Tuesday, May 31, 2011

So much stuff

Life can be really hard sometimes. 

I've had my kids a lot lately, which is why I haven't got to write much.  It's hard to blog when I have them, especially since the only computer in the house is connected up to the TV as my Netflix box.  In the living room.  Great big TV as a monitor, but not a lot of privacy.

So, both the Ex and Captain America got a bit in trouble with her boss because of some of what's been going on.  They, of course, both blamed it on me - as if no one would ever have any issue with their choices without my influence.  Blamed it on me, and one one of our mutual friends.  Well, used to be mutual - when he and his wife didn't 100% take her side the Ex decided they were evil, too.  Anyway, these formerly mutual friends, who are still my friends, have been two of the most stand-up and simply Christian people I've seen through most of this, and they are catching hell for it.  Captain America called and emailed them with all sorts of nasty nonsense, yelling, accusing, cursing, making threats, etc.  And all because someone else, somewhere, decided on their own that maybe my Ex and her boyfriend haven't acted with integrity sufficient to the ethical clauses in her contract. 

So, now the nasty venom is being spewed at my friends, whose only crime is being associated with me. 

But, on the bright side, her actions are starting to catch some attention, and some of the consequences of those actions are starting to be felt.

That's probably why, last night when she was picking the kids up from the Memorial Day BBQ I took them to, she started crying and asking it I would really try and make it work with her, etc.  No, she doesn't suddenly love me again.  For the first time.  She doesn't actually want me back.  She's just realizing that maybe leaving your engineer husband when you, yourself, have zero marketable skills and when your new boyfriend is starting to be something of an albatross around you neck may not have, all told, been such a well thought-out plan. 

And, no, I really don't want to be back with her; but it is really hard to look my children in the eye when I know I would have a chance at making all this go away for them.  Not that what we had or could have again would truly be better for them.

So, fun week.  Oh, and my friend from high school I mentioned?  Yeah, I had to not be her friend anymore.  After she more or less asked if I would take her if she left her husband for me.  Yeah.  I have a special life. 

But life does go on.  Despite all this, I'm feeling pretty OK about myself right now.  The beginning of last week I was absolutely crushingly depressed.  I don't really know why.  It just hit me with all the hopelessness and everything.  But I'm feeling better about myself now.  Some of it is just time - my moods come and go.  Some of it is that I got to hang with RS this past weekend a bit, and that always cheers me up.  Some of it is that I changed my look a bit - a facial hair thing - and think I look pretty good right now.  And some of it is that I've more or less decided to go ahead and start taking classes again.  Not sure if I can start by the fall, but definitely by next spring I want to be taking stuff.  I love school, and so that would be fun. 

But a lot of it is just having my kids here.  They are a lot of fun.  Even when they are being whiny and not really paying attention or obeying much - like they were today.  They are still fun. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Good times

So, as I mentioned last post, the kids have had a lot of fieldtrips and stuff at school this week, that normally I wouldn't go on, but that I now have to take off work for because otherwise the Ex would send Captain America instead. 

Kind of a pain, especially since I actually DO have stuff I ought to be doing at work.  But what certainly is not a pain is spending time with my kids.  

So, I had all afternoon with my son at a local place that's sort of an arcade but with all kinds of other stuff, too - mini-golf, go-carts, bumper cars and bumper boats, laser tag, a paintball course, etc.  Today I spent ALL day with my daughter at the zoo. 

It is really great to be dad again. I think I'm finally really remembering how and getting back into the groove. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Been really busy.  Sorry for the lack of posts.

So, Captain America continues on his ever-raging battle against the Evil Enzo.  By trying to take my kids away - by trying to be substitute Daddy. 

So, this time of year my kids have a lot of field-trips and stuff from school.  Because I work and she really doesn't, the Ex would go on most of these in previous years.  I was OK with that, because I work for my family, and going to work is part of me expressing my love for them.  OK.  Well, so a couple of weeks ago she informed me of one my son had.  I probably couldn't get out to do it, since it was all day.  I didn't hear another word about it.  Come to find out that she didn't go, either, or just send him with another parent.  Nope, she called Captain America to take him. 


