Category Archives: Janet

About my deceased wife Janet, a Borderline Personality Disorder case

Death of a Thousand Cuts

death-of-a-thousand-cuts

Six years ago my neighbor offered to sell me his Ducati for $1,300, a steal. I wanted it. I had the cash. Janet said no. I acquiesced.

Why did I cave in?

I don’t understand what attracted me to her.

I don’t understand what she saw in me.

I don’t understand why I married her.

I don’t understand why I stayed married to her.

I don’t understand why I didn’t do more to protect my children from that darkness.

I don’t understand why I gave up on my dreams.

MotoGP Time

moto-gp-time

Alex and I are going to Laguna Seca tomorrow to watch MotoGP. I haven’t been to a Moto race since I moved to CA 9 years ago. Janet never let me go to Laguna Seca. This years, things are different. I’m really looking forward to an awesome day of racing with Alex.

Putting Things Behind

putting-things-behind

I had a comment on my last posting. It went like this:

Why do you post this stuff, Kenny? There are many of us who love and care about you, but who also loved and cared about Janet, too. I understand, completely, that you were very hurt by the things she said to you, but posting your resentment for all of us to hear, well, I struggle to rationalize what would compel you to have to display it like this.

This is my blog. I write about my children. I write about philosophy and morality. I write about myself and the the hell I have gone through. Writing helps me heal. Pulling my thoughts out and putting it down on paper is my way to re-integrate my mind. It isn’t resentment or revenge.

What happened on June 12, 2010 was tragic, the worst sort of bad luck anyone could have. Calcoastnews.com took our family’s tragedy and hammered me. No, they sledgehammered me. What they did was reprehensible. They have no idea of the career they ruined, the harm they did to my family, and the struggle I have with re-building my life. The impact has lasted years and spread far.

Some people have made it nearly impossible to deal with her death with decency and dignity. They know nothing about our relationship. Janet lied about me, lied to me, lied in front of our children. She told people that I was a violent drunkard. That I was having an affair with two ladies simultaneously. That I was abusing my children. Just incredulous stuff, all untrue. Friends have relayed to me her lies. They couldn’t believe the things that Janet was saying about her husband. In nearly 23 years of marriage I can’t think of once where I disparaged my wife. Not one time ever.

There are a few people who can’t leave it behind, and continue to make life difficult for our family. I have a neighbor, Alan Volbrecht, who recently verbally accosted me in front of Douglas, scaring him. Alan also gives me “mad dog” looks whenever he see me. His wife Chris is on record writing things such as “the children need to be protected from their father whether or not he did anything to Janet” and “I will protect the kids from Ken anyway I can.” The “anonymous” call to Children’s Services accusing me of abusive behavior. This posting on my blog by an In-Law, under the pseudonym A_long_silent_witness@yahoo.com, “How do you put this last bit of pain away? Reflect on the things you did and the things you didn’t do and then pray for forgiveness. If you happen to find someone else as wonderful as Janet to share your live with, history will repeat itself unless you learn from it.”

I stayed married to a woman for 23 years out of love and devotion. If I argued then I was labeled unreasonable. If I disengaged then I was labeled as not caring. If I got upset then I was a tyrant. If I called out her behavior she denied it until our relationship was past done. I was always “wrong”, always “selfish”, and always “not caring”. For wanting to see my friends, for wanting my own life, for not wanting to deal with being insulted or emotionally abused. And the worst part was that I believed every word of it. I spent years feeling like I was an awful person, and feeling scared of her. I felt like leaving the situation would just prove that I really didn’t care/love her enough, and that would make me a bad husband, a bad father, a bad human being.

Janet would be happy that I am taking very good care of our children. They have emerged from an incredible loss. They are happy, healthy and thriving. Teachers, coaches, parents and friends all have stepped forth and helped us. Alexandra has been a rock for us. They have allowed me to deal with my wife’s death with grace and dignity. I am very grateful to these people.

