I am inspired to write about this by one of my dear followers, I now have THREE! (so excited to have ANYBODY following me!) who wrote of her uninspiring online dating experience. I have been married for almost twenty years now, so I am lucky that the whole ‘online dating’ thing has been something I have been able to avoid, especially after hearing some of my single girlfriends stories, hilarious as they are. A very dear friend of mine online chatted to a guy for weeks, then took a flight to meet him, his online picture was nice, when he turned up at the airport she wanted the plane to back up and run her over, and she was stuck there all day!. So, many years ago there was a dating agency in my city, one of the first, and you had to fill in a form and they matched you up with who THEY thought would suit you, if you approved they would pass on your phone number (!) to the guy and he would call you. I seem to remember I had three dates before giving up. The first was a guy who met me at the pub, I think perhaps he wasn’t allowed out very often by his Mother, he had a shopping bag and a wore a cardigan with an anorak over the top. My heart sank when I saw him approach, the first thing he said to me when he sat down was, I don’t think I’m your type (If you can picture me in my early twenties, I worked for the airlines, so going glam, all the time, was a lifestyle, and I wasn’t un-pretty in those days and quite slim – I miss those days!). Bless him, I thought, but had to agree gently with him, we had one drink and I went home, at 8pm!. The second date, I met a guy who was nice and tall, but legs like liquorice sticks. I was about to walk into the pub and he was waiting outside, he introduced himself and then immediately said ‘Sorry, I have to go, something came up’. Unbelievable, I thought, how bloody dare you, look at you, now look at me, what a cheek!. The final nail in the dating agency’s coffin was that one evening I got a call from yet another suitor, he sounded nice, but I had friends over at the time, I said I would call him back, but he said he would call me back. The next morning I felt a bad about brushing him off, so I checked my phone log and called him back. His wife answered the phone. That was the end of dating agency men for me!. Thank heavens I don’t have to do the online thing, my sympathies to all who do, BUT I do have one friend who met her now husband online, they are blissfully happy and have a lovely life, home and lots of amazing vacations, so there is hope!.
I went for my annual medical two weeks ago, all was well until I had to step on the scales, not wearing my reading glassed at this point (51 years old and need a tiny bit of help there!) I saw the numbers but wasn’t sure if it was pounds, kilo’s or stones (British people get weighed in stones, 14 pounds = 1 stone). Then the nurse mentioned my medication might not be renewed due to my age and BODY MASS INDEX (hate that ridiculous term, who invented that crap?), I wasn’t pleased to say the least, also she is NOT the Doctor! (p.s. I did get my medication, the Doctor had no problem with it!). I don’t think a lot of women think they are fat, personally I know I’m a bit bigger than I should be, but you know rose coloured glasses! Until I decided the next morning to dig our my scales, I had to go into the garage, move the deck chairs and unlock the cabinet they had been in the bottom drawer of FOREVER untouched!, best place for them really. SO I got on them, and almost died right there on the spot, my rose coloured glasses shattered into a thousand pieces! I had never been this heavy in my life, I was shocked and ashamed, two stone heavier than two years ago. SO right there and then I went on a diet, I know how to lose weight the old fashioned way, no stupid cleanses, ridiculous apps etc.. just simply watch every bite you put in your mouth and count the calories. The funny thing is I don’t even like sweet things! never eat cake, chocolate or sweets. But I do love wine, good cheese, pork scratching’s and all manner of savoury goodies. Well all that stopped and I went cold turkey, literally!. One week later I bravely stepped on the scales again, my heart was in my mouth, and once again my eyes popped out of my head, I couldn’t believe it, I was in shock, I LOST seven pounds in one week!!!! Happiness was the understatement, I had hoped for two or three pounds, what a great start, I was inspired to keep going. I am due to get weighed again the day after tomorrow and I have been working hard at watching what I eat, even when out to dinner with my lovely husband, I know I won’t lose seven pounds the second week, but if I can lose two pounds a week until I am back to how I should be, I will be VERY delighted! wish me luck! It’s an uphill battle and hard when you are hungry, but I have NEVER been so determined!.
