I don’t think I want to ride this ride!

But of course I have to at some point – isn’t that what life is all about? The scariest thing about a roller coaster ride is that wait in line. You can see the riders who get on before you getting pulled up the track, hear their screams and the whoosh of the cars and then witness their shaky steps out of the coaster and down the ramp. Then you witness it again…and again… and by the time you get to the front of the line you are not certain you want to go through with this after all!

So the good stuff first – I had a great weekend of sublime and delicious sleep with Harry and traveled to my former city Upstate for dinner with friends. But oh – the sleep!! I don’t know if it’s the weather, allergies or just the time of year but I was zonked. Usually I am pretty insistent about sex – and lots of it – but this time, whenever I lay down with H and put my head on his shoulder I was out in 2 minutes or less. Crazy, but needed.

And I came home to an extra day off – as Monday was Memorial Day – and Jack, Max and I went to the beach! I know people don’t often think of New York City as a beach town, but we are surrounded  by water and right on the Atlantic Ocean to boot. We went to Jacob Riis Park which is utterly fabulous and makes you think you could be anywhere on the East Coast. We sunned and picnicked, Max jumped in the freezing cold waves and we all talked and just enjoyed each other.

On the way back through Brooklyn we got spumoni and took a little tour through our former neighborhood.  Max asked about the house we lived in when he was a baby and so we drove down our old street to show him. Out former landlords were on the porch and we stopped and introduced them to Max – who was not even a year old when we moved and who is now almost 10! – and got caught up with them and their kids.

It was a great, great day. Relaxed, fun and stress-free. E was out of town on business, so I didn’t have to cope with any of her moods – either directed at me or Jack – and I could enjoy my own house.

And now the blech – the down part of the coaster. I saw my parents on Sunday and my mother is doing so poorly. My dad and I went to talk to the director of a memory care center just 4 weeks ago and secured a spot for her. Now, she can’t go. Her decline has been so precipitous over the past month. She now can’t feed herself consistently, walk independently or toilet herself. This means a whole new approach – this means 24 hour care for her.

My dad is 78 – he cannot continue taking care of my 75 year old mother full time. We looked into nursing homes – holy mackerel!!! 425$ a day!! And nothing is paid for by insurance or Medicare. This process is very daunting and very discouraging. I am so happy that I can help my dad out – but my week has been spent doing research, calling facilities and trying to figure out how to get my mom the care she needs at a price my dad can afford. I will say, this living too long as a custodial patient is for the birds. She will never improve, never get better, we think she is in pain from the micro-fractures she keeps having, her quality of life is terrible. If she was a pet, you know what the recommendation would be.

I know that sounds harsh – but my mom with all of her good and bad qualities- is long gone. Whatever used to be her has been taken over by the lesions and plaques and tangles in her brain. She is just a basic husk of a human now. And eventually, her body will forget how to swallow food and water and at that point we will let her go. But when is that? Who knows – maybe months, maybe years.

I  have seen my friends go through this, but I am at the head of the roller coaster line now. I sure don’t want to get on – but I have no choice and I’ve got to ride it until it’s over.


Only in New York kids, only in New York

Red Grooms – Rainy Day Taxi

The title is a quote from Cindy Adams ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cindy_Adams), a gossip columnist for the New York Post – a local tabloid paper. When she has writes about  some crazy sequence of events that seems utterly implausible  – but is absolutely true – she often ends it with that line.

So Friday night E and I took Jack out for this birthday – 46 thank you very much and looking great for his age: 6 feet tall, shaved head, black artsy glasses, broad shoulders, good physique. He rides his bike 10 miles a day as well as runs and walks with me a few times a week. Definitely looking sharp. We got tickets to an NPR variety show at the City Winery downtown and were settling in to a nice evening.

Unfortunately, I had to leave before the show was over to relieve the babysitter, but E and Jack said they were ready to go too. The seats were very, VERY close together – 2 tops set as 4 tops – and they were feeling quite cramped. We pushed the doors open into a beautiful New York night and walked quickly down the street to the subway.

But not quite quick enough because as we were descending the stairs we could hear our train rolling in. The 3 of us still have to swipe for entry and make our way through the full body cage type turn-stiles that some un-monitored stations have.

We are moving as fast as possible and getting close to making it (but no guarantee) when we hear a woman’s voice yelling, “I got you!! I’m holding it!” and we look at the train to see a strawberry blonde,  petite gal holding the subway doors for us. She is using all her might, and the conductor is starting to yell because the train can’t move forward until all the doors are shut.  We can hear her announcement “YOU in the BACK – let GO OF THE DOORS!!!”. But as soon as she finishes yelling – we three are though the gate, on the train and are off!

We thank our champion profusely!! Her name is M and she looks like the fun, up-for-anything friend you had in high school. She’s dressed in a red checked blouse tied at the waist, jeans, hair disheveled and a big smile. Her friend is N and they are headed out for a good time. And where are they headed? To M’s corner bar – which happens to be right in our neighborhood! Well, now things really pick up, and she pulls a bottle of wine and a bottle opener out of her bag. When she finds out its Jack’s birthday she insists on opening it and passing it around.

