Monday, June 30, 2008

Back in the Groove ...I guess

Well, this is the beginning of my second week back from my trips. I'm still not in what I would consider to be "The Groove." My stomach has been a mess and I have been having trouble sleeping. Every noise.....the a/c kicking doors slamming.......the dog snoring......all have awakened me at various hours throughout the night. By the arrival of dawn...I feel like I've been run over by a fleet of dump trucks and a couple of freight trains.

Such is my life.

I have had a lot on my mind.

Still working to figure out more about who I am.

Trying to determine my next move in terms of I relationship material?

I swear, with the failed marriage in my background I don't feel like I'm too good at love. It feels like even though I have a tremendous capacity for hasn't served me too well. At least in a relationship with a woman, that is.

Although I picture life with a man to be a vast improvement...I know that some issues carry over. So, will I make some guy a great life partner?

I'd like to think so.

However, in the back of my mind, I'm afraid.

Very afraid.

I'm afraid to open up and let the men in my life know how I feel.

I'm afraid to trust.

I'm afraid to be vulnerable. much to think about and I'm tired.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Am I Crazy or What?

Normally I am a very conscientious man about all that do. I'm a perfectionist and at times I drive myself crazy in my quest for doing everything well or at least to the best of my abilities.

This transcends every aspect of my life. I've alluded to this in some earlier postings because this is why I had some of the problems with the breakup of the marriage that I had. I didn't just want to have a marriage, but it had to be the perfect one....and I had to be the perfect husband...inspite of the major flaw I have...and that was being a gay man in a straight marriage.

I do not recommend that kind of life for anyone -- no matter what pressures you face or how much you want to "change." It just doesn't work and you will circumvent a lot of pain and suffering if you don't marry in the first place.

But I digress.

My perfection extends to the chore of paying my bills.

Some background:

In the closing years of the marriage, Lovey went through money like water. She would not think twice about going shopping on a given Saturday to the local thrift shop. She'd drag in all manner of junk and sometimes spend to the tune of $500 or more! This was all in the name of finding bargains and "saving money."

She wouldn't consult the balance in the checkbook.

She just expected the money to always be there. (I suppose Jesus was always standing by at the ready to rush to the bank and make a deposit to cover these least in her mind.) In reality, it was me who was always juggling funds....robbing Peter to pay Paul and the 12 Disciples. Then she would nail me for credit card bills.

Throughout the marriage, she never acknowledged the fact that it was she who bounced checks right and left or spent money.....or sank our credit rating.

It was AWFUL!


I'll never forget just how happy and excited I was the day she was taken off my bank accounts and credit accounts!

I've managed my funds....and not bounced a single check ever since!

I'm meticulous about my bills....and through my hard work, I've worked to improve my credit rating...and to bounce back from the brink of financial ruin.

The divorce was an expensive proposition....the legal bills......buying needed furniture......etc. But it is all coming together...FINALLY.

So imagine my chagrine when I received an automated call from my mortgage company last night informing me that my mortgage payment for June had not yet been received! I panicked.....this couldn't be.

But I hadn't.

I haven't any ideas how I missed it. It totally escapes me.

The month before, I had forgotten my car payment!

The only explanation that I can figure is that these past two months have been very busy with my birthday celebration and the return of my son from Iraq and then turning around and getting him to Ft. Worth!

I guess I was just way too focused on my children....and all my other activities.

I just hope it isn't the onset of Alzheimer's....

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I'm Back!

What a trip and busy time!

It certainly was relaxing and quite enjoyable to get to spend some extensive quality time with two of my children and my parents. However, all the good times were tempered by the death of one of my few remaining uncles. Dad took it quite hard...but made it through the wake and funeral.

I've had some adjustment problems here returning to my usual routine. Sleeping at night has been rough...just because for the past eight weeks or so I have had someone here at the house...and now it is empty. I awaken upon hearing every sound. So, I'm somewhat exhausted.


I learned a lot about myself during the trip though.

