me honestly, it's not a question of race, but a question of being a fucking criminal. You see, if you commit a crime, carry a pistol illegally, intend to hurt someone, or perform any of the innumerable criminal acts that are classified as "breaking the law"; the police will respond, then you will most likely come into conflict with them. It's pretty much a given. Police officers are trained to use their best judgement and skill set to assess a situation and react, sometimes within a fraction of a second. Many people fail to realize this and dismiss their actions as careless, excessive or unnecessary. It's easy to make these judgements from the sidelines after an incident has occurred, all with the wonderful benefit of 20/20 hindsight vision.
I love my brother. I've looked up to him since I was a child. We don't always get along, but we are still brothers. Of the two of us, he's the more level headed, knowing what to do and how to resolve a situation without letting his anger and emotions motivate him. Me, not so much. He's been a police officer for ten plus years, and he just recently made Sergeant. He has a masters degree in Criminal Justice and is more than capable of making the right decisions. He's chosen a profession where he protects others without regard for himself.
Look, here's how I see it, we thank our troops for their service, for defending our way of life, we thank firefighters for running into a burning building, and yet we neglect to thank police officers for putting their lives on the line everyday, locally, for us. We vilify them. We take them for granted. We shouldn't. Nor should we let the media fan the flames of hate with negative perceptions of these brave men and women, which then evolves into a wildfire, that in turn, incites such an extreme reaction from a few racist assholes. Those officers in Dallas, all while be targeted and shot at, defended those same people who were protesting against them. Think about that for a moment...let it sink in. Next time you see an officer, thank him or her for their service, because in the end, they're just doing their job...protecting you.

My brother, Brian with my niece, Ava.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Throw Momma From the Train

First off, I would never conspire to have my mother thrown from a train, despite what the 1987 Danny DeVito / Billy Crystal dark comedy film presupposes. Mom, Ma, Brenda, Polack, Pain in the Ass. All names I've come to associate with her in my 35 years on earth. What can be said about her? Those who know her, know where they stand with her. Either she likes you or she doesn't. There's no in-between, nor should there be in life. Gray, is an easy way to describe feelings towards any one person, but black and white, makes me sleep at night....that was an unintentional rhyme.
Brenda, a third generation 100% Polish American born in Poughkeepsie, NY, is the middle child of three and quite frankly, the most capable. She always has been. My grandparents, what little I knew of them, were for lack of a better word, alcoholics and dismissive. My mother, took care of her youngest brother in the absence of her oldest sister, my aunt, as she had left for greener pastures. So, to have so much responsibility thrust upon you at a young age can be daunting, to say the least. Yet, she did it. With the help of my Great Aunt Mika, and a simple take no shit attitude, she survived and at the same time, took care of her brother.
My Mother has been a symbol of forward momentum, an unstoppable juggernaut of "fuck you", I can do this, for many years. She's encountered many obstacles and assholes in her life, all while taking the hits and moving forward. She achieved management positions at IBM in the 70's, 80's, and 90's through sheer will. Most men, are intimidated by strong women. Not me. I was raised by one. Every time I've encountered someone with a strong, aggressive personality, I've always said or thought: "My mother could do worse."
Strong women exist. They have existed. This is nothing new. Regardless of your sex, if you're capable, you're capable. Men can be weak. Trust me, I've met my share, confronted them, and found them...lacking. So, it's here that I thank mom for my lack of interest in avoiding conflict, because there are so many who would rather avoid speaking their mind; and honestly, it's the few who accept confrontation who pave the way for those who simply remain silent and step aside. But, that's why we butt heads, Mom and I, it's the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object...or maybe we're just two, stubbborn Polacks. Honestly, I wouldn't have our relationship any other way...

A crumpled, colored on Poloroid...yup that's us.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Two Dogs and a Man

I attempted to reference "Three Men and a Baby", unfortunately there is no actual child and I'm only one man. But, I do exude the 80's sexiness of Steve Guttenburg, Tom Selleck and Ted Danson combined, so that's a considerable plus. Yes, losing Homer has been difficult and quite frankly it's going to be hard to get past. I honestly don't believe I'm ever going to see him again. I'm coping, but it's difficult as he's my dog and my son, and I will miss him. But, as I've stated in previous posts, from darkness, there is light, and that being said, I've adopted my brother's seven year old Miniature Pinscher, Jessie!
Interestingly enough, Min Pins are not in fact, Doberman Pinschers who have been left in the dryer for waaay too long, it's actually a common etymological misconception. Min Pins are more of a cross between a German Pinscher, Italian Greyhound and Dachhsunds. So, it's like a German sausage combined with a skinny stromboli in a hot dog bun that barks.
Anyhoo, my brother and sister-in-law were kind enough to let me take her off their hands, as they have enough on their plate with two daughters, two cats and another dog, and since it's just Hermes and I, it made that much more sense to taker her. I've had Jessie for several days now, and she's been quite the snuggle bug. The tiny squeaker likes to be where you are, and literally sit and lay on you. Of course, she's small enough, that I barely notice. I actually have a buddy when I now play video games, as she sits on my lap and the armchair, quietly watching me shoot demons from hell in "Doom". Yay for company, and shotguns!
Hermes and her get along really well as both are energetic and enjoy running around outside, taking in the summer breeze. They're still getting use to each other, but in the end, I know they'll make great siblings. I know Hermes misses Homer as much as I miss him, but we've got to make the best of this situation. So, the house now feels slightly more full with a 15 pound dog added to the mix, and an extra set of puppy paws clicking and clacking on the hardwood floor. In a strange way, it feels more like home with two dogs, even though it has been my home for the past three and a half years.
So, what's today's message? For the past six months, I've been struggling with why everything has happened and why I've spent eight years of my life down here. I've been trying to make sense of all it. I know that it's not going to all come at once, like some large epiphany, (which I believe is bullshit), but more like a mental puzzle; but one that's composed of disparate pieces, slowly being assembled in an attempt to form a bigger, cohesive picture. Currently, one piece is taking care of Jessie, because I believe it's the right thing to do. I see that I need her as much as she needs me.

