My Shitty Husband

I didn’t realize it was my (former?) anniversary until I saw it on Facebook. “Three years ago today . . .” it said. And there was a picture of so many of us, my people, huddled together in and around and on top of the outhouse that my then fiancé carefully crafted so that it would be useful at camp after we used it as a photo booth.

IMG_5898

I couldn’t find him in the picture.

I thought the hard part of divorce was the decision. I remember a nearly full year of agonizing and crying and mourning. Of walking through every possible scenario to save whatever was left. Then one day, I wasn’t mourning anymore. I was done crying and done hypothesizing; the unraveling of our union proceeded with remarkable ease.

But here I am, five months later, and I realize that the hard part is NOW.

The hard part is when you miss your really shitty husband.

The hard part is when you have cramps like Vesuvius and your kid is surly and you think you’ve failed at raising him AND the fucking dishes never end, man. Never end. You just want to read your book, walk the dog, go to fucking yoga, man. You realize that there is no one else to make the coffee, and no matter how shitty a person is, if they bring you coffee in the morning? You remember what that feels like. You still wake up some days and roll over, thinking that a hot cup of coffee will be right beside you.

Even when your shitty spouse seems to do nothing more than make life difficult, there is someone there to yell at. Someone who, for better or worse, knows the only way to stop the tears, catch your breath.

Our life together was not healthy or fun, and the rare good times were too far apart to even create the illusion of happiness. But he was . . . there. Even if the burden of home fell on me, there was another human around. In Case of Emergency.

As a teacher, I spend the end of August and beginning of September coiling, coiling, coiling so tightly that I actively fear the release. I know that something is next, but I’m never quite sure what. It could be a weekend of sleeping, a thrown coffee mug, or a midnight drive. But usually, it’s just a couple of hours of uncontrollable sobbing. (I blame society, not nature, for the record.)

Maladaptive, yes, but there are few people in the universe, who can both push you over the edge and soften your fall. My shitty husband could do both.

 

And I miss him this week.

The Wedding Post

Here it is, friends.

It’s a long story with few words.

IMG_6476

Thursday, September 5th

school, soccer practice, drum lessons, back to school for a 7 p.m. parent meeting and photocopying, home by 9:30

 

Friday, September 6th

coffee, flowers, flowers, flowers, snacks with our wonderful neighbors, flowers, flowers, rehearsal, pizza, cotton candy, beer; bridesmaids hem my dress with safety pins because it’s too small for me to wear my petticoat under.

 

IMG_3297
Courtesy of my neighbors’ skill and kindness. I learned how to make flower arrangements!

Saturday, September 7th

Snuggles with a very-pregnant bridesmaid and her baby belly, coffee and breakfast, Xanax, hair

IMG_6050
Church parking lot. Hyperventilating.

12:45 p.m.

I really, really, really didn’t want to be there early.

Do you know how terrifying it is to have that many people looking at you!?

 

IMG_6085

 

 

IMG_6105
“Thank God this is over”

IMG_6099
This was their SECOND wedding in the span of a week. They are the best!

 

IMG_6151
The Whole Fan-Damily

IMG_6188
My nephew and ring-bearer, Jeremy, with his awesome shoes. He has his dad’s love of sneakers. 🙂

 

IMG_6197

IMG_6224
Of all the kid attractions, this was the most popular. Only one bloody nose!

full outhouse
photobooth / double-seater outhouse

IMG_5897

IMG_6142

IMG_6143

IMG_5828

IMG_5830

IMG_5831

IMG_5835
Colby and his second family.

IMG_5843
Come one, come all – to the wedding where we give kids croquet mallets and hammocks for toys!

IMG_6240
We try to dance, but we do not succeed.

IMG_6255

IMG_6271

IMG_6269
my boy can dance

IMG_6270
Seriously. How did this happen. I mean, I know how it happens, but you know what I mean.

IMG_6336

IMG_6372

IMG_3303
“cake in YO FACE!”

 

Sunday evening, September 8th, Millinocket, ME

IMG_3310
Cheers!

IMG_3315

IMG_3319

IMG_3323
We stole an entire pie from the pile of leftovers. We proceeded to eat the entire thing. With gusto.

DSC02575

DSC02563
Mt Katahdin

Home. The honeymoon’s over, but we are still far from recovered. It was lovely and fun, but so very much work for us, our friends and our families.

IMG_3332

One word of advice friends: Elope.

 

Two Pics That Say Everything.

What happens when you are planning a wedding, renovating a barn for said wedding, wrangling produce and an unruly flower garden, driving to soccer practice and planning for seven classes?

