The Night My Marriage Ended, Starring Catherine Zeta Jones!

So. I'm tweaking my manuscript and it dawned on me that I never wrote about the actual moment I knew my husband was leaving me. I've told this story so many times, to so many people, that I kind of assumed that I'd written it down. I was wrong. 

I'm thinking that this would be a good first chapter. Or foreward. Or intro. Or is it prologue? God help me. I have no idea what I'm doing. But that's something I can deal with later. For now, please have a read:


We were eleven and a half years into our marriage. The child who had hastened our wedding plans, Charlie, was 10, our girl Molly was 8, Henry was 6 and the baby, William, was 4. Summer vacation was just around the corner, and I faced the prospect of three months with no school as many stay at home mommies do: with a mixture of dread and excitement. The seemingly endless summer loomed before me, and I'd been occupied with getting the kids signed up for all of the busywork that middle-class suburban children attend to in June, July and August: day camps, park and rec activities, swimming lessons. I'd surprised my husband with tickets to see Jack Johnson in Chicago mid-summer, and had just squared away the childcare arrangements with my mother-in-law. Marriages will go stale if they're not tended to properly, you know. I was secretly, guiltily, dying to get away from the kids for a few days, and to reconnect with my fella. Plus, Jack Johnson...enough said. 

The day my marriage ended was a Saturday. It started out as normal as any Saturday got around our house. Big Daddy had taken off first thing that morning, saying he had some errands to run. I did the usual weekend stuff with the kids: went to a t-ball game or two, cleaned a little, played a little, putzed around in our shiny, newly remodeled kitchen. When Big Daddy returned a few hours later, with two coffees in hand, the kids ran up to greet him and I waited on the front steps for my kiss and my coffee. 

You know how it goes in households with several little kids: tag team parenting. So, coffee in hand, it was my turn to go get a few things done. First stop was the grocery store. It was a gorgeous, late spring day, the kind that calls for grilling and dinner on the patio. I picked up some steaks, some corn on the cob, and a bottle of wine. Because, after all...this was Saturday night. My last stop was at the video store, where I picked up the movie Chicago, featuring sexy Richard Gere, Rene Zellweger and of course, Catherine Zeta Jones. Big Daddy and I were woefully behind on the "Must See" movies, and I was determined to get us caught up a little that evening.

Dinner was fabulous, as I knew it would be. We sat at the patio table, Big Daddy and I, and watched the kids cavort in the backyard for a while before clearing the dishes and gathering up our tired brood as dusk settled in. We gave the kids baths, read them their stories, tucked them in a few times. The usual rote bedtime rituals that millions of families do in millions of households every night. I decided to tackle the dinner dishes before firing up the movie, and asked Big Daddy to open the wine. He poured me a glass, and set it next to me on the gleaming granite countertop. I was elbows deep in hot, sudsy water, scrubbing the large pot we had used to boil the corn.

Big Daddy sat on the arm of the sofa in our family room. When we remodeled the kitchen, we had added a big pass through between the two rooms, so whoever was stuck on dish duty could see all the action. He was acting kind of strange, I remember. Like there was something urgent he needed to tell me, or ask me. But he waited until the kids were asleep. 

Wasn't that thoughtful of him?

He cleared his throat. "There's something we need to talk about," he started. I turned off the water, took a sip of my wine and smiled. I thought to myself, "Oh boy. What did he buy now?"

He fidgeted and squirmed, tried to find a comfortable position on the wide arm of the couch before he began. 

"Today, when I was out this morning...I got an apartment."

In what was to be the last few seconds of my familiar life, my old life, I pulled a towel from the oven handle and began drying the dishes. I looked at him and said, "Really? For who?" I thought maybe one of his brothers was looking for a place. Or maybe, a coworker. Looking back on this now, I'm touched by the naivete of my response. I really had no idea what sort of hell I was about to enter.

"It's for me, Jenny. I signed a one year lease on an apartment for me."

I remember this moment as if it just happened last night. I can feel the hot dishwater evaporating from my hands and the cool, smooth granite beneath my fingers which had somehow splayed themselves on the counter top.  I can feel my body frozen there in front of the pretty new sink, bathed in a warm yellow pool of fake sunshine from the fancy pendant light I'd picked out at Home Depot just the week before. 

I stood there like that for a few minutes. Or maybe it was an hour. That part I don't recall with as much clarity. 

Finally, I managed to speak. One word was all I could manage as I looked at the man with whom I'd just made dinner, the man who stood beside me in bedroom doorways as we'd said goodnight to our babies. My husband. He didn't look at me as I said it. He chewed on his lower lip and fussed with the hem of his shorts.

