Tangled up, Pt 4…

I don’t know quite where to start.

If I start from Friday nights date with Ivy it won’t really be the beginning but if I start at the beginning, with all the things I know about Ivy, which is far from everything, this will be a novel not a blog post

I can’t describe how I am feeling because I don’t really know.

I feel sad, but I don’t know why I feel sad.

This week I have been exceptionally tired but despite forcing myself to bed at a reasonable hour every night by Friday I didn’t feel any better.  In fact I felt awful.  Last week it seems I picked up a urine infection and while it was uncomfortable, as urine infections often are, I couldn’t put my mood/tiredness down to that surely?

I am now near the end of a course of antibiotics and it seems to have done the trick as far as peeing is concerned.  My urine has returned to its normal colour and I don’t want to scream like a banshee every time I feel the urge to go, but I do still feel a tiny little bit low.

This is not unheard of as we all have those days, you know the sort, days were you are better of staying in doors, days when you shouldn’t communicate with the outside world for fear of actually saying what you are thinking.  This is quite normal.  They don’t usually last and I don’t expect this to.

Yesterday however, I was tearful.

I was making flapjacks, having just turfed the kitchen cupboards out and found some out of date oats.  Not one for throwing food away and assuring myself that out of date oats surely can’t hurt you, I decided to bake.  So baking and listening to music my thoughts were drifting to my date with Ivy the previous evening.  Our date was not disastrous by any stretch of the imagination but neither was it a resounding success.

It makes me desperately sad to see him so unhappy but unhappy is what he is. What makes me even more sad is that I can’t fix him. He is broken but I am broken in my own funny little way and I don’t know if I have the strength to pretend enough for both of us.

Ivy is my light relief, or at least that is what I was hoping he would be.  I was looking forward to my date, to going out out, as we do not do this often, usually it is dinner at his, some drinks and some very nice relaxation afterwards.  I love these nights but after a long and quite stressful week I was also looking forward to a nice change.  Hopefully, still with some relaxation afterwards!

I don’t think this went entirely as I had expected for many reasons, the main one being It is far too early for him to be in any kind of relationship.

If I was to be completely honest I think all he really needs is a friend.  It was very clear that Ivy has had a tough couple of weeks and while he tries valiantly to hide the difficulties he is facing at the moment there are tell-tale signs that he a man very near the end of his tether.

Ivy is new in town.  He doesn’t know anyone, except me.  He is trying to juggle working with a shared care arrangement for his son that changes on an almost daily basis and the stresses of moving/settling somewhere he has never even visited before never mind lived.

His divorce is as far from amicable as you could possibly get and driven by a hatred I have never seen before.  In the early days of our “arrangement” we spoke briefly about his separation and the fact that things weren’t entirely amicable and I took it all with a pinch of salt.  I didn’t ask too many questions and he didn’t offer too much information but as the weeks have gone by he is slowly dying inside, I can see it and I hardly know him.

I never thought it possible to dislike someone you have never met but she is sucking the soul out of that man and I despise her for it.  Not because I love him or because I have any feeling other than that of one human to another but because it is just so unnecessary.

I have never been married, neither have I ever had much to fight over but I know without question that I couldn’t put myself or anyone else through what he is going through now.  When any relationship fails it hurts and I understand why people get angry, feel let down and want the other person to hurt as much as they do, especially when it has not necessarily been a mutual breakdown but surely in the end it is about breaking free, in the end you have to hope that you can sit, discuss, work out and be empathetic enough to see that both sides have to be able to move on, to go forward and be happy.  Idealistic?  Maybe, but the alternative or the alternative that I see is killing this man from the inside out.

Honestly, I am not sure we go from here.  I think we are moving towards the friend zone and to be honest I don’t think that would be a bad thing for either of us.  Friends with benefits?  Maybe?  For a while, who knows.

The trouble is I kind of resolved not to get myself in to a situation where I felt like I was doing something because I didn’t have anything else to do and this is kind of where I find myself, unwittingly.  It is not that I do not want to see Ivy, I do and neither is it because we don’t have a good time, not counting the last couple of weeks but more because it is to easy to fall in to this ‘lets just see what happens’ thing and usually nothing does.

While I am all for going with the flow especially in the early days of any relationship I feel like this thing with Ivy is almost done already.  I can’t help but feel that despite his very best intention he really doesn’t have the time or the inclination to dedicate to me at the moment and this is for the time being OK, but how long it will be OK for I don’t know.

