Sunday, April 21, 2013


Life has been buzzing along here.  I have been keeping busy and I am a very happy person. 

Living alone, I do get lonely from time to time, but in terms of day-to-day challenges, the most difficult thing about the post-divorce divorce life is keeping up with house repair and maintenance.  It is not so much that my ex was a handyman. (He wasn’t.)  I think it’s just knowing that there’s no one else to help me make decisions that bothers me.  Granted, I could have sold the house, but instead I stayed and renovated it and I when I have to, I can hire people to fix things for me. That part is not easy for me, but I am learning how to do it. 

What I miss the most is the partnership involved in building a life and in running a house.  For example, I was having trouble with my freezer leaking a few weeks ago.  It was driving me crazy and I was trying to detect a pattern to the madness.  It would go for a week and then leak and then leak twice in a day.  My laminate floor was taking a hit each time it happened.  

I would wake up at 3:00 a.m. and wonder if my freezer was leaking, but what I discovered was that it was not the fact of a faulty appliance that bothered me, it was the fact that there was no one else in the world who cared about my refrigerator as much as I did.  I wanted to wake up, and poke a partner and say, “Do you think our refrigerator is leaking? Do you?  What do you think we should do about it?”

In the past few months I have made a concerted effort not to talk about these feelings to anyone but my best friends.  Progress!  That’s what it’s all about and I wanted to show some, both to myself and others.  I am the can-do girl who can handle it all! Yep!

For instance, I put on my Big Girl Pants, called Sears, got the refrigerator fixed and proceeded on with life. 

Yesterday I was having a great day, running errands, and potting plants.  I put a load of laundry in my washing machine which is located in the kitchen and went out to the garage to do some straightening up. 

About 45 minutes later, I went in to find my entire kitchen floor flooded.  The water was everywhere: under the oven, under the dishwasher, under the washer and dryer.  I knew I had to get the water up fast and had to get all of it if my floor was to survive at all.  I felt a lump grow in my throat when I surveyed the mess, but I swallowed that lump.  For a second, I felt alone.  I felt overwhelmed, but I pushed down all those feelings.  No pity parties. I could handle all of this. I got busy. I used every bath towel I had in the house to mop up the mess.  I started using blankets and then kitchen towels.

I moved the washing machine out and then the dryer and found the water tube that had come loose.  Then I found I had ripped the vent out of the wall when I had moved the dryer.  I tried to get both of the tubes back in but was making a mess of things.  I called my friend, David, who does maintenance for the college to get some advice.  I tried my best to sound upbeat and confident that I could fix these things.  David is a good friend and I don’t think I fooled him for one minute.  He said he would be right over to take a look.

He arrived, climbed behind the dryer and started to work.  I was still on my hands and knees mopping up water when I decided to stand up and get some paper towels.  

WHACK!  I hit the back of my head on a drawer I had pulled out to get kitchen towels out of.

OUCH.  (Cuss words.  Cuss words.  Cuss words)   I just sat there, unable to speak.  The pain was intense. 

David called out, “What was that noise?”  I still couldn’t talk.  He stood up and looked at me, “Was that your head?” 

I nodded and rubbed my head.  I felt the tears coming.  I felt them coming fast, but I was confused about the feeling that was coming with them.

Of course I would cry after a blow like that, but these were not tears associated with pure physical pain.  

I sat there and I cried and tried to get a grip on my emotions that were going wild.  David was concerned, looking at me from behind the dryer. 

I was powerless over the emotions that flooded my brain.  It was as though the direct hit to my skull had dislodged some capsule of emotional pain that I had somehow had been keeping within in me. 

I started choking out the words, “I HATE living alone!  My kitchen is against me! I can’t handle all this!  I should have sold this house.”  I tried to stop the words, but they just kept coming.   I wailed. "He left and now,  I am all alone here in this big house and I can’t handle it!  I can’t!  I should just give up NOW! I’m going to give up, rent out a room somewhere, start wearing big dresses from K-mart and do all my laundry in a laundry mat for the rest of my life!!!” 

I was shocked by my outburst.  Where had that come from?  "I hate living alone!" I repeated.  Then I just sat there and cried.

Standing up, I held the back of my head and cried.   David had managed to wedge himself between the washer and dryer to get closer to me.  He reached out his arms.  I went to him and he hugged me and told me everything was going to be OK.  "Go sit down," he said.  