"Why?" I asked. 

Still sitting, he shrugged. Shrugged. He had just announced that he was leaving me, and all he could offer me was a shrug? I found my voice again, and found something else as well: a primal, rapacious anger that I'd get to know so well in the months and years to come.

"You're leaving me? Leaving us? WHY?" I said it loud, not quite yelling but definitely not chatting now. "Is there someone else?"

His fingers left the hem of his shorts, his eyes found mine for the first time since he sat down to tell me his big news. He shook his head side to side, the floppy swath of hair that hung over his forehead swaying to and fro.

"I feel like a prisoner here. I'm not happy." He stood up. "I need some time alone. Time to think." 

I pulled the stopper from the sink and watched as the dirty, soapy dishwater circled the drain, slowly at first and then faster, that wet sucking sound filling the empty space between me and my husband. 

Just off to the right of the sink was the big wooden block that held our Wustoff Trident knives. A much-loved wedding gift, the various knives and kitchen shears had become the most-used items in my kitchen. For a few seconds, I pictured myself pulling out the big butcher knife, the one I had used earlier in the day to cut up a juicy seedless watermelon, and plunging it into his chest. I could see the knife going in, could see his indifferent blue eyes looking at me with horrified shock, could see the blood spurting out onto his stupid golf shirt and frayed khaki shorts and then pooling onto the Brazilian cherry hardwood floors. 

Of course I didn't do it. What I did do was slip into denial mode, a mode which had served me well in the past, and was as comfortable as a tattered old robe.

There would be no more talk of marriages disintegrating! The dishes were done and there was wine and a movie to watch! Surely my husband would soon realize the grim error of his ways, and we'd laugh as we talked about "that time he almost left". This was not, could not, be happening.

"Well." I said, finally drying my hands and clutching the wine glass in a trembling death-grip, "we should probably watch that movie. I don't want to talk about this anymore."

And what's funny, is...he followed me into the cozy front room where we kept the big t.v. and the DVD player. We sat on our worn Southwestern striped couch, the couch we'd bought with some of our wedding money. The couch we'd taken turns holding fussy babies on. The couch we actually made a baby on, once. We sat there, like it was just any other Saturday night, not the Saturday night our marriage ended. 

We sat there and watched Chicago, starring Catherine Zeta Jones. 

Five Awesome Things I've Learned From My Preschool Students

Some of my friends cannot fathom spending 8 hours a day with 20 preschoolers. I, on the other hand, cannot fathom spending 8 hours a day with 20 adults. We all find what we love in this life, and I love being around kids.

And as far as teaching goes, it's a two way street. I've learned as much from them as they (hopefully) have learned from me.

So with apologies to Robert Fulghum, here are Five Awesome Things I've Learned From My Preschool Students:

1. NAPS ARE AMAZING. There have been times when a child's head is spinning around, Exorcist-style and they've spent the whole morning alternating between destroying other kid's block towers and apologizing for destroying said block towers. Nap time comes, and that same kid wakes up so transformed that his farts have halos. Rest=Restoration.

2. WORRY ABOUT YOURSELF. This is the standard response when someone approaches us with breaking news about somebody who is doing something wrong. Or if they notice a classmate taking a teacher-administered break. A lot of us (present company included) waste irreplaceable chunks of our lives worrying about what other people are doing or thinking or saying. We could all benefit from worrying less about others and more about ourselves.

3. USE YOUR WORDS. "Miss Jenny! She said I'm a poop head!" "Miss Jenny! I was making a tower with blocks and he smashed it down!" "Miss Jenny! She budged in line!" What do you think I say when these scenarios present themselves throughout the course of the day? Yep. "Use your words." We teach the kids to stand up for themselves, to be talkers instead of shovers, to look one another in the eye and communicate verbally. In this online world we live in, the power of the spoken word coupled with eye contact is often overlooked and undervalued. 

4. IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT COLOR CUP YOU HAVE, AKA: YOU GET WHAT YOU GET AND YOU DON'T THROW A FIT. We offer milk and water in cups at lunchtime. There are several colors of cups available. For the first few lunches, there are cries of horror as a blue cup or a pink cup or a yellow cup is placed in front of the hungry and thirsty children. Listen, if we let each kid "pick a color", lunchtime would last an eternity. And since nap time follows lunchtime, believe me when I say we like for it to be an enjoyable, but brief, affair. When one of my young charges lets me know that he cannot possibly drink his milk from an orange cup, I ask him if his milk would taste any different if it was in a yellow cup. Or a blue one. Or the pink one. They figure it out by the end of that first week. 