I will continue to call out those who slandered and libeled me. None of them have the courage to apologize to me and my family for the hell they put us through. None of them have offered any support to my family. I’m not holding my breath waiting for them to do so. I can’t change their misperceptions. They’ll believe whatever they want to believe. For them, opinions matter more than facts.

There was more to Janet that what she projected in public. Borderline Personality Disorder is an incurable mental illness, a darkness that tore our marriage apart. Those who live with it knows what hell is like. I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD as a result of living with this woman and the fallout from her passing. Truth be told, I loved that woman, but I didn’t like her for what she became.

Sticks and Stones

sticks-and-stones

Sticks and stones may break my bones. But names will never hurt me.

I disagree with this. Words are powerful. They can cut like a knife, they can traumatize you, they can destroy a marriage. There are loaded words that only serve to hurt, control, scare or intimidate those who are close to you. Three words are particularly harmful. I don’t allow them to be said in my home.

Today I read an article by Julie Orlov. It describes the three words and how Janet used them to harm our relationship.

Never

Never implies a sense of hopelessness and finality. When you use “never,” you’re telling your spouse that they are no good, will never be any good and that there’s no hope for change. It’s an all-or-nothing phrase that does not lend itself to listening, compromising and creating good will.

Always

Always implies a sense of rigidity and righteousness. When you use “always,” you’re telling your spouse that they are wrong, you are right, and that there’s nothing that can be done about it. It’s also an all-or-nothing phrase, and it does not lend itself to understanding, learning, or healing.

Divorce

Divorce. Threatening to divorce, suggesting divorce as an option, or accusing your spouse of destroying the marriage will lead to just that. A divorce is a very serious decision, and using it as a weapon or method of control creates anxiety and despair. It’s not conducive for effective communication, conflict resolution, problem solving, or intimacy.

Craigslist Redemption

craigslist-redemption

It was time to get rid of the last vestige of my disastrous marriage. I didn’t have the heart to throw it away, as it was still in excellent condition. So I threw up a Craigslist ad. Then the fun commenced.

A lady emails right away, saying she wants it. We set a time for the next day. The time comes and goes, a no-show. So I respond to a few more emails saying it’s still available. Another lady calls, says she’ll be over in a few hours. I wait for her and then she arrives, ffirst thing she says is “Where is the box spring?” I said the ad stated clearly no box spring, she says “oh well I must have not read the ad clearly, so I can’t take it”.

I call up another contact, they can barely speak English, kept asking me if it was free. I though no way do I want them over my place so I hung up. Then I call another contact, she says “Good, it’s still available. I want it. I need to think about it and I’ll call you back.” I say “Ma’am, it’s free and in great shape. You need to come now if you want it.” She said she’d call me right back.

Some dude Mike then calls me, straightforward as all heck. “You still have the Mattress?” I reply “Yes”. He says “Good. What’s your address in Santa Margarita? I’m 10 minutes away and I will leave now”. I give him the address.

Five minutes after I hung up with Mike, the last lady calls saying she’s take it. I tell her sorry, but another person is on the way. She acted all disappointed. I reminded her that when she last spoke she was “thinking about it”. Doofus.

So Mike pulls in the drive, driving an old Chevy ¾ ton. This big bear of a man hops out the driver’s door and immediately goes to the crew door and retrieves an adorable little girl out of the child seat.

Mike and I go over the mattress, he asks a few questions about where the mattress was used, if I was the original owner, where it had been stored, etc. He says “I liked your listing and had to come see this”. He says he’ll take it.

I help load it into the bed of the truck and we get to start talking. Turns out he’s a single Dad, with custody of his Daughter, and looking for steady work. He offered me $15 for the mattress. I said no, go buy your daughter a treat. He gives me a big hug and drives off.

For all the assholes you run across while dealing on Craigslist, it sure gives me faith when people like Mike show up.

It’s Back

its-back

This past Friday Douglas had some of his friends over for a sleepover. Saturday morning the boys got up early and went outside to ride their scooters. They had cobbled a psuedo-skatepark in the driveway with some scrap lumber. I was watching the boys doing their tricks when I had an epiphany. What if the neighbors across the creek still had our old half-pipe? And if they did, were they ready to let us have it back?