I did.

He fixed the washer and dryer and then went to my freezer and got a bag of edamame to put on the big lump on my head.   He stayed until he was sure I was going to be OK, reassuring me that what I was going through was natural, and I would bounce back, and he didn’t really expect me to start wearing the big dresses from K-Mart anytime soon.

I thought about all those feelings that had come up. Had I been unaware of their strength?  Had I been suppressing them?  Ignoring them?  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  You see, deep down, I was afraid that if I gave into them, I would sink back down into the mire in which I had spent a large part of the last year. 

However, a great and wonderful thing happened.

I expressed my pain and frustration and then I went on with my life.  I didn’t dwell on the pain.  I didn’t sink down into mourning or depression. In fact, I went out with a friend that evening and we had dinner, went shopping and had a great time.

One thing I am still learning is to get out of my own way when it comes to this mending of my life.  That jolt of physical pain somehow gave me permission to vent some emotional pain that I had been holding back, some of which I had not known was even still in there.

I didn’t really need that flood on my kitchen floor, but I did need that emotional flood to wash away some pain that I had been pushing down.

The knot on the back of my head is still tender, but so, thank goodness, is my heart. 

I now trust that both will be completely healed someday very soon.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You just needed an opportunity to let it out. Glad someone was there when it happened. (And he was able to fix your washer and dryer.) Now you can move forward again.

Leah J. Utas said...

The Universe will give you every chance to do the healing you need. I'm glad you got this out so you can get on with life.
Thanks for writing this.

Old Kitty said...

Awwwww lovely BB!! First your poor head! Second your poor kitchen!! Third, yay for David!! We all need a David! Davids are realible souls, bless!!

You keep on healing, BB! Take care

Brian said...

Ouch! I sure hope you are flooded with happy soon!

faye said...

allowing yourself to vent is OKAY ..
once that is out of the way things begin to improve.....they do !!
sometimes you have to drive through
the storm to see the rainbow.....

Anne Gallagher said...

I felt the same way when I was chopping down trees in the backyard to build the fence for my dogs. Why did "I" have to be the one holding the chainsaw? Why did I have to be the one sweating to tear out tree roots? Why didn't I have someone to help me.

After I got over the poison ivy, I thought about it long and hard...I do this because I CAN. I do this because it needs to be done and no one else is going to help me. I do it to show my daughter that a woman isn't powerless in the face of manly pursuits. I can do anything I put my mind to.

But I don't let her see me cry. And believe me, I do.

Munir said...

I am so sorry about your head.
I will tell you this much, it is not just divorced people who face the agony of no support. Sometimes perfectly happily married people do not get a hint of support when it comes to things like upkeep of the house or general fixing because they did only desk jobs and don't want to have anything to do with the task when there is help out there.

Alison said...

Wow. That was intense. I'm glad you had a big, fat cry in front of a friend who wasn't afraid to hug you. It seems to me that divorce is just like a death--the loss gets easier to bear, but it never goes completely away.

Though I can't say I care about your fridge as much as you do, I can say I totally empathize with the sad frustrations of living alone. Dogs don't fit every situation, I have to admit.

Finally, you know you've come a long way from Kansas when you use edamame instead of peas to soothe a bumped head. That's gotta say something about you, right?

Lin said...

With or without another person in the house, it can still be difficult to handle those curve balls. I remember crawling on my belly in the attic of the house to find where a leak was coming from. My husband....I don't remember where he was or why it wasn't he in the attic...I just remember coming down and being really, really resentful. "I want to live like Susie Moore!" I yelled--referring to a rich princessy acquaintance who has everyone do things for her. "Oh yeah? ME TOO!" my husband yelled back. Oh.

So, you see...we all feel that way--you just had your turn this week. It's okay, you can break down, cry and fuss--you are entitled. Wonky appliances and life can be overwhelming sometimes. But hey, at least you know the floor is clean under them.

Hang in there, Betty! I hope your bump goes away soon.

Ms. A said...

Let it out! Much like a fart, the harder you try to hold it in, the more it bothers you!

Hilary said...

Even when you don't think you do, you know yourself so well. I admire that.

I also admire how you express your deepest hurts - that expression is never completely devoid of humour.