Sometimes we don't get exactly what we want. Sometimes we have a preconceived notion of what will work in our lives, and what won't. Sometimes we still foolishly believe that we have control over the universe. Sometimes we have to drink out of the orange cup. And that's not the end of the world.

5. WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES. I've seen entire days ruined because of too-tight velcro sneakers or sparkly Mary Janes that rubbed tiny little heels raw. Happiness starts from the ground up, my friends, and sore tootsies make for a very unhappy day. I get some crap for my fleet of unsexy shoes: Danskos, Keens, FitFlops...but my feet feel like buttah all the live long day. And that's why I'm almost always smiling. Well, that and martinis.

So you see, aside from getting my recommended daily allowance of hugs, the thrill of watching a child learn to string a bead, read a word or learn to count to 100, I get priceless life lessons from these wee little people. 

I love these kids...and I love my job. 


When I Was 46...It Was A Very Good Year


So it's my birthday. Not as I write this...as I sit here and clickety clack on my couch, it's still another 3 1/2 hours til I turn 47. But for all intents and purposes, it's here.

I'm really getting crazy tonight, and having a glass of wine as I say goodbye to 46. William and I went to Trader Joe's earlier this evening in pursuit of cavatappi noodles. Seriously, side note here: can anyone point me in the direction of a store that sells cavatappi noodles? The only place I can find them is in the organic section of Target...and they are always sold out. 

Where was I? Oh yeah. So William and I were at Trader Joe's. We didn't find the noodles but we did run into his 4th grade teacher, a former student of mine and one of my most favorite hens in the universe. I decided that tonight would be a good night to have a little glass of wine...you know, to toast the end of another year on this planet. So we strolled over to the wine section of the store. 

William was done. He huffed and puffed while I, a true Libra, waffled back and forth between the myriad of boozy choices in front of me. White? Red? A merlot? A pinot noir or grigio? 

Finally, he could take no more. "Mom." he said. He always begins our conversations with that single word. I hope that never ends. "Mom...just pick one and let's go. Grab that one, right there. The one with the horse on it. YOLO, Mom."

I got YOLO'ed at Trader Joe's. 

For the record, "the one with the horse on it" is a red wine with a name I can't pronounce. And it's delicious. Did I mention it was just $5.99? My boy can pick a wine. I used to think it would be awesome to have a mechanic or a dentist in the family...but a sommelier? Even better. 

So here I sit. Surrounded by my boys as they watch the show "Revolution" on Netflix and do their homework, my faithful and loving companion Walter at my side. I'm sipping some good, cheap wine and yep...my eyes are brimming with tears. 


As we are wont to do, we "people of a certain age", I looked back on the past 365 days of my life. I'm beginning to feel the pull of not only my mortality, but of the very seconds, minutes and hours that make up life in general. It's as if someone pushed fast forward, and no matter how firmly I dig in my heels, the days are speeding by at a dizzying rate. 

How is it possible that I am 47? Wasn't I just 18? 25? 40???? I catch glimpses of myself now and then. In the shiny glass of the big doors at school, in the bathroom mirror, in the window above the kitchen sink. There are things I don't like in those glimpses: the roundness of my shoulders, the frizz of the hair. But...and I think this is a gift that comes to those who age: I love most of it.

I'm happy to be alive, to be able to walk around and catch those glimpses of that frizzy-haired woman I play peek-a-boo with now and then. I'm grateful for the fact that I can hug my kids, call a friend, read a book to a 5 year old. 

I'm pretty damn happy that I have 365 days to look back upon.

46 was a kick ass year. It was a year of quiet, massive change. A year of baby-steps and leaps of faith and jumping hurdles both real and imagined.

46 saw the end of a friendship or two, friendships that needed to be done. It also saw the dawning of several more that needed to begin.

46 was the year I saw my name on the Huffington Post. 

46 was the year I not only dragged my shy ass into an audition, but then dragged it up on a stage in front of hundreds of people and read one of my stories. Like, OUT LOUD. 

46 was the year I sat in a courtroom with my ex-husband for (hopefully) the last time. 46 was the year my kids and I saw child support for the first time in almost half a decade. 

46 went to Amsterdam with a lovah. 

46 then butt-dialed said lovah and just like that, he wasn't my lovah anymore. 46 was also the year I discovered that my phone is kinda smart, after all. 

46 saw Lady Gaga. And loved it. The 46 year old friend who took me to see Gaga has been a pal since 6th grade. We left the concert early, to avoid traffic. The two of us 46 year olds laughed as we wondered what our teenage selves would have thought of that.

46 was the year that I wrote about my giant tampons and won an award for it. 