This:

20130824-202044.jpg

20130824-202056.jpg

See how fluffy and pretty Bella is here? She escaped and found (last night) something dead and (today) a large pile of cow shit (Sorry Mrs. Thompson!!!). Summer lovin’.

The Week of No Pants

I haven’t worn pants all week. Also, I told my friend’s daughter that the best thing about running shorts was that the underwear are built in, and much more comfy than regular undies. She looked at me like maybe it is not socially acceptable to tell people that. Whoops.

If I were a cartoon character my name would be Ms. Webb No Pants.

It’s no pants week because I said so. In a few days I will be forced to don teacher clothes. They are itchy and pinchy and no fun. My abdomen and thighs are enjoying their last week of freedom.

20130823-175657.jpg

A Week in Pictures

I’m sitting in my car, parked outside the music studio where Colby takes drum lessons.

Mother Nature decided I was tired, so she’s watering my garden for me.

It seemed like a good day to spend a paycheck. At Target, on school supplies. The irony.

20130809-175052.jpg

20130809-175236.jpg

I had allergy testing done earlier this week.

20130809-175449.jpg
Now I will know what is like to live in Maine and not eat any seafood.

20130809-175553.jpg

Matt and I got our marriage license. I kept thinking they were gonna say no, but it turns out as long as we’re not first cousins we’re all set!

20130809-175720.jpg

20130809-175738.jpg

I have painted my kitchen twice in the past two weeks. *facepalm*

20130809-175854.jpg

The sea foam green was good in theory. I like the present khaki MUCH better.

20130809-180002.jpg

I got a college ID much different from those I’ve had in the past. I think I look better in this one too.

We’ve been canning and freezing in the middle of all of this wedding planning kid carting new (extra) job ruckus. I think I can I think I can . . .

20130809-180322.jpg

20130809-180339.jpg

20130809-180354.jpg

20130809-180405.jpg

20130809-180415.jpg

Summerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrtime.

I’m not looking to jinx myself, but the living really is pretty easy.

I’m sitting under my $34.99 Christmas Tree Shoppe umbrella and sweating through every stitch of clothing I have on.

This is not a complaint. It’s just fact.

But also, it is so hot and sunny that I have to sit under the umbrella or hide inside with the air conditioner on and the blinds drawn. That, my friends, is a miracle.

Matt and his father are framing out the space for the new barn floor, and it seems like every time they set aside a day to dusk-till-dawn work, it is a bazillion degrees out. I feel badly about this. We should be at camp  (and by this I mean I want to be at camp and I want all of us to pick up and go and I feel the teeniest bit guilty that my tiny work ethic only kicks in only when it is raining or snowing, but really those are good times to lay around and read, too).

DSC02501

Someone, thankfully, gave the Panther a new home.
Someone, thankfully, gave the Panther a new home.

DSC02495

DSC02536

DSC02534

My flowers are blooming. Between the frequent appearance of a green John Deere and some helping hands and flowers appearing on my doorstep, it is easy to make the call that we have the best neighbors ever. We get annuals from one side, perennials from the other. As the annuals are blooming now, I’m operating under the assumption that the flowers will not still be in bloom for our September wedding. Oh, well. That’s what supermarket flowers are for. But look at our gardens now:

DSC02524

DSC02521

DSC02520

DSC02517

DSC02530

DSC02529

DSC02488
I spy . . . four rows of greens. Note to self: next year, diversify.

DSC02523

I just dropped my baby off at music camp (keep your band camp jokes to yourself, thanks. I can’t handle it!) for his first overnight camp. I realized, with every step I took, that it would be five measly years before I did this, moved him into a college dorm, for real. Holy Holy Holy Shit.

Colby and I did get a good dose of time together today; we waited in an hour’s worth of lines for registration, drove back and forth across campus, moved him into his dorm, met his roommate, had lunch, and sat through the full-group (kids – behave, parents – don’t worry) meeting. We simultaneously realized that we were about halfway through July. And then we didn’t mention it again. Please summer, just stay. Please kid-version of Colby, just stay.

This is what we’ve done so far this summer:

I schedule stuff, drink coffee, and check email. This is how I look 50% of the day.
I schedule stuff, drink coffee, and check email. This is how I look 50% of the day.

074

Watching fast cars and funny people.
Watching fast cars and funny people.
We swim with friends. Colby likes babies (understatement of the year).
We swim with friends. Colby likes babies (understatement of the year).

