What should I do now that I'm 50-ish, single, and confused. Probably Match.com isn't the best idea now.

What was Lorna doing between the time Chuck left and they officially separated?

Besides crying, feeling sorry for myself, and dressing in only pull-on flannel or fleece garments, I had a life that needed living. While people can tolerate a miserable, sniveling, pitiful, helpless (did I cover it?) victim for so long, I knew even my family would get sick of being around me if I didn’t take this husband-dumping-me challenge on like I had all others obstacles in my life. Plus, I was on a budget and Puffs tissues with Lotion were expensive.

Why didn't I think of this?

What did I do during the 6 months from the day Chuck left to the day we signed the Separation Agreement:

  1. During the summer before Chuck left, I boldly registered for a weekend Buddhist retreat at the Omega Center. I wanted to meet people who were on the same spiritual path, since I was a lonely Buddhist in my Christian-or-Die community. The retreat was scheduled the week after Chuck left. I went anyway, hoping for lots of compassion and loving kindness. It was a silent retreat. Figures.
  2. On my birthday, I received a surprise email from Mr. Haley’s Comet. He overheard someone talking about my separation. I was stunned. Chuck and I agreed to keep this news just among our immediate family, which I did. His “immediate family” apparently included his staff at work. I don’t who home and told how many other residents of Whoville, who theyswore to “secrecy,” but small towns and minds being what they are, the break-up of the “Power Couple” was Miracle Grow for the grapevine. Once My old flame caught wind of the “rumor” he wanted to know if it was true and how I was doing. I wrote back, verified the facts and said that I wasn’t sure what was happening with my relationship, so I needed to keep him out of the picture. I didn’t want anything complicating an already confusing situation. He understood. Out of my life he went again with the assurance that, if I needed him, he was only an email or phone call away.

    Swear on your Pretty Pony that you won't say anything, but I heard Lorna faked her illness just to keep Chuck from expanding his business. He had to leave her. Yeah. I could use a refill, too.

  3. I completed the quilt that I started for Chuck, determined to give it to him as his Christmas gift. My family and friends thought I was crazy should keep it, but they didn’t understand what the quilt symbolized. I wanted a piece of me at the lake since I was giving up all rights to my “piece of heaven.” Plus, I finish what I start.
  4. I hosted our family’s New Year’s Gift Exchange (our compromise to Christmas). It was the last family gathering in my home of 20 years. And it was a doozy. Each year, we’re supposed to write a poem or say something reflective about the year before the game-like exchange commenced. That year I decided to have everyone dance with me to my 2010 theme song, “Unbreakable” by Bon Jovi. Even Alex, who I told in advance, “This song is a power-song about me, not a slam-song about your father.” He “got down” and danced as crazyhip as the rest of us.

    It was a fun party!

    My mom, the Unbreakable Middle Child and my sisters, Tina and Lisa.

  5. Before Chuck left, I wanted to audit a writing class at the local university (not my former college) since I never took a writing class beyond Freshman English. That spring, I audited an expository writing class. I was the only old non-traditional student in the class. The professor loved my writing but was brutal constructive in his criticism suggestions for editing, and my essays always needed editing. He told me not to bother taking another class; I should be writing for publications. I asked him, “Do you know anyone interested in publishing my work?” He didn’t. But at least he boosted my confidence.
  6. I cooled off Furnace Repair Guy who was hot for my boilers.

    Yeah, no. When he came dressed to fix the furnace for the 15th time like this, I decided it was time to learn about home heating systems and self-defense.

  7. After one of many this-marriage-sucks-because-of-you counseling sessions in early January 2010, I picked the first realtor office I saw and bravely entered. The only realtor there to help me was a kind, compassionate, savvy woman who had plenty of tissues in her office as I explained my situation. Together we began hunting for a small, reasonably priced home that required no maintenance. We searched for a while, but found one that met two of the three criteria (maintenance-free, ha!) in time for me to put a real budget together for my final negotiations with Chuck.
  8. I traded in the minivan I was driving mainly to transport my former pet-zoo around for a new Toyota Yaris. It was good on gas, affordable, and all the car Scrappy and I needed.
  9. I sorted through the entire “Broken House” for the few material items I would take with me, knowing that my fresh start didn’t need the weight of “stuff” from the past to clutter my new space. I sorted and packed and left things behind that I thought I could never part with. I took anything that was mine (not “ours”), and small items like lamps and a couple of dressers. Chuck requested that I leave “just a few pictures to remember our past life.” I took about a third of the pictures and some precious mementos of Alex’s childhood. He probably thought I would strip the place clean. He went back “home” to his fully furnished house, linens and all.

    I was too busy practicing my "meow" pose to think about purr-loining the family "jewels."

  10. I volunteered with a local animal shelter to help them write grants.

Lorna is single and on her way to a new life. Smooth sailing from now on, right? Well…