46 was the last year I had to piece together up to 4 jobs at a time just to keep afloat. Because 46 happened to be the year I got a real job. Like, a benefits-sick-days-paid-holidays-JOB. 

46 sat down at a restaurant with cousins I hadn't seen in a decade. 46 was the year I realized that blood runs deep. 

46 was the year I learned so much. I loved so much. I laughed so much. I cried so much, too, because some things never change. But most of them were happy tears, which was a change. A much welcomed one at that.

Thank you, my friends, for being part of my year. Some of you have been around since the beginning, some of you have just joined the crazy. I'm grateful for all of you. 46 wouldn't have been the same if you hadn't been around.

And now, without any further ado, I would like to introduce you to 47.

I wonder what amazing things will happen this year?


If You Give A Mom A Vicodin...

A couple of weeks ago I had a pain. Now, me and pain, we go way back. We have a mutual understanding: I will ignore pain, and pain usually goes away. If pain doesn't go away? I turn to the world wide web.

I'm freakishly healthy. There are colds here and there, yeah. And now I'm getting my first taste of "old lady aches and pains". But the times in my life when I've experienced Real Pain have been few and far between. 

I've had three c-sections, and with each one I was up and out of that damn bed within a couple of hours of having my abdomen opened up. The main motivator in these instances was not wanting to hold my sweet new babes, but rather, to get that $%&*#@@ catheter out of my pee pee.

The lone vaginal birth was horrifying (in my world, VBAC is slang for "Girl, your Vagina Be All Cut up!") but again, after a thousand or so stitches, all was calm on the lady garden front. And back, and everywhere in between. But I digress.

My mouth has also been fantastically pain free. No major dental issues, no major procedures. 

So when I started having a weird jaw pain a couple weeks ago, I gave it the cold shoulder. "I probably bit too hard on that damn Mentos" I told myself. "It'll be fine in a day or two." I slugged back a few Advil and went on my merry way. 

By the end of the week, however, it was taking more and more Advil to ignore the pain, and my inner hypochondriac shoved cold shoulder girl aside. "I got this, dumbass" she said, as she fired up the laptop and Googled "pain in left jaw". 


Within five minutes, Hypochondriac Me was convinced we were in the throes of a heart attack, or bone cancer, or a stroke or an ear infection. Or all of those things, simultaneously. 

Luckily, common sense prevailed (but not before I started wondering if anyone would make a Meal Train for me if it really was something bad) and I narrowed it down to two possibilities: something tooth related, or something ear related.

Of course the pain peaked around 2:00 a.m. on Saturday. Our regular dentist is only open four days a week, and Saturdays aren't one of them. So I called the Health Partners Emergency line and in between sobs I managed to get an appointment at another dental clinic first thing in the morning. My apologies to the poor woman on the other end of the line. (I'm beginning to notice a trend here...me, sobbing on the phone to various customer service reps. Comcast, the power company, Health Partners...hmmm.  Who's next?)

(AT&T reps...you've been warned.)

The dentist said he saw nothing in my mouth that could be causing the pain. "Sometimes these things take a while to manifest" he said as he snapped off his gloves. "Give us a call in the next few days if you're still hurting." And then he said these magic words:

"In the meantime, I'll give you a prescription for some Vicodin. That way you can get some sleep!"

Now, these words were magic because I was in such awful pain, such throbbing, pulsating pain, that the mere mention of a painkiller filled me with joy. But...I was also a little worried. I've had friends become addicted to painkillers. Plus, Matthew Perry. 

I worry a lot about addiction. About becoming dependent on ANYTHING. This worry keeps my cocktail consumption in check, it kind of keeps my food consumption in check, and so far, aside from a brief dabbling in ADD medication, it's kept me completely terrified of pharmaceuticals. Because I've seen firsthand how it overtakes lives. And I don't have time for that. 

I got the Vicodin prescription filled. And I hesitated to take the first one, even though the logical part of my brain knew it would bring some relief. My BFF Danielle, no stranger to pain herself, ordered me to take one. 

I sent her a text after the first pill was dutifully swallowed: "Down the hatch!".

And within minutes, the agony in my mouth went away. I was on cloud nine. I kept careful track of my Vicodin consumption over the next few days, vigilantly writing down the times I took each one. Visions of frighteningly thin pre-rehab Chandler Bing ran through my mind, you see, so I wanted to make very sure that I never exceeded the recommended amount.

