Monday, August 17, 2009

Those who cling

I've been connecting to lots of old friends in Out-of-Town and it's been quite nice.

Last week, we were invited to a couple's house for Friday night dinner, and imagine my surprise when I saw Jessie there. Who's Jessie? Jessie is a great woman. She's fun. She's funny. She's nice. She's offbeat, interesting, and always great to talk to. I was quite friendly with her a few years ago when I first lived in Out-of-Town, but I had to let our friendship fade and disappear. See, the problem with Jessie is that she never lets go. Never. Lets. Go.

When we invited her for Shabbos meals, she would always stay for at least an hour to two hours after everyone had gone home. At first, I was sort of pleased and flattered that such a nice, funny woman would choose to hang out with me (The Husband always went to take a Shabbos nap) when she could have gone home any time. But it got tedious and old really quickly. I too wanted a nap, or at least to have some facetime with The Husband. But every single time we invited Jessie over, she hung out long after it was time to go home. She was The Guest Who Never Left. Sometimes, if we had her for lunch, she would end up staying for Shalosh-seudos, and then eventually for Havdallah, and then one time even went to the movies with me and The Husband on Saturday night ("I'm such a third wheel! You don't mind, do you?"). Sometimes she would ask me to go out during the week, and occasionally, because she was a fun, likable person, I'd willingly agree. But then she'd come back to the house with me and hang out for hours. Of course, eventually, I would start gently hinting, and she almost always took the bait. Almost always.

Sometimes she'd bring a ridiculously extravagant hostess gift, like the $80 Sharper Image corkscrew I'd mentioned we wanted but would never buy for ourselves, and then I'd feel horribly guilty about hinting that she should leave. She was single (never married), lived far away at the very edge of the eruv, and her kashrut was definitely not up to our standards, so she really couldn't reciprocate and invite us back, and so was always trying to do nice things for us "to pay us back," which we insisted was not necessary, but there she was. She called too often and sometimes at odd hours, and was hard to get off the phone.

Finally, I introduced her to some other friends of mine who had large lively Shabbos tables, and they started inviting her too. As soon as I realized that she had other places to eat on Shabbos, I stopped inviting her, and, I'm a little ashamed to say, stopped returning her calls. I'm not very proud of the way I handed her off.

My friends reported to me that she did the same thing to them in terms of sinking in her tenterhooks and not letting go. It was pretty clear that no matter how great Jessie was, she had some major self-esteem issues. I was willing to bet that this was one of the reasons that she never married, as I find that most guys like clinginess as much as they like garlic breath, and tend to run quickly from both. One of my friends that apparently had taken a real liking to Jessie even decided to get brutally honest with her and talk to her about her slightly obsessive clinginess, and how it turned people off, but Jessie was less than receptive, and told her that people liked to be engaged by other people. Yes, but....

So, it was with mixed feelings that we ran into Jessie last week. As usual, she held up her end of the conversation with wit and humor, and was a pleasure to talk to. She asked me about going out for coffee this week, and (after The Husband delivered a gentle reminder kick under the table,) I politely declined, though she was so engaging and interesting, I was tempted. But coffee with Jessie was practically a long term committment, and I could not afford to fall into that abyss again. We bade her a goodnight and good Shabbos as we left, and she was just settling in on the couch with the newspaper, even though our host had already retired to bed and our hostess was about to get into a robe. Jessie clings like liquid soap.

I wonder about people like Jessie who have so much going for them, but don't know when to let go. It is so utterly against my nature to impose myself into other people's lives, I can't even get my head around why she does this. I can understand why someone with less going for them would do it, but Jessie seems to have it together. As I said, she's very likable, and she's attractive, with an interesting job to boot. She could have a great circle of friends if only she stopped the clinging. Sad. Self-awareness is everything.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

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The Latest Assinine Comment on Healthcare from the Leader of the Free World

President Obama, at a Town Hall Meeting on August 11:

"All I'm saying is let's take the example of something like diabetes, one of --- a disease that's skyrocketing, partly because of obesity, partly because it's not treated as effectively as it could be. Right now if we paid a family -- if a family care physician works with his or her patient to help them lose weight, modify diet, monitors whether they're taking their medications in a timely fashion, they might get reimbursed a pittance. But if that same diabetic ends up getting their foot amputated, that's $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 -- immediately the surgeon is reimbursed. Well, why not make sure that we're also reimbursing the care that prevents the amputation, right? That will save us money."
Oh my Freakin Freakin Lord Amightee. Did the President of the United States of America just imply that American doctors would rather amputate their patient's leg than prevent the disease that called for the amputation for the money? Did he actually just say that?

