Name Changing Dilemma

It’s that time again…Drivers License renewal time! Come to think of it this is the first time I am having to renew my license since I moved to NC in 2005. And it’s my 40th Birth year. WOW! Lots of change going on. Which leads to my latest dilemma….to change my name or not to change my name.

I have a memory stuck in my head of getting ready for my roommate’s wedding in Wilmington, NC on November 5th (I think that was the exact date) when I received a phone call from my Attorney asking me if I was planning on changing my name to my maiden name. The question caught me off guard. She needed to know that day since she was preparing paperwork to be filed the following Monday. I asked if I could call her back and immediately called MA. I asked her to confirm that keeping my married name for the kids was for the best, after all I’d heard of kids having to explain why they had a different last name than their mother and I didn’t want to put my kids through any unnecessary stress. She encouraged me to go with my gut and so the name stayed. And I think I did the right thing…then.

Now…the kids are adjusted to the situation and seem perfectly at peace and I REALLY don’t want the same last name as my EX. Not that I don’t love some of his family members as if they were my own. And not that I don’t want to be linked to my kids by sharing their name. I just don’t identify as that person anymore. I don’t even like saying my last name when I introduce myself. And I like my maiden name. It’s who I first identified myself as and it’s who I still am today.

So why even suggest that there’s a dilemma, right? I mean, it seems like I’ve got the answer in the bag so to speak. Eh, not so much. It’s not easy to change your name. There are several documents that need to be filled out and taken to different places in particular steps within a particular time. And there is a cost. Not a huge cost, but a cost just the same. And I have to renew my license SOON (which has it’s own cost). Plus, there is someone special in my life (duh!) with whom there may have been discussions of getting married one day, but NOT before my license expires! So, again, do I go through all the work to change my name only to have to change it AGAIN in the near-ish future?

And now the fun part! I am posing the question to you. Do you think I should change my name back to my maiden name? Keep my married name? Or wait to one day be remarried?

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Will It NEVER End?!

I thought by now, on the brink of turning 30…haha I mean 40, I wouldn’t have much left to discover about myself only to discover I know nothing!

When I started this blog I was on a mission to unveil the beauty of the ordinary woman because I myself had always felt ordinary, at least until I went through a divorce. It wasn’t until then I realized I had a lot to offer, but I hadn’t been able to see through the dislike I had for myself which was constantly being fueled by the critical nature of my EX. (I don’t put the blame on him for this, his criticalness is his problem, my insecurities were mine. We simply were not a good match.) While I was going through that time of really getting to know myself and discovering things I liked about myself, I thought I had it all figured out. What my strengths were (encouraging, supportive, able to see both sides, diplomatic, administrative),  what role I was supposed to play in my career path (admin/personal assistant) and what limitations I had to deal with (motherhood, indecisiveness, lack of creativity). Just the fact that I have more traits listed under strengths than limitations is a HUGE improvement on my former self perspective. But I wasn’t anywhere close to having it all figured out.

Three years later I look completely different. I still have a lot of the same strengths and admin assistant was a good role for me, the difference is in the realization I am capable of more than I ever imagined. My career has taken a slight turn to Human Resource-ville, which I love (not at all unbelievably since it requires all of the strengths listed above), but I have also become a co-owner of Wrinkled Blanket Media and a videographer! ME! A VIDEOGRAPHER! Who would have thunk it! I have also recently fallen in love with DIY design (see Exhibit A) and recorded my first mini-sode podcast with B! ABOUT A HORROR MOVIE! ME! This is just too much…fun!

EXHIBIT A: A little something I made to hold my jewelry.

Jewelry Bar After

Who am I and what have I done with that oldish mom without creativity?! How can I not have known about my love of design until now? Why did I waste all that money (of which I am still paying) on an education that has nothing to do with my current career nor my future career? Why did I marry someone so wrong for me at such a young age? Why is hind sight so stinking CLEAR?!

None of those questions matter because I can’t change any of that. I can, however, move forward and enjoy the journey. I’m sure there is still a lot to learn and discover about myself. Who knows? One day I may discover I love to write! And you know what? I’m not any more special than anyone else so this experience isn’t limited to me. I just hope when it happens for you it’s early enough to make those student loans worth it!

Interesting fact:
Most of the privileges and responsibilities of adulthood are legally granted by the age of 18 but a growing body of science says that critical parts of the brain involved in decision-making are not fully developed until years later at age 25 or so. 

 

To Sell Or Not To Sell? Is It Even A Question?

The longer I’m a home owner the less I see the benefit of it. I understand the concept of building equity in a home, if that’s really what’s happening, and the whole putting down roots thing did resonate with me at one time, but that honeymoon has ended. I am ready to be a renter once again. I can hear the exclamations already: You’re paying for someone else to reap the benefit of equity; The taxes and interest are tax deductible; You can make whatever changes you want to the house if you own it; You don’t have to worry about having pets; etc. It’s not enough though. The time has come and of course I am going to tell you why…

Reason #1: Taxes!