So I crossed the creek towards their house, turned right, and there it was! Our old ramp was sitting on the curb with a “Free” sign on it. Thirty minutes later it probably would have been gone. I yelled to the boys to hurry over. When Doug saw the ramp his face lit up with joy. I told them to squat on the ramp and don’t let anyone else take it. I borrowed a friend’s pickup. We ended up tearing the old, rotted decking because it was too heavy to lift into the bed of the truck.

We got it home and assessed the damage. Other than the decking and one bottom spar, the ramp was in good condition. Doug and I began to rehab the ramp by removing all the old screws that had pulled through the rotted decking. We gave it a thorough power washing and called it a day to let it dry.

Early Sunday morning Alex went to the lumberyard and bought a new 4’x8′ sheet of plywood. Doug and I went about replacing most of the old screws with longer, Torx screws. Once we did that, we re-positioned some of the spars to make a better transition from asphalt to ramp. Doug’s friend Forrest was there to help us as we laid down the new sheet and screwed it down. We graded the area level and positioned the ramp, staked it in place and bolted a strip of sheet metal to the bottom lip.

Douglas and his friends were on it until it got dark. He and the girls are happy to have it back.

Both of the girls asked me why I had given the ramp away. Truth be told, I hadn’t. About five years ago I came home one day from the office and saw the ramp was gone. I asked Janet where the ramp was, thinking someone had stolen it. She told me that she gave it to the neighbors because “their son needed it”.

Janet never liked seeing the kids and me playing on the quarter-pipe. Somehow it violated her sense of self, where she had to control us. The kids and I spent many hours riding on the ramp and just goofing off. Janet asked me to get rid of the ramp, never giving a rational reason to do such. Every time I said no.

It’s revitalizing to have the ramp back. We’re going to have a lot more good memories on it.

Mt Whitney, Hell Yeah!

mt-whitney-hell-yeah

This is me a couple of days before my ascent of Mt Whitney in September of 1991. Mt Whitney is the highest summit in the contiguous United States, topping out at 14,505 feet. Now you may think I did the climb in the traditional way, overnight carrying a pack with essentials. No, I did it differently. I bagged it in one day.

Janet and I were near the end of one of our Western vacations. We had flown out to LA and rented a Mustang GT convertible. We drove around Hollywood, Rodeo Drive, Malibu, all the famous spots. It was fun. We headed on over to Death Valley and checked it out. We discovered some ghost towns along the way. But I was getting antsy. I was in the prime shape of my life, 32 years old and I hadn’t worked out for a week. Janet had no interest in doing anything physical. It was time for a run.

We had stopped in a little town called Lone Pine. It’s located at the eastern side of Mt. Whitney. Walking into the hotel I stopped for a moment and gazed at the mountain. At that second I knew I had to try it.

I woke up early next morning. I didn’t have any gear except my Patagonia baggies, a cotton tee-shirt, and my running shoes. We stopped at a 7-11 and got a liter of water and a bag of gorp on the drive over to the trailhead. I told Janet to meet me back in the lot at 5:00. There I was, alone at 7,300 feet elevation. Only 7,200 to go. All up.

The first few miles were not too steep. I was able to keep a good pace. Then it ramped up. I slowed to a fast walk on the steep sections. When it leveled out a bit, I ran it even if it was only 10 yards. My heart was working hard at 160 bpm. It seemed like I was going forever, going, going, going. When I crested the tree line the vista opened up and you could see the entire Sierra Nevada range. I get to one particularly tough section of scree. It was relentlessly steep and marked by continuous switchbacks. It was more like being on a stepper, or one of those steep Mayan pyramids. Only much higher. You couldn’t walk this section, much less run it. My water was long-gone but I was really pumped and determined to make it. I was damned if I was making a trip out west without doing something bold. I kept going hard.