I didn’t really understand the phrase ‘Frenemy’ until I realised I actually had one of my very own. Many years ago, probably twenty-five or so, I was in a group of friends that hung out together, in that group there was a gay couple, Maurice and Gary. It had really been Gary that was part of the group initially, so when he moved in with Maurice, we inherited him, so to speak.
As the years went by Gary and Maurice broke up and Gary moved abroad, thus we were left with Maurice. The group of friends remained pretty much the same over the years, the group consisted of two Air Hostesses (they like to be called cabin crew now) a divorced woman, Karen and another gay couple, Daniel and John.
I don’t really know when Maurice turned into, what I like to call, a spiteful turd, but he was very clever about it, nothing was ever done to my face, it was lots of little incidents, but after time you put them together and it turns out you have a bitter old queen who is your Frenemy. I will give you examples. We invited the gang round for lunch one Sunday, it was obvious he didn’t want to be there, everybody brought wine, flowers etc.. He brought an open bottle of wine that was full to the top, perhaps all his leftovers poured into one (screw top so he thought we wouldn’t notice), heaven knows what was in it, I would have served it to him but he ‘wasn’t drinking that day’, so down the sink it went when all had gone home. He left early, I didn’t miss him. Then there was the incident of one of the Air Hostesses calling me and saying she was going to be at Maurice’s for coffee the following Sunday, she would love to see me, could I come over, ‘Sure’ I said, that would be lovely. When I got there Maurice was actually having a full on party, everybody was there having drinks and nibbles, it was obvious we had been deliberately left out, as he had a look of utter shock on his face when I arrived and he said in a mildly surprised manner ‘OH! Hello’. Can you imagine! the spiteful turd threw a party and invited all my old gang except me !. The final straw was a few weeks ago, I mistakenly went to a lunch that everyone was supposed to come to, at our favourite restaurant but only Karen and Maurice turned up, I further made the mistake of telling them that I was upset with a woman they knew, as she had put the moves on my husband, Maurice all but called me a liar, ‘I highly doubt that’ he flounced, followed up with ‘And I’m not going there and discussing it’. You could have knocked me down with a feather. What sort of friend doesn’t respond with, ‘That’s awful Lilly’, or ‘So sorry’, or anything a real friend would say. The answer of course is that he is not my friend and he is trying to divide and conquer the group. Upon great thought and discussion with my husband, I feel the best thing to do, is absolutely nothing. Nasty, back stabbing queens like him always get their comeuppance eventually. If any of you out there in the world have any better suggestions, I would LOVE to hear them!. In the meantime I shall take the high road, which may well consist of having everybody over when I know he is on vacation.
So as we continued to visit Della in Naples over the next few years, she began to change dramatically. At first it was small things, we would arrive and there were no household supplies, like loo roll, kitchen towels, glass cleaner, dishwasher tablets, so we would pick them up at the store, no offer to reimburse was forthcoming, not that we would have taken the money, but this happened for the next four or five visits, I found out afterwards that Della pulled this stunt on her kids when they visited also. Then there was the two little doggies, we walked them, she did not, she let them pee and poop indoors, putting down puppy training papers instead of taking them out, it was revolting and the place did not smell good. Every time we took a ride out in the car, whether to the beach, the shops, or up the coast, her entire focus was on where we could stop for ‘a cocktail’, it was obsessive, she seemed to have no other interests. One day I dropped my husband off at the golf course and Della and I went to the beach, it was lunchtime, she forced me to pull over at a liquor store, where she went in and bought a small bottle of vodka and a bottle of tomato juice, she said it was the only way she could enjoy relaxing at the beach, and when she made up the drink, it was darn-near see through. The last couple of times we visited were awful, if you tried to bring up the subject of drinking she was immediately on the defensive, no matter how tactful I was, she was in total denial, she didn’t have a problem, everybody else did. After the second last visit three years ago, I swore that would be the last trip, but a year later I relented and we went back, things were worse than ever. She was bloated, overweight and looked awful, she stayed in bed all morning, then got up and drank the rest of the day away, sometimes going to bed at 8pm. This time when I got home, I said, until she gets help, that’s it, I am not going back. It is just so desperately sad to watch such a dear friend of so many years