I was also given antibiotics on the off chance that the pain was an ear infection. And let me tell you this: when your friend who happens to be a doctor tells you to "eat lots of yogurt to avoid the antibiotic-induced yeast infections and shits", YOU EAT THE YOGURT, ladies. I skipped the yogurt one day. It's one thing to push your own children out of the way while you clench-run to the bathroom, it's another thing entirely when it's a wall of preschoolers standing between you and the grown-up sized toilets at the school. 

Miss Jenny was not at the top of her game that week, kids. My apologies.

It ended up being a cracked tooth. And I ended up having my first root canal, which I found to be completely painless. In fact, the second my mouth was numbed up I felt like the old me. I managed to not chew my lips off, and dare I say, I may have lost a couple of pounds due to not being able to eat with the left side of my mouth for a week.

And I did NOT become addicted to Vicodin. I did, however, keep the leftovers. 

Just in case.


The Lamest Blog Giveaway in the History of Blog Giveaways

Let me start by saying this: I am SO not a giveaway kind of person. Not knocking those who do them, honestly. But it's not in my nature to be all "Hey this week I have two Renuzit air fresheners to give away to some lucky gal!". I myself am actually too lazy to even register for any of those giveaways. I find the instructions and the steps either too time consuming or too confusing. Usually a combination of those two things. Do you know how long it took me to figure out how to get a URL for a Tweet? HOURS. And I didn't even win that one.

So I look at giveaways with a very "not my cup of tea" view. Until today. 

You might remember that about a month ago, I headed to the wild woods of Wisconsin to help my BFF convalesce at her cabin. She crushed her ankle doing a 5K/Mud Run up there, so her sister and I took a few days off from work and real life to help our beloved Michelle heal. 

And we may have had a few cocktails while we were at it.

Little known fact about me: Despite my current size, I am a lightweight when it comes to the drinkies. When discussing my lack of tolerance for booze, I love to reference my second favorite Dorothy Parker quote:

I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I'm under the table
after four, I'm under the host

My best friend and her evil twin sister (have I mentioned that they are identical twins?) are totally NOT lightweights. These girls can put it away like sailors on shore leave. Many times I have had a few cocktails with them, retired for a nap, and after waking up a few hours later found them still cackling the night away. 

They know me. They know that I'm good until about 10:30. Maybe midnight if I've had a coffee in the afternoon. And usually they respect my inability to stay the course, they let me snooze peacefully on the couch or wherever I have decided to curl up and call it a day.

Apparently when one of them is injured, however, they turn mean. 

This time, after a couple rounds of martinis, I fell asleep on my special section of the cabin couch. And that's when Thing One and Thing Two got crafty. And mean.

Aside from recording my snoring, they also got creative and made a beautiful mustache out of cardboard. They found blankets and a hat and dressed me up. I'm sure they were laughing hysterically. 

Here's the look they were going for:

This is the real deal: Pancho Villa.

Okay. Maybe I'm giving my girlfriends a little too much credit. This may actually be the look they were hoping to achieve:

If you have liked my Facebook page, you know what happened. While I dreamed the dreams of a slightly tipsy middle aged woman, my cruel friends did this to me:

They even captioned it! Please ignore the Tostitos and queso binge evidence in the background.

Luckily for them, I have a sense of humor. I have to admit, I guffawed when I saw this. I was more horrified about my snoring being recorded, to be honest.

Now, if this was most people, Gringo Jenny would have ridden off into the sunset, becoming nothing more than a funny story we bring up now and then. And maybe I'd make "gringojenny" my name on Ruzzle. 

Oh, but we aren't dealing with most people here. My bestie and her twin sister carried it one step further. 

THEY HAD MAGNETS MADE. Yes, big huge 4 x 6 refrigerator magnets bearing the lovely image of yours truly all mustachioed up. They've passed them out to just about everyone we know. It's all over my school. Teachers have come up to me and said, "Hey, Michelle showed me a great picture of you!". 

Have I mentioned my sense of humor? The twins are lucky I have one.

I now also have a plethora of Gringo Jenny magnets, which my kids are loving. Evidence of which is seen below in a shot of our tiny Barbie Dream House-size fridge:

I don't need five of these. Really, I don't need any. 


Would you like to have a Gringo Jenny magnet for your refrigerator? They also stick on cars. And metal garbage cans. 


Leave a comment. I don't care what you say. You can tell me what the weather is like in your neck of the woods. You can tell me something horrifying that your best friends have done to you while you slept. You can tell me that "hey, Gringo Jenny, when you're sleeping, that big crack between your eyes doesn't look so bad!". Whatever.

After a few days (or when I realize that nobody is ever going to comment on this one), I'll do one of those random number generator things and pick a couple "winners". If nobody comments, I will hunt a few of you down and FORCE you to take one. So go ahead and comment. Don't make me do that.