She likes bald men.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Like Father, Like Son

Yes, the title is from an obscure 1987 comedy starring the late Dudley Moore and Kirk Cameron. We, of course, had it on VHS, as my mother owned numerous films on tape and we were kind of like Bruno Blockbuster. Again, for you kids, VHS is an acronym for Video Home System. You see, you had to place a cassette tape in a "VHS player", then watch it, then, if you wanted to re-watch it, you needed to rewind the damn thing and wait at least 5 minutes. Shit. The video quality was also subpar when compared to today's "4K HD 1080p holy shit the football players are in my living room" video clarity, we all take for granted. But, I digress. So, today's blog is about my dad, Art, Art-man, Dad, or as my mother affectionately calls him: "Art, you asshole." I honestly thought that was his name until I was eight years old.
My father came down this past January to keep me company and we were able to catch up on a few things. I've mentioned him in previous posts, and the lasting impact he's had on me to "do the right thing" and be a "good man." He's a rare father figure, born in 1945, counting on my fingers, that's almost 71! He's lived through the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90...you get the point, and he still maintains a moral compass that I've yet to really see in anyone male his age or younger. Examples? As I'm sure you're asking, well, I have a few...
Having married my mother, a strong independent woman, whom I'll address in another post, my father was above the sexism that usually permeated his generation and era. If he really wanted a woman who kept her opinions to herself and cooked in the kitchen, then he clearly wouldn't have married my mother. So, I'd like to think of my father as progressive in that sense. Of course, my mother's general "take no shit attitude" rubbed off on my father after 45 years, but, I'd like to think that some of his rational, less than aggressive approach to conflict has rubbed off on her...wait, no, it hasn't.
My father never drank, although he did smoke for 6 months in high school, he was a good son to his mother, my grandmother, Rose, staying with her and keeping her company in an empty house; as he was the youngest of four and felt it was the right thing to be with his mother. He's an intelligent man, reluctant to take praise for his accomplishments or simply doing what needs to be done in the face of darkening adversity. He seeks no joy in humiliating others, just simply talking to them and being a decent person.
So, yet again...what's my point? I believe, on some level, all men eventually become their fathers. I see it in myself at 34. I sound like him, I make noises like him, creaking, cracking, snoring, I hum like him, I have his ears, I even am starting to grow the "Bruno Sunroof", i.e. balding, if I didn't shave my head. It's funny, my dad use to read the Poughkeepsie Journal on weekends in the living room, and I would remember putting my hands on his face to touch his stubble and thinking how scratchy it was; I get that same feeling when my stubble grows in, or if I ever shave my beard. I feel my face, but at the same time I feel my father's. I catch myself saying things he would, words of wisdom or insight. But most of all, I try to keep my moral compass straight, just as he's done many times, even though I've faltered in the past...a lot..I need it now more than ever.

Art and Nick

Nick

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Funny People

Yes, the title is from the nepotism filled Sandler/Apatow film that I really didn't care for when I saw it years ago, but, it's the only title that came to mind. Funny, hilarious, humorous. I've heard them all. I'm not confident with many things, but who is? I know I'm funny. I enjoy making people laugh and seeing their reactions. What I'm currently experiencing is extremely difficult and I need humor to cope. Many of you that I'm close to know that I've been making jokes in regard to my divorce with the Plaintiff. Yes, she's now known to me as the Plaintiff going forward. Why? Why the hell not?
I figure if I can make everyone else laugh, then why can't I make myself giggle about all of this? So, below are some zingers I've been using. They're funny and sad, but humor and grief walk the same, fine line, and it's really just about context. So, in no particular order, here are some jokes about my divorce. Enjoy. Also, they might not all be comedic gems.

1) When I go to bars we use to frequent and the familiar bartender asks me: "Where's your wife?", and I reply with: "That's a good question, I don't know."

2) I'm going to hold off on throwing anyone birthday parties going forward, as it appears the last one didn't go as planned, due to it resulting in a divorce.

3) My previous ex took my air conditioner and my wife took our air mattress. I'm starting to think I should write my name on anything I own that contains the word "air".

4) When we all go to the courthouse, I can finally say to my wife and her family: "So this is where everyone has been? I never thought to look here."

5)  My birthday is coming up on June 19th, and I'm not sure if I should be expecting a gift from the Plaintiff. Maybe a card? Although, she did get me divorce papers...

6) Plaintiff, I know I changed the locks, but you're more than welcome to come over whenever you want when I'm not home.

7) Your Honor, I honestly just thought she went to Wawa to get coffee and gas these past 6 months.

8) So, that's a definite "No" in regard to attending Thanksgiving and Christmas?

9) Ok, Plaintiff, I know you want a divorce, but I have just one question: "Did you at least enjoy your birthday party?"

10) So instead of "I do.", it was more of a "I kinda do."?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

E.T.

Abandoned, rejected, left behind and forgotten. These are the words that come to mind when I think of the friends and family I've lost, while going through this divorce. Although, at this point, I don't believe they deserve the title of ''family'' or "friend", or "human", for that matter. Yes, much like E.T., I waddled my little, wrinkly ass out of the space ship, wandered off too far and then, the bastards took off without me. Although, unlike E.T., I doubt I'll befriend a little boy, as the state of NJ frowns on that sort of thing, and I don't think "phoning home" is going to magically make them return. But, much like E.T. I do enjoy Reese's Pieces and drinking beer in a bathrobe. So, I'll take the good with the bad.
One of the harder things of this divorce, aside, from my wife leaving, is that everyone else went with her. It's understandable that her family would take her side, what family wouldn't? But, the first night she left, I attempted to contact each and every one of them, to see if she was okay, as she gave no indication of where she was going. No one answered my call. In the months that followed, friends that we had made together, neglected me in a similar manner. I did not reach out to any of them, but none of them attempted to reach out to me. So, yes, abandoned, rejected, left behind and forgotten.
Most of them, I knew and loved the entire eight years I've lived down here in NJ. I helped her parents when I could, respected her grandparents, and aunt, aided in moving her sister twice and parents just this past November. I had all of these people in my home numerous times over the years and most recently; for her birthday on January 2nd of this year. She left me January 6th. I've spoken to no one since her birthday.
So, yes, I'm angry, bitter, pissed, upset, and anything else I can feel at this time. I've been forgotten, made a phantom or ghost. Someone to never be spoken of, ever again. They made their choice, and whether they simply don't care or don't know what to do, the end result still represents apathy, neglect and rejection. Personally, that's something I could never do, but unfortunately, when shit goes south, you find out who people really are and what they can do; it's just a shame that most of the time, they simply do nothing. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go buy some candy and beer.