For a long time now I've mused about having a boyfriend or a partner or ultimately a husband -- someone that I can grow old with and journey through life with. I've focused on the loneliness that I feel and the fact that I had a indelible ache in my heart as a result of the breakup with Lovey.

This trip showed me that I have indeed adjusted quite well to the single life....and that I actually enjoy my alone time -- so much in fact that I now wonder if in fact if I truly am partner or bf material. I found myself to get quite antsy and frustrated when I didn't have time for me. I hope this doesn't come across as selfish. It's not meant to be....but it just seems to be a new characteristic of the man that I now am.

I think that all this has surfaced as a result of the fact that the dust has pretty much settled from the divorce and I am able to concentrate on what my true feelings are without the murkiness inflicted by the separation and divorce....and my overall neediness.

My kids would love for me to settle down and be happy. I guess I just need to know what all that means -- for me. I just want to live quietly.....and happily........go to work......go to church........enjoy my friends........take my dog.....and just be.

Life is so full of twists and turns.

Who knows what type of man I will ultimately become and if indeed I do enter into a committed relationship with someone?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Death in West Virginia

Josh and I arrived safely in Ft. Worth on Thursday Evening....well really it was in the very wee hours of Friday morning. It took us a very long time for us to find a hotel with any vacancies -- a convention of some type was in town and they took up all the available rooms in close proximity to downtown. It so happened that we wound up a little bit away from downtown in a wonderfully quiet COURTYARD by Marriott not far from the base that my son will be working on.

He checked in and as it turns out, is not required to fully report for duty until Monday morning. In the meantime, he and I have been having a good time just hanging out and exploring his new environs. He's about the age I was when I moved to the DC I can relate quite well with all the stuff he is probably going through emotionally.

Laura, from Nashville, went to see her grandparents in WV this weekend. She arrived on Friday evening and is going to be returning this afternoon. She phoned me yesterday to say that one of my dad's three surviving siblings passed away yesterday...and he is taking it pretty hard.

This was my Uncle John, who had been in pretty poor health for quite sometime. Here recently he's been shuttling between a nursing home and the hospital. In some respects, his passing is probably a relief to all his immediate survivors. His son Johnny died last year. This means that he only has one daughter surviving him. My goodness, my heart goes out to her.

All this leaves me to wonder about whether I need to go to the funeral with my dad. I'd fly home tonight....get in the car tomorrow.....and drive back there....and stay a day or so.

I'm pretty exhausted from having spent so much time on the road this past week. I just need to find out when the arrangements are scheduled.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Goodbye Nashville!

My bags are all packed up. I'm sitting here in the lobby waiting for my son to bring all of us stuff down so that we can load up the car and begin the final leg of our journey to Ft. Worth, TX.

It has been a great trip with the boy so far. Even moreso because I got to spend time with him and his older sister!

Yesterday he and I headed over to The Hermitage, the home of Andrew Jackson. For me, it's always interesting to see these historic sites and get a feel for how people lived in the olden days. (I couldn't have done it -- for sure.)

It was not all stress free though. We met #2 for lunch and during the meal, the two siblings began a very emotionally charged discussion about their mother. To hear them talk made me feel so sad.....and highlighted once more my feelings of sorrow, regret, and yes, failure.

Because the conversation was so volatile, I remained silent. At one point I had to leave the table for the men's room because all the "Lovey" talk made me literally sick to my stomach. I stayed away at least fifteen minutes.....and got myself together.

Why does talk like this upset me so? I can't control how she treats the kids....or how she did in the past and how now they resent her and all that she stands for. The marine doesn't forget much...and he certainly went down the list for his sister. She, as it turns out, has her own lists of things that her mom has done...and she plans to discuss them with her sometime.

It left me wrung out.

Whereas my issues appear to have settled a good deal.....theirs appear to be only now surfacing.

Will this stuff ever end?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Greetings From Nashville, TN

Here I am in Music City, USA. Not much Internet service, but I do have time to draft a quick update.

