Living Happily Ever After


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A Signature

“The past is behind, learn from it.” (Thomas S. Monson)

As I’ve mentioned before, after we married my husband and his son moved into our home. To ease his son’s “culture shock,” my husband modified my family and house rules for his son. Which meant four children in the home lived one way and one child in the home lived another way. I don’t know what the experts would say about that but lets just say I wasn’t surprised when it didn’t appear to work. Honestly, I think it was frustrating for all parties involved. For my stepson, and despite the modifications, it still wasn’t his family, his former life, his former home and the way he was used to living, so I don’t think he was happy even with the modifications. Some of the children in the home couldn’t help but notice (and comment) about the differences and some of the younger children hounded me to have the same privileges and rules as the stepson instead of the ones our family had always lived by. With each passing month, it seemed to me like the arrangement wasn’t working very well but there was nothing I could do, I was the powerless new step-parent. And my poor husband simply tried to hold it all together for as long as he could!

Six months later my stepson moved in with his mother. He appeared happy to have a peaceful and quiet life again and to have his wishes repected regarding his living situation. I hoped it would turn out to be a good decision for him and that he would finally be happy. My husband missed his son.

A few months after that, my husband’s daughter was struggling in her life and living situation and it became necessary for her to find a new place to live. When the news reached her mother, she showed up on our porch one night, worried, emotional and panicked…and told my husband she couldn’t take her. Due to the challenges involved, my husband had some reservations about our ability to accommodate the needs of his daughter but we decided to give it a try. However, we had learned a few things from the previous experience; lessons taught to us courtesy of our inexperience and I wasn’t about to repeat them again!

I told my husband that for our situation, a contract (outlining rules, expectations and why things were expected, our parenting philosophy, etc…) was necessary. I wanted everyone involved to know and understand why I do what I do and why I emphasize certain things in the lives of the children I raise in our home. (Things like family time, chores/service to the family, good attitudes, faith/church activity, education/homework/good grades, obedience; I don’t think I insist on totally terrible or unrealistic things!) I was happy to do my part, but I wanted everyone to do their part, as well—including backing me up as a parent in my own home. I may have also said (ok, I totally did say) that unless all parties agreed to it and signed the document, we’d have to re-evaluate the situation and our decision. I feel THAT strongly that parents should be able to parent the children living in their home, regardless of who the children are, and I feel that way for so many reasons (to0 many to detail here.)

Interestingly, my husband consulted a counselor who suggested the very thing I had. The counselor had worked with teenage girls and their mothers just like my husband’s and advised, “Get it in writing and have all of the adults sign it.” I was assigned the task of writing the document, probably because I was the parent who felt very strongly about some things based on our previous experience (aka. I was the parent with the issues and concerns!) I wrote it, gave it to my husband, he reviewed it and added his input, and then I looked at him and said, “Now it’s your job to get it signed.”

Poor guy.

I know Hollywood makes divorce look easy, like it’s blissful and easy to separate, rebuild new lives, create new families and everyone can be one big happy family–the husband, the wife, ex-wives, ex-husbands, stepchildren, half-siblings, in-laws, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and everyone else involved. I know some families who have done that and it works for them. I’m sure the aforementioned situation is true in every situation…but ours. And while we’re only one year into it and I know things change and ease into place over time, at this point, I believe in being polite and kind to everyone but my opinion (and take it with a grain of salt because I’m not a fan of divorce and never have been; my husband says my views of divorce and my ideas about it are “archaic”—right out of the 1970s!) is that there’s usually a reason men and women choose to divorce, preferring to destroy their family unit and put their children and their finances through all that that entails rather than remain married to one another. I believe if you can get along well enough to be one big happy family, spend your holidays together, and be good friends post-divorce, you should probably just work out your issues and remain married in the first place!

My husband had to get the document signed and by that time, I think he had a lot of hope. He had the chance to live with one of his children again and  he desperately wanted to live one of his children again. He had a lot riding on that document. He needed his ex-wife’s signature to make it all possible and he was worried about that last tiny detail of the deal.

A signature.

