Sunday, November 30, 2008

Puppy Ambush


And now we enter the minds of our puppies...

Bella: "I say we make our move to take out the bald one."

Donna: "Yeah, he's always scolding us when we go potty on the carpet. What's that about anyway? Doesn't he understand it's cold and wet outside this time of year?"

Bella: "Agreed. So, here's the plan. We act like we're playing hard, minding our own business--"

Donna: "Ooh! I love tooth-wrestling! Just don't pull too hard on my ear again, that freakin' hurt."

Bella: "Yeah, yeah, no worries. Remember, that part is just the distraction. While he's sitting on the floor next to the couch, I'll jump up and start licking his head--"

Donna: "Ooh! Good idea! He doesn't seem to mind that, it'll lull him into a false sense of security!"

Bella: "Exactly! Then you jump into his lap, like you're still tracking me to get in another good bite. While he's paying attention to you, I'll whip around the right side of his head and try to bite off his nose. He'll be so shocked that you can then leap up and bite off his upper lip!"

Donna: "Mmmmm... *slurp* I can almost taste success!"

Bella: "Get your muzzle out of your butt and let's get this op under way."


Needless to say, they executed their plan almost flawlessly! Only their relative lack of experience allowed me to get away with more of my nose and upper lip intact than they intended.

Since I couldn't banish or punish them too severely due to their tender age, the only recourse I had available to me Saturday night was to seek the comfort of an elixer to sooth my nerves --
"the hair of the dogs that bit me!" You see, just the prior day, I found a drink recipe for a drink called the "Bella Donna." So, I whipped up a batch for s1m0n, polyfulcrum and myself.

Here's the recipe:

2 tsp Sugar

2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice

Fill mixing glass with ice

2.5 oz Dark Rum

2.5 oz Amaretto

Shake. Strain into a chilled glass.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Coming Out


Just to update on this: T-Day has come and gone. Prior to that, the full disclosure of relationship structure had been covered, so when the parents were over, they knew who everyone was.

It went great! They were gracious, engaged, curious and personable. Very pro the happiness and stability that this relationship has brought across the board, particularly to their granddaughter. We're all having dinner again this evening before they leave town. In particular, I really appreciated the way they drew my daughter out, since she was pretty shy with these new people.

Given that we're talking about a Catholic and a Mormon, I was prepared for a much more dramatic response. To have such a warm reception was a very pleasant surprise! Still, I'm glad it's over... ;)

Now, I'm in a space where I want to get to know them better, but don't think that there will be time to make that happen much. It would be great to have some time without the kids around for a more frank conversation. Ah well, I guess it will need to be a more incremental approach.

Yes, I like them. What a relief!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


PF shakes in boots:

OK, maybe I'm overstating that. I'm a bit on the nervous side. Tomorrow is T-Day. The day that I meet my poly in-laws. S came out fully with them last weekend in person, to allow them a little time to process and get their game face on before we have them over for dinner tomorrow. That went well, but it wouldn't be the first time I've heard of a delayed reaction to coming out either...

The thing is that I've never really done the "meet the parents" thing. When PG and I were first dating we were very young, and I met his mom pretty immediately, since he was still living at home. She and I get along pretty well on most points, and she's been a more supportive parent to me than my own nuclear types have been, so thus far, I'm doing well with that end of things.

It seems as though I've "grown up" within our relationship with S telling me how he's formed a lot of his strategies in life based on his father, sort of a round about way of seeking approval. I certainly don't want to let him down, or seem like a down-grade from his most recent spouse. This silly sort of comparison stuff doesn't serve a constructive purpose, but is in keeping with the desire for acceptance and approval that many of us were heavily ingrained with as children.

Living a pretty thoroughly alternative lovestyle, one would think that one had grown out of these things! Largely, this is true. However, there is still that niggling little remnant from youth that wants the pat on the head, the "Wow! You did well to find this one, Son!" sort of validation. For me, the challenge tomorrow is going to be to stay present in the moment, be myself, and enjoy meeting and getting to know these people that have been so important in forming a person I love on my own terms. I hope I like them.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Poly "in-laws"

PF- Apparently, I'm doing the blog this month...

This upcoming weekend, S's parents are coming to visit the area. While he is out as poly to his folks, I don't think that he has a great deal of confidence that they understand what that actually _means_. As we are hosting a Thanksgiving meal in our home, he figured it might be important to give them more details on the specifics of our arrangements before they hit the door for Turkey Day. He's looking to hopefully cover that this weekend while they are at the coast. Hence, I will be meeting my poly in-laws.

