Of Men and Swine

I’ve never been one to follow politics. In fact, I actively avoided it for most of my life. My view, right or wrong, has always been that it doesn’t really matter how I vote, things do not change. Until now. It seems to me that the climate in our beautiful land of the free has gone from bad to worse, to unimaginable. I couldn’t bring myself to vote for Hilary or Trump during the elections, they were both horrible choices to me. I’m neither Republican nor Democrat. I’d like to think that I can make my own decisions and choices despite party lines.

When it first came to my attention that Donald J. Trump, that mash-up of Oompa Loompa meets Troll Baby, was running for president, I thought surely it was a joke. I literally cried that January when, amidst very little fan-fare, he was sworn into office. Since that time, his moronic tweets have been an appalling source of humor for me, at his expense. Every time he opens his mouth, I think, “wow!” I am still in shock that anyone could vote for this man, let alone continue to support his idiotic ways. Yet, even my best friend, because she’s a republican, stands by him. No questions asked.

I watched yesterday as tRump, during a press conference, chose a female reporter to ask a question. As she looked around to verify that he had indeed chosen her, he was heard to mumble, “she’s in shock ’cause I picked her.” When the reporter, ABC’s White House correspondent Cecilia Vega responded, “I’m not thinking, Mr. President,” it was met with Trump’s desultory “that’s okay, I know you’re not thinking, you never do.” WHAT? Did he just say that? Because, assuming Mr. Trump (I refuse to call him my President) doesn’t know this particular reporter, what he just said was to ALL women. ‘I know you don’t think. You never do.‘ What an insult to women’s intelligence. But kudos to Ms. Vega for being a better person than Trump could ever hope to be, and handling the situation with poise and professionalism.

Knowing the contempt that Trump holds for apparently ALL women, it’s no surprise to me that he stands behind his man, Brett Kavanaugh, as a stellar choice for Supreme Court. As I said earlier, I’ve never been one to follow politics, but let me tell you, I’ve been glued to the screen ever since Dr. Ford uttered her first public words during the hearing last week. I’ve been checking the papers daily to keep up on the latest developments as the FBI continues their investigation (is limited, isn’t it? who knows?) into Mr. Kavanaugh’s background. Every hour it seems there’s a new development. Mr. Judge says Dr. Ford is lying (of course he would, he’s implicated as well if she’s telling the truth!), Dr. Ford’s ex-boyfriend (who’s name has been redacted – WHY?) says that she coached a friend on passing a polygraph test, therefore, she must be lying. Julie Swetnick said this, but now she’s saying that. She can’t be trusted. And at the end of all of these updates are the comments from republican supporters who know for sure what’s going on.

These are the comments that I find so infuriating. I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve read from men who are pissed that women are having a moment. They say that it’s unfair that any woman can stand up and accuse a man of sexual abuse and ruin their lives. I say it’s unfair that so many men have unfortunately never thought twice about objectifying a woman (can you say Trump?), or worse, physically assaulting her. How terrible for those men that women are finally speaking out! And how wonderful for the women who are brave enough to finally do so. To all of these men (and women) who are making fun of Dr. Ford for her appearance, or the way she spoke softly (she was terrified), I say shame on you. You’re grasping for straws in trying to dismiss her testimony. Yes, a person can be terrified to fly but STILL FLY. I am one of those people. And, I am also one of those people who’ve had an experience similar to Dr. Ford’s but can’t recall all of the details.

While I was in high school, I had a crush on a young man. Let’s call him Brett. Brett and I took a stroll through the woods one day. I was still a virgin. We started to make out. Brett got a little too handsy and before I knew it, he was trying to remove my underwear. Shocked, I asked him to stop. He did not. In a panic, I was able to fight him off, push his hands away, and run back to my friend’s house. My underwear did not make it with me. I truly feared that Brett would rape me. I remember feeling scared. I was crying and shaking, and my friend’s brother offered to go after Brett and beat him up. But, I said no. The reason? Because I did not want to make a scene. I was embarrassed and ashamed. How could I tell my parents that I went knowingly into the woods with a young man a few years older than me?

