image source: Flaming Text

Monday, July 14, 2014

Yes, All My Kids Belong to Him!

image source: By David Castillo Dominici, published on 08 February 2012
Stock Photo - image ID: 10072071

I'm going to start this post out with an explanation of who I am.  Whether it intimidates you or makes you think less of me for whatever reason, I've spent most of my life as what most people would refer to as a "goody two shoes."  I've let others make most of my decisions in life and I've worked hard to please others.  Over the last year, I've decided that I am going to live my life the way I want to and I'm no longer listening to what other people want me to be.  This in no way means I've gone wild unless you consider being more independent and riding my bike bicycle  a little more to be wild.  I still lead a pretty innocent life.  I live in my house with my four kids and my husband visiting for some of the week.

I have to say that it really hurt yesterday, upon telling a relative about K and I living separately, when a relative asked me if all of my kids were K's kids.  Really???  I know some people have children before they are married and that's fine.  Some even go so far as to have children with one person while they are married to another. But this is not me.  Honestly?  I'm not sure I'd know what to do with another man if there was one!  Yes, I'm that inexperienced and innocent.  I still am. Living under a separate roof does not make me any less of a person.

I think I could get a divorce and people might be supportive.  They would be especially supportive if I could say there was another woman.  There may be a different group of people who would be supportive if I could claim I was beaten and sported bruises around everywhere.  Does it matter to these people that our lifestyles are not compatible to the point where my sanity was hanging by a thread for years?  No one worked harder than I did to adapt to a lifestyle that was never mentioned to me before marriage. We met in college where I already had lots of close friends.  I had no idea that marriage to him was going to mean living in the middle of nowhere in a place where people were down right hateful and judgmental of women.  In a place where people didn't bother to get to know me because I was an "outsider".  I had no idea, it meant having to give up my favorite activities or that my kids would either be home schooled or sent to a school system  that was built as favors to the adults rather than geared towards education for kids.

If you'd judged me or told me I'm going to Hell for living apart from my husband, then I'm going to tell you something about yourself.  I'm not going to change your mind.  It's made up. Lucky for me, YOU don't get to make the decision.  It seems to me that most of you seem to believe that a woman isn't her own person with her own interests.  It seems that you think the woman should give up every part of herself so that her husband can be happy.  Some of you believe that the woman should be at home regardless of what the woman needs for herself rather than working.  If a woman stands up for herself and her needs, she is disrespecting her husband.  If she reaches out for help, she is running his name down.  You believe that when a woman gets married, she signed up for that life even if it is unexpected.  You  believe that the woman should keep quiet and express only quietly her displeasure with this life to her husband. You don't care if the husband listens.   You believe that it's the woman's job if she chooses to work full time and especially if her basic needs aren't being met by his income, to also take full responsibility of the children without any help.  What if the stress of this life makes her sick?  It's no concern to you. SHE chose that life.

After 13 years of living without emotional support and having little human interaction, I had the courage to move.  I moved to a place where I found a way to participate in my sport again.  I moved to a place where my kids have opportunities and where I no longer feel oppressed.  I chose to keep things peaceful within our family and the courts out.  I chose to allow the kids father to see them when he wants to rather than when there is a court order.  I chose to give our marriage a chance in separate spaces where we each feel freed from the way the other needs to live.  If K asked for a divorce because he didn't like this lifestyle, I'd gladly grant it, especially if it meant I had to go back and live where I moved from.

Sometimes I tell people here about the location where I used to live. About the judgement and being oppressed.  Their eyes open wide in disbelief that people still believe those things.  Most of them question how attitudes like that could still exist.  I don't know what to tell them except that I've seen it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears.

So to answer the question, K is the father to all four of our kids.  To even ask that question hurts me deeply.  Every time someone tells me that they think I'm going to hell for saving myself from misery, it also hurts.  So just don't do it.

Monday, July 7, 2014

June Exercise Totals

I love my monthly updates from Endomondo .