I get a strange feeling of contentment lying with Ivy after our date, having his arms around me, his fingers stroking my skin. I listen to him talking about being an astronaut and how the worlds works, those moments and events, the things that have happened to lead to us to where we are now, together.  Together but not together, not yet completely comfortable and sometimes very awkward, especially when it comes to intimacy, yet I felt content, almost happy but not because it was Ivy just because it was someone.

That feeling that comes from feeling protected, like someone has got you is priceless.  Nothing comes close to feeling loved or cherished, maybe even adored and for a few moments I enjoy that and I hope he does to.

I want to make him feel hope, even if I can’t give him anything else.  Hope that one day he will come out the other side, that he will still be the man who is good and kind and even though his heart is a little chipped he will find love again and for how ever long it lasts it will be wonderful.  That he won’t always feel this way, that things will get better and it will be hard and he will feel like he can’t do it but he will.  To reassure him that the pain will lessen over time as it always does and new things will happen and he will once again be strong enough to embrace life and all it has to offer.

Crikey! I am far too emotional at the moment.

As I leave though we are back to our awkward selves, not wanting to commit one way or another about when or if we will see each other again.  It is always left open.  I wait for however long it is to hear from him and now I get it and it’s fine, like I said, for now.

 

Mood board…

This may be short and to the point.

I am still playing catch up, mostly with myself.  I feel like the days are flying by, with me running along behind.

I can’t work out if I have dementia or my brain is just refusing to take anything else on board at the moment, or if that amounts to the same thing?  I have never been a fan of the post-it note but lately my life is full of them, my desk is littered with the things, a wall of cryptic little messages I have left for myself the next day.  Only trouble is the next day I look at them and think, what the bloody hell does that mean?

The post-its that annoy me the most are the ones I can’t dispose of.  The ones where I am waiting for someone else to do something, for example.  The IT man.  Over a week ago I reported a broken computer and two broken printers, among a few other things, not all IT related.  I was given reference numbers for all of these reports and they are still on my desk on little post-it notes because no bugger has come to fix any of the things I reported.

I have phoned everyday for an update and I will phone again tomorrow and the very nice man will tell me the same as what he told me today, that someone will call me back by the end of the day, but they don’t and I keep telling him they don’t and he keeps telling me they will but they won’t and in the end I will get cross and shout at someone and then I will feel bad but hopefully then someone will come and everything will be fine until the next thing breaks and we go through the whole process again.

I’m tired just thinking about it.

Things have settled slightly at school, particularly for Tom, who was pleased as punch today to report that he was fast approaching the end of the week with not a detention in sight.  The 24 hour XBox ban is going to be my new best friend.

Tom informed me this morning at around 7.20 am that it was his friend Emma’s birthday today.  “Mum, it’s Emma’s birthday have you got a card and a present I can give her?”  At this precise moment in time I was holding a butter knife and was now counting to one hundred before considering my response.  Still counting…

Miraculously I somehow managed to find a card and even more miraculously than that, a present.  A boxed silver heart mirror that I bought on a whim a while back and didn’t really know what to do with and so through gritted teeth I announced that yes, despite his very ‘man attitude’ to gift giving I did indeed have a card and a present he could give his friend and while he sauntered off to make sure his quiff was moulded in to place I would stop what I was doing and wrap it all up for him.  #sometimesiwantotkillhim

Elsie is all things birthday now.  With only 15 days to go, it is THE topic of conversation.  I am still in denial about all this growing up malarkey but it’s happening, whether I like it or not.  There have still been dramas about Spanish tests and mood boards this week but I am riding them out, or trying.

The buddies and I thought we might do our own mood boards, post-it notes of angry faces, a hangman’s noose and lots of black marker pen sprang to mind.  We are all going through this together, a joint mid-life crisis, perhaps we should co-own a convertible (we couldn’t afford one each) and start wearing double denim.  We need a drink and a vent but we can’t even get that arranged at the moment because of all this damn responsibility we’ve got going on.

Following on from my last post, quickly, I did indeed message Ivy.   The man amuses me and frustrates me, equally and at the same time.

After exchanging several pleasant messages about our respective weeks and both generally hoping that the other was having a lovely weekend and so on and so forth, I cracked and basically said something along the lines of;

Christ! Could we be any more polite? Good to know you are having a lovely weekend and I’m sure you are equally thrilled that I am to, but I was only really texting to see if we are going to meet?  I’m not very good at the whole silent, waiting thing and so in an effort to take the balls by the horn, what do you think?  Yes/No?   (or words to that effect).