Wash...
Rinse...   
Repeat...

                                                                             

Monday, May 16, 2016

Do the Right Thing...

"Be a good man." Words my father instilled in me since I was a young boy. Words I carried with me for a very long time. Unfortunately, as I go through this divorce that I didn't ask for nor want, I feel like anything but a "good man." I feel overwhelmed with anger, sadness, and grief. I feel compromised, morally, by circumstance, reactive to what has been done to me. "Be a good man" is a hard rule to abide by at this moment in time.
Everyone on the outside looking in thinks that my ex deserves anything and everything she has coming to her. On the flip side of that coin, most likely, everyone on her side of this fight, thinks I deserve everything that is coming to me, but, in the end, as I previously stated, no one wins. So far, divorce has been nothing more than a "tit for tat", a continued attempt of "You've done this, so I'll do that." It's continuous escalation, pure and simple; where only the lawyers benefit, as they siphon money from the substantial retainer that is meant to keep them in your employ, and protect you, legally. Well, at least mine. I doubt she's paying a fraction of what I'm paying in legal fees. Yay for her father being best friends with a lawyer!
But, despite all of this, I continue to "try" and do the right thing. More than what she deserves and, I think, more than what I deserve. I maintain and bear the sole financial responsibility of our home, despite the fact that she has chosen to no longer pay her half of the vested interest in a residence where we are currently both listed as co-owners on the deed. I still support her, by law, within the health care spectrum; and reside and remain as the caretaker of our residential investment. I, am, in no way, attempting to slander her, though, fact are facts, and the previously mentioned above statements are acts of shittiness; so, I'll let you, the reader, decide on her level of selfish/atrocious behavior she has exhibited, and decide if it's unfair and unwarranted. So, as previously inquired in other posts, what's my point? Simple, with respect to divorce, you both start out wanting to be civil and considerate of each other, but honestly, it just devolves into a chaotic mess, where you feel compromised on every level, and less like the "good man" you have strived to be most of your life. To me, that's one of the worst feelings I could ever experience. For what I've done and continue to do in the midst of this divorce, and the fact that, everyday, I have to look at myself in the mirror and be "ok" with choices I've made and will continue to make until this is all over.

Monday, May 9, 2016

All Dogs Go to Heaven

 Dogs. I love them. I love them more than people. I have two, well had two, as my wife and I have split up Homer and Hermes. When she abandoned our marriage over five months ago, she took both dogs with her. She offered to bring one back, of course, I advised her to keep both; as I had yet to realize where this fucking fiasco was going. As time passed, we agreed to split them up, and I now have Hermes. I have not seen Homer since he was taken on January 6th.
When I tell people this story, most react with: "Just get another dog." Clearly anyone who makes such an ignorant statement has never had a dog or pet. I don't want to simply replace him. I raised him and Hermes from when they were both puppies, along with my wife. They are my sons, and together with my wife, we were a family. So, no, I will not be replacing him. Unfortunately, dogs are considered property and there is no real right to shared custody in regard to a divorce. So, for the time being, I have to accept that I will most likely never see Homer again. That is painful and hard to swallow. 
I also feel bad for Hermes, as he lost his brother and his play mate. I know he looks for him around the house, as he does my wife, only to find empty rooms and silence. It's sad to see, but it is the reality going forward. I try to keep him busy as much as possible, taking him for walks, taking him up to NY with me when I travel, and spend as much free time with him that I can afford. We're best buds, braving this storm together. I'm happy to have him, because I need him right now as much as he needs me.
One last thing, people always ask what inspired their names. Homer is from the Greek author of "The Odyssey" and "The Iliad"...kidding, he's named after Homer Simpson. Although, Homer is quite intelligent, I just liked the name. Hermes origins are somewhat sadder. He was born to a litter of six pups, who were dumped on the side of the road in Georgia. He and his siblings were brought up to NJ to Puppies and More Rescue where my wife and I volunteered. We took in two pups, Maggie, she was brown and already spoken for; and Artemis, black, who I convinced my wife to adopt. Unfortunately, the entire litter came down with parvo, a disease that is caused due to the lack of nutrients provided by the mother.
Well, Maggie became ill, within two days of having her. During that time, I slept on the dining room floor with both of them because I did not want to leave them alone. She went to the vet and eventually passed. Our concerns grew for Artie, but had shown no signs until several days later. My wife took her one morning, I tearfully said goodbye and that I would see her again, and went to work.
We visited the remaining pups in quarantine, with IV's in their arms, all succumbing to parvo, except little Hermes, he was named Murphy at the time. He was up and his tail was wagging.
Artie passed a few days later along with the other pups. Hermes was the only survivor. We offered to take him and make the best we could from this horrible situation.
His name, like Homer and Artemis, has origins in Greek mythology. He is mainly considered as a god of transition and speed. But, he's also known as a Psychopomp or "guide of souls". So, he was there to help his siblings as they moved on from this world. So, yes, sad origins for a name, but good came from bad.
It's something I have to learn and accept about life. There is darkness and sadness, but born form both can be light and happiness, it just takes circumstance and time.