DSC02508

DSC02509

195
And we swim elsewhere.
More on this local 'beach' later.
More on this local ‘beach’ later.
United Methodist Strawberry Festival. . I ❤ cheek pinchers. Really, I’m serious!
Chard pie with savory herb crust
Chard pie with savory herb crust
Oriechiette with chard, chickpeas, and smoked gouda
Oriechiette with chard, chickpeas, and smoked gouda
Turkey Lurkey!
Turkey Lurkey!
Swiss Chard Pizza - I'm sensing a theme here.
Swiss Chard Pizza – I’m sensing a theme here.

This week, more of the same. I have recipes for all of the above (up soon). Do any of you have chard/sturdy green recipes for me? I’m running out of ideas.

xoxo

What’s New?

I feel like summer is a boulder rolling, rolling, rolling downhill and picking up speed. I want it to stop. STOP. Now. Thanks.

My wedding registry tells me there are 57 days left until the wedding. This means only 50 something days before school begins again. *sigh* I’m not physically ready for the wedding or spiritually ready for school.

I have Colby a grand total of six days in July. Six. That is not enough. I’m so happy that he has a chance to spend some time with his father, but. . . more on that later.

I am reading like a fiend. Check out my book list page. This is one of my favorite things about summer. Also – all of my reading and writing time counts, for me, as “professional development”. That’s what I tell my family anyway.

I am awaiting a lumber delivery as we speak. Matt and his father have been jacking and digging and mixing concrete and pulling up boards. I cannot wait for the barn to be finished and have Matt back. I’m sure he would rather be at camp instead of pulling boards in 90 degree weather too.

I have a list of recipes that are nearly ready to go up. We have been eating swiss chard, more swiss chard, and occasionally cereal.

I’m running again. We’ll get back to that.

I am officially enrolled on my local yoga studio‘s teacher training program. I’ve been waiting for this FOREVER. Like since I was 10 years old and pulled a yoga sequence article out of my mother’s Redbook. I’m dropping out of university to go to yoga school.

And now, I’m going outside because I cannot stand to see the sunshine without being directly in its path.

xoxo

A Hesitant Bride

By the time many women descend the aisle, they have spent their child – and early adult – hoods thinking about The Wedding. This may be a pop-culture generated idea, but it’s the idea I’ve always stuck to. I was never that girl. I didn’t pick out dresses, I didn’t think about flowers and color schemes and venues. I never thought about what my husband would look like.  The hours that some spend on a day, I spent on an even more dangerous idea: the marriage, the life.

My precious?

I racked up a few proposals in my late teens and early twenties, and escaped them in the same haphazard way I elicited them. It was easy to place the puzzle piece of a person up next to my nearly completed puzzle. I could never find a piece to fit, it was never difficult to put one piece aside and go back to the box. Just like my grandfather taught me, I completed the edges of my puzzle first, I had an existing framework. I propped up the puzzle box, picture side up and nestled it over the bottom box so as keep it upright. I kept comparing the pieces to the picture, to the in-progress puzzle.

In my late twenties I finally met someone who matched the picture. I couldn’t figure out how, at first, but it was a definite match. The analogy ends here, of course, because you can’t just pop a person into your existing schema. Like the addition of Mary Poppins to an otherwise un-exceptional English household, one person blows out the edges. You must begin again. You build the edges around yourselves.

Begin we did. Not consciously, of course, but everyone begins somewhere. We began in my eventual concession to a friend: yes, you may give the new guy at work my number. These were pre-Skype days, and we talked at night after his work day was over and I had Colby in bed. I sat on my back steps with the cordless land line phone squished between my shoulder and my left ear, a glass of Malbec frequently in my hand. Eventually we met, and our awkward first date gave way to more dates which eventually led to me, standing over our shared bathroom sink, using the neti pot because I have some syphilitic mutant cold, and shouting holy shit, Matt! come look at what just came out of my nose! That’s the end game, friends, finding someone who will look at your snot.

And even though I am conscious of my desire to squeeze Matt into my ideal-husband mold, it still happens. He resists, which gives me an odd sense of faith. If he never easily complies, doesn’t that make for less of a chance he will feel robbed of himself in the years to come? Maybe each shitty mustache, the constant refusal to get a hair cut; maybe that all means that he will hold on to himself through this marriage. It will prevent me from losing myself within him.

This marriage thing, well, I read too much Doris Lessing in my early twenties. I could never get how the balance would work. How is it even remotely fucking possible that you can spend your entire life with someone and retain your self? Add children to the mix, and the proverbial game is over. I want to posit an alternative: What if the nature of change isn’t a loss of self,  but an opportunity for growth?