We got here early evening, after having spent a wonderful weekend with my parents' in Huntington, WV. Daughter #2 joined us when we arrived and we had a splendid dinner at her favorite Mexican restaurant. We then headed to her place to pick up some of her gear and she spent the night at our hotel.

Things surely have changed...and I believe for the better. My son appears to have grown out of a lot of his "issues"...and appears to be settling down into young adulthood. He and his sister spent a lot of time talking....and laughing. I just watched from across the table as they conversed.

It really was quite rewarding.

My son and I have spent a lot of quality time talking about a host of issues. It's the first time I can remember where he has been able to articulate his feelings. This is a very big step.

Today he and I are going to explore Nashville a bit. Then, have lunch with #2 at her office. Then, we're going to explore more...and wait for her to join us after work. We'll leave tomorrow morning for Ft. Worth!

This is turning out to be a WONDERFUL adventure with my kids!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Frank & Josh's Excellent Adventure Begins

Well, it's almost time for me to get into the trusty old car and head to Texas with my son.

I've been looking forward to this trip for as son as he first discussed the possibility of me doing it with him while he was still in Iraq. This means that we will be sleeping in the same room with each other -- eating all our meals together -- and spending several hours per day in the same car together as we travel. It should be fun. But I have kiddingly added: "If we don't kill each other first!"

Hopefully this will give us a chance to tear down some walls that he has erected. Ever since he went through adolescence, he's been distant -- almost aloof in how he handles us, his family. I think it stems back to his childhood which was a very traumatic one. We were his second adopted family. His birth family and his first adopted family were very dysfunctional.....and he was somewhat abused at some of the most critical moments of his life....when he was learning to love and to trust. My family is dysfunctional too....but as I have said here, and also as I have told the marine, "We put the FUN in dysFUNctional!" On top of this we have never been abusive to him.....and everything we have done has been surrounded in love. So, for all of our problems, we did have love for the little guy.

I've already seen new sides of him surfacing -- there's a kindness and softness there that hasn't been there. There's consideration, manners, a "thank you" when you've done something meaningful for him. AND, on top of everything, it was his idea that we go on this trip together.

So we begin tonight....our "EXCELLENT ADVENTURE" from DC to Ft. Worth, Texas.


So y'all, I'm not sure what computer access I will have. Therefore, this is going to be my last post officially until I return home on June 22. If I can write while on the road, I will.

Thanks for bearing with me....and remember us in your thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Another Really Good Day!

Today was another really great day. I was busy at the office....I love the rush of having lots to do. On top of that, I touched base with my son early in the day. He decided that he would like to join me in the Men's Bible Study that my church sponsors every month. Since he missed church last Sunday, he wanted to say goodbye to some of my friends and thought that the Bible Study would be a great way to do it given the fact that he would be unable to be in church again before we leave on Friday night for Texas and other points West.

He was just so comfortable....and the guys were certainly on their best behaviors. I think my son now understands what great and precious friends these men actually are.

I'm now home.....and tired......and need to get into bed so that I can sleep really well before tomorrow, which promises to be another busy day. Plus tomorrow night, I have to pack and get everything ready for me to go on my trip on Friday!

I'm really looking forward to this time away. I'm excited about spending time with my son.

So, keep me in your prayers!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Hot Day!

Another scorcher here on the East Coast. We have severe T-storm watches and possibly an isolated tornadic threat until 10pm. Thankfully I have been working inside here at the office and it has been chilly and I've gotten lots done.

As I type this, I'm working late...just trying to get lots done so that when I return from Texas in a couple of week, things won't be as bad.

I've talked with all three of the kids today. They seem quite well and happy. #1 is excited about the refrigerator she was able to purchase with her birthday money I gave her. I actually paid for it, but Lovey came through and reimbursed me for half. Lovey also finally paid me for her half of the tin roof we got for her earlier in the spring.