Homer and Hermes Bruno, my sons.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Aliens

Yes, I know, it's been awhile since I've posted anything. My apologies, as I am currently going through a divorce. Yes, despite my best efforts, my wife felt there was no salvaging our marriage and relationship of eight years. Despite selling my vast collection, despite seeking therapy, despite wanting to make things work, despite giving her time and space. She knew she no longer wanted to be married to me, but she selfishly waited to get through her best friend's wedding, (almost 20 days after she had made this critical decision), before she told me. I'll be honest, it's hard, and we have a ways to go until everything settles.
So for those of you contemplating divorce, consider everything that comes with it. Divorce is final. It's destructive, it decimates, it destroys, it hurts...no good comes from it. Honestly, when the dust settles, no one wins. So, yes, at this point, I don't consider myself the optimist. I'm leaning more towards a nihilistic view of things. The light at the end of the tunnel is so far off in the distance, I can't even see it.
Of course, first dealing with the separation, and the then hearing those four lovely words: "I want a divorce", which signals an even more depressing and lengthy path and passage of time, wears on you substantially. It crushes you in ways you never thought possible. Much like that time Linda Hamilton crushed the first T-800 in the hydraulic press at the end of "Terminator". Sorry, I should have lead with a spoiler alert.
So what's my point? My world is falling apart. All of it. I'm looking for something to tether me to the ground during this F5 tornado, much like Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt in "Twister", which is a great film, incidentally. This leads me into the title of this blog, Aliens. It is a 1986 sci-fi, action, horror film directed by pre-Titanic James Cameron. It's one of my favorite films of all time and still stands as one the best action films; with a strong female lead in Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley, 30 years prior to Charlize Theron's Imperia Furiosa in "Mad Max: Fury Road".
In 1991, my father lost his job at IBM after being employed there for over 25 years. Massive layoffs were happening all over the company and the Mid-Hudson Valley was hit pretty hard. My father, my mother, my brother and I were now faced with a horrible reality. I was young then, 10, and I understood the implications of what had happened. I could see the worry and despair on my father's face, and the weight and concern he felt for his family and our future.
One Tuesday, shortly after he was laid off, he took me to Jamesway, (throwback department store for you kids, Google it), and bought me a toy, an action figure, Corporal James Hicks, from the Aliens toy line. He bought it for me, because he didn't want me to think, and see, that the world around us was crumbling. He instilled in me the hope, and belief that eventually, everything would be ok. In time, things worked out for the better; my father found another job and we all moved on with our lives. But, those times were dark and uncertain. Much like what I'm currently experiencing.
So, I decided to find my tether, my beacon. I went on eBay and for $11, I purchased the exact same action figure my father had bought me 24 years earlier. It's a symbol of hope, a reminder to me that though the world around me is crumbling, eventually it will get better. It has to...

  
Corporal Dwayne Hicks by Kenner

Monday, February 29, 2016

Toys

Okie dokie, time to give Collectibles NJ some over due credit in regard to helping move my substantial collection. As we have pretty much concluded our business transaction that started almost two months prior. I posted this on their web page, but I wanted to address them here as well.


What can I say about Kevin and Collectibles NJ? They delivered on every level and more that was promised. I sought out to sell my collection, and hit every conceivable roadblock; I tried eBay myself, but the task was too daunting for one person. I tried contacting other businesses that “supposedly” dealt in these types of sales, but met no success or commitment; with most looking to cherry pick my items. But, in regard to Collectibles NJ, they were able to listen, help and more than delivery. Kevin had moved my entire collection of statues, 1/6th scale figures and other miscellaneous toys with such finite precision I’d never seen or thought possible. They accomplished in about a month, what would’ve taken me a year. Granted, I had a substantial amount of inventory, but despite the challenges, I now sit here with zero collectibles and a sizable financial return on my “inadvertent” investment. Through our entire arrangement, Kevin made himself available to me at all times, with full transparency in regard to our contract and sales. I want to thank Kevin and his staff at Collectibles NJ for your time and help. You’ve made a difference. Keep up the good work.

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Wolverine

Today's post is kinda of short, but I wanted to give a shout out to my favorite Canadian X-man, no, not Deadpool, (although the movie was hilarious and bad-ass, all while being a welcome change up from the onslaught, pun intended, of Marvel's world building films), I'm, of course, speaking of Wolverine. 

Yup, old man Logan himself. For me, this character, despite never really existing, has become a symbol of strength and resilience for me. Growing up, Wolverine or Logan, was my favorite comic book character. I collected most of his stand alone series and his collaborations with the X-Men or Spider-Man, or whomever he happened to cross paths with back in the 80's and 90's. Why? Simple. He's a great character. I mean, sure, he was cool looking, as he had adamantium bonded to his skeleton, an accelerated healing factor and retractable claws, so what kid wouldn't love him and be like "Oh cool"? But, despite all of those factors, he always felt real. He's a character who has experienced love and loss, succumbs to his anger and aggression from time to time, an on again, off again loner, and he still tries to do what's right, even if he fails. Now, I haven't really read most, if not all, of the contemporary Wolverine comics, and I recall hearing that he died. I call bullshit. Wolverine can't die. I mean, he's Wolverine, bub. Oh well, I guess that is just the very old man/comic book fan in me; waiving his fist at the metaphorical children, while yelling things like: "Get off my lawn you little bastards!", and "Back in my day, there was no Marvel cinematic universe, dammit! We had Dolph Lundgren as The Punisher. And we were happy to have him!"


Sidenote 1: To any comic fans who might read this blog, I'm aware of the fact that Deadpool was never part of the X-men.

Sidenote 2: We also had a 1990's Captain America film. It was...eh...how do I say this? Not good. So yes, I do appreciate the abundance of comic films today, though I do believe the market is currently over-saturated; and heading towards an eventual apocalyptic, pun intended, bubble burst. But, that's just my opinion. I mean, what do I know? I like pineapple and ham on my pizza, and a thumb up my ass. Kidding, kidding. I meant a pinky. Sweet and salty. Giddy up.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Enter the Dragon

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” - Bruce Lee

Yea, Bruce Lee. We all know him. Master and originator of Jeet Kune Do and overall bad-ass who has yet to be surpassed, to this day, with regard to said bad-assness, at least in my opinion. If you have the opportunity, look up the interview where he states this quote. I believe it's on Youtube or Vimeo, or some other form of streaming service. You will find it to be a rewarding experience, much like pressing your ass cheeks against the wall of a glass enclosed shower for all outside to view.