Here're just a few of the many, many things that are wrong with this statement:
  1. Are you freakin kidding me?
  2. The doctor who counsels the patient (general practitioner, internist, or endocrinologist) is not the same doctor who cuts off the leg (surgeon).
  3. According to the American College of Surgeons, "Medicare pays a surgeon between $740 and $1,140 for a leg amputation. This payment also includes the evaluation of the patient on the day of the operation plus patient follow-up care that is provided for 90 days after the operation. Private insurers pay some variation of the Medicare reimbursement for this service." So Mr. President, not $50,000, not $40,000, not even $30,000. Around a thousand. Yeah, that's big bucks.
  4. How is this an argument for government-run health care?
Does President Obama consult with anyone before he spouts pure, offensive, wrong, crap like this?

And where, exactly, is the outrage?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Feeling married (or not).

When will I stop feeling like a divorcee?

Given that we are born into this world single, you would think that it's sort of the natural, default setting for who we are, and how we feel about ourselves. I think though, that since most of the mainstream, "normal" world gets married in their twenties and spends the rest of their lives with one other person (Isn't that the mainstream, normal world? Isn't it?), feeling married takes over as the default setting for how one feels about oneself. Your average adults spend much more of their lives married than they do as singles.

And divorce, of course, screws everything up. Bluescreen.

I got married in my early thirties, and so it took a while for my settings to switch from single to married, but they happily did. In the first few years of my marriage, I couldn't imagine feeling any other way. Subsequently, divorce shook me to my core and of course, I went through months of self-redefinition, as any divorced person will have to do. Hard reboot.

So I suppose when divorcees get remarried, that redefinition recurs, only the settings adjust themselves to the new spouse. This is how it feels to be married to Spouse #2. It feels different from being married to Spouse #1. It feels different from being single. It feels different from being divorced. It's new. But it's a tangible, factory-installed setting.

When you remarry your Ex, the settings go off kilter. Frankly, I don't think there is a factory-installed setting for remarrying your Ex. You've got to create a custom setting. It's definitely different from being single or divorced, and it's also incredibly similar to being married to Spouse #1, because after all, Spouse #2 actually is Spouse #1. But it's still very different from that feeling because after all, Spouse #2 is not Spouse #1 at all (and if he was, we'd still be divorced).

Here's the thing: given the fuzziness of feeling (or not feeling) married again, I seem to be slipping back into feeling divorced from time to time. Even The Husband noticed some of this sort of weirdness.

For example, I still occasionally use my maiden name, even when I have committed to taking my husband's last name again. I tend to take care of a lot of "Man Things" that I used to rely on The Husband for when I was married, like car maintenance or mechanical stuff. I am much quicker to make decisions without him (something he finds a little annoying), even decisions that effect both of us. I am less domestic; I don't cook or clean as much as I used to when I was married. I still shop more for myself than for both of us. I tend to do more of my own thing.

I haven't really figured out how to feel married yet, at least not how to feel married to The Husband. I haven't really started dreaming about our future. I haven't melted my stuff (both material and psychological) into his stuff yet. I still feel a teeny weeny bit more divorced than married.

Don't get me wrong. I love The Husband, gangbusters. He's been fabulous. He is trying so hard to make our lives together good and special. I really couldn't ask for much more. I just haven't completely let go yet and surrendered myself to my marriage. I'm wondering if I'm still a little bit too damaged from the divorce, but I don't think that's it. I think it's probably just good old-fashioned fear. Maybe.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Sunday, August 9, 2009


You know when you have a good friend that you tell stuff to almost every week, and then something major takes over your life and you fall completely out of touch, and you don't call the friend because so much has happened that you don't know where to start? Dontcha hate when that happens?

So my dear friends and readers, I got married and moved back to Out-of-Town. The move was huge. I'm still reeling from it. I cannot begin to tell you how much I hate moving. I've done it way too many times. To start with, it costs a fortune. It's not just the actual moving expenses that cost that much; it's all the stuff you need to throw out, and all the stuff that inevitably breaks in the truck, and all the stuff you just have no room for in your new place. Since The Husband and I were divorced for a while, we replaced a great deal of the furniture that we mutually took from each other, and now we are swimming in nearly new stuff that we don't need and for which we don't have room, and are reluctant to let go. I hate moving.

We did a little work on our house, which resulted in one of our landscapers making off with nearly a thousand dollars of our money. Yup. I do love getting swindled. We're taking him to small claims court, but it's not looking good that we will actually be able to locate him.

I am currently unemployed, which is bumming me out. A lot. I don't do well without work. I'm getting my health insurance from The Husband's work, so a lot of my expenses have disappeared, but this move has cost such a fortune of money, and our savings have seriously dwindled. For the first time in a long time, I am worried about money. I hate worrying about money.

On the plus side, The Husband is behaving very, very nicely. I like my second husband quite a bit. The first one, not so much.

Oh, and I was recently in a minor car accident. Minor in that I wasn't hurt and no other cars were involved, but the passenger side of my car is not a happy site right now. I fell asleep at the wheel.

That's mostly it, in a nutshell, I think. I think we're caught up. I'm trying to walk the fine line between continuing to write this blog and trying to keep it interesting, and respecting the privacy of my marriage and husband, and it's not easy. Let me know when I'm really boring you.