“A signature always reveals a man’s character – and sometimes even his name.” (Evan Esar)


“I replaced the headlights in my car with strobe lights, so it looks like I’m the only one moving.” (Stephen Wright)

I realized the other day that I’ve moved children in and out of the same bedroom three times in the same year. No wonder it feels like I’m the only one moving, or moving a lot, these days!

First, it was my middle son. Who got moved out so my husband’s son could move in with us. I know the move was hard on my son, especially after losing and moving from the only home and bedroom he’d ever known for almost 10 years, to a new home and bedroom in a new state, and then less than two years later being moved out of his bedroom once again. Compared to how some children would react in his situation, I admire my son for his good attitude and his willingness to sacrifice for someone else and for the good of the family. My husband hoped that a new dad in the house, a dad who would focus on the needs of “the one” (in this case, my son) would compensate for the necessary move. I think that has more than been the case. My son is better and happier than ever, although occasionally he wistfully reminisces about how much he liked that room! And his younger brother, my youngest, is already begging to be the next child to live in that room. It’s a popular room, I guess.

Then we moved my stepson in. The new occupant of the bedroom, almost 13 years old at the time but looking and acting a lot older than that in many ways, went from basically being an only child (his siblings hadn’t lived with him for several years) in a quiet bachelor pad with his dad, this son pretty much the center of his father’s universe, to one of now five children in a busy, loud home that, compared to the way he was raised, was an entirely different world and culture (I’ve said it before, and it’s true: different mothers=different family cultures, different values, different rules, different everything in our case). Poor kid. He lasted six months and went to live with his mother who had moved a few blocks away from us. (But that is another blog post in itself that will never be written! Lol. Lets just say while it is convenient for the child, I’m a woman who prefers boundaries and would never have chosen, had I had any input in the matter, to move that close to a former spouse or to have an ex-wife move that close to me. Just another of those remarriage “moments” my husband and I shake our heads and laugh about!)

The room was in limbo for a few months and then, lo and behold, my husband’s daughter was struggling where she was and needed a place to live. That bedroom of rotating occupants was available and just the thing. I gathered the last of the stepson’s personal items, moved them out, and got the room ready for his sister to move in. But that isn’t all I did.

I had learned a few things in that first year of marriage, remarriage, “blending” families, stepchildren, etc… Things were going to be different this time around. Before another child moved in, there was going to be an agreement made between the parents. ALL of the parents. And it was going to include, for the first time, the mother of the home the child would be living in. The stepmother. (Boo! Hiss!) Little wicked, little evil, little mean and nasty old me.

“Her evil stepmother is trying to get her married off to the Prince of West Muffin Land. Cinder is very unhappy, but according to the tale, her Fairy Godmother arrives to save the day.” (Ed Balthazar)

Stay tuned.

Happy Valentine’s Day

“There is no feeling more comforting and consoling than knowing you are right next to the one you love.” (Anonymous)

If you’re counting (like apparently I am) last month was my third Valentine’s Day with my husband as well as the month of our first wedding anniversary. I had to laugh at how far we’ve come since our first Valentine’s Day together: February 14, 2010.

That was the year my co-workers (my best friends in Utah who helped see me through some very difficult adjustments; good, handsome, sharp married men with wisdom beyond their years as well as beautiful families) caught me on my way out the door as I was heading home for a date that night to ask, “Andrea, what’s the story with Mike? MANY others have come and gone while he has quietly hung in there, what’s up with that?” So I spent the next several minutes explaining nothing was going on, we were just friends—that he was just a very nice older man ( he’d had long hair and beard–a white beard–due to a theater role he was doing when I met him; I had never been a fan of facial hair, so I didn’t really look beyond that!) who felt bad for me, a divorced single mother of four children with no money who didn’t know anyone in her new home in Utah and that he was simply providing social experiences for me. My friends disagreed. They told me Mike was a man and men don’t do things like that; men always have a plan. I argued against that and their male logic…only to arrive home that night to a beautiful bouquet of roses that had been delivered to me with wishes for a Happy Valentine’s Day—from Mike. (That was also the night he warned me things were about to change in our relationship. Needless to say, they did!)