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I had lucked out with the weather. My goal was to top out by 3:00, tellling myself if I didn’t reach it then I was to turn around and head back down. I knew I didn’t want to be caught up there in the dark. Hours into the run I felt fatigue setting in. But my mind told my body “not today you’re not getting any break – we are going up this thing”. Time was running out. and I could see the summit was still a long way off. Suddenly, at around 13,000 feet, the trail leveled out at a ridge traverse. I got a second wind in that thin air and I stepped it up. I was running at 13,000+ feet, just insane. I passed a few backpackers, they stared at me incredulously in my baggy shorts and tee while they had their Polartec fleece and Gore-Tex jackets. I wonder what they really thought. Ha.

I only spent a few minutes on top. Off in the distance there was some weather coming in, and I started heading down. I broke into a pretty good run, watching where my feet were landing on every step. All those winters of trail running in Beaver Creek State Park paid off. I was scrambling down like a mountain goat. Absolutely flying. Just hitting the top points of the scree, high-siding the trail berms. I was in the zone. And I ran all the way down that mountain, 7,200’ drop in eleven miles.

My thighs filled up with blood, the quads were screaming. It was bliss. And when I reached the trailhead, it was the best feeling of my entire life. I had just done something truly daring, so daring in it’s audacity, that I was very happy. I went and got bold on a big thing, and I did it.

I got back to the trailhead at almost exactly 5:00. Janet was waiting in the parking lot. She had spent the day drinking in a cowboy bar. She was very intoxicated. I didn’t care. It didn’t matter because I did what I wanted to do, and it felt great.

Neurobiology Lesson

During pregnancy, the mother and fetus exchange cells and some of those cells can live on forever in the two bodies after the child is born.

During pregnancy, cells sneak across the placenta in both directions. The fetus’s cells enter his mother, and the mother’s cells enter the fetus. A baby’s cells are detectable in his mother’s bloodstream as early as four weeks after conception, and a mother’s cells are detectable in her fetus by week 13. In the first trimester, one out of every fifty thousand cells in her body are from her baby-to-be (this is how some noninvasive prenatal tests check for genetic disorders). In the second and third trimesters, the count is up to one out of every thousand maternal cells. At the end of the pregnancy, up to 6 percent of the DNA in a pregnant woman’s blood plasma comes from the fetus. After birth, the mother’s fetal cell count plummets, but some stick around for the long haul. Those lingerers create their own lineages. Imagine colonies in the motherland.

Moms usually tolerate the invasion. This is why skin, organ, and bone marrow transplants between mother and child have a much higher success rate than between father and child.

Douglas Topping Hazard Peak

Douglas is an animal. We go for a ride last Saturday at Montana De Oro State Park. We climb for 1:30. The view was great. Douglas railed the three-mile descent. Douglas had a great time. I had a great time. Good memories for the both of us.

Janet never got out on a hike/ride to the top of Hazard Peak. I asked, I tried. The view up on top is world-class. I never understood why Janet didn’t get out there. I wanted to share this with her. She always had some excuse why she couldn’t carve out four hours to do this with me.

She only went on three “real” rides with me in 22 years of marriage. Scratch that. One of those “rides” occurred when we were still dating. That makes it two.

I’ve ridden over a quarter of a million miles. Road. Raced Cat II for six years. Fixed before the Hipsters bastardized it. Mountain. Singlespeed Mt. It’s part of who I am, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My wife saw things completely different.

I’m blessed that my three kids are smart and athletic. And one of them, Douglas, shows promise as a rider. He may not turn out to be a Roadie, but that’s OK. He’s a good Mt Biker.

I’m happy that I met Alex. She’s an endorphin addict. That’s a good thing.

Remembering 9/11

remembering-911

The day began like most Tuesday mornings at Dick’s Sporting Goods. The Company was growing fast. We had recently moved into our new Corporate Headquarters near the Pittsburgh Airport. My office window overlooked the airport. I never had much time to gaze out the window and look at the coming and goings of the airplanes. Managing a $70 million product category demanded all of my attention.

