Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Ahead

As I browse through my Home Page of Facebook, I am surprised by how many people have commented about what a bad year 2011 was, and how much they are looking forward to starting anew in the coming year. Like my friends, I am also looking forward to 2012, perhaps more than I do most New Years.

I am moving back to Jacksonville, which is exciting for me. When  I left, I never thought I would miss that place, but it really does feel like home to me. You never know what you have until you don't have it anymore, I guess!

I am starting a new job on the 9th of January, and I am really looking forward to getting out of the customer service/answering the phones/office type work. Just because it's something I'm good at doesn't mean it's something  I enjoy doing! :o)

I don't know what the year will bring to my relationship status. I am well aware that long distance relationships are difficult. It is really up in the air, and that is the sad part of this coming year. I can't help but wonder if I will be ringing in 2013 with Chuck. I really hope that I do, but if he decides  that moving to Jacksonville (away from his family and job) isn't right for him, then  I can't blame him. I am asking a lot.

On the flip side, however, I have my girls. This is the opportunity for Ash to be parent-free for a while. Right now, the plan is for her to stay in Georgia to finish this next semester of school, and then move down to Florida with me in the Spring. This will give me time to find a place to live and get settled. It will also give her time to decide if moving to Florida is really right for her, or if she is finally ready to be out on her own.

As far as Carley, this move will provide the opportunity for me to see her a lot more often! I am so excited to be back into her every day life. Swing by and have lunch with her at school, see her on the weekends, take her to dinner after school sometimes, or whatever. This is the biggest thing that has been missing in my life. Yeah, I know Ash has been living with me for nearly 2 years now, but it's not the same. She's very independent and mature. She doesn't need me nearly as much as Carley still does. So, I believe more than anything that I am making the right choice right now.

Finally, I have gained about 20 pounds since I've lived in Georgia, and since I'm changing everything else in my life, I'm taking this opportunity to incorporate healthy habits (working out and eating better) into my new lifestyle. My first step was quitting smoking back in May... Now for Phase II: lose that extra baggage that I'm carrying around. Over the past month or so, I've developed a bit of an online support group, by keeping in constant contact with other friends that are trying to do the same thing. I love my cheering section, and I love being a part of theirs!!

Overall, 2012 looks like an exciting and promising year, and I am looking forward to my next new adventure! Here's hoping that your coming year is everything that you hope it will be as well!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Moving to Jacksonville

Well, I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! Chuck, the girls, and I went up and visited with my family in Michigan. It was so awesome to enjoy the holiday at home for a change. I enjoyed seeing everyone again!!

Now it's time to begin my next "Big Adventure." This week, Carley and I will be going through the things in our storage unit, and deciding what to pack now to take to Florida, and what will go down once I have a place of my own. Right now, I'm mostly just looking at clothes and any important paperwork. Other than that, I have to straighten out my insurance information, mailing address (how do I do that when I don't know what my address will be??), and so on. I do not like moving, but I am excited to be back in Florida, near Carley again. I've missed her.

For all of you that have asked about Chuck and Ashleigh... I've decided to keep them both... (regardless of the ongoing joke between Chuck & I about my dumping him the minute I hit the state boarder).

They will be staying in Georgia, while I forge ahead and look for provisions... lol. Actually, it's easier if I go by myself and stay on people's couches than bombard someone with all three of us, plus my dog (and probably my cat). So, once I get started working, I will save up some money and get a place to live. Then, I'll have Ash come down and she can get back into school and find a new job. Meanwhile, Chuck will also be looking for a new job, and doesn't want to quit his old one and move until a new one is found.

We have talked about moving back in together, but since we moved in so quickly when we met (for financial reasons), we might decide to get our own places for a while. There isn't anything wrong with our relationship, but we both agree that we never actually had the "space" we may have needed after both getting out of long-term relationships. This is still up in the air. We might find that the distance between us for a couple of months will be all we need... Who knows?

As far as the animals... My cat is currently at Ash's friend's house and she has requested that we take Pandora with us once I find a place. That's fine... I would love to have her back!! Also, Dee-Oh-Jee will, of course, also go back to Florida once I get settled....