2011. That was the year we had been engaged for 9 months. We had a simple but fun evening together, however our big anticipation was our pending wedding (which ended up taking place, sort of unexpectedly, less than two weeks later.) Our Valentine’s celebration consisted of going to a late dinner by ourselves and then he surprised me with the first accessory item he ever purchased for me: a black, fringed, handbag. He got the black part right (I have always loved black), and because he’d seen me with a handbag that had fringed tassels probably assumed I was into fringe on purses. He was partly right, I do appreciate fringed tassels—on Gucci bags. It was just the long, hairy, fringy aspect of the entire purse he gave me that I wasn’t so sure about. He told me the story of the bag purchase, he told me I could return it for a different one, I thanked him for his thoughtfulness but at that stage of our relationship, I didn’t dare return it. So I  tried to make the bag work with my style and that effort lasted one week. Because everywhere I went, those who loved and cared about me offered to take care of that purse for me! I retired the handbag to my closet where it awaits just the perfect occasion…I’m thinking something along the lines of Halloween or a costume party. (Hint: When you’re handbag shopping for your fiancee, all of your children tell you a certain purse is “ugly” and only the totally unique, eclectically-styled and funky girl that can get away with anything and make it look cute disagrees, it may be best to make that a situation where the majority rules!)

2012. Our first Valentine’s Day married! My husband made reservations for us to eat at The Grill at Sundance resort (the restaurant we ate at the night we got engaged.) With 8 kids between us and limited funds, I assumed dinner would be our entire celebration. However unexpectedly, at work, I heard a voice behind me say, “Happy Valentine’s Day, Andrea!” and I turned around to find the receptionist at my company, beaming, as she excitedly handed me a beautiful bouquet of roses that had been delivered. Then a teddy bear arrived. Then chocolates arrived. Then my husband surprised me by coming home from work “early” (closer to 5 p.m. instead of his usual closer-to-6 p.m.) so we got to spend extra time together—my favorite part of the day—but the gifts kept coming, too. My husband totally outdid himself making me feel loved and special all day. It was my best Valentine’s Day ever!

I went to sleep that night later than usual, exhausted from working all day and staying out late that night on a date with my husband, but feeling so happy, content and loved in my unexpected life. The last thought I remember having as I drifted off to sleep that night was gratitude for a husband who put so much thought and effort into making me feel special and loved, not just every day but also on Valentine’s Day. Before I fell asleep I managed to whisper, “Thanks for everything you did for me today,” and the last thing I remember hearing, as I drifted off, was my husband’s quiet reply, “You’re welcome. Thank you for being my valentine.”

Sigh. Love.

“Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs.” (William Shakespeare)


I just never saw it coming when I was thrust into my unexpected life. How grateful I am that I hung on through the clouds, the storm and the utter devastation of my world until the sun came out again.

Hang in there!

The Real Truth

“Never go to bed mad.  Stay up and fight.” (Phyllis Diller, Phyllis Diller’s Housekeeping Hints, 1966)

In my mid-20s, I decided to learn to play the harp. I’d already learned to play the violin, piano and guitar during my childhood so I thought the harp would be a piece of cake. I had some extra time on my hands (it was before I became a mother) so I rented a harp, found a teacher and began lessons. Sadly, I only lasted one or two months before I returned the harp and abandoned my desire. I found two things difficult about that quest: 1) that my teacher treated me like a child, marching me to a trash can to deposit my chewing gum prior to the lessons, and 2) it was REALLY hard to be so inept at something as “old” as I was and to discipline myself to start at the beginning of learning something new. (Call me lazy.)

Enter remarriage. Sometimes it reminds me of harp lessons. It can be an adjustment to learn so many new things this “old!” (Mid-40s for me; my husband is 50.) I’m struck by this thought occasionally, particularly when I learn something new about marriage or relationships. I confess I went into marriage thinking I’d been happily married for 20 years, that I knew how to “do” marriage and was pretty decent at it. I must not have anticipated learning new things with my second marriage, I was just looking forward to marrying the man I loved and building a life with him.