Now, it's not that I've never laid eyes on these people before. I've met them at both of S's weddings! LOL As a matter of fact, PG was the Best Man at the most recent iteration. However, this will be the first time I've met them as anything other than one of his friend's wives. This is leading to a smidgen of anxiety.

It seems like I've often been seen as a corrupting influence on people. Eroding their moral fiber with my loose ways and open perspectives. In this particular case, I feel very strongly that my influence, although non-standard in application, has been positive pretty thoroughly across the board for both S and his daughter. I'm trying not to get locked into the desire to have these people like me, or see those things, and instead remain a stable supportive influence as he's going through the stresses of coming out more completely to parents.

So far, PG's mom has been the most positive experience in sharing that information, and even that took a few discussions, repeated exposure to those we share love with, and seeing that her grandchild (or son) isn't being neglected or damaged by our decisions.

So S, I will do my level best to stay out of my ego, and present in the moment while you are sharing your life with your parents. I will be my charming loving self, and hope that seeing you happy resonates more strongly than how you got there.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Disagreements and attachments

PF ruminates:

There is really no way to go through life interacting with others and not reach a place where a difference of opinion happens. PG and I have our time-honored ways to argue, and S and I are still finding our way through that morass of fun-ness. Not that we have a high-conflict household, by any measure. Still, I think the good part is that none of us is so afraid of conflict that we won't bring a problem up.

One of the advantages of having a third partner around isn't that they referee for the other two, but it does help to get an additional perspective on when I am being an ass, if I haven't picked that up on my own. ;) Particularly of help is when S tells me that I am falling into long-term patterning too much in the way that I interact with PG. When you are having the _same_ minor issue crop up for the 50th time, it can feel more frustrating and/or bigger than it actually is. Our usual patient approach and clear communication can get muddled, since we've been having this same conversation since before we developed a lot of those skills. It helps to have someone else present that can say: You wouldn't be approaching this the same way if it were anyone else.

That's always been something I've found abhorrent: When people treat their family members and loved ones worse than they ever would a co-worker or friend. Being able to recognize when you are losing perspective and change your approach to a more compassionate and loving one is a great skill to develop!

On to attachments! So, our new rug throws off a lot of lint. We've pretty well trashed both of the vacuum cleaners that we moved in with already. S and I went shopping and brought one home as a trial model. It works pretty well, looks pretty sexy for a vacuum cleaner, and has lots of attachments. One of the attachments is specifically for bare floors. We have some hardwoods in our downstairs, and while we were trying out the vacuum, S asked me to use the bare floor attachment. I refused, on the grounds that I didn't think I'd use it generally, so wanted to make sure the main attachment would handle things on both carpet and hardwoods. He expressed that it would feel better to him if I would, since it would be less apt to scratch. I did it my way. Folded a load of laundry. Thought about it, and decided I was being silly. The minute it would take to switch attachments certainly wouldn't hurt me, and it would make him feel better about the vacuuming process.

Having decided to give in on the point, I approached S and said I was wrong, and I would be using the preferred attachment in the future, since it was important to him, and it's important to me that he felt listened to. He launched into a spiel about how irritated he was with my initial response, and various other frustrations, which I listened to quietly. Then I said he was right, I was wrong to blow him off at first, and that I would try to do better in the future. He just sort of sat there a minute, then realized how hard it is to have an argument with someone who'd given in before you were able to toss the first volley. Moments like that help me to realize how different most people's experience of a disagreement is from what usually happens around here. There is a certain amount of pride in being able to change course and not become ego-vested in the outcome. I hope to continue to do better for all my partners each day. They deserve the best from me, and I want to give it as often as I can.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Changes in line up


When S came aboard the poly train with us, it was a big change from how we'd been doing relationships outside of the dyad that PG and I have shared for over 14 years now. There had been this gradual and increasing scale in the ways that we expressed ourselves in relationships, however, as each new partner, on whatever level has entered the picture, I've found the level of complexity and logistics increases exponentially.

This isn't to say that I don't enjoy that depth and complexity, because I do. As much as I'm a stability junkie, having more people to value and relationships to nurture feels interesting and in pursuit of growth to me. The question is: How much of a difference does it make when you add a new person into an existing poly structure?

To some degree, that depends on the intensity of the relationship, the amount of time spent, how far advanced in their own understanding the person is, but some of it has got to be sheer numerical complexity!