#2 in Nashville is getting ready to celebrate her birthday. She's surrounding herself with a ton of friends and is planning a good time. I'm excited about getting to spend a little time with her as my son and I pass through Nashville on our way to Texas. Her birthday is this Saturday and I will be getting to Nashville on Monday or Tuesday for a couple of days.

My son is working at getting his car serviced....and his uniforms all prepped for check in on June 21.

So all is well.

I'm enjoying my life.


Imagine That!

I had a very quiet weekend.....ON PURPOSE. I did a few things around the house. My son was nowhere to be found. So, I just took it easy and enjoyed the solitude.

However, on Sunday afternoon I did receive a call from my best friend. He called to see if I would go with him to his beach house in Wildwood, NJ. So, since I wasn't really doing much of anything, I said, "Sure!" Was able to make last minute arrangements for the dog, threw some items into an overnight bag, and off we went! We got there about 7pm on Sunday....and started washing windows, getting rid of trash, and trying to figure out what needed replacing that would make the house look a little more appealing.

Sunday night late we were able to sneak off to the beach and the boardwalk. I had my trusty digital camera...and was able to get this picture of one of the amusement piers with the famed Wildwood Ferris Wheel.

Monday morning we were up early....continuing with window duty....scrubbing the kitchen counters.....the bathroom....had carpet laid by Home Depot....installed new blinds....cut down the doors in the house so that they would fit nicely over the new carpet without dragging the carpet or picking it.... The realtor arrived and now she's got the house on the market for $319,000, actually a great deal when you consider that the land is worth more...and someone could come and tear down the house and make a palace on the property. I actually fantasized about doing it finances are not THAT settled yet.

At one point I needed a break from the heat. My friend told me to take his air conditioned car and go check out the local lighthouse while the carpet was being installed. He was watching over that and there was nothing really left for me to do, so I jumped at the chance. Again, with my trusty digital camera, I took this picture of it...and of some of the flowers around the place.

The worst thing about all this was the very bad heat. .
The house has no a/c to speak of and AT&T Wireless had a very BIG outage that began at 7:04 a.m. in the northeast down through southern NJ -- right where we were. Phones did not start working until late last night....when we were almost home. Didn't really make it home until early this morning.

So, as soon as I got home, I died. I was so exhausted I could hardly speak.

As I drifted off to sleep I suddenly realized that I had passed yet another anniversary. Three years ago yesterday is when Lovey lowered the boom and said that she wanted a divorce!

I didn't get sad.

I didn't get depressed.

I didn't cry.

I just rolled over, shut my eyes, and I went to sleep.

Imagine that!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Dream on....

Thank you Julie for your insightful comments to my last post. I think you articulated perfectly what I have been feeling since the demise of my marriage. Lots of people have told me that with a long term relationship like what I had with Lovey, there would be a period of mourning akin to that which one goes through when a close relative dies.

I could not agree more.

But, each day does get better.

Now, more than anything, I think when I get sad, I'm mourning the old life -- the old straight appearing one and all the benefits that come along with it.

You feel the acceptance of having the wife, the house, the kids, the cars, the career, the dog....blah...blah.

But when the wife leaves....and you're all alone......even though you have the house, the kids, the cars, the career, the feels strange being alone. You feel like only part of a person. The smugness you once had about having a mate....(even though she wasn't perfect....and she wasn't your dream least you had her.) is gone.

The number one fear I have is growing old alone....dying alone......being alone.

But in all honesty....having my son here has made me question if I really need/want to be someone's life partner. Oh, there are moments when I'd love to have someone around....but gosh, I certainly do enjoy my alone time and of having things where I left them, keeping my house spotless and organized.

The mess that my son has left drives me CRAZY.

So, if this were Frank's world.....and I could have it all the way I wanted it, what would that look like?

Well, a boyfriend might be nice -- one that I could send home from time-to-time. But, what is a boyfriend relationship in the gay world like...really? I dream of having someone totally love me.....not for what they want me to be...but just as I am -- the lines, the sagging belly.....the warts....moles....and all.....