Todd, one of my co-workers, came over to me and said “you gotta go down to the fitness room and watch what’s going on. Some airplane crashed into the WTC in New York”. I head downstairs into the Fitness room, where we had several TV Monitors overhead above the treadmills. There were several other co-workers in the room. We were mesmerized, confused about what we were witnessing. All CNN could tell us was that an airplane had crashed into the WTC. I went back upstairs to my desk to work. The weekly Business Recap report was due that morning.

A while later, a swell of my co-workers started heading back downstairs to the TVs. I followed. This time, the Fitness Room was packed with people. People from Operations, Finance, Merchandising and IT. The entire brain trust of the company was in that room. And we were mortified with what was transpiring. The first tower had collapsed. Reports were coming in about the Pentagon. Then the second tower collapsed.

I witnessed that live, as it was happening. I couldn’t fathom what I was seeing. Was it the death of tens of thousands of people? Who did this. Why? Why was this happening? Where we next? Was this the start of a war? Nothing in my years of education and experience could have prepared me for this. For the first time in my life I was rendered speechless. I just couldn’t think. All I could do was stare at the screen, at the images.

Soon after, the Company President came down and told everyone to go home to our families. I rushed upstairs to try and call Janet. She wasn’t home. I tried calling the school where Savannah was at and couldn’t get through the phone lines. They were slammed.

I couldn’t make the 90-minute commute fast enough. But the drive was eerily calm. Surreal. I made eye contact with other drivers at the traffic lights. We all had that same haunting look in our faces – that scared look we get when we realize things are beyond our control. But no one cut anyone off. No one tailgated. No one flipped anyone off. We all were worrying about getting home to our families, yet that day we also cared about strangers getting home to their families.

I arrive to the school to get Savannah out of her First Grade class, and it was quiet panic. Most parents had already picked up their kids. I knew many of the other parents still there. We didn’t need to say anything to each other. We all just wanted our children safe. I see Savannah, and picked her up and gave her a long hug. She was confused about what was going on. I told her that everything was alright, that she didn’t have to worry.

We get home and Janet was there, in front of the TV. Courtney was playing in the other room. Janet was seven months pregnant with Douglas. I was relieved to have my family all together and safe at home.

I sent Savannah into the playroom and sat down to watch the coverage. By then, word had come out about Flight 93’s crash. The Pentagon was burning. The White House, we were told, was next. All flight were grounded. Fighter jets were scrambled. The nation was under attack. Someone did this to us.

I remember the people jumping to their deaths. The brave First Responders running into a burning building. Those heroes on Flight 93 who took matters into their own hands. I didn’t lose anyone I knew that day, but I can relate. There were many victims that day. I hope the 9/11 survivors find tranquility and are able to move on with their lives.

Some of the things we did collectively as a nation since 9/11 is wrong. The TSA is a joke – I HATE to fly anymore because security is nothing but theater. Homeland Security is a slush fund for local law enforcement agencies. We went into Iraq only because of Bush’s obsession with Saddam and Big Oil. The Carlyle Group shepherded the Bin Laden family out of the US and back into Saudi Arabia right after 9/11, what’s up with that? We blew it at Tora Bora and it took us almost 10 years to get Bin Laden. The Patriot Act is a joke – anyone recall the 4th Amendment? We killed 200,000 people in Iraq. That’s gonna come back to bite us.

We STILL don’t have a sensible energy policy. We STILL back Israel 100% while pooh-poohing the Palestine Occupied territories. We STILL maintain a military force on stand-by in Germany and South Korea.

Our materialistic society comes at a terrible cost. The sweatshop workers in China and India. The environmental pillage of Nigeria in the name of oil. Blood Diamonds. The violence in Mexico to feed our insatiable, un-winnable “War on Drugs”. Big Sugar.

Our nation has to change the way we grow our food, the way we build our homes, the way we move about. We eat too much, we live in unsustainable housing, we waste energy driving huge vehicles.

I am happy that we killed Bin Laden. He was evil and deserved to be shot on sight. But he did have a point. The problem is us. We’ve become too materialistic. More stuff isn’t going to make us any happier. Let’s teach our children the true lesson of 9/11. To find peace within ourselves, and with others.