To show improvements from last month, I exercised 3 more hours in June than I did in May and went and additional 40 miles while doing so.  Seem to have lost little weight but my clothes are fitting much better.  I've been able to settle into a basic routine which has small adjustments week to week:

Monday: Spin class followed by a 30-40 min. run

Tuesday: Swim practice and weights

Wednesday: off or spin class and 30-40 min. run

Thursday: Swim Practice and weights

Friday: Long Swim and or Spin/Run

Saturday: Long Bike

Sunday: Long Run

Hopefully the mileage will continue to creep up because I signed up for my first 70.3 triathlon in October.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Time Together/Apart

I had no intentions of abandoning this blog.  Life is busy but I thought I'd post an update on our situation.

One of the hardest parts of this has been learning when to visit each other.  As of right now, we are visiting until there is a big argument and then we go to our separate houses.  Sometimes he visits for a couple of days and sometimes for a week.  We are currently averaging half the week together.  I think about 3 nights is ideal for now.  When the kids start sports in the fall, it might get a bit more complicated.

Some things we look forward to as a family:

  • Weekly church services
  • Our weekly trip to the beach
  • A weekly trip to his house to make sure he is mowing the grass and taking care of the dogs and chickens.
  • We love that we can live near a city and he can bring us fresh fruit, veggies, and eventually chicken from his place.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Four Ways You Can Afford A Second Home

This does not apply to those who maintain two households from the beginning. Until the past 6 months, our family was a one household family and we'd lived that way for over 13 years.  I went straight from living in the college dorms to living with K.  Splitting households in our case happened as way to prevent divorce (and at times I joke around and say it prevented murder as well ha,ha) but there are other reasons that households split such as when one partner relocates for a job or school.

© Monika3stepsahead | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Being a cheapskate, money was a big obstacle when it came to living the LAT lifestyle. For me, it came down to the option of divorcing a man whose lifestyle was not compatible with mine or finding a way to make the LAT lifestyle work for us. Here are some options that we went through when deciding:

1. Renting- This may be a great option depending on the area in which you are hoping to live. This did not work for us because I ended up purchasing a house in which the mortgage payment plus tax, insurance, and utilities I came out to $50-100 less than just the rent without utilities for the area.

 2. Purchasing a Duplex- There are a couple of ways this could go. You could purchase the duplex to live in as a couple each in your own living unit or you could as the spouse moving out purchase the duplex and rent out the other half for the majority of your mortgage payment. This was an option I considered. We looked at duplexes and I found the perfect one. The problem is that a duplex is going to be treated as a rental whether you are going to rent it or not and it is going to require a 20% down payment. By the time I calculated the taxes and insurance on the duplex, I was still going to be paying quite a bit per month. In addition, I would have found myself in the job of a part-time land lord.

 3. Purchasing a Second home- This option was perfect for us since we were planning to live in different areas anyway. A lot of times the terms on a loan for a second home are similar to the terms of a first home but your first and second home must be a minimum distance apart; usually 50-60 miles.  If you can stand to stay in your current situation for a few months or have friends/family that will help you out with a place to stay, you may be able to consider homes that sell cheaper because they are not move in ready such as foreclosures and short sales.  I found a second home in a fairly safe yet not the most desirable neighborhood at a good deal.

 4. Building or placing another house on the same lot as your existing home. Consider building a tiny home or moving a mobile home onto land that you already own. This wouldn't have worked for our situation because I was not happy living in the country so far away from other people and activities.

Yes, this is more expensive than living together but in the end it could potentially be a much better deal than a divorce.

How have you afforded a second home in your family? Feel free to share any ideas you have with  readers here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Health/Fitness Week in Review

Right now this probably seems more like a triathlon training blog. It's not my intent but it's definitely part of my self discovery at this point.

Last week, I told you about my weight loss plan.  It's a little late but today, I want to recap how it's going. We did end up eating out a couple of times last week due to travel and lack of groceries.

