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Thursday . . . I'm eating my Campbell's® Chunky New England Clam Chowder and in order to shield the Louis XIV table of any errant drops from my steaming spoon, I laid down the rarely read daily comics pages of the newspaper. And I'm looking at the Dennis the Menace cartoon and thinking that his mom looks so sleek, so sexy: "Those are damned nice long legs on her." Keerist! What's happening to me? I'm flirting with a two dimensional woman. (Talk about being flat-chested.) This morning I was remembering how incredibly sad I was over my pending divorce fourteen months ago. A pending divorce whose legalities should be finalized this month, but whose pain will echo through the lifetimes of all of us involved. I remember sitting and crying in my Peugeout outside the LA Fitness before, head down, eyes red, heart already thumping, I trudged inside the huge building to earn my evening dose of endorphins churned out by an emotion-cancelling two hour weight-lifting and aerobic binge. It is so odd that during the stretch that I found being at work was unbearable, my hours dropped to forty. And when I had somewhat recovered, my work week jumped to eighty hours while my income tripled. Yesterday afternoon, as I held up my empty pillow case in one hand and my naked bedroom pillow in the other, I explained to the massive Mainio I had dreamt the night before that I was undressing a lovely lady and then awoke and found only my pillow disrobed. If I'm having dreams about women and lusting after Dennis the Menace's mom (for God's sake) how long can it be until I give in to the entreaties of Morgan Fairchild?
Tuesday . . . Well, like the masochist I am, I've scheduled another seventy-six hour work week. Other than the vastly increased income (which it seems has gone mostly to happily purchase Christmas presents for the kids and the soon-to-be-ex-Missus-Dr.Malamud) these long-long workdays help keep the pounds off. With sixteen hour days and two hour drives I physically do not have time to eat much. Tomorrow, the Missus has her telephonic conference with officials of the county to explain to them (like they actually care) that she would indeed prosper from a divorce from the good doctor. Wednesday, I've cleared the afternoon to accompany Mainio to the new release of "Blade III." I believe it's a movie about a door to door knife salesman and it should be quite entertaining. But how neat is that, that my eighteen year old insists his father go to the movies with him? (Never mind that all his friends are away at Ivy League institutions taking courses on video games and reading comic books for college credit.) At age eighteen in my own life, circa 1969, I was praying that my father die, not spend even more time with me. I had my school and work schedule arranged so that I spent as little time as possible at home while he was around. Yes, I came from a loving and close family <grin>. Even so, my second (or is it third) Christmas without the wife is going to be tough going.
Friday . . . How pathetic. Having to awake at 4:20AM and crawl into a refrigerator-cold car to drive into work on a 35F (2C) dark and blustery Christmas Eve morning. Even Mr. Humming Bird is swinging his wings in slow motion as they attempt to cut through the solid black arctic air. Today, if my corporation still existed, we'd be having our tense annual Christmas ('tense', not 'tenth') party with few of us knowing how good we had it. And not one of us thinking it would ever end. This Christmas Friday would find most employees leaving the office before noon and not returning until Monday three days later. But yet, because of my own poor choices (or, more accurately, non-choices) I'm not only working Christmas Eve, but Christmas Day, the day after Christmas and not enjoying a day off until sometime in the year 2005. I'm certainly not setting much of an example for the young Mainio, who at eighteen, is increasingly distressed at the luxuries his friends, sons and daughter's of the wealthy, are unwittingly flaunting. I am so tried so much of the time. And yet I am too lazy or too scared to even open up the "Help Wanted" ad section of our local newspaper. Every morning I eyeball the goal setting chart taped to my bathroom mirror that encouraged, energized and enabled me to drop fifty one pounds of blubber and keep off thirty three of it over the past year. And I know that I should devise a similar form to guide my financial future. I've sold myself and anyone who listens to me that "a JOB" is more than simply trading your time for income, but trading your life, your essence, for income. And that being the case, a person would be wise to enjoy his job, because enjoying your job is the same as enjoying your life. And conversely, hating your job is hating your life. I guess I hate my life, but not so much as to change it. How very sad is that? How many million men and women in this country of freedom and choices are in the same position I am in? The Missus phoned yesterday morning to tell me how very cold it was where she's at, to reveal Mainio's above-mentioned discontentment and to advise me she had gotten my UPS'd box full of Christmas surprises for her. And to let me know that my presents were the only ones under her tree. How sad. How lonely. Speaking of trees, yesterday afternoon, after tossing his hastily wrapped presents onto the table and announcing "Here. Here are your presents." Mainio had unknowingly forced me into finally setting up, once again, the Christmas tree his mother had mailed us last year. I carefully extracted it out of the carton it had been stored in for the past twelve months and placed it on the table. Then I delicately separated and pulled down each limb and fluffed up its aluminum leaves. This afternoon, when I arrive home from my labors, I will clean off the table underneath the tree and pull out the many presents hidden away, not from Mainio, but from possible burglars.