Search: "Pressed Ham"

 So, yea, be like water, it's something to reflect upon...well, for me. With OCD, as I've stated in previous posts, there's a lot of routine. And with that, a lot of inflexibility in regard to routine. 
Obsessive vacuuming. Yea, two words, which when put together sound entirely at odds and out of place to a "normal" person. It's like hearing "pickled blinking", or "stammered fornicating", or "fellated clowning" for the first time. Now, I just made all of them up, but I'm sure they do exist...somewhere on the internet. 

I vacuumed a lot. I mean, before  I went to work, if I had to the opportunity after I got home, and before bed. It. Was. A lot. It gradually worsened right before my wife left. Then she left and I knew things had to finally change. It's taking time and still continues to do so, but, right now, it's dropped substantially. Now, I'm lucky if I vacuum once every two weeks. But, something I never thought I could never stop myself from doing, is starting to happen. It's surprising and strange. It's because, I'm making a continued effort with myself and therapy. It's because I'm trying to be like water. I'm trying to be flexible. Never truly setting into a routine. Never truly succumbing to the OCD like I once did. For the first time in regard to my OCD, I'm trying. Some things you really can't break, like when you go to work, take lunch, go to bed, etc. They just are what they are. I know for me, routine, in regard to OCD is bad. I never truly realized how much it took over my life nor my wife's. The daily to weekly cleaning became routine. The routine became inflexible. The inflexibility contributed to the strain on our marriage. All bad. 

I'm learning to cope. I'm learning to sit with my anxiety and not feed Phil, the monster. I've got a long ways to go, and sure I'll fall, and make mistakes, and there are going to be good days and bad days, success and failure, but, all along the way, I'll continue to be like water. At this point, I have every intention to flow, not crash. 


Friday, February 19, 2016

Hyde Park Bruno

Today, I want to take a break from the OCD and talk about being a transplant. Having left NY for NJ so many years ago, I feel it's something I can honestly and accurately speak about. So, my title references a little known 1997 comedy starring John Cusack called, "Grosse Pointe Blank". It's a story about an assassin, Martin Blank, who returns to his hometown in Grosse Pointe, Michigan for his ten year high school reunion. Of course hilarity ensues as he attempts to reconnect with high school girlfriend,  and his past, all while tasked with carrying out a contract hit, at the same time! Comedic gold! It's actually more of a dark comedy versus a straight forward comedy. But, watch it and judge for yourself.
Now, there's a scene in the film where he attempts to return to his childhood home, and reconnect with his roots, but to his surprise, it's been turned into a mini mart. I know, it's seems like an odd choice to open a place of business in the middle of  a residential area, but as we're all well aware, Hollywood is completely disconnected from reality, so, eh. Anyway, he calls his therapist while in the mini mart and states: "You can never go home again...but I guess you can shop there." It's actually a really funny line, and it's been in my head, growing in relevance, ever since I left NY, seven years ago.
So yes, I made the choice to move down to Southern NJ to be with my wife. We had been seeing each other long distance for eight months, on weekends, and we wanted to be together. I knew I wanted to marry her and she wanted to marry me, and at that point, there really was no question for me. I wanted to be with her, as her life was now my life. With my job, I was able to work remotely, so from that perspective, I could easily relocate. In regard to friends and family, it was slightly harder for me to leave them. But, this was the next step in my life. So, I made a choice.
When I left, there was no fan fare, no real sadness, after all I wasn't moving too far away, only about four hours south of where I lived. But, I would still miss everyone. Throughout the years, I've gone up, family and friends have come down, not every weekend, but enough to stay in touch. It wasn't intentional because, honestly, that's life. We all increasingly become focused on our lives as time passes. It happens.
Having lived in South Jersey for so long, I've grown accustomed to being here, because "Home is where you make it." Home is with my wife. Though, there are slight differences that I'll never get use to, people calling sprinkles, "jimmies", if they only knew what a jimmy hat was in NY, mainly flat farm land from a topographical perspective, a beach in close proximity, living close to Philadelphia, and of course, the elongation of spoken vowels. Especially the letter "O". For example, instead of "Home", it's "Hoome", maddening, I know.
Of course, on the flip side, when I go home, so much changes in my absence, that it doesn't really feel like home. When I left in 2009, life moved on without me. Places changed, people moved on, people relocated, things changed. So, I never feel like I belong anywhere at this point in my life. I 'm a man without out a country. Going to my parent's house is hard, because they now have cats and I'm deathly allergic. So, I can never go home again...but I guess I can die there. Kidding. I can never move back in with my parents. No responsible adult can. It's just the way of things.
So after all of this rambling, what's my point? I guess, my point is, relocating and leaving home can be a natural part of life, and it can be done for numerous reasons, i.e. a loved one, a job, wanting to see other places, you name it. But, in the end, it only comes down to you making a choice. No one else. You are responsible for your choices. Right now, with my wife and I separated, I'm facing the reality of being down here alone. My job is here, and I cannot simply up and leave. But, I made this decision. Given another chance, I'd honestly still make it again, without hesitation. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Children of Men