To which he replied.  Yikes!

This did make me LOL a little, granted.

Without going into the whole conversation, which in usual Ivy style wasn’t very long but was very to the point, we arranged to meet.  Then in typical fashion I waited again until today for him to confirm that we are meeting tomorrow, as planned and we agreed a time.  We are going out out, again!

 

This is how I see it…

It is shaping up to be quite a week.

Football has managed to take over the house already. Tom has notched up his first after school detention in only 3 days. Elsie is flipping out about being in year 10 and I am having the week from hell.

We have crash landed in September.

The first week has killed us all.

Well, when I say all I mean Elsie and I. In Tom’s bubble, life is sweet. He is not at a point in his life where he need worry about anything and nor does he. He is only 12 and so I suppose this is a good thing, he is after all a child and so as a child he should be living life as a carefree young soul who’s only concern is food and fortnite. He does this well. Elsie on the other hand is stressing. Already. Still quite some distance from her GCSE’s she is already wondering if she will get the necessary grades to go on to A levels.

She is now worrying if she has picked the right subjects and whether she will be good enough at her chosen subjects, if she will get on with her teachers and her new classmates now that they have all been swapped around. It is going to be a long two years. I can feel her anxiety growing and mine just beginning.

Elsie also came home with a lovely long list of requirements for starting year 10, not least of which was a high-grade craft/sketch book, for her new textiles class and a subscription to Vogue magazine. Yes miss, we shall get on that right away!

Well when I say right away I mean soon… ish!

I seriously over spent in the holidays and will now spend the next few weeks robbing Peter to pay Paul and working like a trojan to get some overtime in before next payday. Luckily my job requires me to work all the hours God sends, so overtime shouldn’t be a problem.  A life outside of work might be though.

Fortunately in another turn of events I haven’t heard from Ivy in ages, it seems he knows I will be struggling with my work/life balance soon and therefore has decided to give me a break.

While this is not the first time we have had long periods of silence, I am going to say out loud, that I am starting to find it a bit bloody irritating.

This is how I see it…

When we decided to get in to our ‘non relationship’, it was agreed this would be a mutually beneficial arrangement between us. ‘Us’ being two very grown up, consenting, intelligent and moderately mature (I am talking about me there not Ivy, who is so mature he is almost mouldy) adults.

This, on paper at least sounds like a dream. What is not to love about meeting someone new, who you kind of like, with a view to just letting things take their course, no pressure and no rules, with exception of the obvious ones, ie; no shagging about (I’m too old for STD’s), have fun, enjoy.  Simple.  You think?

Communication is always the key in any kind of relationship and there in lies the problem, men and women see communication very differently.

Having said that, men and women see most things differently, this is the reason why we should live on separate planets, but while we both have to share this one, it is kind of necessary for us to be able to communicate. You have to be able to talk.

This is my example. Ivy is having a shit time. I know that and I get it, I understand and he will get no pressure from me because I am more than happy with our arrangement, an as and when basis works as perfectly for me, as it does for him. I am very happy to see him once a week, it is never usually the same day, it varies depending on both of our circumstances and this works well, I thought. Until now.

When I last saw Ivy he admitted his day had been pretty shitty. He was not himself and while for the most part he was his usual charming self he was very obviously out of sorts. He could have cancelled the date but he didn’t, I don’t know why, part of me thinks it would have been better for us not to see each other, not because we don’t want to but because we are just not there yet. We are not at the lets sit and listen to each others problems stage.

This may sound harsh but this is where I struggle. In my mind we are having a fling, it is supposed to be fun and in his words not mine “a distraction”, something to look forward to.  Don’t get me wrong, I have looked forward to all of our dates so far and for the most part they have been exactly how I imagined they would be.  Cryptic, I know but I suppose what I am trying to say without giving too much away is that we are basically sticking to the script. Granted it is not your average script and while we are very much enjoying the sexual side of our relationship we sadly lack anything else.

If I am completely honest I don’t think Ivy and I have what it takes to have a relationship but that was not my concern as it wasn’t really what either of us signed up for.  I wasn’t thinking long-term and neither was he.  It was clear from the beginning, I thought, what this was.  However, even though we have for the most part stuck to the agreement we still struggle to talk and I think this is because talking is what couples do and we are not a couple.  This may not make any sense at all as in my head it is like a messed up jigsaw puzzle but we are too frightened to talk and we are too frightened to talk because that is not part of the deal.