I'd love a guy with little or no issues.....who basically has his act together. I realize that at times I had more issues than TIME and NEWSWEEK put together, but I think I've put the majority of those away.

I'd love faithfulness....someone that is there for me...and puts me first. I crave a relationship where I am not leftovers.....I'm not the "other woman"......or "the other man". I'd love a man on whom I could lean sometimes......where I didn't feel like the dominant one all the time. Someone who could lead and let me follow at times.

I'd love a relationship where the physical aspects are a normal outgrowth of what is going on internally for both parties..... the manifestation of a strong emotional connection. I don't want a relationship that's only motivation is the activities that take place between the sheets......or it stops when the moaning does.

I've seen so much in the gay world that makes me begin to feel that all my aspirations are dreams......and in the real world, they have no basis in fact.

Am I silly?

Are there other men out there like me?

How do you find them?

Then, when you do, how do you pique their interest? How do you make them notice you?

Especially when you're shy....and afraid.

Like me.

Friday, June 06, 2008

A Change of Heart

I survived the dinner last night.

It was colossally stressful….and in the end I am left to wonder why I expended so much time and energy to have it all happen.

I guess as the patriarch of the family….the broken family as we used to call families of divorce back when I was a kid…..I suppose that I am still trying to fix things. I want to see all members of my family get along. I want to heal hurts. I want to take away any pain that anyone feels. Most of all, I don’t want to be the one that engenders the pain.

I loathe controversy or arguments or discomfort and the like.

So, my attempts to build a bridge between Lovey and her son failed.


She’s certainly not going to change.

He’s just as stubborn.

So there they sat on the deck at her mother’s home – Lovey pontificating – the grandmother and aunt spellbound by each word emanating from the mouth of Lovey -- the marine looking on incredulously, periodically rolling his eyes and shaking his head. Lovey oblivious to anyone but herself. And, there was I -- looking on – taking it all in…..

Did I really spend 25.5 years with this woman?

This was why I was so depressed for so long?

I actually mourned the anniversary of the divorce two weeks ago?

What was I thinking?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Uh Oh!

Tonight is the big meal with my former wife, Lovey, her mother, and my son and me.

Spoke with my son early in the afternoon to hear that he had received a wreckless driving ticket for blowing through a red light he says, "he didn't see." He was supposedly so upset by it he told me that he couldn't come to dinner tonight.

I told him my thoughts, including how lame his excuse was.

He stood firm.

I stood firm.

I finally said that he needed to call his grandma and explain why.

The next thing I received was an irate call from his mother stating how busy she was.....and that she had made this time for him.....and that she's got a funeral....and a graduation to go well as to create two bulletins....blah...blah....blah.

She also said this was a trmendous sacrifice for her to come......

And she wanted me to call her son. She'd spoken with him too.

I returned her call....but I said to her that I had heard that she was coming to her mother's and I had planned this as a way for her to get to see him. She thanked me. (So, how come it became a sacrifice for her to come to her mother's......and why did she have to move her schedule all around for "him".....when she had already planned to be at her mom's anyway? Lovey loves martyrdom.)

I called him back andd explained that his mom had gone to extraordinary lengths to be with him this evening. He barked at me and asked me "why do you care about my relationship with mom?"

I answered, "Because she's your mom and I don't want you to get to some place on down the line and you regret not having spent more time with her when you could."

He shut up...and said that he was going to come tonight.

So, maybe I will get to see them together in a rare moment.

My family is so dysfunctional.

Buddy, Can I Borrow Your Ark?

This has to be the wettest spring on record here in the Washington, DC area. Last spring and summer we suffered a horrible drought that had water restrictions in place in some areas, there were tremendous concerns about reservoir levels and the Potomac.

I would certainly hope that all this precipitation has improved the level of the water table drastically.

Yesterday's storms were some of the worst we've ever had, according to weather reports.....heavy wind shear.....lots of rotation.....perhaps even a few tornados.