When things start breaking down in the house, the stress causes our own personal mini-breakdowns. I'm glad David knew how to off repair to the appliances and to your heart.

Hugs to you.. and please stay away from K-Mart!

Unknown said...

What Cora (ms.a) said :o)
Sometimes you really do have to let those feeling come to the forefront so that you can face them and deal with them.
Glad you were able to make it into a positive event.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Betty - I've been there and things just keep happening - it's a pain but as your Dave says all will be ok - these waves of emotion hit ... then we realise life will be better and ease up. The washer, drier and deep-freeze should be ok for a while ..

With many thoughts - Hilary

jenny_o said...

Like others said, this can happen even if you're not alone.

And it can happen even if you're happily with someone. Sometimes our stresses - whatever they are - just pile on and pile up, and one little thing - I think it's been referred to as the straw that broke the camel's back - will put you over the edge and it all comes pouring out. I think the common denominator is that we aren't paying enough attention to the stressors as they add on, no matter what those stresses are for any individual, and before we know it - boom - flood, indeed.

I hope your head didn't suffer any permanent damage; we need you to keep writing and reminding us of these truths!

YrHmblHst said...

I've said it before, but it bears repeating ; damn girl. Can you write or what?!?
Hope your head feels better. Sounds like your 'innards' do already.

Gigi said...

Sending you a great big ol' hug.

There will be setbacks and moments of doubt as to whether you can handle it; it's perfectly normal, I would think. But you can do it, and you will.

Ann said...

I can so relate to this because I've had similar situations. There were just certain things that were always "his" job and when I was forced to take care of them it overwhelmed me. After a good cry though I would put on those big girl panties and take care of business. You're doing fine Betty, no need to shop at K-Mart unless you really want

Tabor said...

My goodness, you are one of the wisest bloggers on the net today. YOu really learn these lessons fast and understand all that happens to you and what it means! Yes, you had reached your brim over level...and had you been married you and your partner would have cried over or shouted at each other at this. Just because you are alone does not mean you have to be superwoman. Bless your heart, dear, you have too much on your plate right now. It HAS to get easier so be patient.

Pat said...

Everyone feels overwhelmed at one time or another. You are human. It is okay to cry. It is a good thing that David was there to help you.He is a good friend. not only did he repair your kitchen, but also your well-being. Those kinds of friends are hard to come by. count your blessings. hope your head feels better soon!

Larri said...

You've been flooded & overwhelmed with life. It's okay to embrace those moments, and I'm glad you did. The opposite of overwhelmed: happy, self-sufficient, strong, successful. You are all of these & then some! Just dropping by to say, 'Hey!' Glad to see you thriving, friend. ((HUGS))

Sally Wessely said...

Wise words here - let those emotions out. I want to cry with you. Oh, I would hate living alone. Feeling alone is one of the hardest feelings. I'm glad you had a friend there with you, that he fixed the appliances, and that you cried your heart out. All that needed to happen. Nothing, I mean nothing, makes us feel more vulnerable than those darn household appliances breaking down.

Sueann said...

You are one smart lady! Well said dear are doing well and it will get even better!

Nancy C said...

Oh Betty -- whether you live alone or with someone, life can be overwhelming. A good cry is cleansing. xo

Leanne said...

Oh, my dearest B. While I read today's post, I wished and wished I could have been there to hug you and tell you everything was going to be ok. But the more I think about it - the more I am certain that it really wouldn't have been what you needed. You needed to release - get it out - emote - allow that moment to happen.

But in the heat of it, don't forget how far you have come, and how strong YOU ARE! I haven't forgotten.

Thinking of you today, and many days, my friend. Big hugs!

Mandy_Fish said...

What a good friend!

I think whether we are alone or with someone, we all have moments where we whack our head and then bawl because of whatever's going on in our lives. Whatever change we're dealing with. Or lack of change. Or whatever the case may be. Life is hard. We will need many blankets and towels to sop up the mess.

Thanks for writing this. Great write.

Pat Tillett said...

We all need to unload excess emotions once in a while. I'm sure you really did need to have a meltdown. It doesn't mean your weak, it means your human...

Baby Sister said...

Sometimes we all just need to let out our emotions, so I'm glad you were given the opportunity to do so, even if you did have to hurt your head to get to that point. I'm also glad your washer is fixed.