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Enjoy the Boredom while you can

May 22, 2014

Magda and I started this blog in August 2010, and within three days of our first post, we were profiled in The New York Times. During the interview, Lisa Belkin asked us if we had any idea how the blog would evolve, and how it might end. And Magda answered that our hope was for our situation to become so mundane as to make our readers flee out of pure boredom.

For the first two years after we moved to Ann Arbor, wonderful, peaceful, boredom reigned. She had her house, I had mine, the kids could go back and forth easily, and our flexible, work-at-home schedules made it easy to cover for each other when our 50/50 custody schedule was disrupted.

Then, predictably, the disruptions got hit by an overdose of gamma radiation and became Disruptions and LIFE SMASH!

In September, I had a heart attack while I was running on a treadmill at the gym. (They kept calling it a “widowmaker,” and I kept saying I WASN’T MARRIED.) I came home from the hospital after three days being trussed up like a marionette, and because I couldn’t drive until my body adjusted to its new pharmacological cavalcade, Magda moved in with me for two and half weeks. To have my Left Anterior Descending artery cave in was jarring, but it frankly paled in comparison to the sad fact that my only emergency contact was my ex-wife. The thing is, though, we didn’t even have to talk about it. When I came home, her stuff was already there. It never even occurred to us to handle it any other way, because the greater good was at stake.

Moving in was an even bigger deal than you might think, however, because Magda gave up her house last July, and since then she’s been living 45 minutes away in her childhood home. And her parents, on whom we often relied for childcare, spend most of their time out of town caring for a sick relative.

These last 10 months have relied on outside-the-box thinking. And since the boys are in school here, the best solution we could come up with—in order to save them a bitch of a morning commute—was for them to stay with me on school nights, and for Moxie to come here 2-3 times per week and get them to school, help with homework, make dinner, etc., in my house. During which time I usually do errands, or socialize, or pretend I’m not there.

It hasn’t been easy. One of the reasons she and I divorced is that we run our households very differently, and the differences have only diverged more dramatically after six years apart. Each of us has had to endure the other’s weird foibles (the ones that endeared me when we were married), at way-too-close range, a lot more than we ever bargained for.

But the only reason we’ve been able to tolerate this madness for as long as we have is that, back when things were placid and normal, we had the chance to re-invest in our relationship. And because, when Life hit the fan, our new roles as co-parents (and—dare I say it—friends?) were established enough to endure the impact.

You might be hearing more from us in this space for a while, as we strive to figure this out. Since our lives aren’t close to boring, this thing surely isn’t close to ending.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. May 22, 2014 4:38 pm

    From a long time reader (you are still in my RSS feed) and complete stranger: Glad you are ok. Sorry about the disruptive logistical nightmare, but really glad you are ok.

    • May 22, 2014 6:35 pm

      Thanks! The happy health epilogue to all this is that my heart has recovered fully, and my cardiologist says my circulatory system is in better shape than it’s been in a long time.

  2. May 22, 2014 4:55 pm

    So, now that Magda is finished (I assume) with her graduate work, will y’all continue to live in A2?

    Glad to hear of the boredom.

    • May 26, 2014 7:43 pm

      That’s a good question. All of the tangible reasons we chose A2 in the first place have evaporated, but any decision to uproot everyone once again will be subject to a lot of factors.

  3. Betty M permalink
    May 22, 2014 6:46 pm

    Good to hear you are better now.

  4. May 23, 2014 12:09 pm

    Glad to hear you are recovered, and that the co-parenting is going well. One of the things that has been found over and over to lead to good outcomes for kids in divorce is flexible co-parenting. You’re modeling awesome stuff for your boys.

  5. May 23, 2014 1:45 pm

    So glad you are ok, Doug! I am really interested in how you and Moxie re-invested in your relationship. I’d love to be able to do something similar with my ex, in order to be better co-parents and (dare I say?) friends.

    • May 23, 2014 6:09 pm

      I don’t think it’s something we specifically set forth to do. It just sort of happened that way, because we were doing well, both in our private spheres and when we interacted. Separating from someone so close often involves dehumanizing them, so it felt good (at least to me) to be able to see her as human again.

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