The scheduling, for example. I am the lamest in the pod regarding the use of google calendar, which is the tool that we've chosen to try and coordinate the many independent, yet totally entwined, schedules that exist. It is a source of frustration to my pod members at times, since they'll put something up there and think I'm aware of it. For me though, I need actual verbal contact about stuff, and then add it to my paper calendar to make it real. My bad. I'm working on it!

How about trying to make sure that everyone is getting their needs met? This can be both a good and bad thing. Good: Chances are high that not everyone is going to have a crisis in a given week. Bad: Chances are high that illnesses will work their way through the entire system over a given week/month. My general expectation is that whoever is "healthy" emotionally or physically, steps up to help care for those who are not. The more people you have within your system, the higher the odds are that someone will be available to step in and handle things in the event of an emergency, and the higher the odds are that someone will need care at a given moment.

What about people getting lost in the shuffle? This seems to be a real concern, particularly if you have those in the circle that aren't as assertive (read: pushy) as I am about stating needs and wants. Those are skills that _need_ to increase as the pod gets bigger. It isn't the responsibility of those you are with to pull things out of you. You MUST be able to be a self-proponent, or fading into the background can happen.

These are some of the reasons that I consider carefully whether or not to become involved with new people. I want to give of myself to any connection, and there is only so much to go around. Changes in line up can make global shifts happen. There is more to track with each person that I become "responsible" to emotionally. So, if I seem to be approaching the idea of connecting with you with caution, take it as a sign of responsible relationship husbandry. ;)

Monday, November 10, 2008


Wow...what a week! It's been far too long since I was last able to carve out the time to be here, in this space, putting things down in black and white. There's been so much going on that it's been pretty well in dog-paddling mode this past week.

Last week Sunday PG, myself and his other partner got together to have a conversation about some of the unresolved stuff from last summer that has been holding me back from feeling comfortable with their relationship. It was a meandering conversation at times, but we reached a place of accord with a gameplan to work on getting things cleaned up emotionally moving forward. As a matter of fact, it's already being implemented, and seems to be working. Primarily, we're spending some time with just she and I to clear our energy interacting together. That is feeling good.

Then comes the part of the early week where two of the people close to, but not within our household, split from their primary live-in partners. While these were largely "bloodless" breakups, they were still traumatic in ways that required some extra support and time from all of us this week, and will continue to do so.

We had a significant parenting meeting with S's daughter's mom. S is the legal custodial parent, but she's been spending a lot of time with his daughter since she moved back to the area a few months ago, after school a couple hours each day, as well as the traditional every other weekend thing. His daughter has been having some academic issues, and also hasn't been adjusting well to her mom's new foreign husband, who just moved to the country a few weeks ago. Thought we made some progress there in forming a plan to better support the daughter, and then...

Things were starting to look like they were reaching a more stable space again when S's daughter's mom called on Saturday morning to say she wasn't able to cope with her child, and is basically done parenting for the time being, come get her. That sort of put a wrench into plans for the evening (sorry B!) and put things into a more emergency focused parenting sort of space. The rest of the weekend was spent in trying to get things set to get that system in place to help her academcially as well as emotionally.

Oh yes! My mom emailed me this week too. Something along the lines of: We don't judge you. We just think you're totally wrong! Blech. I'm just glad that the turmoil surrounds us, but isn't inside the household. Love you guys!

One great piece of news is that S's old home finally sold, so that will help free him up somewhat, hopefully in the direction of having time to sleep and be sane, rather than working his smallish butt off to make the bills. ;)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Too much, too little


An acquaintance of ours posted something on her blog about feeling like it was very challenging to find friends as an adult. Particularly in light of some of her less mainstream types of recreational activities, relationship style, and a more extreme profession. I wish she lived closer to us, as I've always found her very fun to be around, and have the same sorts of issues finding friends that aren't scared off by who and what I am in life.

You see, I'm too into guys to be comfortable to lesbians, too into women to be comfortable to straight folks, too kinky for the vanilla types, too dominant, or too submissive for either of those crowds in the BDSM scene. I'm too domestic and sober to hang with the party crowd, too adventurous to be contented acting like a suburban house Frau. I'm too poly committed, or too much into recreational sex, for most of the poly crowd, and WAY too poly for the traditionally mono types.

So where's the happy place? The few, the proud, the brave, the people I call friend in life are those that embrace me, allow me to talk about my life without censorship, who will say if they disagree, but not judge me for making a different decision than they would. My closest friends are my partners. I know people say that all the time: "We're each other's best friend.", in my case, it's true.