1 weird person + 1 weird person = 1 incredibly weird couple
1 weird person + 1 weird person = 1 incredibly weird couple

So frequently when Matt and I argue, I find myself thinking, This is not what I want my life to be like, this is not what I imagined. As I get older I am realizing that these statements, and my idealized marriage situation are never reflections of real and actual life. I used to fling around statements like, I am only going to get married once. Really. I could rattle off a list of pronouncements I’ve made on marriage that would make you simultaneously cringe and look at me with the “aww, honey, soon you’ll know” face.

I am less hesitant these days, as we move closer to the aisle. I’ve been able to loosen some of my long-held beliefs about what a marriage should be like, and this is the most healthy and liberating thing I’ve accomplished in a long time. I’ve been able to realize Matt as an actual human being who gets to have input in our life – as opposed to the benevolent golem I had created.

My knowledge and opinions on marriage have the shape of an inverted pyramid. Where I once knew so much, and now have less, but maybe more important knowledge.What I’m left with is this:

Our marriage will be whatever it is. We will do the best we can with the tools we have, and we will love each other even when we don’t love each other.

 

A Post In Which Heather Falls Out Of The Canoe And Is Very Scared

It was a day of firsts. Our first swim while canoeing. The first time I’ve changed in front of my in-laws. Cheers (see me holding up my cup of Sleepytime tea?).

We were so thankful for dry weather that the intermittent clouds were no problem. Matt and I took the Forester, freighted with gear, out Route 9 and toward camp. We drank coffee and ate breakfast and had a rare, but much-needed, visit.

Once at camp I settled in with a stack of grading while Matt attempted to get his old VW Rabbit (1 out of 4) running. His family arrived, and with them, lots of wedding talk. His father asked me, “Why can’t you just elope like normal people?”.

Said Father and Matt’s brother dropped us, our canoe and gear off, and we whooshed by them shortly. Us, water everywhere; them, safely on shore, fishing and shooting video.

Ledge Falls from Heather J Webb on Vimeo.

We knew we’d have big water today, but I certainly didn’t foresee what was to come.

Do I look nervous? Maybe I'm wondering whether I should eat that piece of warm bacon pizza?
Do I look nervous? Maybe I’m wondering whether I should eat that piece of warm bacon pizza?

We took some pics as we scouted the most difficult piece of our run. We were on the East Branch of the Union River and prepping to go over Ledge Falls. This spot has given us difficulty in the past, but usually because the water was TOO low.

Long story short, we dumped it.

DSC02357

DSC02356

Ledge Falls
Ledge Falls

I was pretty convinced that I was going to die. I was stuck for a few seconds but managed to wiggle my foot free and made sweet love to a huge rock. Once I was perched on the rock I was able to grab the canoe rope (Thanks, Matt for saving the canoe!) and haul it over to my rock. I flopped in, Matt hopped in, and we were back on our way. The rest of the trip was cold and wet, but we survived. Oddly, it was fun. We had a few more sections of fast water and then, poof, we were done. Matt built me a fire and I stood by it and wrung out my clothes while we waited for his parents.

Now we’re home and dry. Laundry is done and I am too.

Have a great week, friends.

xoxo

Da dum da dum

Totally perfect.
Totally perfect.

 

A little shy of four years ago, I went on my first and only blind date. Even though we ate at a place we both do NOT like and took a detour to Home Depot, we somehow wanted to see each other again. In quick succession came a coffee date, more phone time than I logged in middle school, complicated commuting schedules, and a third shadow to accompany Colby and me on our walks.

Over those years we’ve learned and re-learned; each other and our surroundings. We’ve reconciled our dreams and our realities and we’ve been surprised with the funny places where those two intersect. I’ve been prepared to marry this man for some time.

The Proposal

It was perfect and beautiful, friends. I knew this day wasn’t too far away, but Matt managed to take me completely by surprise. We had a rare afternoon out together and celebrated later that night with my brother and his fiancee (thanks for the babysitting, you two!), Colby and our dogs. We sat by the fire and watched Lord of the Rings and I was feeling that was quite appropriate – since I would maybe slice anyone who came near my shiny, precious ring.

The Wedding

 

. . . planning is in progress. I’ll keep you all posted. All I know is that it will be small and simple and probably in June.

Meanwhile

Colby keeps looking at me and grinning. I keep watching as I walk past mirrors to see what my ring looks like in different light, against a different color jeans. Matt absentmindedly fingers the ring when he holds my hand. I have, wait for it, a Pinterest board. Help me Jesus.

 

Thank you all for your love and excitement. I’m so happy you will be on this journey with us.