While my experience was not nearly as traumatic as Dr. Ford’s, it stayed with me for life. Do I remember what year this happened? No. I only know it was during high school, so it must’ve happened sometime between 1986-88. Do I remember where these woods are located? Vaguely. I couldn’t pinpoint the exact location today. Do I remember what I was wearing? No. I only know that I lost a pair of underwear that day. Do I know that it was Brett, though? 100%. You better believe your “devil’s triangle” that I believe Dr. Ford’s testimony completely. Just because someone cannot recall all of the details of a traumatic event, does not make her a liar. And you better believe that if my “Brett” was nominated to the Supreme Court, just as Dr. Ford felt it was her civic duty to speak out, I would do the same.

How can we expect our daughters to feel comfortable coming forward with similar stories, when women are constantly labeled liars for speaking their truth. I’m sure that there are women who lie, just as there are men who lie, but we cannot dismiss what any woman has to say.

Several years later, at a friend’s wedding, I ran into my “Brett.” Surprisingly, he pulled me aside and apologized for the incident. I could see that he truly was sorry and I’ve forgiven him. In fact, we’re now friends on social media. The thing is, just as I made the poor choice to follow him into the woods that day, teenagers make mistakes. Brett made a mistake. It’s completely plausible to me that Brett Kavanaugh yucked it up in high school and college, partying, having a great old time. And, maybe, just maybe, he made a mistake while he was drunk and accosted Ms. Ford. And since that time, maybe he’s become a decent human being. But the difference here between my “Brett” and Mr. Kavanaugh, is that my “Brett” did the right thing and owned up to his past mistakes. Mr. Kavanaugh, when faced with Dr. Ford’s accusation, went on the defensive, cried like a baby, and whined like a little piglet.

Regardless of whether Mr. Kavanaugh is telling the truth about having no recollection of Dr. Ford’s accusations, it’s become apparent that Mr. Kavanaugh has not been 100% truthful about other things. For this reason alone, Mr. Kavanaugh does not deserve to sit on the Supreme Court.

As for Mr. Trump, keep up the good work of pissing women off. Don’t be surprised if you run for re-election when you lose. Oink, oink, Mr. Trump.

Narcissists n@

Ahhh the joys of being married to a narcissist. Ahhh…the even bigger joys of NOT being married to one anymore. How I wish I could say that I don’t have to deal with this man anymore, but unfortunately, we procreated together and now we’re in each other’s lives for the long-haul. If you’re reading this, thank you. This is therapeutic for me, just another rant, on another day.

For those that don’t know me (which is pretty much everyone lol), here’s a little personal history.

I married this man…we’ll call him Jozef…in 1996 after having dated for a year and then living together for a year. Now, you might think that living together would prepare you for married life, and it should, but unfortunately, Jozef and I lived with his brother for that year, who acted as a very effective buffer to Jozef’s narcissistic and angry ways. I thought everything was great that year, and then BAM…ring the wedding bells and cue the nonstop arguments. That first year was hell. I should have gotten out of Dodge, but instead, I got pregnant! And then three years later, I got pregnant again. Two beautiful babies…one crazy dad.

I didn’t know at the time that Jozef was narcissistic…I didn’t even know what that meant. All I knew was that after a few years, it felt like I was constantly walking on eggshells. “Don’t put the knives and forks together in the dishwasher, you should separate them so it’s easier to unload…don’t use your brakes too much going down the steepest hill in Pittsburgh just because the car in front of you is using theirs…don’t make me angry if you don’t want me to punch my fist through the wall…Don’t, Don’t, Don’t! But I did. Over and over, I did everything wrong. By late 2005, I couldn’t take it any longer and asked for a divorce. You’re probably thinking, “smart cookie,” but noooo….I went back for more. I was just like so many other women out there in semi- or full-on-abusive relationships…I was scared. Scared to start over. Scared that I couldn’t take care of myself. So, I didn’t file for the divorce and we tried to reconcile. I tried my best to help him have less stress in his life, so he’d be happy, and in turn, we’d be happy. I know, it was very selfish of me, but what can I say? You want to go running everyday as soon as I get home from working 8 hours and leave me to get the kids fed and ready for bed…you should do it! You want to go on a 100-mile bike ride for the weekend and leave me at home with the kids…you should do it! You want to go to Budapest to “serve your country during war” and leave me home for weeks at a time with the kids while you tell me about your maid-service and the wonderful restaurants you and your buddies got to eat at? Of course, you should!! And, of course, you should take a tropical trip to Guam for months while I juggle home, daycare, and a full-time job, but please make sure to send me photos of you sunbathing and playing in the water! Oh, and if you want to hook up with a 21-year-old while you’re there, that’d be great, too!