At approximately 3:30 yesterday afternoon, my son called me at the office to say that we had lost power. I immediately worried about the sump pump at the back door. Back in the Summer of '06, a few days after Lovey left, was when I had the big flood because the sump pump had failed and I had several inches of water covering my rec room floor. It required installation of new wall to wall carpet.

Since then, I had a new sump pump installed.......and the drainage system enhanced....and the gutters repaired. So, before the electricity had gone out, the sump pump had drained the pit considerably. On top of this, the water level in the pit seemed to only catch the water that came down the stairs in the normal course of raining.....and the gutters did their job to move the water away from the pit.

Bottom line is that the house stayed dry.

Thank God!

I took my time about coming home last night, because I knew that my son wouldn't be home....he wasn't.

I had a nice dinner at a restaurant......went for a haircut....and by the time I walked into my house around 8pm....the house was still powerless.....and I came in.....took my clothes off....crawled into bed.....and tried to sleep. The bad thing was that the house was air was moving.....and it was a little warm. So I had trouble sleeping.

The power finally came back on around midnight.

I got to sleep around 1am after I checked everything.

The boy never showed up at home last night.

So, I trust he was alright.

Tonight he and I have been invited to dinner at Mom O'Lovey's house......and of course, Lovey will be there too.

I will probably have lots to tell tomorrow!

Stay tuned.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Happy Pride

Here we are in June again.

Happy Pride to everyone.

Sunday, June 01, 2008


It's one of those quiet mornings here at my house. I'm in my favorite room, the rec room, which is located in the basement at the rear of my home. It's's far removed from the hustle and bustle outside.....and far away from any other distraction this house might offer when I have guests, like today: my son.

Found out some bad news at the end of the week. My house needs a new chimney and a new roof. So, I had to fork over five grand to get the work started. This is after the workman fixed my gutter problem.....the downspouts had shifted...and the pitch of the gutters was wrong so that water flowed backwards. No wonder every outside door seemed like Niagara Falls as water cascaded over the gutters! Th eworkman also cleaned out all the gutters too.

We had a very bad storm yesterday, and I am pleased to report that they worked like a dream!

I seem to have recovered somewhat from my bout of sadness about the divorce. It was a very black period for me: the spearation and divorce.....and for some reason, I seemed to relive it all this week. And as a result, I was right there....ALONE. Dealing with it all...the sadness.....the loneliness........the feelings of failure.....well, just everything.

Now, in the light of day and an improved mood, I know that I shouldn't feel like a failure or be sad or even be lonely. You see, I have come so very far. I have a host of friends that care about me and love me. I'm far from a failure. I have no reason to be sad. I have my children. I have my dog. I have every material possession that I need and there is room in my budget to buy whatever I want.....if I want it.

So, it is a good place in which I am emotionally.

The only thing that would make it better would be for Mr. Right to come into it.

When it comes to dating and looking for a boyfriend, I get kind of tired sometimes. Every eligible man that appears in my life, I wonder to myself, "Is he the one?" If I'm not careful, I could obsess abou this. So I just need to relax.....breathe in and just enjoy meeting people.

And the God....the crushes. Oh, I have several fantasy boyfriends: there's the man of mystery at my church who is absolutely clueless that I'm into him.........there's the man at my office who has the same name as my boss.......he's name a couple. I have "boyfriends" of all ages.......young.....older..... There's the electrician at the office........there's friend of mine who is married and is an electronics contractor.........there's the unhappily married carpet guy I know..........and then there is the construction guy that had the crush on me........and I was frightened -- probably because I wasn't ready for such an intense relationship. (He's gone now to another area of the country.)

So, the vast majority of these guys have no idea that I am into them. I suppose any one of these could be "the one"....but honestly I am afraid to let them know. I've suffered so much rejection in my life and I've heard it all before........I'm afraid of it happening again.

"Well, thank you Frank. I'm flattered. But, I don't have feelings for you like that."

So, I'm not getting any younger......the pool on which to draw from is small -- the majority of whom are into much, much younger guys.

I have to be prepared to face the fact that the rest of my life could be as it is now....