Who called this meeting?

I imagine you’re wondering why I’ve called all of you here.

First off, sorry once again that the blog has been laying fallow for much of 2018 thus far. Life, as the saying goes, comes at you fast. That has been the case since right around Christmas. That was when my ex notified me that she had put in for a transfer to Utah at work, and expected to move from Arkansas to Utah in June. With the kids.

Here’s where it gets a little strange, at least by the standards of most divorces. She was telling me this and, in the same breath, telling me I need to come along too, so the kids won’t be without their father. She wasn’t trying to shake me off, rub salt into the wound, or anything like that – she’s acknowledging that, while our relationship may have come to its natural end, my sons still need me. I happen to agree with that.

So…I’ve got to go. I’ve got to go with them. Never mind that I just renegotiated the loan on my house…I’ve got to divest myself of it, and a good deal of its contents, figure out something as far as sending what furniture I am keeping to Utah, disconnect utilities here, put down deposits on utilities and a new place to live there, and finally load up the Porgwagon with a bunch of (probably quite unhappy) cats and a derpy dog for a two-or-three-day drive into the Rockies.

So what does this mean for…

Work? I am firing upward of a dozen job applications at the Salt Lake City/Lehi/Provo area per day. I’ve had a few phone interviews already. Some went well but didn’t get me hired; one went what I would describe as “disastrously” because I was, perhaps, a little too straightforward and honest about the circumstances of my move to Utah, which drew the astoundingly uncomfortable question “So…you’re following your ex-wife and your kids up here…you’re not going to be arrested for violating a restraining order two weeks after starting work, are you?” Uh, no, buddy, were you listening to what I said at all? I’ve since learned to boil it down to a somewhat less specific “the family is moving to Utah, so I need to line up a a job there, how ya doin’?”

The website & podcasts? I’m trying to plan ahead so the site can remain somewhat active in the months ahead, including the possibility of May, June and July being months where content may be prepared and posted in advance – if possible – including podcasts and other nifty stuff.

My stuff? I’ve already ditched a lot of my personal belongings. A lot of what used to be a world-class video game collection can now be found adorning Arkadia Retrocade in Fayetteville, Arkansas – my days as a game collector ended almost ten years ago so I could focus on playing with my kid, and now there’s another kid who likes to play with us. My computers, knick-knack collection, books, and the assortment of oddball home decor I’ve accumulated will be going with me – all of that will probably fit in the Porgwagon. Furniture: probably very little, and by “little” I mean “possibly just one dresser (which belonged to my mother, so it’s in the “90% non-negotiable” column) and the steel shelves that used to be in my game room, because they can be broken down for moving”. I’ll be selling or donating almost all of the furniture in the house, with an eye on refurnishing (cheaply) on the flipside.

Cats and dog? They’re going with me. It’s non-negotiable. They’re all rescues, and that means I am responsible for the little fuzzy lives I’ve saved. They won’t suddenly be abandoned or rehomed now. They’re going with me.

As far as what the living situation will be on the immediate flipside of the move…that’s a good question. There’s been a lot of emphasis on the possibility of everyone landing under one roof. I’m not a fan of that idea, frankly. It’s confusing to all involved – including the adults – and is a step in the wrong direction. In the wake of the trauma immediately surrounding the divorce, I’ve improved my relationship with both boys, I’ve rediscovered myself and my own creative confidence, found my peace with the world around me, and perhaps most importantly, I’ve done a lot of work on my own mental health with professional help. I cleaned up a disaster area of a house and turned it from a maze into a wide open space, and one of the first new additions to that space was an exercise bike that I’d always been told there was no room for anywhere in the house. What made all of this possible? Not having to wait for approval or consensus before engaging in forward motion. Not having to worry about withering criticism of my every action or thought, from either my spouse or those in her immediate circle of family or friends. I rediscovered the fact that I do have friends who have got my back, after years of being made to feel like I didn’t. They kept me from hitting bottom hard enough to leave a smoking crater. I rediscovered what it was like to be free. I’ve had highs and lows, but generally…I have been so much happier.

There was a song that I used to think of in terms of what my dad would’ve been able to say had he escaped the dumpster-fire marriage in which he spent his final years…and now I listen to it and slap my forehead, because maybe I should’ve been thinking of it in terms of the guy in the mirror.

I don’t think everyone landing under the same room for any length of time would be an improvement on that. In a situation where everything and everyone around me is new… I need my self-confidence. I don’t need it stripped away. She and I made a couple of awesome kids together, but in so many other respects, we’re really bad for each other’s mental and emotional health. I remember how happy I was to wake up one morning in 1997, realizing that I was now a resident of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and that my family wasn’t there, and therefore the issues surrounding them weren’t there, and I was really, quite possibly for the first time, my own man. I look forward to that feeling again.

Could anything stop me from going? Only if something stops them from going. Once they hit the road headed for Utah, I will do the same. There’s nothing, as a song once said, that a hundred men or more could ever do to stop me. I mean, they’re welcome to try, but I wouldn’t really recommend it.

Arkansas is where I was born, but it has always come with what seems like a ball and chain, a socioeconomic malaise that makes it hard to achieve escape velocity and get the hell out of Arkansas. But one way or another, I will.

Can you help? Sure you can, if you want.

  • I’ve started a GoFundMe to help with the expenses involved in moving – closing things down in Arkansas, renting part of a trailer load to move my belongings to Utah, and then actually moving myself and my critters there, putting down utility and rental deposts, and maybe – just maybe – starting to refurnish. I’m not expecting to get the full amount requested/wished for, but anything helps, anything at all.
  • I’ve restocked my Amazon home furnishings wish list for once I land in the Rockies, but it’s by no means a locked-down, “I want this and nothing else” list – some of it’s aspirational/motivational for myself! If you want to help out in this area, please wait until I’ve already moved, lest I have to pack/move more stuff from the Arkansas side of things.
  • If you want to just Paypal me without the GoFundMe middle man, you can do that too:

  • If you want to help keep the site afloat while moving has be distracted, you can always do the Patreon thing, which is much appreciated.

It’ll be, as a song once said, a long road getting from here to there, but I’ll get by, as another song once said, with a little help from my friends (and probably relative strangers too). Utah or bust!

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