Friday . . . The last day of year 2004. When you are doing for living what you really do not enjoy, the year doesn't quite go as "rapidly" as I hear others complaining about. With a work year that, rather than the normal 2,080 hours, numbered over 3,200 hours, life is sometimes a bitch. An entire year a bitch? Well, anyway, for once, inadequate income or bill collectors weren't on the horizon. Or on the doorstep, phone or in the mailbox. Thursday, I spent a part of that rainy, cold and overcast Scottsdale afternoon with one of the attractive women I was planning to date once I received my divorce documents. Documents which, sadly, did not bookend the twenty-seventh year of our marriage. I'm glad I spent these unscheduled moments with this lady, as it saved me the price of a pair of Starbucks coffees. Prior to our conversation, I realized that she was, as are most individuals in this country of 290 millions, far less learned than Dr. Malamud <grin> and was I puzzled if a future Mrs.Dr.Malamud possessing an I.Q. of say, less than 150, would be a compatible match for the humble Doctor. However, that turned out not to be the problem. This woman is too needy. Too helpless. I've grown too comfortable with the "I'll do it myself attitude" of the current Missus and find this sort of helplessness sad, not sexy.
Wednesday . . . I'm facing another eighty-six hour work week. That allows me a total of twenty-five hours of sleep, vs. the more usual forty hours of shut-eye over four days. (Five hours of sleep a night that is, if I don't spend time watching a Blockbuster DVD Mainio has meticulously chosen in an effort to educate me with movies he finds entertaining.) I figure I should take the work while it is available. And less you think I take everything presented to me, I told one extremely difficult client that they would never see me again. I'm most likely laboring all these hours to keep from even having the time to think about changing my life. Although last summer I had plenty of time to "change" my life and instead sat down at Starbucks and Barnes and Noble writing about how crappy my life was. I imagine when the time comes for me to change my life I'll just up and do it. Inertia controls humans just as certainly as it controls a falling five-hundred pound bomb. I've realized that a major portion of my depression arises from my lack of sleep. You know it's serious when you're driving into work on Monday morning, the first day of the work week for most American's, and you nod off behind the wheel. (Thank God for boiling hot McDonald's coffee.) The times they are a changing, for the Missus emailed me the other day saying she wasn't feeling so hot and that I should come out and vacation with her. Unsaid, I'm sure, was that Mainio, our giant teen boy, should accompany me. Had this happened months ago I'd be writing this from the frozen plains of the Lone Star State. My female counsellor advised me long ago that perhaps with the freedom allowed by a divorce, the Missus would feel free to find her way back to the smash-hearted Doctor Malamud. The Missus always complained about us being "comfortable" with each other. And I'm thinking what the hell is wrong with being comfortable, especially with someone you love? With your soul mate?
Thursday . . . I was sent to bed early last night. The teen boy Mainio and I were viewing a DVD and I committed the sin of falling asleep on our couch. In reality I had slipped into a drunken coma. Until I awoke five hours later in my bedroom on the massive Malamud mattress, with my eardrums still zinging from too many tequila shots banging around inside my cranium, did I understand why I had exceeded my normal medicinal dose of the golden juice I use to "dull the pain of life." Earlier Wednesday, when I had gotten home from work at an unusual and blissfully early 2:45PM, and after I had fed a frozen steak to the pre-heated 350F degree jaws of my George Foreman Grill, I checked my e-mail. There, the Missus Dr.Malamud, in a reply to a 2005 tax question, had asserted that our divorce was final last year. Year 2004. And here I was that very morning, eyeing February's calendar squares and wondering whether our final divorce papers would clear the court before our not-to-be-celebrated 28th wedding anniversary arrived. However, I do not think she is correct in her claim. Yet, with her proclivity for not having enough income taxes withheld from her paycheck, it is not all bad news, i.e., not to be liable for her unpaid taxes. Damn. In my alcoholic stupor last night, I remember laying on our bed conjuring up all kinds of swear words declaring my displeasure with this divorce and how I would record those profanities in today's journal. This morning, I just stepped outside into a light drizzle and a dark fog allowing a mere one hundred feet of visibility that is a worldly reflection of the inside of my soul. Not only for my failed marriage, but for a life going nowhere. After over two years of separation and pending divorce and three and one-half years of unsatisfactory employment, I've just got to get on the stick again. This is nonsense.
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