The title is a direct reference to Alfonso CuarĂ³n's 2006 film. If you haven't seen it, I suggest you do, as it's an incredibly somber science fiction tale. In broad strokes, it takes place in a future where women have become infertile, and reproduction is a thing of the past; slowly leading humankind to it's inevitable extinction. So, yea, somber. So, why am I using this film as my title? Easy. As someone who is afflicted with OCD, I have great concerns about passing on my DNA. The good, and the bad. And maybe, maybe I just shouldn't reproduce at all. I know, it sounds silly and overly dramatic, but I have my reasons. Let me be clear before I start, infertility is a serious and emotionally damaging medical condition. I am in no way, attempting to co-op anyone's pain or suffering for the purpose of this post.
Children. Yes, I would love to have them. I know, someday, my wife would as well. Maybe not with me. But, can I blame her?  Her concerns deal more with my OCD and how I would handle children. Which is one of the reasons I'm seeking therapy. But, honestly, my interactions with children have always been successful, and I'm not entirely sure as to why. But, they just have been. I'm able to read them books, from "The Little Engine that Could" to Stephen King's "IT", make jokes, do voices, fly them around like Superman, use puppets to amuse them, you name it, I've got no problem doing it. I'm a one man PBS show. But despite that, I have reservations. My concern lies with passing on me. My concern lies with passing on my OCD. Sure the child might be funny, they might be tall, they might have big ears or a cleft chin. But, they might also have OCD. It's something I've thought about, on and off, for a very long time.
You're probably thinking, "What about your parents?" Well, yes, they both have varying forms of OCD and anxiety. As I recall my childhood, it becomes more apparent to me. Both of them would obsess about little things here and there. As a kid, I dismissed it because they were my parents, and I knew nothing else. I don't blame them for passing it on. It wasn't intentional. But, despite not blaming them, right now, I feel I can't do that to my own child. At this point in my life, I'd know what to look for in regard to OCD. The symptoms and the signs. Hell, I gave my wife anxiety just from dealing with me and my OCD for years on end. That eats me up. I feel like a virus. I feel like a disease. So, yea, right now, I can't imagine giving it to a son or daughter, someone I would cherish and love the most, outside of my wife, and watch them experience what I've experienced. But, that's just my current state of mind.

Hopefully, with therapy, things will change.

Oh, I forgot to mention, as bleak as "Children of Men" is as a film, it ends with a sense of hope for humankind and it's future.

Sorry. Didn't mean to spoil the ending.

Honestly it's been out since 2006. You should've seen it by now.

Actually, you probably can find it in one of Walmart's many DVD/Blu-ray bins for $5.99 at this point.

Ladies, it has Clive Owen.

Gentlemen, it has...Michael Caine? From "The Dark Knight"?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Anxiety Now!

I love the smell of anxiety ridden thoughts in the morning. Yes, both the title and first sentence are a reference to "Apocalypse Now". I know, by now, in 2016, the phrase, "I love the smell of napalm in the morning", is older than old. I'm talking older than Betty White, and Abe Vigoda, (who just recently passed, even though I was under the impression that he had passed years prior), put together. So, I guess I'm apologizing for my lack of originality at this moment. So, apologies. Today, I want to talk about my anxiety. Now, I know that my OCD is the cause of my anxiety, but, my anxiety also fuels my OCD. Kind of like a snake eating it's tail, in a constant, perpetual circle. As always, allow me to explain, or to quote Marty Feldman's, Igor, from "Young Frankenstein": "Walk this way."
Ya see, many things can give me anxiety at any given time. Case in point, driving to work on a day when it snows. I know, most people don't like driving in the snow. I'll get to that point. So, it's the night before a snow storm, and we're expecting maybe 3 to 6 inches of snow. Depending on where you live, that's a little or a lottle. For me, not so much, since I grew up in Northern NY. But, despite having past experience in regard to driving in the snow, I still get anxious. So, the night before, as I think about it, the anxiety begins. Not crippling anxiousness, but enough to be in my mind. That's when the OCD kicks down the mental door in my brain and says "Bonjour!" I know, Phil can speak French. This is, of course, mainly due to my 4 year stint in French class ala high school, he just chooses not to, most of the time. See first blog post.
So, now, I'm getting anxious about the next day and the thought becomes pervasive in my mind. The only bitch of it is, unlike my cleaning, there's no real way to calm my thoughts. I just have to ride it out like a rodeo clown on a bull...or a sex gimp, dressed like a bull. Wait, do rodeo clowns ride bulls and/or sex gimps? Hmmm. I'll  have to investigate to confirm my initial comparative statement. Note to self: check Pornhub. Anyway, I wake up the next day and ta da, it's gone, I mean, there's snow. Now, my anxiety increases because there is snow and I have to go to work. Again, it's  not crippling, but it's in my head.
So, I shovel out our driveway, and the back porch for the pooches and get my sore ass to work. I'd like to clarify that my ass is sore from shoveling, not anything else non shoveling related. I'd like to further clarify that I used my hands to grasp the handle and shovel snow, not my ass or ass cheeks. Logistically, I don't believe that's something that can be accomplished with your ass. Note to self: check Pornhub...again.
Anyhoo, I'm driving to work in the snow, and I'm still anxious, and like Dustin Hoffman, "I'm an excellent driver", so I really shouldn't have any concern. But thanks to my anxiety, and my inability to rationalize, rational thought; I'm unable to push it aside, and keep my head clear. I know that people get anxious for many reasons, and I'm sure that many people can have anxiety when driving in the snow or dealing with snow. So, their reaction would be expected or normal. But, for me, I shouldn't let it overwhelm and consume me, which it does at times. So again, it's something that needs further 'sploring in the mind of me. But, that's why I'm currently seeing a therapist...and watching Pornhub at an unusually high viewing rate.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Drive(n)