go into such a decline, she is only 58 years old. It is heart breaking to see a life so full of potential, with so much to offer, be wasted. I think the very saddest part is the deterioration of her relationship with her children. She became so verbally abusive to them, they stayed away more and more. This nice kind woman who was so much fun, turned into a nasty, bitter and mean person that was unrecognisable to me. My heart breaks that her daughter is unable to visit with her young baby because of this situation, Della is missing out on her grandchild’s life in every way. I understand that alcoholism is a terrible, life robbing disease, but I also understand that until someone is willing to admit they have a problem, is willing to ask for help and to help themselves, then they cannot be helped. Some months after my return I wrote her a heartfelt letter, I begged her to seek help, from her Doctor, her Pastor, or go into a program, I told her that if everyone says the same thing and you say something else, what is the likelihood that you are the one in the right?. I told her I would help her in anyway I could if she would seek help, I said I would always be here for her and be her friend. She sent me a vicious reply by email, called me some awful names, then told me she never wanted to see me again, she blocked me from Facebook, her email and everywhere else she could. What more can I do? her kids, God bless their hearts both called me to apologise profusely for what she said, unbelievably she copied them in on the email, I told them it was not for them to worry about this or apologise, all we can do is wait this one out and hope that Della’s life gets turned around, but if not by her friend of 25 years, or her children, what are the chances of that?. It’s been over a year now, I sometimes think I will try and reach out to her, but I don’t hold much hope she will care. My best friend is lost to me and to herself.
It’s hard to know exactly when things started slipping for Della, but one of our trips to see her in Naples stands out more than most. A few months before our trip it became apparent she was dating someone new, they seemed quite serious and when I asked her if they were living together she said ‘pretty much, yes’. His name was Ted and I spoke to him a couple of times on the phone and he seemed very pleasant, although I thought it odd that when I called Della one Sunday Morning (10am her time) she was drinking Mimosa’s (Bucks Fizz), I thought it was a bit early but then maybe they were having a brunch. After we arrived it only took a couple of days to realise that Ted had a serious drinking problem and he was leading Della down his dark path of oblivion. We always fill the refrigerator up when we get there, we like to be good guests, food, beer, wine etc.., a couple of days later Peters case of beers was almost gone and the wine was the same. We ignored it out of politeness, but after a week or so it was getting ridiculous and my husband was getting very annoyed. Ted worked at a golf club, Della told us he was the head green keeper at a very prestigious club. It was indeed a very prestigious club, however he was employed to look after the watering of the grass, not as head green keeper!. He took my husband out for a game of golf and loaded a cooler onto the buggy. My husband put bottles of water in it and Ted filled the other half with beers, this was at 7am. My husband told me that by the time he had played 9 holes, the eight bottles of beer were gone, alarm bells started really going off about this guy. Della’s grown up kids came for the weekend and we were having a bbq, Ted made Margarita’s, when her daughter and I tasted them we nearly choked, they were 90 per cent tequila and revolting, Ted filled a pint sized glass with one and drank it in three goes, it was scary, but not surprising that he went to bed at 8pm!. Then one evening Della asked him if he could take a look at something on her car, at which point he got very agitated and got in his junky old car and left. We had a very serious talk with Della, asked her how well she knew this guy and if she was happy with him?, she said she was seeing the light and didn’t think he was really the guy for her. Ted didn’t return that night and Della decided to call it a day with him. We packed up his stuff and she called and told him he could pick it up at 5pm that day, it would be at the front door and he was to leave his keys in the mail box. He didn’t turn up, so the next day we went with his things to his apartment, only to be told by the security guard that he hadn’t lived there for over five months, our mouths fell open in shock. So we went to the golf club, but the security guard there wouldn’t take his stuff either, a security risk he said, as he didn’t know us, fair enough I suppose. Eventually Ted did collect his belongings, we changed the front door locks and he was never heard of again. We think Della had a near miss, he was a conman who had been living off her and likely would have eventually got her so stewed in booze he would have access to her finances. A lucky escape – this time.