Then, this past week when I had my kids they were both acting kind of uncomfortable and I asked them about it and they said that he's over there almost every day and it is making them uncomfortable.  The ex even has him be the one who tucks them into bed and gives them their good-night kiss.  Which is so totally beyond any and all aspects of appropriate that it boggles the mind.  No, not that she would have someone else do that job - she was always too lazy and too busy with facebook to bother doing much of anything.  But that he would do it is surprising. 

So, yeah, I'm dealing with that. But life is just that special.

So, my friend who was once my girlfriend that I talked about in the previous post and I talked last night about religion.  So, OK, her mom was a nut-case, and the way she pushed religion on her daughter really messed her up - and, not surprisingly, part of her reaction as an adult was to reject pretty much everything religious.  But she knows I care a whole, whole lot about my faith.  We were talking about that when she mentioned that, in discussing me with her similarly-non-religious husband his comment was, "He's, like, genius-level smart and very educated.  Why does he still believe that stuff?"

Don't worry, the questions were asked to me in a very respectful fashion.

Still, is there a more important question to be able to answer?

I won't give you the entire answer here, because we talked for a long time, but in discussing part of it I had some interesting thought that I thought I'd share.

So, there have been a LOT of extraordinarily intelligent people in history who have also been very deeply religious.  Three of the people I consider in the top 5 most intelligent people in history - Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and Sir Isaac Newton - were all very Christian.  So, being a person of faith puts you in good company when it comes to intelligence.

Of course, when you say that a lot of people today would say, "Yeah, but they lived way back then.  Today, we know so much more..." 

But do we really?  I'm an engineer.  I work on some of the most bleeding-edge tech there is.  I also study history.  And I truly think we've lost a LOT more over the last few centuries than we have gained.

I mean, sure, we can hop in a car and drive to a grocery store for twinkies.  Yay, technology.  Yah, convenience and luxury.  But all the electric lights and airplanes and nuclear weapons in the world don't make us, as a society, any closer to actually appreciating truth than our forefathers.  In fact, if we look objectively at our culture, I think we are far, far, far less able to recognize much of anything as True and Beautiful.

The church I attend still does all it's readings and prayers in 17th century King James English.  Beautiful language.  The language of Shakespeare.  To many today it just sounds old fashioned and stupid and it become nearly incomprehensible.  But actually study the language - it is a LOT more sophisticated a language than what we speak today.  In comparison to it, 21st century English has devolved almost back to mere grunts.  We are losing the ability to speak, or at least to speak with any sort of complexity or nuance.  The language itself is collapsing.  Orwell said that if you don't have a word for a concept you can't think of that concept.  What about when the entire structure of the language makes it impossible to form certain thoughts?

Truth and Beauty.  We live in a cultural wasteland.  Has there been anything really worth reading written in the last 100 years?  Has the English language known any true poets in the last 200?  Have there been any real and true artists?  My ex loves old movies - "Singing in the Rain" is both her favorite and Captain America's, too - and the other day my daughter asked me what my favorite old movie was.  I thought about it and said, "I don't have one."  The question assumes that there are films deserving of becoming "classics" and to be remembered, and I simply don't consider film to be an art form at all.  Sure, it can be entertaining, but entertainment isn't art.  Art is about a connection with Truth and Beauty - and it is art that is worthy of being remembered. 

And don't get me started on music.  Bach vs Ke$ha.  Any questions?

We live in a cultural wasteland.  We consider Shakespeare extremely high art - and I certainly do, too, because I absolutely love the Bard and his works - but in his day his plays were considered crass entertainment for the masses.  Same plays.  The difference?  Their society still had and recognized true art.  We have nothing.  So, what was low art for them is high art for us - because WE have devolved. 

But most importantly to this conversation is philosophy.  To us, philosophy is something kids who don't want to actually put out any effort in college study.  It's only for the most useless of academics.  Too bad, because philosophy is important because it governs how you think.  Not that people don't have philosophy - we still think - but people aren't aware of it as a discipline, and so their thoughts are disordered and contradictory and meaningless and they don't even know it. 