Man, the things you learn about yourself when you pay someone else to listen. No, I'm not talking about a prostitute. Perv. I'm talking about a psychologist. Though, I believe a lady of the evening would be much cheaper in regard to my co-pay cost. Zing! Take that, health insurance!
So, after my first session, which mainly consists of you vomiting up everything about yourself all over a therapist, he came to an early assessment that while I do have OCD; I'm also driven. This, I know. But, this in turn, pushes my OCD even more. Now, there's nothing wrong with having a consistent drive. It's what, in my opinion, helps everyone in their day to day and life in general. Without my drive, I wouldn't be alive today. Let me explain.
You see, right after college, I kinda hit a series of bad luck, well, I think I'll just call it "no luck". I had my first post-college job as a Financial Service Representative, "Loan Officer", at a local credit union. I worked there for about two years until I was accused of illegally aiding in wire transferring account member's funds. Now, of course, I didn't do this, as my parent's raised me to be an honest person. The individual responsible had tried to cover his tracks by using me, and several other employees, to view the accounts under the guise of "Hey, can you help me look at an account I'm helping a member with?" Obviously, the last thing I think of, aside from improperly ending a sentence with a  preposition, is financial fraud. So, I was let go, regardless of my innocence, as the company needed to "Save Face".
Then, I had gotten another job, just to fill in the gaps, working at a local union. I was let go. I suspect due to my manager wanting to higher a relative. So, nepotism. Honestly, I didn't see myself there for the long run. Oh, then my long term girlfriend had finally called it quits in regard to our relationship. It had been ok for awhile, but still, another blow to me and my life. So, yea.
Things evened out for awhile, I was able to get a job as a Financial Analyst with IBM and things were going well. I met my wife, as she had been finishing up her senior year of college, and we began to date long distance, for 8 months, after she graduated and moved back to NJ. I then decided to ask her to marry me, she, of  course, said yes, and I moved down from Upstate NY to Southern NJ. Making the choice to leave my old life behind and starting a new one with her.
I was at my job with IBM for 3 years, then the housing market collapsed and the Recession hit. I lost my job in April of 2009. We were getting married that October. I was unemployed for over a year. Eventually, I got a job with Burberry as a Supply Chain Analyst and the rest is history up until this point in time.
So, sad run of stories, right? Yes. We've all got them, and I'm sure there are far worse out there. But, I'm a driven person. I did everything I could to get through these events in my life, and not have them break me; despite how disheartening they were. And yes, my wife was there to help get me through it as well. For which, I will always be grateful.  Over the years, I came to see my drive as my greatest strength. Now, I'm realizing that it's also my greatest weakness. It's an odd dichotomy. I'm driven to do both good and bad things, not realizing they were connected. Of course, this is purely surface level assessment, but at this point, it's something for me to think about.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Blade Runner: #OCD

Let me start by saying, I did not grow up in the great technological evolution of smart phones, wifi, bluetooth, Siri, Amazon, all forms of social media, or pretty much everything else we take for granted in 2016. As a child of the 80's, I was amazed by Laser Tag. Amazing shit to this day. My point is, I can live without this social technology we all hold so dear.
Anyway, I was putzing on Twitter earlier, I barely use it, as I see little need to condense any thought into some meaningless, brief phrase, in the hopes that someone else; bored on their smart phone, will be inclined to quickly read and, just as easily, dismiss what've I've just posted. But, I hash tagged?, OCD. It was interesting, as there were some decent posts with actual merit and medical meaning and research, but for the most part, all I encountered was shit. Plain and simple. Like most things on the internet. I know, broad statement. But, I'm a fan of making very broad, uninformed statements about stuff. I have yet to be challenged by anyone who can hear me in my bathroom at 6 am on a weekday morning.
Now, I'm not a P.C. person. Honestly, everyone is too P.C. for my taste. We are human. We say things.  We do things. Not everyone is going to agree with them. Such is life. But, I'd be remiss if I didn't say I saw an overwhelming amount of posts of minor events, that people consider, OCD behavior, for nothing more than the purpose of making a joke. I mentioned in my first post, ever, that there is a HUGE misconception of OCD and how people can be afflicted, and honestly, this just supports what I suspect. #OCD. Four simple characters on a keyboard, or smart phone, that people use to express their ignorance in an attempt to construct a joke in the wrong context.
I know what you're thinking, but Nick, aren't you being just a tad little P.C. right now? Maybe. Maybe not. Perhaps. I don't know. This is my blog. So no. Maybe I'm contradicting myself. Maybe I'm taking it a tad personal. Which aggravates me. But, it just reinforces what I've experienced. People simply don't get it. And maybe, they have no need to understand. But, when it comes to loved ones and significant others, maybe they should. Because, right now, that's what's ending my marriage.  And not for my wife's lack of understanding, but by mine. I chose to not research what I had for so long, confront it, and seek therapy. And it cost me her. So maybe it is personal, but at this point, what other reason do I have? There's no shame in educating yourself, whether it's for you or a loved one. Despite, my dislike for the internet, there is helpful information out there. You just have to sift through the shit.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Analyze This, That, These Those, Them, They, Their, The, Tuh: Scheduling a 2nd Session: The Sequel

Ehhhhhhhhhh. No, I'm not releasing gas. That, my dear anonymous readers, is me releasing a sigh of frustration. So, I mentioned how I'm seeking therapy. You know, speaking with someone about me and all of this, (motions hand around personal space), but, I've hit a road block. Honestly, since I think I'm funny, as does anyone who's seen me urinate while seated on a toilet, I'd be remiss if I didn't find humor in what I'm currently experiencing. So, to quote Heath Ledger: And. Here. We. Go.
Ok. I had my first session this week. Scheduling the first one was a challenge unto itself, as you simply cannot call, like a regular doctor's office, and get an appointment a week later. No. I had scheduled this meeting way back in the first week of January...for this week...in February. Anyways, I went, laid out my deal/issues/questions/concerns for an hour. He asked questions, I asked questions. He looked at me, I looked at him. We talked, we laughed, we cried, we sat, we played Rock 'Em Sock Robots. It. Was. Fantastic. Like a first date. I say first date because we awkwardly kissed prior to parting ways. No tongue, though. I'm no whore. Kidding. That didn't happen. I think.
I get a call to schedule my next session or sessions the next day and...he can't see me until April. What a let down. I thought we had something. Yes. After The Oscars. After St. Patrick's Day. After Easter. After. Shit. So, I scheduled three sessions in a row, because, Momma didn't raise a man who does things once. Just ask to watch me clap. Hint: It's more than once. Anyway, two months? What? So, I went back to the drawing board or piece of crumpled paper. I tried contacting at least 10 therapists/psychologists/clinical social workers/psychiatrists within my insurance network. Of those 10, I was able to schedule several brand spankin' new appointments with only two. Dos. Deux. Both in February.
So, now it has become a numbers game. I'm not taking any risks. It's like speed dating, except, hey, here are my issues, questions, concerns, shall we date? Or no? No, ok. My point is, if you're going to look into seeking help, please consider that time needs to be taken to find the right suitor and for an actual timeline for scheduling appointments. If you don't, you'll be whoring yourself outside of a Wawa to any Southern Jersey 206'er that'll hear your problems. And, I believe most of them do not have the academic background that would make them a licensed therapist. By the way, that was a regional, South Jersey joke. Yay, obscurity.