Thank Goodness for Chuck's family!! AW and MW... Thank you so much for letting us stay as long as we have, and for allowing my kid continue to crash at your house and for my dog staying, too, for just a couple more months!! I love you guys!!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Hey, Everyone! Here's hoping that your holidays are awesome, surrounded by people that you love.

There's a lot going on here! I've been dieting, so I've been running... a lot... I am working up to a 5k after the new year. It may not sound like a big deal to any of you that are natural runners, but let me just tell you that I am NOT a good runner. I've always loved it, but I'm slow, and I tire easily. So, this is a really big deal for me. It is my way for rewarding myself for no longer being a smoker. (I quit in May).

In other news, I am going down to Florida to pick Carley up for Christmas Vacation! YAY!!! While I'm in Jacksonville, I'm also going to be visiting VP-30 at NAS Jax. That was the last command that I was in while still in the Navy, and now they're being run by government contractors... And I have three friends trying to help me get my foot in the door down there. No guarantees on the job, but it looks like I'm going to get back down to Florida one way or another! I'm really excited to be closer to Carley.

Ashleigh hasn't decided what she wants to do. She wants to go back to Florida, but doesn't want to leave her friends up here. Either way, I support her decision (although I would love her to go back to Jax with me.) I have to face the fact that she is growing up (will be 20 years old in less than a month!!!), and give her the space she needs.

Otherwise, we are all headed up to Michigan for a week, after I get Carley on Friday. I'm driving back to Gainesville to get Chuck and Ash, and then driving to Michigan. I'm excited, because it will be the first time I'd been to one of Grandma Marion's Christmas Parties in about 8 or 9 years! Plus, I'll get to see a lot of cousins and friends that I have not seen in a really long time.

So, my karma seems to be taking a good turn (knock on wood) and things are looking up. Sometimes bad things (loss of a job) need to happen before good things can take their place.

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Say Something Nice

Apparently, I have a lot on my mind today. I don't post anything for two weeks, and here I am for the second time in one day...

So here's what's been on my mind.

As many of you know, my ex and I have a VERY strained relationship, to say the least. We can't agree on anything at all. It's a very ugly mess... to the point that we refuse to discuss anything on the phone anymore. It all has to be either via text or e-mail. I left him because I was tired of arguing, and now refuse to do any more of that with him.

Well, because of our strained relationship, every time I request even the simplest thing from him regarding our children, I am almost always running into a brick wall. Compromise isn't even an option. It's incredibly frustrating, and I still can't wrap my head around his hatefulness, even after four years.

Dealing with this situation in such a way for so long has put me into the mindset of absolute dread any time I need to work something out with him.

So, he left on deployment last week with the military, leaving our younger daughter with his current wife. I completely disagree with the situation. Not because she isn't good for the job, but because Carley should be with ME. Someone else should not be raising her when her own mother is willing and able to do it.

Regardless, I really haven't had any issues with this woman, but because I have had so many difficult situations regarding anything with my children ever since the divorce, I just naturally assumed that she would be difficult to deal with as well. Almost like Tim had intentionally "coached" her on how to react to any type of request coming from me. None of this is true... It's just an example of where my head is in all of this.

So, I had to send her a text yesterday, regarding changing the dates on when I can pick up and drop off Carley during the holidays. We were texting along, and then when it was time to get either a "yes" or "no" answer, she just stopped.

Sadly, I reacted badly.
Not one of my better moments, but at least I didn't blast her with some ugly text!
I just had ugly thoughts.

I just assumed that she was acting like Tim. He would make me dwell on it for a while, waiting a week or more to acknowledge my request, and then give me a "No" along with twisting it into a list of things that makes me so selfish for even asking in the first place, and about how I am the one that refuses to compromise on anything... and so on.

Because my brain has been hard-wired to reacting to this type of thing for the past several years, my mind automatically went into the negative when she didn't reply right away. Eventually, later on in the day, she agreed to my request without being difficult or snotty, or anything! She simply stated that she had gotten busy at work, and wasn't able to reply right away.

I was so relieved that I literally felt guilty for having the negative thoughts.