I have a great house and it’s got great space for my family. I have a yard that’s mostly fenced in (I’ll expand on that one later) and I live in a nice neighborhood. Since I’ve lived here I have refinanced 3 times! And still my mortgage increases ever year. Why? Because of taxes! I know that rent increases as well but you get  a couple months notice before it happens and you can make a choice to stay or look for something more affordable. Every year I am completely surprised when all of a sudden I go to pay my mortgage and it’s $10, $15, $20 dollars more than it was the entire last year. I don’t like those kind of surprises. Can I look for a cheaper place to live? Not without preparing my home to be shown hoping it will be sold, if it will even sell in this market, and going through a lengthy paperwork process that can take months. Just talking about it gives me anxiety.

Reason #2: Trapped!

While the real estate market is improving it is far from healed. When we decided to buy this house it had only been on the market 3 days. We had to rush to get our offer in because houses were flying off the market. Now I see realty signs boasting “Sold. Only listed 45 days!” My parents listed their beautiful home with an in ground pool for 2 years without a single offer! In order to move quickly…well, chances are high that you won’t be moving quickly unless you vacate the house before it’s sold leading to BAD credit. No bueno! It really puts a damper on the discoveries to be had living in a new place (or several  new places).

Reason #3: The Ex!

My Ex and I have a pretty amicable relationship. We still make an effort to be on the same page with parenting the boys and have successfully gotten along better after the divorce than we probably ever did before it. With that said, the house is the last tie to him that allows his controlling nature to rear it’s ugly head. It’s a tool of manipulation for both parties and I don’t believe there will be complete peace until it’s sold. Not to mention the strong desire I have to make a fresh start with B in a place that’s ours and not mine and my Ex’s. He’s done very well with making this his home, we repainted and redecorated, but there are little reminders that I lived here with another in a life before him. It’d be nice to be free of them (and by them I am NOT referring to my sons!).

Reason #4: Things Break!

This past weekend we had a great visit with some friends at our home. Halfway through the day I noticed it was getting warmer but the air conditioner was on and running. I could hear it and feel the air moving at the intake, so I didn’t worry too much about it. It took another hour or two to realize that the air being pumped through the vents was room temperature. I was freaking out inside while maintaining a cool demeanor outside for my friends and the boys. In reality I was living one of my worse fears. My mind was a jumble of what if’s, trying to plan out what to do next, knowing full well that I didn’t have the money for a new HVAC unit. That night we bought a window AC unit and B, the boys and I all slept in one room for two nights (we tried to make it exciting rather than dooms-day’ish). THANK GOD all the unit needed was a new compressor! And THANK GOD we have extended family with the know how to replace a compressor! That doesn’t remove the gut wrenching anticipation I constantly feel waiting for the next big thing to break though. I still have part of a fence out thanks to a wind storm and a HUGE tree that broke through said fence and landed on the trampoline. (The trampoline was not harmed much to the boys’ relief.) Then there’s the hole in the bathroom wall, which mysteriously gets bigger after my youngest has been in there, and the door bell that’s missing the part you push on, and the bath tub that wants you to take a bath every time you shower, and the weeds that think they’re trees, and the broken window in the garage that the birds use as their personal door…and the list continues. How nice it would be for all that to be someone’s problem that’s not me.

So now I just need to get the repairs done and the house ready to be sold. No big deal…right?

Side note: The boys still ask if we can all sleep in the guest room again. I guess we made it too exciting!

Excuses, Excuses!

I’ve been pretty darn happy with myself for getting a post out every week until last week happened. I went back on my word to myself and anyone else that cares. I would normally blame my laziness for missing a week’s post, but that wasn’t it at all. On the contrary. I was too busy last week. It wasn’t a bad busy, just one that kept me from writing because by the time I’d sat down at my computer my mind was numb with exhaustion. What was keeping me so busy that I couldn’t share even a few hundred words with my favorite people? (Meaning you of course.) Here is a peek at my week and my main reasons for the neglect:

Friday: Worked my second job
Saturday: Full Frame Film Festival
Sunday: Food shopped, Cleaned the house, Arbonne spa party at my house
Monday: Frightened Rabbit concert
Tuesday through Thursday: Being a Mom in the evenings
Friday: Worked my second job
Saturday: Yard work, Food shopped, Finished taxes, Cleaned, took the kids to the park
Sunday: Church, worked my Origami Owl business

I didn’t add my full time job, but you get the picture.

I wish I could say these are the ONLY reasons, but alas, there’s more. Truth is I’ve been a bit unmotivated about writing lately. I feel stuck in a rut and I’ve been trying to find my way out. I’ve got nothing so far. When I started this blog I had a clear vision for it that has gotten blurry. It isn’t like I have one specified subject I write about. I have visited plenty of successful blogs that specialize in weddings, or parenting, or fashion…etc. You know what you’re going to get when you visit these sights. I’ve written about all of the above, minus the wedding stuff, plus divorce and relationships. I’m all over the place! My goal is to come up with a unified theme that will encompass all of life while still focusing on one main idea. Please be patient with me as I work through this and regain my vision.