Adios, amigos. 


"Comfortgate": Dealing With Bitchy Trolls Online.

My boyfriend, he is so wise.

Huffington Post ran my "Mama, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Housewives" piece last week. It was my first "wildly" popular post, not even close to going viral but it received over 1,000 comments and over 5,000 people liked it on the Facebook. I had a feeling that it would spark some interesting conversations...and I was right.

Whenever something I've written runs on HuffPost Divorce, I brace myself for the inevitable barrage of comments from what I like to call the He-Man Woman Hater's Club. There's a small group of men, very angry, somewhat bitter and extremely caustic men, who love to comment on articles written from a woman's perspective on divorce and single parenting. They blather on about the evils of alimony, about leeching ex-wives and their favorite factoid to spout off about is that "70% of all divorces are initiated by WOMEN!". I've told them, many times, that the majority of divorces are initiated by women because in many cases the men are too cheap, too chicken or too busy boning their new girlfriend(s) to do it. They have yet to embrace my logic.

This time, with this post, the He-Man Woman Hater's Club didn't attack. In fact, a few of them made "nice" comments. Gave me props, wished me luck, that sort of thing. I got a little weepy when one particularly gnarly guy actually reached out and sent me an email wherein he apologized for past remarks and said that he was going to print out my post and share it with his daughters. All together now: AWWWWW! It was really sweet.

What I didn't prepare myself for was the backlash from women. Granted, out of over 1,000 comments there were maybe 15 outright critical ones. All from women. And the worst were from supposed stay at home moms. Three in particular. One eventually apologized for being such a twat, but the other two are still bleating in the comment section a week later. 

Some of the nasty comments came from people who most likely just read the title and maybe up to the part where I think to myself, "What the hell do you do all day?". I imagine that's when they rolled their eyes and quickly commented about "how dare you say what I do all day isn't work!" and "I'm so sick of stay at home moms being criticized!". Of course, if they had read farther, or perhaps if I had come up with a less-inflammatory title, they'd have realized that I am a strong supporter of BOTH stay at home moms AND working mothers. BECAUSE I'VE BEEN BOTH.

The most baffling one, however, was the woman who took great offense over the use of the word "comfortable" which I used to describe married sex. Her first comment lambasted me about it, suggesting that I quit taking out my anger over a failed marriage on innocent wives everywhere. And that mayhap the fact that I used the word "comfortable" to describe sex with my ex was the very reason he ended up leaving me.

Now, those of you who have read my stuff before know I have openly discussed the less-than-hot aspects of my marital sexy times. Is it impossible to have fireworks-inducing lovemaking when you are married? Of course not. Is it easy? Of course not. I was 5 months pregnant when Big Daddy and I tied the knot. And after that baby was born, three more came along in very quick succession (I was also raked over the coals on the HuffPost for having four kids, but we'll get to that in a bit). Pregnancy, breastfeeding, colicky infants, insecurity about having a postpartum body...all of that can make sex not only challenging, but let's be honest: it can make it feel like yet another chore, another task that needs tending. Not all of the time, though. There were always times when it was so beautiful, so tender, so mother effing COMFORTABLE. 

I don't miss my ex-husband. Not one bit. But I do miss comfortable sex. Because it's a perk, a benefit that only couples who have snored next to each other for an extended length of time get to enjoy. 

Sex when you're single can be AMAZING. It can be hot and racy and sweaty and can make you tingle right down to your toes. But one thing it isn't (at least not right away), is comfortable. 

To me, comfortable sex is the kind where you know each other so well that there's no need to whisper "a little higher" or "whoa, cowboy, not so fast!" in your partner's ear. Oh sure, you can still whisper but when you've been with someone for a certain length of time, they know just how high to go and they know exactly when to speed up or slow down. 

Comfortable sex is the kind where you can laugh. You can talk. Or you can remain silent, eyes closed and still be communicating. Your bodies know each other, they fit together and move together like a bow and violin that have been played in tandem for hours, years, decades.

That was what I meant when I used the word comfortable. Which I reiterated to this snarky chick. But she wouldn't let it die. She kept at it, and me. 

I confess: my skin isn't as thick as it should be. I'm getting better at ignoring the mean stuff, but sometimes I just can't ignore it. This particular commenter happened to have her twitter handle alongside her little HuffPost avatar, so I clicked on it. I don't know why. 

I was sad to discover that she is from England. Sad, because I have several readers from across the pond and they are LOVELY, kind people. This one, she was indeed lovely, but only on the outside. 

Plus, finding out she's British meant I had to go back and re-read all of her venomous comments in a haughty English accent. 