After 3 dirty martinis I am in no position to argue. And there is something delicious about a shared bottle of wine, in an otherwise empty subway car, rolling along under the streets of New York. We are all going in the same direction and switch trains accordingly – taking the illegal (yes, even in New York this kind of public drinking is a ticketable offense) bottle with us. Jack promptly finishes it.

As we get closer to home, I have to beg off (babysitter – remember) and M is lovely in her disappointment. She asks whose child it is – and Jack, who usually plays these things close, proceeds to explain our living situation. She starts laughing – totally tickled.

The four of them weave off into the night and I have to wait until morning to find out what happened.  M was extremely generous – bought 2 rounds of shots in honor of Jack’s birthday. N, the friend, was a bit of a sad sack with no confidence who kept on referring to herself as “The fat one”  – she wasn’t. Jack hung out with M who has lived around the world, loves a good time and is an actual grownup with a business card from her pretty cool job to prove it!  Poor E got saddled with N who wanted to discuss her abusive childhood. This was a non-smokers/smokers division by the way – sometimes people do NOT have a very good notion of smoking conversational topics.

Things had the potential for some serious birthday fun – M was flirting with Jack and suggested the future possibility of a threesome with him, her and E. That night was out, she had to take care of N – who by this point was no longer fit for public view – but maybe another night? Um, yeah…E fielded this…and of course had to say no because how do you explain that “we have to keep it down’ cause of the kids” to a brand new sexual partner you have met on a train? You don’t is the answer to that one.

So a good birthday was had by all – with flirting and adventures and all the flirty sexy stuff you think has got to be all over with by the time you hit your 40’s. And looks like there might be more to come…

Happy Birthday Jack – wishing you possibilities, excitement and subway cars full of fun in your 46th year!

Vacation Clarification

I have been out of the loop – away in Ireland with the the whole family. Jack, E, her daughter, my son Max, Harry and me. We traded our apartment here in New York City to a family from Dublin and spent 9 days exploring the Dublin and the surroundings. And our relationship to each other.

Living together is often a fantasy for poly people – but not a lot of people are actually able to do it. Or, upon further reflection, want to do it. It involves melding 3 or more individual’s personalities, philosophies, ideas about what “home” means, personal possessions and (possibly) ideas about child rearing. And these are just the tip of the iceberg!  We jumped in to this experiment because of romance – we all loved each other – and practicality – we all wanted to move to a nice area of NYC and this seemed the most expedient way to do that.

We just signed a lease for the third – and last – year of the experiment. My concern about Max getting into a decent middle school was the tipping point. If he doesn’t get into somewhere where in New York where he won’t get stabbed in the hallway, he and I are moving upstate and he will be going to private school. But really, I think I have had enough. It’s just too hard too much of the time.

E is all about feelings – her own feelings. If she is upset about something she sulks and grumps and locks herself in her room. She doesn’t want to talk about it, she doesn’t want to fix it and she doesn’t want to transcend it. The energy that this gives off is so negative and stressful – I sometimes find it hard to breathe. And because her moods are so unpredictable, I never know when I’ll find her in this state. It makes me not want to come home – and not wanting to come home to my own house is a terrible feeling.

But of course it’s not my own house – I share it. And honestly, I’m done with that. Too old, too set, too opinionated to share with people and compromise. Jack and I have been rubbing alongside each other for 20 years. We know how the other operates and we operate similarly. We have the same friends, we both are homebodies, and it’s just easy to work things out and get things done. E is the opposite and truly does not understand why we spend so much time planning, cleaning, cooking and running a home. She would pay someone to do everything if she could! But my house is my castle – I love caring for it.

These personality differences often mean that Jack and E are on a constant roller coaster ride in their relationship. Good! Bad! Laughing! Sulking! Yelling! Canoodling! I stay as far away as I can – who needs the shrapnel. I do think E sometimes feels that life would be better if I wasn’t around and she could have Jack all to herself. I often wonder if she doesn’t have some regrets about the entire arrangement, or maybe deep in her heart she thought that we would eventually divorce. Especially since I have Harry. But my relationship with him is wonderful and special and has nothing to do with anything or anyone else – I love Jack the way I love Jack and Harry the way I love Harry.

So the vacation highlighted all of these things. Even though it was sometimes painful, it did give me some clarity about this ending next year. I know it’s the right thing to do for me. I don’t regret one decision I made about this though – so many people dream of taking action and so few people do. I’m really glad we jumped together and have had this experience of living and growing together and have tried out what it’s like to live in a triad.

Trying, however does not always mean succeeding. And even succeeding does not always mean succeeding forever. We have succeeded by some measures – we are living together as a family. And not succeeded by some – this arrangement does not always benefit all members and sometimes it feels lonely, even though there’s 3. But either way – nothing stays the same for ever. Change is inevitable.

I can’t see the future – but I can tell you I am looking forward to it!