After Della’s divorce, I lived in Miami for a while, staying with my parents friends. I worked as a waitress at a restaurant in Coconut Grove, a beautiful and affluent little town near South Miami. I worked every evening (the tips were great in those days!) so during the day I would see a lot of Della, her children were at school and she didn’t work, so off to Miami Beach we would go, or stay by her pool and have lunch, really happy days, we got on so well, we enjoyed the same things and she was always so kind, inviting me over for family events etc..
After I moved back to England we kept in touch. The years went by, I eventually married (at 35 years old) and my husband and I would go and visit Della and the family almost every year. With the invention of Whatsapp, we could talk to each other many times in a day on the messaging service, so we were very much a part of each others lives.
At the time you don’t see a disease like alcoholism creeping in, all of us enjoyed some wine in the evenings, I was on vacation so having wine every night was fine, I never got drunk, fell about or made a fool of myself and neither did my husband, but in hindsight we always retired to bed before Della and I would hear her still up well after one o’clock in the morning.
More years went by and Della moved from Miami to Naples, a beautiful place, known as the jewel in the crown of Florida, more millionaires per mile than fish in the sea, If God owned a holiday home, it would probably be there.
That’s when things really took a turn for the worst.
Following on from my Blogs about ‘Loss, Betrayal and Moving On’, I find myself thinking about a woman who was my best friend for over twenty years. She is not in my life anymore, because she fell into a wine bottle and couldn’t get out. I shouldn’t joke as the matter is far from funny. We met when I was in my late twenties and was visiting friends of my parents in Miami, she was married to a very successful man and had two gorgeous children, she was very glamorous, lets call her Della.
I visited Miami every year for Thanksgiving, as time went on Della divorced her husband and then lived with the worlds biggest loser, this lasted for a few years, I kid you not, this sleaze bag lived off her, lived in her house, had some vague job in ‘import and export’ and was from the Middle East – I mean really – a blind man on a flying horse would have spotted him for a user/waster/scumbag. Della divorced the nicest guy in the world, good looking, kind and a real family man, they were like a movie star couple, but she said she just didn’t love him anymore, although looking back I think she had started something with the scumbag whilst she was still married. That was almost thirty years ago, her husband remarried a year or so after their divorce and is still married. Della never remarried and after the scumbag she dated a succession of no-ambition guys, she was a really beautiful woman, figure like a model, outgoing personality, tons of money from the divorce, so where did it all go wrong for Della? a question I have asked myself a million times over the years, my only thought is that it had to be down to poor judgement and maybe not enough real confidence.
It’s the absolute betrayal. The betrayal to my Mums memory. The lack of respect for her, the home she so lovingly created and the way she was always so kind and giving, her family had been her entire world. Never showing one minute of mourning, just moving on, selfishly trampling over her memory.
The last two years have been a nightmare. Perhaps because Dad is so unwilling to tell the truth. He has lied and lied and lied. He has created a web of deceit that is unbelievable. He is not the Father I grew up with, or maybe he is and a child’s love really is through rose coloured glasses. Since Mum passed away he hasn’t even come to my Birthdays, Christmas, Fathers Day, all of which he was invited, but she is his priority now, it’s heart breaking.
Apparently wherever they go he tells people she is his wife. It’s just so appalling and disgusting. I think the worst part really is wondering if Mum ever knew. Everyone around me feels she was a very intelligent woman and on some level she must have known, but chose to stay and raise her children in a family.
I find myself looking at her photo and apologising, saying I’m so sorry Mum, I can only hope that maybe he was always a good liar and she never knew.
I am horrified to say that I’m not sure I love him anymore. I certainly don’t like him very much.
Over the last two years I have been haunted by all of this, so much so that I wonder if I need counselling, which is funny, because I have always thought I was a strong person and could talk myself through anything, but when you start obsessing, stop sleeping peacefully, wake up through the night and cry, find your mind always drifting back to what he has done, saying over and over in your head all the things you’d like to level at him, it takes over your life. You think terrible thoughts, how you hope one or both of them would die, how much easier your life would be without this torture, then you realise what you just thought and you feel like a monster for thinking it.