Instead, I’ve been shocked at how much I have learned in one short year. I admit not every lesson has been welcome or easy, particularly my biggest one: that participants in strong relationships and happy marriages don’t always see eye to eye or have the same opinion…and that’s ok; it’s ok to agree to disagree on an issue; a difference of opinion doesn’t always mean it’s a fight; conflict (and the resolution of conflict) is acceptable, and even normal, in marriage; and several other realizations along those same lines. I can’t believe I was married for 20 years and never got that.

I saw my friends, family members and other people in healthy relationships and good marriages experience and resolve conflict over and over again. But for some reason, it never gave me pause to wonder why I wasn’t dealing with the same things. The man I was married to would occasionally remark, “Isn’t it great that we don’t have those problems like other couples?” and act like our marriage was better, our relationship was stronger, or that we were more compatible than other couples because of that.

But on this side of it, I see he was WRONG about that and many other things, including his choices to lie, steal, commit fraud and perpetrate a Ponzi scheme for 16 years. I see that his crimes and his lies affected not just his professional life and the lives of his investors, but like an octopus, its nasty and dangerous tentacles infiltrated and wrapped themselves around every aspect of his life, mine and our family, including my marriage as well. That was eye opening. And not very pleasant to discover.

And I never realized it until I remarried, an honest man this time.

During our first year of marriage, we worked through a few differences of opinion. If you asked my husband about them, that’s all that he’d say they were. But each time one arose, I panicked. A part of me felt it had to mean something bad to even experience a difference of opinion. I was so afraid to face conflict, I’d keep quiet and let it fester inside me until I couldn’t take it any more–or until my husband would ask me what was wrong–and then it would finally unleash. And always, not only did I fear conflict thinking it would be the beginning of the end of my new marriage and our relationship, it was always accompanied by that darn throwing up reaction I’ve experienced since beginning my unexpected life.

It shocked me to realize my first marriage didn’t have a lot of differences of opinion I’m sure, not because our marriage was better than any other marriage and not because we were more compatible than other couples, but because one of us wasn’t being honest. After all, how can you have any conflict when one partner is probably just saying what they think the other one wants to hear to keep peace in the marriage and the home? (He had to have done that, I don’t believe you can run a Ponzi scheme AND deal with conflict outside of that, a Ponzi scheme has to be way too much work on its own. Sadly, I now suspect many aspects of my then-marriage were perhaps not as “real” as normal marriages; were not as “perfect” as I thought.)

But I never saw that. I never knew it. I guess the Ponzi scheme wasn’t the only thing I missed during my first marriage.

It has been somewhat difficult to master second marriage moment #31. But I’d say it’s about time I learned it, wouldn’t you? My thanks to my honest, patient and loving husband who has helped me come to the realizations I have finally come to, about differences of opinion in marriage; and who helps me dare to trust a man and a husband time and again, in every way possible.

So here’s the real truth about marriage that everyone but me has probably always known and lived, my knowledge acquired courtesy of my remarriage: conflict IS ok. My husband tells me differences of opinion are healthy and I now believe him. It’s normal for two people, who have lived two different lives and come from two different worlds, to have a few different ideas about things. The issues aren’t that important, it’s the hanging in there and working through them together that is. After all, ”A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” (Ruth Bell Graham)

Love and…Kittens

“There would be no passion in this world if we never had to fight for what we love.” (Susie Switzer)

Before remarrying, my husband and I attended premarital counseling. I’ve documented some of the issues and challenges the premarital counselor warned us remarriage would present and that the counselor was right! But how grateful I am to be married to a man who, with each and every challenge each and every time, grabs my hand, looks into my eyes, tells me he’s “in it for the long haul,” quickly and humbly seeks to find a solution we both can live with, and then always adds how much easier our life and marriage is than other remarriages he knows and how much better everything is than he expected! (You’ve got to love his optimism among every other wonderful thing about him.)

So although he says we’ve never had a fight and that he has never (yet—haha!) been truly mad at me, we have had a few “differences of opinion” (that’s what my husband calls them) during the course of our dating, engagement and marriage. Second marriage moment #30? The realization that life, and marriage, is full of challenges to overcome—but there is always a way around or through each one. You’ve just got to be willing to take that first step toward conquering it and don’t stop until you’ve beat it.

And just as there seems to be no shortage of things to conquer in life AND marriage, ”No matter how much cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens.” (Abraham Lincoln) Never give up.