Our last barbs traded involved her sharing with me that she loves her husband, has a hot sex life and enjoys pearl necklaces (not the kind you get at a jewelry store, if you know what I mean). Which I thought was a little bit of oversharing, but whatever. She does have a food blog, which you might want to check out. Because, despite the fact that she's kind of mean, she can obviously cook. Maybe that's what I was doing wrong in my marriage? Not cooking enough. And not enjoying pearl necklaces.

The third Mean Girl was the one who, among other things, thought that maybe it was a mistake that I had four kids. I told her that it's a little late to for me to do anything about that one. She also told me that my main problem was that I didn't "marry smart". Okay.

So, obviously, I didn't mean to offend anyone with that particular article. I thought it had a good message for pretty much anyone, especially women. I'm proud of the discussions it created, and the positive feedback I received was so awesome that those few naysayers didn't really chap my hide too badly. 

One thing I learned was that I need to toughen up. I tend to think of the things I write as my "babies", and although I know they aren't everybody's cup of tea, it still stings a bit when they are met with criticism, or even worse: bitchy personal attacks. 

I also learned that not everyone understood the title. I still love it, and I still think it fits perfectly. But it could have been something that sounded less demeaning, less insulting. For that I apologize. 

If I'd chosen a different title, though, chances are I wouldn't have had this in my head for the past few weeks:

Sing it, Willie and Waylon!


Five Things: The Blog Version of a Chain Letter (but not as creepy)

Am I dating myself by using the term "chain letter"? For you younger babes, it's like those emails you get from your cousins or coworkers, that are all sweetness and light but at the end there is an ominous line about how if you don't forward it to at least FIVE of your friends, your children will suffer and you might get a disease. 

Believe it or not, back in the olden days? We used to actually get paper letters, delivered by the MAIL MAN. People used to write them out by hand and then go through their Lisa Frank address books and pick out friends to send them to. I was a very superstitious girl (I thought for sure I wouldn't make it through my 13th year) so you can bet your sweet buns I kept the chain going.  

And I haven't changed much since then. My blog buddy Kristen at Abandoning Pretense tagged me in her post, and even though there was no threat of bodily harm I am totally keeping this chain going. I'll try to bring the funny, people. Here we go:

Five Things I Have A Passion For

1. My kids. They are on my mind 24/7. I worry, I fret, I boast, I love. Making sure they are taken care of is my number one passion. And even as they grow up and out of my grasp, I find that passion is still there. I'm okay with that.

2. Helping women in the throes of divorce. As I drift farther away from the fresh muck of being divorced, I find myself losing touch with what it was like at the beginning. Sometimes I forget that the reason I started writing was to help ladies get through it. I spent this morning responding to comments on one of my most-read posts, "What To Do When Your Husband Leaves You, Part Two" and it re-lit that fire beneath me. It sickens me that so many women find themselves here...and I want to do whatever I can to help them get through it. Hear me roar, baby!

3. Reading. I don't do enough of it. 

4. Your kids. Everyone's kids. All kids. I love children and I will do whatever I can to make sure that when they are in my care, they feel loved and important. Whether it's spending an hour on the floor playing with Legos, or reading SkippyJon Jones over and over...I'll do it. 90% of these kids won't remember me. But they'll remember being loved and they will remember feeling like they mattered. 

5. Ruzzle. I wish I was kidding. My old profile doesn't work with my new phone so if you want to get Ruzzling with me, I'm gringojenny. I don't play as often as I used to, because this "work" thing is so freaking time consuming...but I'll play. 

Five Things I'd Like To Do Before I Die

1. Get into shape. I'm fat right now, and my self-loathing is at an all-time high. I just spent an hour on the Old Navy Plus Size website (they don't sell fat clothes in the store, you know, because god forbid the fatties darken their actual doors). Bottom line is, I need to workout more. Eat less/exercise more. It's not rocket science, right? Sigh.

2. Get my book published. 

3. Buy my own house. I love this rental house, and I love my angel/landlord Dave and his awesome wife. But sometimes I miss being able to say "I own this." Granted, when the dryer breaks or the roof leaks or there's two feet of snow in the driveway, it's nice to be the renter. I picture myself with a charming little Cape Cod, fenced yard and of course, a screened in porch. Will it ever happen? Who knows. 

4. Make sweet, sweet love to Louis C.K. Or just get a whiff of his musk. Sorry..I even made myself sick with this one. But, truth.

5. Have a better relationship with my Dad. We've made progress, but not enough. I want to be able to call him up and just talk. I miss him so much.