I have written this blog as a way forward for myself, like the letter you might write and never send, free counselling perhaps or maybe just seeing it all there in black and white takes it out of me head and into the world. I know that eventually I will get past all of it, I try every single day to block it out, some days are more successful than others, but in the end, I will be just fine.
So about this woman – Lorna – early 70’s, twice married, two children, one to each husband, first husband died, second one divorced, children now grown up with families of their own, her first child was a daughter, who she now has no relationship with, the daughter won’t have contact with her in any way shape or form, for sure that must be an interesting tale, the second child is a son, whom she seems to worship and perhaps this stems from over compensation. She has a brother, retired lawyer, apparently represented a shady gangster family for most of his career (bet that’s a good tale too). She is apparently fairly well off, My Dad ASSURES me she isn’t after his money. I can just see your faces, mine has the same expression.
Anyway, time trickles on, Over the next months lots of things occur, including Dad decorating the house and getting rid of anything my Mother collected, every trace of her seemed to be getting wiped out, the worst of this was that he gave everything to a charity shop before asking me or my sister if we wanted it, including a particular ornament, my Mum when she was very ill asked me never to part with. I tried everything to find it, the charity shop staff were so kind in trying to help, but they are a cash business and don’t keep records of stock in and out, it was gone. I cannot tell you the heartbreak over that lost keepsake, it wasn’t worth any money, but it had been my Mums Mothers and always in the family. I cried and cried, and started to feel hate towards my Father. He continued lying about his whereabouts, my sister had huge rows with him, demanding he tell the truth about this woman, all this actually got my sister and I talking to each other, all be it only about Dad, she is so angry with him, she now won’t speak to him at all. Dad and this woman have now had many holidays together, he drives her hundreds of miles to see her son and grand child, whilst he hasn’t seen his own grand children in over a year. At one point four months after mums funeral he started talking about selling his house and that she would do the same and they would buy one together, I begged him not to do that and for some reason he listened and shelved the idea. They now live half the week at her house and the other half at his. I only see him if he comes to visit me, which he has made an effort to do every other weekend. My life has been turned inside out by this, because there is only one logical conclusion, he must have been having an affair with her for many years, how else could he replace my mother 24 hours after her funeral.
To be continued.
So, back to Christmas. Dad went to my sisters for a few days. At New Year Sam and I went to Dads for 2 nights. It was nice, Dad took us on as tour of the area he grew up, told us stories from the old days etc.. On the day we were packing up to leave I thought I heard him whispering to someone whilst Sam was packing up the car, but I figured maybe he was just talking to himself, I do that a lot.
A week or so later he announced he had booked a weeks holiday in the Canary Islands in February, some sunshine to warm his bones he said, I thought it would do him good and was pleased he was starting to travel again. He went away and did tell me where he was staying this time, and I asked to give me a couple of calls whilst away so I knew he was ok, which he did, and this is where my life as I knew it starts to unravel.
On one of these calls I said I hoped he wasn’t too lonely and that there were people to chat to, he said well actually yes, and then told me this ridiculous story. In his words: I went into the airport business lounge before the flight and couldn’t believe it when I bumped into a lady I worked with 17 years ago, and by sheer chance she was on the same flight and staying in the same hotel as me, so we’ve had drinks and eaten our meals together.
Although I thought this was beyond a coincidence I didn’t say much to him, obviously I now see that a blind man on a flying horse would have seen through this ridiculous lie, but sadly I have the sort of personality that wants to see the best in everyone and would never in a million years have believed my Dad would tell lies, he just wasn’t ever that kind of person, everything about this just didn’t add up. Keep in mind at this point my Mum has only been gone since the end of October.
After he returned from holiday he said that she lived near Sam and I and he intended to keep in touch with her. Quite unbelievably my sister texted me and asked what was going on with Dad and who was this woman he was seeing. I told her what Dad told me, they had formed a friendship when they bumped into each other on holiday, my hard faced as hell sister told me to wake up, she couldn’t ever reach dad at home on the phone either, he must be staying with this woman, lets call her Lorna for the sake of the story.
To be Continued (It gets way worse).