Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum


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Boots

My two favourite pairs of winter ankle boots are starting to look a bit shabby.

And yes, even bloody boots bring back painful memories!

Rog and I took a romantic trip together, travelled to Argentina, to visit our exchange student daughter and her family in 2016. Not even two years before Trinket marched into our relationship. We had such a fabulous time! Travelling was not something we had ever been able to afford to do. Neither the money, nor the time away from the farm.

He was already experimenting with online dating at this stage, and I had no idea. He told me so many times on that trip, that I was the only woman he had ever wanted, the sexiest he’d ever met. The love of his life.

Yeah, right.

All that bullshit. All that manipulation to keep me hooked on him. Hooked on hopium. That maybe his long affair with my friend really was just a once off (LOL!!! Sure. Cool. Bummer. Wow.)

Anyway, whilst there, the local footwear fashion was flat, high platformed rubber soled boots. Every girl was sporting a pair. I eventually bought a rich magenta coloured pair, in the softest leather, to take home. They have been so comfortable, such a great pair of casual jean boots. I think they are nearly at the end, but I still shove them on with jeans, to do quick town jobs.

We rarely shopped for clothes, etc, together, but he was with me, and so very encouraging of me to buy these, calling them my Most Excellent Beetle Crushers.

Online shopping this morning, and my heart aches so badly at the memories of both that moment, but that trip in general, at the beginning of my Masters journey.

Beautiful Jujuy
Capybara! Roger’s favourite! At Laguna Ibera
San Telmo markets. Street theatre.
Iguazu Falls
Recoleta Cemetary. I spent hours here, utterly mesmerized…

I was writing a research paper on duality of belonging after a high school exchange experience. Unpacking discourses of “it’s the best thing that can happen to you,” after our own daughter returned with her previously undiagnosed anxiety openly exposed, and my memories of friends returning during my own youth, not really knowing who they were, where they “belonged,” anymore. I interviewed our exchange daughter, and her two older sisters for it whilst in Argentina, all had been exchange students at high school.

It was partially a research trip, but mostly a truly longed for chance for us to reconnect fully. Without the pressures of children, work, farm, money, etc.

And I really thought it worked!

After that trip, I felt a heck of a lot better about us. About myself. About ploughing through the research (my Masters thesis was about changing identities and the emotional geographies of formerly “safe” spaces of home) to become a new version of “us.” About who Roger really was (hint, he wasn’t that person. He still had secrets and was still lying to me.) I’ve since looked back at the photos, and he actually looks pretty terrible. I never saw it at the time. His skin is grey. He looks sallow, his eyes are dead, and there are no whole face smiles. It’s so sad. I remember such a happy trip, with moments of sadness that he had despoiled us with his fucking and living another life, with another woman. That we would never be that old couple who were always totally devoted to each other – as I thought we were prior to Leanne texting me about their affair. I was more content than I had been ever since Dday, on that trip.

So yeah. Don’t shop for boots. It’s an infidelity agony rabbit hole!


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Super great day!

Wow! Today has been fabulous!

First day back at uni. I got up early to watch the World Cup final, as we had all had a small punt on choosing the winning team at the final 16 stage, putting $5 each on a team. My youngest daughter had picked Argentina, and was the only one left with a chance. After the game, and a run I drove off to the city where my university is. It takes about an hour, a bit less without traffic. When I was about ten minutes away, my phone text alert went off, so I pulled over, just in case it was urgent. It was same daughter imploring me to check Snapchat.

I did.

Nothing.

She had forgotten that she had blocked me on Snapchat ;-).

So I returned her text to tell her, and got on my way. Shortly later she rang me. The kids know not to text me when driving, but I have a hands-free, so they call if it’s urgent. She said she had just opened her mail, and she had won a Language Immersion Award. She applied for this many months ago, and it has been a long process. It is for a full scholarship, including airfares, for high school language students to live and study in a country that speaks the language studied. There are only 15 awarded countrywide, to ALL language students. And my baby, who goes to a very average state school, competing against posh kids from swanky private schools and extra tutoring, won one!!! I was pretty freaking excited for her, buzzing in fact. She was thrilled to bits. We won’t know where she is going for a while, but she takes French, so that narrows it down quite a lot!

So, off I went to buy textbooks, readings manuals, etc. And to pick up my essays from last semester. I had an elderly semi-retired lecturer for one of my favourite papers last semester, and she was a bit lax on putting things online, so I had no idea what I had for the paper. I had received an A and two A+s for the three essays I had already got results for. Well, I am going to show off no end here, but I got the two final essays back, and they were both A+s – 29/30 and 19/20. That means that for every single paper I have sat this time in at uni, I have received A+s overall, five of them. I still have one to have finalised from last semester, and now I have jinxed it, LOL! Now, I am sorry for the terrible self congratulations here, but I was a lazy and very crap student when I was young. Too much partying, too bored and distracted. I cannot quite believe that I am acing this undergrad degree – the fifth (and last, I might add!) I have started! Luckily, some of those very average passes doing Law, Commerce and Management degrees were able to be cross-credited, but my Veterinary Science ones, not so relevant to my double major in Geography and Anthropology.

Now, I know some of you have PhDs, or at least some kind of post-grad qualification, and this is probably old hat to you guys – heck, I know how damn hard you have worked to get there! But for little old me, in the latter half of my 40s, this is very much needed ego-boosting. Obviously it is challenging to juggle a job, full time study, running our business accounts and parenting, as well as the travel to all (bar the business accounts) of these myriad activities. I know I am not the first mother/employee/businesswoman to do what I am doing, I guess I never fully saw myself as capable of that. Hey, it’s not that I am not capable of any of these things, it’s just that I didn’t envisage doing all at once, at least not successfully!