Even the most educated and important among us suffer this.  After all, science is, itself, governed by a philosophy - a philosophical system that combines rationality with empiricalism.  Read Karl Popper some time and you'll see how deep and complex the philosophy of science is.  Yet, most of our present-day scientists not only don't actually KNOW the philosophy behind their own discipline of thought, the very thought that there IS a philosophy behind it would be a foreign and probably offensive idea.  Yet it is.  This disconnection between the experts in a field and the philosophical underpinnings of that field are largely responsible for most of the nonsense that gets passed around today in the name of "science." 

So, all this to say, when those of the present day dismiss the faith and knowledge of extraordinarily intelligent people from the past as just superstition, they are arrogantly assuming that because we have more technology then they did that we know ALL things better than them.  But being able to build machines doesn't correlate to actual knowledge of the truth.  Deep and real increases in the knowledge of how the physical world works does not imply real actual increases in the ability to discern what it means.  Our forefathers knew a LOT more about that.  Their culture produced works of great art simply because they were more in tune with Truth and Beauty.  They knew philosophy because they knew it was important to know HOW to think before you try to think - or at least before you claim that you know better than anyone else.  No wonder our language is devolving, and removing even the ability to express nuanced and careful thoughts.  No one has used those facets of the English language in centuries. 

So, no,  I think we very much can listen to the wisdom of the intellectual greats of the past.  Our world may have things theirs did not, but theirs had a lot that ours does not - and what we've lost is, at least as relates to this question, far more important than what we've gained.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Blast from the Past

This past week I posted something on facebook that made oblique reference to my current situation.  Apparently there are a lot of people who know me and are friends of mine on facebook who hadn't known about the divorce.   I guess I haven't been very public about it.  Anyway, they saw the post, checked my info page, and then freaked out and emailed me. 

One of those is an ex-girlfriend of mine.  The closest thing I had to a "high school sweetheart."  We dated for a year from the end of high school (for me, she's 2 years younger) through my freshman year in college.  Sweet girl.  And one of my only ex-girlfriends that I don't have any harsh feelings towards. 

She was very concerned, and wanted to talk - to see if I was OK.  So, we talked.  That was weird.  First time I've spoken to this girl in 15 years or so.  Yet, even so, she still knew me scary well.  Just talking to me for a short time she pegged a LOT of stuff that's going on with me that I didn't even really realize all that well.  

She's married and happy.  Which is awesome.  She deserves it, especially after the childhood she had. 

But weird.  Weird emotions it brings up.  Gotta' figure out all that it means.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A lot to talk about

I've been out of town on business the last few days.  A lot going on.

First of all, that whole worry about her wanting me back?  Yeah, I'm pretty sure that isn't going to happen anymore.

Not sure how much of this I've talked about, by Madam X's job has some serious ethical clauses in her contract - it's a very deeply Christian, um, non-profit organization let's say.  Anyway, her bosses aren't all that impressed with her behavior lately, when it comes to me, and so she might lose her job.  In order to keep it, they've told her to go do counseling with a minister here in town.  And this minister's response, when he first talked to her, was that he wanted me there, too.  So, he called me and asked and it was the right thing to do, so I went.

Last Saturday was our third session with him.  He was really pushing hard on the, "Won't you just  try and reconcile?" bit, and she wasn't saying anything, so I said, "You know, that depends.  Because there is no way I'd sign back up for how it used to be."

The ex responded, rather icily, "Oh, and how was that?"

So, I told her.  She got angrier and angrier.  Finally the minister let her have her say - let her respond.  And what she said was, "Before that, I have to know, Enzo, if we were to try and reconcile, what is there you are doing right now in your life that you would have to change." 

I answered honestly, "Nothing."

That's when she stormed out.  Then she came back, crying, and told the minister she would meet with him again if she had to to keep her job, but would not if I was there. 

So, I think that put a fork in THAT. 

OK, that's one issue down.  The real big one left in detangling our lives is the financial stuff.  My attorney and I sent her and her attorney a letter with an offer of how we think it should go down.  This was I think a month ago.  We finally got a response back. 

As far as the part I'm most concerned about - how much the alimony and child support will be - there was nothing.  But on the part about dividing assets...  That was interesting.