Somehow, I continued to try to make my marriage work, but by 2011, it was over. This time he had filed for divorce. I still didn’t want it.

Now, here’s where his narcissism really shone through. Because I didn’t want the divorce, and because I’m a genuinely giving and caring person by nature, I agreed to settle out of court. Did you read that? Yes, Out Of Court. For those of you contemplating divorce, NEVER do this! You WILL get screwed. Somehow, during this vulnerable stage of my life, not only did I agree in a legal document not to seek alimony, but I agreed that he should get half the proceeds of my home when it sold, because at the time, I couldn’t afford to buy him out and I didn’t want my kids to suffer any more by making them move and start over in a new school district. My big mistake there was not noticing that the document stated he would get half no matter what improvements I made or paid for. So fast forward to this past June, and I had the good fortune (finally) to sell my home at a decent profit. He, of course, immediately chimed in with “where’s my share?!” despite the fact that he hadn’t lived in the home for seven years. In that time, I had put on a new roof, windows, been flooded twice and had to pay for those repairs, etc.

The only thing I did ask for besides child support during our divorce was a small percentage of each of his retirements (he worked for the military and as a fireman), because I helped to support him and took care of our home and children so he could pursue his interests. At the time that I sold my home, he had left his firefighter job with the County to work for the city, because, as he told me over the phone, he didn’t want me to get any more of his retirement. That money was supposed to be rolled over or something but I had no idea what he did with it. So, I deducted what my portion was worth as of that date from his half of the proceeds from the sale of MY home and sent him a check. Of course, because the divorce agreement stated he would get half no matter what, instead of being a decent person and recognizing that I spent a lot of money on that home in the past seven years, when he did not, and accept what I offered, he hired a lawyer and threatened to sue me. In true narcissistic fashion, he argued with me that he wasn’t being a jerk, he was thinking of our children and he wanted that money to put aside for them, not for himself. Remember that, as you read on.

To recap, this man lived a life where he only had to work every third or fourth day, took many trips during our children’s lives, cheated on me (2x), divorced me, and then manipulated me into signing a divorce agreement that was totally skewed in his favor. He walked away from the divorce paying only child support, no medical (the kids are on my plan and believe me, he doesn’t contribute anything more than the basic child support), no alimony, and he took $30k from the sale of the home I’ve lived in solely with my kids for the past seven years. What did I get? If he doesn’t die before he collects his retirement income, I’ll get 33% and 25% of his retirements respectively. If he does, I get nothing. And, if he dies after I start receiving anything, my benefits will cease. Clearly, he is the winner here.

Which brings me to this morning. This morning, I decided that I’ve been paying for enough. I want my daughter to take professional driving lessons. They will cost $420. I asked if he’d contribute ½. His reply? Nope. So, remember that part you read above, where he said he only want the money from the proceeds on the sale of my home “for our children?” Yeah, ok.

This narcissist is easily the most selfish person I have ever had the displeasure of knowing. I was so angry this morning when he said he wouldn’t contribute for something that benefits our daughter. His reasoning later was that he would not participate in anything that I am a part of. Huh? The only thing I am a part of is doing the work to make all the arrangements. I asked him if he wanted to make the arrangements instead. I’m still waiting for that reply.