My fitness week:
Saturday: Biked 7 with friend (mtn bike)
Sunday: Biked 23 miles with a tri club
Monday: ran 3 and 1/2 miles pushing two year old.
Tuesday: about 2000 m or so at swim practice.
Wednesday: off
Thursday: about 2000 m or so at swim practice.
Friday: 2.5 miles running. 1 mile walking.
Saturday: OFF
Sunday: Sprint Triathlon
Monday: swim (one of those keep moving for 40 min. types of workouts)
Tuesday: OFF (appear to be getting ill)

My training actually looks a lot better when I write it out than it did as I was doing it.  My plans are to include group runs, spin sessions, and hopefully a 3rd swim day in the future.  Some of this will depend on the local schedules of local tri clubs.

As far as nutrition, I need to make getting groceries a priority even if I dread taking toddlers to the store.

Weight report
My jeans appear to be fitting better overall. Although tempting when I went to the gym yesterday, I'm not going to weigh myself.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

White Lake Race Report

This weekend as I mentioned here, I both volunteered for the White Lake Half and completed the White Lake Sprint myself.  I also mentioned that even with the opportunity a local tri club offered me the opportunity barter volunteering for a race entry, I stilled payed more after wet suit rental and babysitting than I would have paid for a sprint in early summer that fit my family's schedule better.  It was a surprisingly wonderful experience that I would be happy to repeat (with faster times of course!)

Although we had a babysitter Saturday morning so K could coach a soccer game, he took the kids to stay several hours away from home at a hotel on Saturday night so that CC could participate in a soccer event.  I'm happy to report that K and all four kids make it back alive.  

I was very nervous about this race as I have had some poor experiences wearing a wet suit in the past. I hadn't really thought about a wet suit being necessary when I signed up for this race. I rented a wet suit the week before from a local store.  I'm not sure the wet suit I own is still legal with the new USAT rules and I'm at least 30 lbs too heavy for it at this point anyway.  I was really hoping the water would warm up to the 70's so I didn't have to wear the wet suit.  I asked repeatedly on Saturday what the water temperature was and if people thought it would warm up.  The answer was a resounding "You need to wear your wet suit!" 

I packed everything for the race on Saturday night so I arrived right on schedule at the FFA Center on Sunday morning.  I continued to be nervous about wearing a wet suit.  I met up with some people from a local tri club in transition and made sure that I started putting my wet suit on at the same time they did.   I jumped in before the race started and swam a little.  The wet suit felt good and I was reassured that everyone starts to panic in open water particularly when wearing a wet suit.  Knowing that the panic always happens in the first 200 meters when I am worried about getting off to a good start, I decided that I would take it easy and not worry about my speed.  I would focus on finishing the race.  Since I was out of shape, this was a good plan.  I was very relaxed during the swim.  Too relaxed. I forgot to spot the buoys and ended up way on the other side. I made my way back in and did the usual breast stroke around the buoys on the corner.  As I approached the ladder I remembered to undo the velcro at my neck and let water in before climbing out.   As I ran back to the transition area I remember to take my arms out of the wet suit and when I got to my place in transition, I was relieved to find out first hand that the "peel it off like a banana" advice worked well.  The wet suit came right off.

Transition seemed to go fast and I was on my bike.  I local triathlete passed me pretty quickly on the bike. I've biked very little lately and the headwind was terrible.  And then it was a tail wind.  And then the headwind was bike.  I could go fast on the headwinds and slowed to 13 mph in the headwinds due to being out of shape.  I had been nervous about the two loop course thinking I'd want to be done after seven miles instead of fourteen but I found I was just more prepare for the second loop.

I took a little more time  in the second transition and headed out on the run reminding myself to just put one foot in front of the other.  Another familiar face passed me at the water station at the one mile mark. I tried to stay with her for awhile but she was going faster than I wanted to go.  This course was an out and back course which is a lot of fun because I can see the people behind me and in front of me.  Triathletes in general tend to encourage each other a lot and this always helps me keep a positive attitude.  A lot more people passed me but my only goal was to not walk and I made that.