So, from the beginning she said she wanted to keep the house.  I was OK with that because it's a big, expensive hassle.  That's why I moved into my little apartment.  But now she's realizing these is no way on God's green earth she could ever afford that place by herself.  So, she no longer wants it. 

Instead they are offering to just sell it and split the profits. 

But there is obviously another choice - I could buy her out and move back into my home.  I never even really considered this option because I thought there was no way she'd let it happen.  But now she kind of has to let it happen. 

That would mean that when the kids were with me, they'd be in their own rooms.  That would mean I would be a LOT closer to work and could bike to work again - and I wouldn't have to sell my truck.  I would have my garden back.  I'd be just a couple blocks from church, and just a couple blocks from the kids school. 

In order to do this I would have to give her my ENTIRE 401k, but I'd come away with the real estate.  On which we don't owe all that much. 

OK, so my expenses would go WAY up.  And that is WAY too much house for just me.  And the house isn't in that great a shape and is a big hassle.  But it's my home.  I could go home. 

A lot to consider. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

My Place

Some of this feels like it may be stuff I've already said.  If so, smile and nod and pretend like it isn't.

When I moved out of the house back in late January I knew I needed to find a cheap apartment, preferably on the other side of town from the ex and the kids so I wouldn't be running into them at the grocery store or whatever.  I looked at the same place RS and Therese live, but they didn't have one ready, so I ended up renting one in the same complex where me and the ex lived when we first moved into town.

There's probably some interesting psychology there that I have no real interest in exploring.  Because it's probably pretty screwed up.

When I first moved in here,  I completely hated it.  It wasn't home.  It wasn't the house I had bought and worked on.  My kids weren't here.  My stuff wasn't here - or at least not all of it.  It's tiny and my neighbors are loud and uncouth.  I hated it and didn't see how I could ever NOT hate it.

But then time went by.  I remember telling people (probably on here, if I looked) that it wasn't home and never would be - it is a place of exile.  But, as far as places of exile go it's pretty comfortable and nice. 

Then time went on.  And  I got the rest of my stuff here - which, as I talked about last week was a hard thing and had a lot of emotional baggage, but at least it's all HERE.  And that's important.  I found myself this morning, as I cleaned the place, actually feeling like it is home.  And being proud of it.  I think I have a nice place.  RS and Therese can comment on that, because they've been here, but I like what I've done with it.  Not that I'm going all gay interior decorator, like the Ex's new BF, but I think it's nice. 

And it's now home. 

I think for me that old saying is a bit different: Home is where my books are.  They are here, and it's nice. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Talkin' about my generation

What the hell is wrong with us?

Next door to my office lives the girl who does all our configuration management.  She stopped by to talk.  She's going through a divorce, too, and wanted to hear about my experience with custody mediation.  As we talked me mentioned several other people we know our age who are going through all this. 

What is going on with us?  Why can NOBODY seem to make it work? 

Sunday, May 1, 2011


So, I finally was able to get the rest of my stuff out of her house yesterday.  She made it a lot harder than it should have been.  I could have gone over just about any time and got stuff, or sent someone else if she didn't want me there.  But, no, the time had to be scheduled in advance, negotiated by lawyers, and she had to have "witnesses" there.   I guess she was afraid I'd go crazy, running through the house, and taking all her stuff.

Since I'm so known for that sort of thing.

But we were finally able to do it, and got it all over here.

And that's a pretty big milestone, and it carries with it it's own emotional content.  That place truly is no longer my home at all.  Not only do I not live there, and am not allowed to go over there, but none of my stuff is there.  It is all hers now.  This place here is my home now. 

It wasn't the nicest house in the world, but I still put a lot of work into it.  Even more, I put a lot of dreams into it.  And it has a lot of memories.  And it's no longer mine because it was taken from me.  I'm no longer family man living in the nice house in the nice part of town.  Now I'm living in a bachelor pad on the less nice part of town.  That's a hard transition, and this makes it all real now. 

All I have is my life is what I have right here.  I'm not a stuff person, in terms of finding happiness in things (well, except for books, but those are a bit different), but it's the simple fact that she has rather effectively removed me and cleansed the remaining traces of me from her life.  The fact that my stuff is HERE was important to her because that means it isn't THERE.