Sunday, November 30, 2008


I have been playing with this post in my head for a while and it seems somehow fitting to be starting it now. It is a Sunday morning, the end of a long Thanksgiving weekend; I am in the country with Carrie and my kids, our home since Wednesday night. It has been a comfortable visit, time with the family, meals together, some time just with the twins and some time just with Carrie. She is out for a few hours, the kids had a friend sleep over so while I may be the titular head of the family for the moment, I am not in any immediate demand (other than the breakfast I just took a break to cook and serve).

Of course there is another player in all this, my erstwhile boyfriend Phil. Considering that I have not seen him since Tuesday, have only spoken on the phone with him for maybe five minutes each on Wednesday and Friday, and had only minimal e-mails, his presence in Carrie’s mind feels a little outsized. On the other hand, I will likely see him tonight when I return home and Carrie would point out, not incorrectly, that that proves her point.

So it seems that today is the microcosm. Having woken long before the kids, I laid on the foot of Carrie’s bed – the dogs and I – while we discussed our lives. Last night while the kids played with their friend, Carrie and I watched some TV together. Such simple acts, so comfortable, yet fraught with all of the underlying emotions, with the knowledge that these moments are the exceptions and not the rules.

Sometimes my blog is read by those close to me and sometimes not. If Phil is reading this, he has stopped at the “erstwhile boyfriend” phrase, just as a year ago he quickly noticed being my “boyfriend of sorts”. Neither phrase really shocks him in that we do live the same reality. But if Carrie and I have issues with boundaries, Phil reminds me more of borders complete with gate houses and guards. He actually would prefer the phrase “compartmentalization” though any twenty letter word should be suspect.

You see Phil has quite successfully created compartments in his life, a process eased by his being a widower. It was a number of years ago but he never had the moment of needing to explain anything to anyone. One life continued in a sense – family and friends – and another, the gay life, appeared: “Separate but equal” to steal the phrase. Of course that phrase was a failure, rejected by the Supreme Court fifty-four years back.

Now how Phil chooses to live is his decision and I try to limit my judgments and concern to the areas where it impacts upon me, not always easy distinctions. So, for example, I know his children – adults at this point, and get along quite well with one of them. To her, I am just a friend of her Dad’s: a widower and divorcee navigating the loneliness together. All of which is true while managing to avoid the truth totally.

Phil has a broad circle of gay friends and time with them flows naturally, not saddled by pretense. But then we see his gay relative – back to the family thing – where I get to now be in an alternative Disney world where I can hang out with my boyfriend and a gay couple while making believe I am straight…… No, I am not making this up.

Somehow, a few posts have melded here and it is getting a bit long. There is more to cover – whole uncharted compartments for Phil, my inability – lack of desire? – to “properly” separate from Carrie, my acceptance of the gayness and my regrets for how it all seems to have played out. But anyone still reading has surely had enough for today.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


One of the things I had forgotten about blogging was the give and take, particularly since after such a hiatus I was not sure anyone was still looking. So imagine my surprise to see a comment from Brad – no, not just a comment, but an accurate remembering of what I had written two and a half years ago.

For those who did not follow the link in Brad’s comment (you really should) he took note of my current reference to seeing my kids - an easy hour and a half, and remembered how back in April 2006 I commented on the difficulty I still had discussing kids from my first marriage including a not so easy two hour drive to see them.

As I thought about it I realized the complexities of this whole arena. My sons, who were extremely young when I was first divorced, are twenty-three and twenty-one year old young men. While there is no replacement of lost years, there is a certain redemption in our current relationships. Things had improved over time but somehow it seems that coming out to them cemented the bond, allowed for some redemption for us all.

It is joked about among all the kids: the old dad and the new dad. The children did not realize that the start of the new Dad era was unfolding at the same time as I was beginning to question who I was including issues of my sexuality. Hell, I am not sure that I realized it at the time either. But it seems to be agreed that in spite of all of the hell surrounding my current existence that I am a much calmer, less wound parent than existed a few decades back.

I do not think it is just the gayness: I am older and more mature in life in general, a condition that attaches to most of us as we age, but it seems hard to ignore the gayness in total.

So where does this leave me today? It leaves me with the fact that I will never have the day to day existence with the tweens that I craved. But it also leaves me with the opportunity to remain a regular and vibrant part of their lives. It is just up to me when feeling lazy, to get in the car and enjoy the ride.

I have not been feeling 100% this weekend and decided not to drive up on Saturday afternoon. Somewhere late last night I noticed Brad’s comment and it caught me. This morning I woke up, had some coffee and got in the car – a very easy drive on a Sunday morning. I was still not 100% today, but I had all the percentages I needed to sit on the couch and be with my kids. And it was good.

Thanks Brad.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Retrospective

Frequently I think of doing a post, but then I wonder if it is significant, as if that is a requirement for writing and of course there is time – why write when one can “do”. So I muddle along, the good, the bad, and of course the ugly.

Carrie, the one person most hurt over the almost three years since the blog started, recently took me to task for not writing anymore, for having shared the journey and left it with an implied “sailing into the sunset” ending. While there are times where life has felt like that, there are many others where it has not. Do I believe that somehow magically things could have been changed – some Kum Baya moments, maybe a death bed conversion to being straight again? Not really, though hope does spring eternal.

So I will take the challenge and if anyone is still listening, try to share the road, twists and all. While I would love to pour it all out – the mother of all posts – even I realize the ridiculousness of such an effort. No, I think there only way to attack is to set the stage and then meander as it suits me.

I write in my apartment – I have just signed the lease renewal for year two, it is now for better or worse, my home. The apartment was not too inconvenient to my house and I saw much of Carrie and the kids. But last May it was time for them to move on, to take this opportunity to also start afresh. The house was sold (who would have thought that a simple house sale would seem so big in hindsight) and Carrie and the girls moved to the country, a house with some land and a much, much better school district. It is an easy hour and a half drive and I have been a frequent visitor.

But an easy hour and a half is still exactly that – an hour and a half. Fine for the weekend visits, but not really conducive for that mid week dinner. Somehow I envisioned those quick trips in and out, but I am not getting younger and after a days work three hours seems extreme. But there are the weekends.

While there is much to be said about the weekends, let’s get back to life down here. A new friend, Phil, was there for me last year when I moved into the apartment and our friendship continued to grow. I once described him in a post as a boyfriend “of sorts”, phrasing that greatly amused him. He is my boyfriend but there is still an element “of sorts”. We see each other frequently during the week, though weekends are a loose affair based on my family life.

For those who missed it along the way, I did come out at work last April, to no surprise among my friends, and at this point it is hard to say in many cases if people know or do not. I have an office with a picture of my wife and another of my “friend” but no rainbow flags: I have never been one for public displays of that sort.

It has been a rough few weeks – some nagging virus that is now finally starting to clear, but I have not had my trips to the children, not seen the boyfriend quite as much, and not worked solid weeks at work. Lying in bed is a wonderful time to think – not feverish hallucinogenic thoughts, but quiet rational ones. It has caused me to realize that I need to take stock and consider my own personal directions and both the impact on me and on those around me.

And so I will…