Step one: Go back to the beginning.
When I remember where my heart was at the  start of this blog  my desire was to share my experiences with others in the slight chance that anything I’ve learned might help someone else. That includes surviving a divorce, discovering who I am and liking myself again (or possibly for the first time), understanding the meaning and impact of friendship, adjusting to single parenthood and finding true love. I wanted to be an encouraging voice rather than adding to the abundance of negativity out there.

Step two: Evaluate the title.
Why “Unforgettably Ordinary”? In my self-discovery I learned that although I’ve ALWAYS felt ordinary and talent-less, I have some really great qualities. In the right environment those qualities flourish and become extraordinary making me unforgettable (or at least I hope so). I’m not tooting my own horn here. I believe this can be true for EVERYONE. I wanted to be able to help others discover what makes them extraordinary.

I can’t believe I used the term “tooting my own horn”!

Step three: Think.
Now I need to take some time and think about where to go from here. Do I set a monthly topic to discuss? Do I continue all willy nilly and go with the flow? Do I only focus on one of the above mentioned topics from here on out? How do I get my lovely readers commenting and submitting their own stories?* etc. etc.

I will keep you up to date on the result of all the hard thinking I’ll be doing this week.

AND while I am being so vulnerable, there is one other tiny little confession I need to make. I do have one more reason for not writing…Candy Crush Saga! There! I said it. I’m addicted!

*As my statement suggests, I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts on all this? Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you are more comfortable with email, please email me at unfogettablyordinary@gmail.com. 

Confessions of A Recovering Romance Novel Junkie

About 10 years ago I heard a woman talk about romance novels and soap operas as porn for women. While I didn’t care much for soap operas, I was consuming at least one romance novel every two weeks at the time, sometimes even one a week. I didn’t see the harm in them. Most of them weren’t the trashy kind anyway so clearly they couldn’t be considered porn. I just liked reading them because they were quick reads and they made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

I would get lost in the intense passion the characters had for each other and the certainty that there was a happily ever after for them. I imagined that was how it really felt to be in love. When I’d finish the book the reality of a passionless marriage and the uncertainty that I was with the right person set in. I couldn’t see a happily ever after in my future. I’d even question if something was wrong with me? Why didn’t I feel that way about my husband? Why hadn’t I ever felt that way about anyone? My belief that being in love was a possibility turned into a theory that there was no way that level of passion could be real in a long term relationship. Of course there is passion and a feeling of infatuation in the beginning of most relationships that’s mistaken for ‘being in love”. This I knew from experience. How many times had I “been in love”  with someone only to lose interest a few months later? It was just something movies and books created and endorsed to sell their products. That perfect love between a man and woman couldn’t really exist!

Regardless, I kept reading and the books turned into an escape from my lacking reality. They made me yearn for something I knew I could never have. They became an addiction. Nothing my husband said or did was as good as what I read. I mean, you know it’s bad when you read a romance novel to get in the mood for your spouse! That’s when it clicked. The reference to romance novels becoming porn for women made sense. And it didn’t stop at novels. I would watch any rom-com I could get my hands on. Anything to give me that borrowed high from another (very fictional) characters completeness in the love they’d found.

Did the addiction to fiction lead to the dissatisfaction of my marriage? NO! There was plenty of that before my one a week habit started. But it didn’t help make my marriage any better either. Instead it intensified the dissatisfaction and created unrealistic expectations for my marriage. There was no way my  husband was ever going to say the right things or act the right way because first, he wasn’t built to talk and act that way since he was a real person, and second, because he wasn’t reading the books and had no frame of reference by which to even understand my misguided ideals.

Do I think all women should stop reading romance novels because they create unrealistic expectations for relationships? No. I think it’s a personal decision. For some, it doesn’t affect them the way it did me. I do think it’s wise to understand that the relationships in books and movies are fictional. If they cause an increased dissatisfaction in your committed relationship, it may be time to set aside the media form you are devouring and pay attention to the work at hand (i.e., your marriage).

That said, my habit is thankfully not an issue anymore. And not just because my unhappily-ever-after marriage is over! The desire to read about/watch the love lives of others, no matter how fake they are, is almost non-existent thanks to the happiness I have in my current relationship and my resolve to live my life. I was given a second chance. I know that’s not the case for everyone. However, I am still a firm believer that two people who are committed and choose to work on their relationship together, can have a stronger more satisfying relationship than any book or movie! My earlier theory has sufficiently been proven wrong by my own experiences.  It may be the only time I’m glad I’m wrong (at least that I’ll admit).

That’s it for my ponderings today. Please add your thoughts on the topic of romance novels/rom-com movies below.