The next day, I was so sore I could barely walk and almost fell down a small set of stairs. I definitely need to work on getting in better shape before I plan another race.

Things I did well at:
The swim.  I almost always swim well but I was proud of myself for making it through my first swim in different wet suit.  The swim program I am enrolled in at the gym has undoubtedly helped in this area.

Things I need to improve:
For the bike, I'm going to try to attend two spin classes as week. Being a mom with two small children and two older children it's not always feasible to get on my bike as much as I'd like.

For the run, I'm planning to join one group run and one group track workout to try to build up my running ability.  I know I have more potential in this area.

In short, I need to work out more.  

Monday, April 14, 2014

On Volunteering for an Event

This past weekend, I was given the opportunity to volunteer for the White Lake Half Triathlon in exchange for a race entry into the White Lake Sprint the following day through a local triathlon club.   This was truly not a deal for me since the scheduling required me to pay for both a wet suit and a babysitter which made the cost a lot more expensive than paying full cost for the triathlon after my children were finished with their spring sports.  Despite the swap not being a good financial deal, volunteering for a race was an amazing experience.

A van dropped me off on a corner in the middle of nowhere on the bike course around 9:30 am and I was a little anxious about spending the allotted seven hours there.  Armed with a sandwich, two large bottles of water and some protein bars, I felt prepared for everything except boredom.  As I boarded the van with other volunteers I was thinking that maybe I should have brought a fully charged Kindle to keep me entertained.  It turns out that my corner was near the beginning of the bike course and by 11:30 am all the bikers had passed us.

Shortly after the last biker passed, the volunteer van came by and picked me up.  We rode through the rest of the 56 mile bike course picking up volunteers, cleaning up water stations, and even picking up a triathlete that dropped out.   It was fun to talk with other volunteers and their reasons for being there.  Some of them had family members competing in the race, one lady was volunteering as a way to keep participating as she recovered from injury, and there was a college tri club that had volunteered as a group.  As we road, we checked out several of the athletes that had stood out to us as we were at our stations.  The ones that had refused water and others that we were concerned about whether or not they were in shape to go the entire distance.

Once we arrived back at the race site, I was asked to help work the finish line.  I really lucked out being placed at the finish line.  When I'm doing a triathlon myself, I don't have the opportunity to see the winner cross the line (or any of the many, many others who come in in front of me) and I'm usually off recovering somewhere when the people behind me come in.  It was very nice to see the first and last people and every one in between come in at this race.

I don't know if it is because the distance was so long, or if it's always like this but watching the emotion of the finish line was an experience I won't forget.  I'm not sure I've ever seen a set of pictures capture it but someone who is a photographer certainly should go to a race and focus only on the emotion of the finish line.

Some memorable moments that I wish I could share with you:

1. The men that came across the line with a kid hanging on each arm.
2. The woman who finished the entire half iron distance after wrecking her bike with road rash covering her back.
3. The many sets of women who stopped before they crossed the finish line and gave each other a big hug.
4. All the people who came across the line holding hands.
5. The coaches who ran across the line with the every day athletes they were training.
6. The man who came back to the finish line to hug the volunteer that had helped him stay on his feet.
7. The woman who was visibly upset and worried when there was no sign of her husband long after she expected him to cross the finish line.
8. All the teams waiting at the finish line to greet the teammates they'd trained so hard with.
9. The spouses that greeted the finishers with admiration and support.
10.  All the cheers and high fives of congratulations.

At one point, someone turned to the college volunteers at the finish line and said "If you think you are ever too out of shape or too heavy to do a triathlon. Don't! Look at all of these people who are finishing the race."  It wasn't an insult. It was a comment of admiration for these people.  It is truly amazing what these people accomplished.

Some people think I'm nuts but I think I want to volunteer again.  Just to volunteer.  Maybe there will be a time this summer when I can do that.