Contagion

Here's a break from the lessons. Below is a story, more of a cautionary tale for those afflicted with OCD, a spouse and the turmoil it causes. Take heed. Seek help if you can. You'll be thankful you did. When a marriage falls on hard times, one of the questions asked is: Who benefits? Easy. Everyone else who knows the story and is married or has a significant other.


 My wife has been gone for a month. She left me. I lost my best friend, my lover and my spouse in one fell swoop. One evening after work, I arrived home to find our house empty; no dogs, no crates, no clothes, no wife. She had taken everything of value to her and went to her parent’s. All that awaited me that evening was a single yellow paper. A Dear John… It outlined our problems and why she had chosen to leave. Most of the reasons were faults that rested with me. I have OCD. It runs my life, and so it ran hers as well. The constant cleaning, the obsessive behavior, the compulsive spending, credit card debt, loan debt, lying about finances; all faults and negatives generated by me. Though, not every problem lay with me.
She had her own anxieties and sadness. Some family related, other’s work related. She wrote that she needed time and space, and that she loved me. I was devastated. I took the yellow paper, crumpled it up and threw it in the trash. (Later I would remove the crumpled paper and keep it as reminder). I was in an immense state of denial, anger, sadness, and betrayal. Every negative feeling I had, seemed to emerge at once. Each of them was vying to express themselves externally, for increments at a time. I called her, I texted her. Every word I could produce was negative and vile. Pure reaction to what had just happened to me. She never responded. 12:00 a.m. the next day, she answered with a text. She was alright and so were our sons, the dogs. It gave me relief that she was ok, but this was just the beginning.
As the first few days moved along, I was in a fog. I was in a constant state of ambivalence towards everyone and everything. Who do I tell? Who don’t I tell? I’m embarrassed. My wife left me. She left me. Me. That’s all I could think. I was so unbearable to be around, so bad, that she left me. You’ve taken what you have and given it her, I thought. Anxiety. You’re a virus. You ruin people. You break people. It’s hard to reconcile that in your head. Because, you can’t escape yourself, you can’t discard yourself. You are you. And you are defective.
After some time had passed, I told my best friend. He consoled me as much as he could over the phone. After all, he lives 180 miles north of where we are located. My whole family is. My whole support system might as well be on another planet. I am alone. I tell my brother. He consoles me. I hold off on telling my parent’s as I didn’t know what to tell them. I eventually tell my parents. They consoled me. Everyone did their best to help and support me. But in the end, it’s just you. I had failed at life again. It had once again hit me with another devastating blow...knocked me down. And honestly, I didn’t know if I wanted to get up for another round.
As time passed, friends and family came to see me. Well, friend and father. My best friend came down the weekend after it happened. We went out and hung out. He kept me company. But, he went home. My father came down a week later. Again, we went out and hung out. He kept me company. But, he went home. While visiting my father and mother offered financial support. I took it. I eventually ventured up to NY to see my lifelong friends, hoping to find solace in their company and familiar surroundings; and a distraction from my wife. I brought up our youngest son, (dog), as we both now were accompanied by one of them through this emotional theme park. It was the best I could hope for at this point.
My wife and I eventually met face to face. At a diner we use to frequent. We met as strangers, not spouses. Each of us clearly hurt and broken. We sat to talk. We ordered food. I wasn’t hungry. She told me how she felt. How she was broken and how she had to leave. She told me she didn’t know where we’d end up as a couple. The unknown. It was scary. I asked her if she still loved me, she did. I asked her if she missed me, she didn’t. Of course, it was obvious, as she had left me, then why would she miss me? We sat for an hour and half. Afterwards, we parted ways. I hugged her, barely, and told her I loved her. She reciprocated the gesture.
I spent a week by myself. No one but me, the things I chose to surround myself with, and the husk of house I now resided within. I had lived alone prior, a year and half, by myself, in an apartment, by my choosing. Looking back, it was a mistake. I considered myself an isolated person, taking pride in a lack of need for contact. But, now, being alone was the hardest part. Fortunately, after several difficult texts and emails between us, we agreed that each of us would keep a son. She had offered before, but I declined, as I didn’t want to separate them. That night we agreed, I talked to her. The exchange was heated and emotional. That was the last time I had spoken to her. That was the last time I heard her voice. It has been a month.
Our exchanges are currently relegated to texts and emails. Talking of our day to day in regard to bills, taking care of the dogs and other light subjects. We’ve both ventured to seek therapy on an individual basis. As we both have our own separate issues. I believe she’ll be in therapy for far less time than me; as my OCD needs to be controlled for the rest of my life. Much like Bruce Banner and the Hulk, it cannot be cured, only tamed. So, instead of “Hulk Smash!” it’s “Hulk clean!” (Note: This is the first and only joke in my story, I am actually quite funny outside of this subject matter). It is something I need to contend with on a daily basis, all while keeping it in check. And accept that it’s a part of me, and always will be.
Aside from resolving to seek therapy, I resolved to purge our house of objects and pieces of interest that had caused so many problems, my collection. It has accumulated debt and depleted savings. It’s now costing me my marriage. Initially, I ventured out on my own on eBay, looking to move a few items here or there. But I met limited success. I then decided to move everything at once. I scoured the internet for anyone who could help me with my cause of a mass chachki exodus. After extensive research, I had found my suitor. They would help me move every piece I had. They had the knowledge, the network and the capacity. In the end, they were able to do in a week, what would have taken me a year or more.
So, at this point in the story, I’ve tried to make amends as best I can. I honestly don’t know what any of it will do in the long run. All I know is that I tried and I’ll continue to try. But, unfortunately, the damage has been done. My wife needs time and she’s uncertain as to how our story ends. I can’t fault her for not knowing. I broke her. And in the end, I can’t blame her for leaving. I realized that some people need bold, life changing events to shake them to their core. Or at least, I did. Change, I use to believe, was something most people could never do, an empty promise, never to be fulfilled. But, it’s easy to make such a statement when you’ve never been faced with it. Can I change for the better? I don’t know. I hope I can. Will I make every attempt to change? Yes. I’m going to try. To Be Continued…