I got home at 6.30pm and prepared a “French banquet” – or at least one that I could manage at short notice, no shopping and late homecoming – Filet Mignon, steamed beans, honey glazed baby carrots and pommes de terre dauphinoise with creme brulee later. My family were very appreciative. I wished I had my old “time.” I would have done a duck confit maybe and some more elaborate French cuisine. I even bought champagne. But it is Monday, we are tired, and we really couldn’t be arsed. It’ll keep.

And guess what.

I will have no kids at home next year, GULP!

There is a part of me that needs this time out. I have been a hands on mum for nearly 22 years, and these past five have been done with a very broken heart. I don’t believe I have done it as well as I once did, obviously the kids are fine, thriving even. But I was fun mum, helping mum, fundraising mum, coach mum, driver mum, and I did it with great humour and zest. These last five I have felt heavy, and solid, and it has been hard work when it used to be great fun. I feel guilty for needing that time, and I am not really looking forward to it, because decisions will need to be made. When baby-girl comes home, she will still have another year at school, so it is not a true empty nest, and I am mindful of any upheaval, as well as the excitement and the fabulous opportunity. For example, on the easy side of things, she still has braces, I will need to talk to her orthodontist to see what they do in these situations, do they just retain and go again when she returns? What about her driver’s licence, she will leave just before she will be able to sit her restricted, so will be a year behind. Whatever. No matter, those are easily sorted. What about her academic progression? Will she learn enough to be able to cross-credit any schooling done overseas? Our school system has the kids earning credits throughout the year, with a final exam only a small part of the qualification/assessment. How does she pass NCEA Level Two? None of these are big problems. “They” (AFS ran the selection process, on behalf of a program run by our government) deal with these things all the time. But they will need to be ironed out. I am so very, very thrilled for her (I admit there was wetness on my cheeks as I drove along talking to her) but, of course it is tempered with a little selfishness about her leaving me. I know it’s ages away, but I will miss her!

Anyhoo, I better get off here and organised for tomorrow, I have three fifteen year old girls tonight, they are hitching a ride to the city to go shopping – catching a bus from the uni (exciting/scary for the rural kids, lol.)

Once again, I am so blessed, and I needed to share that, because my blog always seems like I never have any small good moments. Today had some HUGE good moments.


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Which is worse?

Have hit another flat patch. I should be used to these by now. The roller coaster rests from time to time. Yes, the ride has become tamer as the years have passed. I can never decide which is worse, the constantly moving climbs, the devastating dives, like a projectile, plummeting with great velocity earthwards, or the flat patches, where life seems to just stop. I wonder at these times if I am just a bloody drama queen! I know I wasn’t, in the pre-torn years. But boy, if I am on the flat ground these days I feel …….. well nothing really. And the nothing darkens as it stagnates. I ask myself if this is what I have created, this need to feel like shit……. so I can FEEL like shit, I mean in the sense of FEEL something, anything? Seems pretty damn stupid to me! I am sure it is just me regrouping in the semester break. Too much time to think. I did manage to scrape together some funds to pay my B semester fees, so I will be back on the merry-go-round soon – oh dear, I am mixing my metaphors (and my fairground rides) badly tonight!

Youngest daughter has just had a two hour interview at our home with representatives from an international student exchange program. She applied for a language immersion scholarship. The likelihood of her winning one is slight, as there are very few, just fifteen countrywide, available, but I am so proud of her for putting herself out there, to aim high. And while I was in another room as the interview was taking place, I thought about the possibility of her being accepted. Wouldn’t that be so cool for her? And wouldn’t that change MY life. I mean, her 21 year old eldest sister has (re)flown the nest recently, and her 17 year old brother is off to uni next year, I could be an empty nester before long! I have known this will happen in the next few years, but wow!  What if it is much sooner? My mind is building scenarios – where could I move to? What would I do for a living? My current job is awesome in the position I am in now, as a fulltime student, but the seasonal ebb and flow doesn’t allow for a proper living income for several months a year, more just a top up, “pocket money” and I have always considered it as icing, extra to our business’s main income. 

So, I might be pushed off this small, relatively “safe” ledge sooner than I expect, and I need to be prepared!

But, of course this is all speculation, keep calm and……well, we all know what comes next…… hell, I have been living this cliche for quite some time now!

Because this is how I think now, what should do? What will happen to ME? This is completely new, and still doesn’t really fit well, I have been looking out for others for 26 years, and it is uncomfortable to think about me. I keep groping around the edges of the concept, reaching out for others’ hands, who else do I have to look out for, there must be someone? If I wasn’t looking out for my immediate family, I was volunteering, or contributing somehow to my community. Since my life imploded, since the rip in the time-space continuum, I have no one else as I have shrunk my world down to miniature size. Of course I am jumping the gun, she’s not 16 yet, but it makes me feel odd, very lonely and uncomfortable to think this way. I have been looking out for others since I was 20 years old. I felt I had lived then, and had some me-time, but as I look over my shoulder at that girl, I think, boy, you felt mature, and worldly (and I was for my age) but really. 20! You hardly even knew who you were, you hardly even existed really. You as an independent entity, just a mere whisper. I guess I always saw the post-kids years as being full of friends, fun times with the guy I loved, we shared so many common interests, and – up until he kept fucking a whore – values. We were looking forward to being relatively young and vibrant empty nesters. Travel, knowledge, books, film, fitness. He talked of it often, longingly (sometimes I felt TOO longingly, like the kids were some kind of inconvenience!) But then he changed the rules of the game.

Bugger.

Just gotta invent a new game, huh.