I can’t do anything to change him, but even though it probably makes me a bad person, I take great comfort in knowing that Karma is a bitch with a capital K. It delights me to no end to know that his fiancé bailed on him at the last minute and shortly after, told him she was pregnant. So, now at nearly age 50, this man has a toddler, no freedom, and no end in sight for child support payments. I do feel bad for his new child though, and hope that something miraculous will happen to change Jozef so he might actually be there for this one.

rants n@…like pants n@…but no pants

Happy Thursday to anyone who may have stumbled upon my blog site and welcome! I’m trying to build my writing resume, so I did some research and all hands point to writing a blog as a good place to start. So here it is. My very first entry for rants n@. I hope you enjoy, and come back often!

Speaking of rants…and pants…as many Pittsburgher’s do every morning, my life and work have provided me with ample opportunity to put on my big girl pants and board the bus each day to travel from the western suburbs of Pittsburgh to my office downtown. Many of you know the joys I get to experience on a daily basis, but just in case, for those of you afforded the luxury of traveling solo in an air conditioned vehicle on your way to your reserved (and probably paid for) spot at the local parking garage, let me enlighten you.

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I know that’s not fair, there are probably lots of nice people driving around in BMWs, right?

Anyway, each morning, after I rush out the door five minutes later than I intended and work up a sweat running down the street to catch the PAT bus that’s running two minutes early, I make it just in time. I’m gasping for air as I try to stop my purse from yanking my hair out while the straps slide down my shoulder. I make sure I make eye contact with the bus driver and say hello, even though he’s never said hello back to me, much less cracked a smile in the two months I’ve been catching this particular bus. I swipe my card and begin walking all the way to the back of the bus because miraculously, there are two seats still available. I have to do this quickly, though, to avoid being launched into someone’s lap, as the driver goes from 0 to 100 in about 30 seconds flat. I take my seat next to a young man who’s head is snapping back and forth violently as he tries not to fall completely into REM sleep. I wedge myself in the seat and try not to make physical contact with him, but it’s nearly impossible since he’s sitting with his legs spread as far apart as they can possibly go, leaving me with about 6″ of room that I can fit half of my ass on – the edge of the seat now wedged up my ass crack. Why do guys sit like this? I mean, I don’t expect them to cross their legs – I get that they’ve got some stuff happening down there that could get a little uncomfortable – but it’s ridiculous, and rude, to take up almost all of a two-seat chair for the sake of comfortable balls. It’s not like they’re suffering from scrotal elephantiasis or anything. I know, because I looked it up and it’s non-existent in the U.S. But, I digress. I spend the next 20 minutes of the trip gently elbowing the guy as he continuous his pattern of nodding off to sleep and falling onto my shoulder, all while his legs do the unthinkable and spread even further apart. At this point, I think I should have just stood.

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As the bus continues on its route, I have to concentrate on not biting my tongue on accident every time the bus plows through a pothole at warp speed. My chest is literally bouncing up and down so much, I’m afraid the girls might give me a black eye. And, I’m not even well-endowed. I think I should have taken some Pepto-Bismol or something before I boarded the bus, because this particular bus driver was too lazy to return the bus to it’s normal state after lowering half of it to let passengers on. Every time he makes a slight turn, it feels like we’re defying gravity and I have to grasp the pole so I won’t fall out of the seat I’m already precariously perched on.

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(That’s a Maryland bus, not Pittsburgh – but wouldn’t it be more appropriate here with the pigeons on the front! UPDATE: I’m aware that those are seagulls, but maybe Pittsburgh needs to start its own marketing campaign featuring the adorable pigeon!)

Finally, we arrive at the Ft. Pitt Bridge with it’s glorious view of bridges, stadiums, the river, and the skyline, but I can’t look at it, because it makes me nauseous watching all of the traffic play chicken with our lopsided bus at a single point where cars are trying to merge left and we’re trying to merge right. If I prayed at all, I’d say a prayer, but I don’t, so I just gnash my teeth and try not to look completely terrified. The other passengers probably think I am crazy.

After 25 minutes of sheer terror, we reach my stop. I stand near the door preparing to exit, facing sideways, legs hip level apart, grasping the pole with a death grip so I don’t get launched when the heavy-footed bus driver (I think purposefully) slams on the brakes at my stop. By the time I exit the bus, though, having experienced all of that, I’m grateful to be alive and ready for another productive day in the office. Thanks to the Port Authority for helping me to appreciate the value of life!