The deal is no strings, nothing complicated, just fun but his life is complicated and while he openly admits he is not ready for a relationship, we are still involved with each other even if it is on an ad hoc basis.  Texting each other to share information will not move us on to the next stage in our ‘relationship’ it is just simply polite.

I know I said no pressure and I meant it. I will not hassle him if he is not ready or he has other shit to deal with, but we are supposed to be enjoying this and we won’t if we keep ignoring each other. I’d like to think that Ivy would tell me if he had changed his mind, that the kind, decent, very thoughtful guy that I have been seeing the last few weeks would tell me if he was done and I would do the same.  However, I am not done.  I am more than happy to continue with our ‘distraction’ it works well for me, I enjoy it, I enjoy him but I do expect a certain level of communication.

Whatever you want to call this, it is a relationship of sorts, casual, sexual or otherwise it is still a thing. You might not want to give it a label and it doesn’t really need one but what it does need is some idle chit-chat. Not the kind of communication where you just dump everything on each other but the kind that keeps you in touch, lets you know the other person is still there, that while they may not be able to see you right now because there is other stuff happening they just want you to know that they want to.  This does not mean that you are engaged to be married.

I do not know what to do.

There is a part of me that wants to message him to see if he is ok.  I care that he is ok and I think that is quite normal on my part. It would be much worse if I didn’t care, surely?  I care because I am a nice person, I want to check on him in the same way I would check on any of my friends should they be in the same situation but we are not friends and I am still not sure what we are and it is this uncertainty that stops me from communicating with him.

So now neither of us is communicating and that will just lead to a whole load of nothing.

This in itself is so bloody ridiculous it is almost funny.

Surely I can text and say Hi without feeling like I am forcing myself on him?  The whole point of texting is to arrange when we can see each other or not?  It is not so that I can make demands or push him to make further commitments I just want to see him, whenever, sometime.  I am back to work, it is busy, football is back with a vengeance and Elsie has clubs/activities etc, life is life we won’t always be able to drop everything to meet but by keeping in touch we will know that at least we want to.   If we do.

So, the way I see it is, if you want to carry on this arrangement, then make it look like you do.

I love having dates with Ivy to look forward to it brightens my week and I am now no longer scared to admit it, but I just need him to realise that being excited and looking forward to something doesn’t mean I am wedding dress shopping!

Oh Fuck it! I am going to text him.

What’s the worst that happen?   Don’t answer that!

 

So…

It’s the first day back in the real world.

It went well as far as first days go.  Everyone came home with the things they left the house with and there have been no real incidents reported as yet, although Elsie is stressing about a Spanish test tomorrow.  A test tomorrow?  Already, on day two?  Nothing quite like breaking you in gently and that is nothing like it.

I have already been back to work , which it has to be said was a little traumatic.  I love having the Summer off, but it really doesn’t do me any favours.  What was a 3 and a half day week last week, felt like an 8 day one.  Goodness knows what this one will feel like by the time Friday comes around.

I was however, a bit baffled when Tom came home with the contents of his pencil-case in his blazer pockets.  When I questioned as to why they were not in his pencil case he retorted grumpily;  “You put them in a Marvel pencil case, do you want me to get bullied?” To which I replied just as grumpily, “I couldn’t find your plain pencil case, you know the new one I bought you that was in your bedroom two days ago and because you don’t pack your own things and do not care whether or not you even have a pen never mind a full pencil case, I thought a Marvel pencil case would be better than NO pencil case!”

His look of horror at my complete lack of understanding made me realise that I have forgotten what it is like to be a teenager.  I realise I have forgotten how uncool everything is.  How kids pick up on everything, from your pencil-case to the colour of your ruler.  I may as well have sent him in with a pink fluffy one in his eyes, it is just unheard of at the moment to have anything other than a plain pencil case.  As a Mum a pencil case is a pencil case, as a kid it is the key to being the same as everyone else.  To not standing out.  Or committing ‘social suicide’ as Tom put it.

Miraculously though he found his plain pencil case shortly after.

So, she says trying valiantly to remember any other significant events over the last few days that might be worthy of talking about.

If I can remember what happened I will gladly fill you in as we go, but don’t hold your breath, I am a couple of Vodka’s in now so it is unlikely I will remember much and I will probably waffle a tad more than usual to.