I don't think her and I will ever become "friends," but I've said it before... I do think that if I am not allowed to look after my daughter, I believe she is good for the job. Hopefully, she will be able to see Carley's best interest in things, which is what is actually important.

Social Networking Etiquette

The night before last, I re-posted a picture that I saw on Facebook. I felt it was motivational, which was what prompted me to put it on my wall. I am not a highly political person, but anyone that is familiar with my personal situation (former military, currently unemployed) would have known immediately that I didn't agree 100% with what the picture said. I posted it purely out of motivational purposes.

The next morning, I was on FB, and checked my page... I had a whole string of 4 different people arguing about the politics that this person's photo brought up. Now, I've had my posts "hijacked" before, and I generally don't mind as long as it is a friendly conversation, or even a lighthearted debate... BUT, I do have a problem when the very first line that one of the people posted included all capital letters, a cuss word, and several exclamation points.

Now I'm offended.
I deleted the entire post from my wall.

Unfortunately, with the new way that FB has set up the Home Page, the people that were part of the "discussion" can still post on it, and were continuing to do so for another hour after it was deleted. I was less concerned at that point because it was no longer on my page.

But I feel that it got even "better." After I deleted the page, the person that was kind enough to begin the debate with the expletive, messaged me with an "apology" that went along the lines of "... the majority of my Facebook friends are very conservative and I get bombarded with stuff like that all the time, it can be tough to keep quiet when your beliefs are routinely discounted in public. Nothing personal, I'll refrain from further rants..."

First off, if I put it on MY OWN page, how am I bombarding HIM???

In any case, I don't personally feel that was an appropriate reason to blast on my page, but I was courteous and replied with a "Thank you." I also made comment that I have no problem about people and their opinions, but I prefer to keep my Facebook page drama-free.

He also added a public apology on the string of comments under the picture, as did someone else... So, I just figured it was over with and moved on with my day.

Then, later, I receive another message from him... "So out of curiosity, do you feel that if someone posts an opinionated picture or rant on their page that they are inviting feedback, both positive and negative? Or is it only appropriate to reply if you agree? I guess that's why there is no unlike button, Facebook just wants everyone to get along (or at least pretend.)."

That was the last straw.
Can't just let it be?

I'll admit that this is where I lost my politeness. I do think that people can have a polite debate about subjects... but once they become rude (and using cuss words constitutes "rude") then that is too much. I have deleted comments from my own close family members from my page before because I felt they were being inappropriate.

So, in response, I mentioned something about how I would never have ranted on his page, and that if he didn't agree with FB's lack of an unlike button, then he isn't being forced to stay, and finally, I said something about hitting "Share" and posting on his own wall. By the time I had hit "send," I was past the point of being courteous, but I no longer cared. I felt he was just trying to egg me on, and frankly, I was tired of it. Never once did he even ask me WHY I posted the picture, or what MY feelings on the subject were.

This is the way I see it... I'm entitled to my opinion on my OWN wall. To be honest, I wouldn't dream of going to his or anyone else's wall and starting crap. I feel that if he had a real problem with that picture, then he should have hit "Share" and put it on his own wall, followed my his rant. When I see things on someone else's page that I don't agree with, I just move on. I'm not in any way compelled to blast that person on a public forum. At the very most, I might decide to just message that person (although I've never done that, either).

Facebook is being inundated right now with copy/paste comments about "Taking the Christ out of Christmas by being 'forced' to say Happy Holidays instead." I have my own personal opinions on that... and they are very strong opinions, but I still wouldn't dream of going on someone else's page and starting an argument over it. How is this different? I can't help but think that if I were to post something regarding my religion on my own page, he wouldn't even consider blasting me for it. Why does he feel that it is appropriate to do the same thing regarding my political preferences?

In any case, I guess neither of us are right, and neither of us are really wrong. He was standing up for what he believed in. Good for him. I think he went about it the wrong way. When I see something that I don't agree with, I just move on. I can accept that a person is allowed their own opinions and they aren't forcing them on me in any way by putting them on their own wall. That doesn't make me right. It just makes me a different person.

So, finally, in the spirit of Social Networking Etiquette, I believe that we should listen to Thumper's Mother, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."