PG and I have been friends my entire adult life. One of the things that we noticed as we opened up our relationship 7 years ago was that a lot of topics and ideas that had previously been on an imaginary list in our heads as "things we can't talk about" became very important to discuss. Once the expectation that we'd be the one and only and fulfill each other's every need was gone, then we could talk more deeply than ever about substantive ideas, needs and wants.

When S and I started dating, he jumped into this whole communication thing with a vengeance! Of course, since he and I both enjoy the sound of our own voices, this lead to a lot of really great conversations, deepening the existing lower level friendship in a huge way.

Now, all my closest friends live with me. This is a beautiful gift that I am enjoying deeply! On the flip side, I think it is still important for me to have an outside person that I feel close with on a friendship level as well. There are a few people that are close to that role in my life, but not to the degree that I would like. As a child, my family moved often, preventing me from learning the skill of having long-term meaningful friendships. It's something that I think I kind of stink at, frankly.

That's going to be my personal goal for the next year, to develop a strong friendship outside of my household. Preferably one that thinks that too much or too little is just right.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Patterns and ruts

Ruminations from PolyFulcrum:

In any process that is repeated, there is a high probability that a pattern will emerge over time. One of the aspects of poly that I particularly appreciate and dread at the same time is the attention that one must give to assuring that patterns aren't becoming ruts.

With relationships of a certain "vintage" there are typically going to be some default settings. What are your "normal" ways of interacting, dividing responsibilities, and giving to each other? This can be a great thing! It provides a degree of predictability in emotional and domestic landscaping.

On the other hand, as situations and people grow and change, patterns can hamper that growth process when you're running off of old settings in new situations, what I think of as being in a rut. It takes focus and energy to break out of a rut and establish a new pattern that fits the changed scene.

With poly, there are so many changes to the landscape that staying on top of your patterns to prevent rut formation becomes pretty critical. It can be as drastic a contrast as pre and post baby household types of things, or someone going from an on the road job to a local position. Those are the easy ones to spot. There's been a big change, so patterns must shift to accommodate that change.

When the changes are more subtle, it becomes harder to recognize a pattern that has become a rut until someone feels that lack of balance in the system. How do you get on top of those less obvious shifts before there has been a pain-threshold reached?

Check-ins are a good place to start. That's something I try to do on a regular basis with all my direct connections. This helps to establish smaller, less traumatic shifts in patterns before a huge amount of energy is required to do so. More tricky can be indirect connections, like metamours.

When you don't have an extremely open dialogue with someone, calling them up to ask if they have any issues, or letting them know there is something you want to work on, can be really out of the blue. No one likes getting "The Talk", so is there a good system that any one's come up with to keep even the more loosely connected people in the loop and open to sharing their challenges? Let's hear what tools you've found useful in preventing poly relationship ruts!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The new gay, part deux!

Polyfulcrum engages in the discussion:

I've been out for a couple days, due to loss of connectivity surrounding one of our poly puppies chewing my power cord. Returning, I see this great discussion going on in the comment section between Anita Wagner and S1M0N. Now, there are a great many things that S and I agree on, but on the issue of being able to work towards recognition of poly as a valid lifestyle choice, I agree with Ms. Wagner.

There have been too many stories about poly folk loosing custody of children, having trouble with employers, not being able to find lodging easily, to be apathetic or happy in my closet. Having minor children in the house, and being self-employed with most of my major referral sources being LDS (Mormon), I have stayed in the closet in a work capacity generally, although my clients, and my daughter's teacher, know that I live with these two men and help raise a child that isn't my own by any standard definition. People that are in our life on a voluntary basis, daycare, friends and some family, we're all out to across the board. That hasn't been easy. We've lost friends over it, endured family rejections, but generally, people around here are a bit more live and let live. I'm much happier not having to censor myself when I am around my friends and family, even with the tough bits.

PG and I have already talked about taking a more visible role in the local poly community, with the main detracting concerns being the minor children in the household ,and loss of business opportunities, but there will come a point further down the road where that will likely be part of our landscape.

I have a great deal of admiration for what the gay community has accomplished. It is a success that the poly community is likely to be able to model. It's like when you are raising multiple children, the first one has the toughest time, most restrictions, tightest controls. They do the work to break in the parents and the next kid down the line has an easier time of it generally. Much in that same way, the gay community, and other alternative communities, have worn down the public to make it that much easier for us to slide in and present as just another option.

I look forward to the day when I can say I'm polyamorous and not need to make a big explanation, because it's part of the lexicon of society. Closets should be a tool, but they shouldn't be a requirement for all polyamorous persons, S1M0N. Maybe we can get you down to a wardrobe in a few years. ;)