Drinking on my own is something I don’t usually do but sometimes you just fancy one and then one turns in to three and before you know it you are ready for a lie down.  I am not quite ready for a lie down but I have no idea if what I am going to write about will make any sense…

I am a terrible drunk.  I am not drunk I should mention that now probably, before I start getting text messages from friends asking if I am ok.   I am ok.  Do not worry.   That makes me wonder if anyone would actually worry?  Now I really do sound like I am drunk.  I promise I am not.  So, if you are worried, don’t be and if you are not worried then really you have no need to be, so it’s fine. Good, I’m glad we cleared that up!

Moving on.

I am a terrible drunk.  Just generally.  I like a drink, I love Vodka it has always been my tipple of choice.  I can’t handle my drink not like I used to (my sister would say I have never been able to, but I strongly disagree!).  In the good old days we would go out three maybe four times a week, dancing, drinking, just generally living life but we could do that and still get on with everyday.  Nowadays I can barely manage three drinks without wanting to take myself to the nearest vets for a lethal injection the following day.

I have always been a silly drunk, by that I mean I just do crazy shit when I have had too much to drink.  I would like to say I have learned not to get to that point any more and at the very sensible age of 46, I no longer do crazy shit when I have had a drink but anyone who saw me at last years Christmas party would beg to differ.  Talking of Christmas parties it is nearly time to organise the next one.  Woo Hoo!  I think I am genuinely the only person who gets excited about the work Christmas party.  I love it.  I love organising it, I love going to it and I love getting drunk at it, until the next morning at least.

There is a life quote that goes something along the lines of.. Sing like no one is listening, dance like no one is watching and so on and so forth.. well that is me, after a few drinks but the trouble is everyone is watching and while they are watching they are laughing their bloody head off.  Stories to dine out on for years.

My friends still tell the story of me trying to leap-frog one of those bollards they have on pedestrianised streets to stop the traffic, after leaving a nightclub one evening.  Only just managing to straddle the bollard, I was swaying dangerously atop my hands, which were firmly wedged under my drunk arse, before toppling forwards and face planting the tarmac below.  The pain only marginally outweighed the embarrassment, at least until I woke the next morning looking like I had been in an alley with Mike Tyson, which it has to be said raised more than a few eyebrows at the job interview I had later that day, needless to say I didn’t get the job.

It has been a very sociable few days since I last blogged.  Thursday we managed to cobble a team together the enter the local pub quiz.  It was great fun, even though we came joint last.  We enjoyed it so much, I think we are going to put ourselves through it every month.  Well it’s an excuse to get out and mingle and it might keep the brain a bit brighter for longer if I can mange to retain any of the information learned.

We have consoled ourselves with the fact that even though we came joint last, with a score of 74 the teams above us had only beaten by a few points, 75 then 79 I think, so all in all not a bad first attempt.  Besides if we are ever going to be quiz champions we can’t give up yet.

On Saturday we had Tom’s start of season BBQ.  Usually, I avoid these things like the plaque but it is getting to the point where I can’t keep saying, No.  I just generally feel uncomfortable at these things.  I hardly know anyone and those I do know I am only on nodding terms with so I just feel like a spare bit to be honest.   I don’t know anything about football and I feel like my neon single mum sign is larger than usual at this kind of thing.  I know this largely reflect my own insecurities but it is so shit feeling so out of your comfort zone that sometimes you just want to avoid it at all costs.

Actually it was fine.  Largely thanks to my other Mum friend, who I forced (quite literally) to come along.  The food was lovely and the weather even lovelier, which lets fact it is all you need at a BBQ.  Sadly lacking a bit of music but with my track record for dancing that is probably not a bad thing.

Then on Friday I had another date with Mr Ivy.  Yes, we are hanging on in there.  I have got to the point where I have lost count of the number of times we have been out now, so that is a positive, right?   I still enjoy his company and while I question whether we are both at the same junction in our lives (I think definitely not, but), I am still fairly happy to go with it for now.  Mr Ivy has ‘stuff’ to deal with and while I am busy, as is he, with life in general, I do not have ‘stuff’ to deal with, this makes it complicated.  Does it?  It’s as complicated as you want it to be I suppose and I do not want it to be complicated.

I know sometimes life has a way of throwing the odd spanner or three in to the mix but where possible I would like for once to have something very uncomplicated.  Is that really too much to ask?