Five Things I Say A Lot:

1. "Shut up". I say this in conversation, like someone will say "OMG, there are some Paula Deen pans on clearance at Target!" and I'll say, "Shut up!". I hate that. Trying to stop it.

2. "I wrote a blog post about that once!" I say this ALL THE TIME. Guess what Jenny? You've written blog posts about everything. Giant bowel movements, sex and segways, every television show EVER. Get over it.

3. "My diet starts tomorrow." 

4. "I should...(insert pretty much anything here)". My shoulds do become dids, but not as often as I'd like. Need to work on that one.

5. "I love you".  I like this one. Not gonna change it.

Five Books I've Read Lately

1. Glennon Melton's "Carry on Warrior". I'll admit to being crazy envious of Glennon. And I'll also admit that sometimes she can grate on my nerves with all of the "you got this, mama" stuff. But she writes a good essay and she's comforting like buttery mashed potatoes.

2. Warren Hanson's "The Next Place". My go-to book that I buy for anyone who has experienced a loss. It's a fabulous inspirational book, filled with gorgeous imagery and simple phrases. I love that it's not aimed at any religion, so people of any faith can get comfort from it. I want parts of it read at my funeral. 

3. "Spark" by John J. Ratey. I read this for work, and I ended up loving it. It really pulls back the curtain on exercise and how ESSENTIAL it is for all of us: to learn, to be happy, and to live a long healthy life. We need to move, people. 

4. "Little Children" by Tom Perrotta. I caught the movie version on HBO one late night, and ended up finding the book at a thrift store not long after. It weaves several tales into one well-written story...growing up, parenting, sex, adultery and oh yeah, there's a pedophile in here too. The movie had me in tears, so did the book. 

5. "What To Do When Your Husband Leaves You" by me. I read and re-read this one, trying to hone it, get it just right so that some agent falls in love with it and me and it goes on to become a best selling memoir and then a saucy series on Showtime. One of my awesome readers, Salish (her posting name) has been advising me and holding my (internet) hand. I have told her this ad nauseum but she's kept me going when I want to give up.

Five Favorite Movies

1. Duh. Shawshank Redemption. Sexy Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.

2. Serendipity with dreamy John Cusack. If I find it on t.v.? I'm stopping, dropping and watching. Even better with some Red Vines. 

3. Sideways. Love me some Paul Giamatti. Especially when he's depressed. And there's wine around.

4. 13 Going on 30. Shut up! I love this movie. Mark Ruffalo AND Jennifer Garner? Win/win. 

5. Die Hard. Yippee ki yay, mother effer. 1988: Bruce Willis wasn't old and neither was I. The action movie that got me hooked on action movies. Plus, hello, Hans Gruber!

Five Places I'd Like To Travel

1. Ireland.

2. Someplace warm and oceany. With my kids. They've never had a real vacation.

3. Thailand. Oh to get my hands on some real pad thai! I'm drooling. 

4. New York City. At Christmastime. 

5. Tie between Greece and Australia. 

Five Pages That I Love

1. The Bitchy Waiter He's a gay waiter from New York who bitches about his job. What's not to love?

2. Suburban Correspondent She has 6 kids and is still married to their father. She makes me feel less crazy and always has something nice to say.

3.  Nina Badzin's Blog Nina and I met when we were chosen to be part of the inaugural Twin Cities Listen To Your Mother Show. I liked her the first time I talked to her. She's good people.

4. Up Popped A Fox Vikki is another friend I made through Listen To Your Mother. She wrote me a little note after all was said and done, and I kept it because it was so beautiful. She's a good mom and might I add, has the most lovely silver tresses. 

5. Last but definitely not least...my sweet lady friend Lisa Allen at Back To Allen. How did we meet up, Lisa?? Was it Twitter? I can't even remember but this I do know: my friendship with Lisa is a special one and anytime somebody says "Internet relationships aren't real" I want them to come over and eat some of the homemade sauces she sent me. If sending someone three jars of heavenly condiments doesn't say friendship, I don't know what does. Love you Lisa!

There are so many more blogs I love: Heather at the EO, Kelly O'SullivanGalit Breen, Darcy PurduThe Bearded Iris, Reedster Speaks, Mandy Fish, and to keep with the fish theme, TwisterfishMamaMubba...and my friend Whitney who first suggested I start a blog. If I've left you out, I'm super sorry. I could go on and on and now the "who did I leave out" guilt is going to kill me.

Okay then. There. I've done my part in keeping the chain alive. Now I think I'm supposed to go inform everyone else that they've been tagged. Which I will do eventually. Right now I've got some back to school shopping to do.

Thanks for reading, and I promise that the next thing I write won't be such a narcissistic blather-fest.

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