“I married the first man I ever kissed.  When I tell this to my children they just about throw up.” (Barbara Bush)

I didn’t quite do what Barbara Bush did, but that doesn’t mean my kids aren’t feeling like hers did! Yes, with a newlywed mother, I’ve seen for myself how lovesick teenagers can be—make that how disgusted by aspects of love teens are bound to feel. And they don’t hold it in. They share it with me occasionally, even during this month of love (also the month of my first wedding anniversary.)

Case in point: The other day I was telling my son a story in an attempt to entertain him. Part of the story involved my imitation of some noises, unattractive sounds meant to make him laugh. I went out on a limb for the sake of entertainment and offered my finest attempt at said noises and was crushed when he failed to respond. As he was sitting in another room and I couldn’t see him, I called out, “Hey! Didn’t you hear that? You didn’t even react!”

“Oh, I heard you,” he replied. “I just thought you were kissing Mike again.”

Another child chimed in, “Watch out! Romance in the kitchen!”

My daughter just rolled her eyes and coincidentally, got up and left the room.

It was at that moment that I came to this realization: My poor children! If they haven’t been scarred by the trauma they endured when their dad confessed to running a Ponzi scheme and went to prison, I guess the behavior of their newlywed mother may be their undoing.

I’ll have to hope they learn this lesson: ”I found I could be happy and throw up at the same time.” (Pamela Anderson)


The Blunders I Make

“I’m more financially successful, but it just means the shopping blunders I make are bigger now.” (Cathy Guisewite)

I’m not more, or even successful at all, financially, now—in my unexpected life.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not capable of a shopping blunder on the rare occasions I venture into the retail arena, I proved that on my husband’s 50th birthday cruise. You can count the number of times since 2009 I’ve “gone shopping” on less than 10 fingers. (Why shop, or even “look” or window shop, why tempt yourself to spend money you don’t have, when you have no money?)

It happened after the candy store incident. (The moment in a store my husband accidentally called me by his ex-wife’s name. Poor guy! He’s only done that once but he’ll probably never live it down, especially since I’ve immortalized it in this blog:)

We were strolling along the sidewalk of a quaint eastern town when I glanced in a window of a store that looked like it sold all kinds of fun, unique, interesting, vintage, boutique-style items. I announced to the group, “I’m going in here. Does anyone want to come?” Everyone kept walking so I told my husband to tell the group to go ahead, I’d catch up, I just wanted to look in the store for a minute, and I headed inside.

To my surprise, my husband followed me. I thought, “Ah, new love! I’ve forgotten that the newlywed phase of marriage is so nice! How wonderful it is that my husband will follow me into a store simply for the sake of spending time with me. How nice of him. How patient.”

A few moments later, his brother joined us. I thought, “Wow. What nice men in this family—to follow their wife, or their sister-in-law, into a store so they won’t be alone. How chivalrous.”

I started to look around at the merchandise for sale and then suddenly it hit me. Just WHAT kind of store had I ventured into? Lets just say the items for sale were…inappropriate. Of a…suggestive nature. And the theme underlying everything appeared to be nudity and…private parts. OOPS.

“Oh my goodness!” I exclaimed. “What kind of store is this? This is NOT what I thought I was going to find in here!”

My husband laughed. “I wondered what you were doing shopping in a place like this,” he said. His brother agreed. “Yes, I didn’t expect you to shop in a place like this, but I was even more surprised that you announced to everyone where you were heading, so I had to come and see this for myself.”

Leave it to me to unknowingly stumble upon a store like that and to unwittingly go inside to shop. Only I would do something like that—and announce it to my mother-in-law, her sister, friends and other relatives, some of whom I was meeting for the first time! I quickly made my exit and caught up to the group. There were many an eyebrow raised in my direction, lets put it that way!

I’d finish this tale by saying, “Andrea Merriman does it again.” Only it’s Andrea Ramsey now. But apparently, I’m still blundering. You know what they say: ”A blunder at the right moment is better than cleverness at the wrong time.” (Carolyn Wells)

I guess.

Second Marriage Moment #29

“I never made a mistake in grammar but one in my life and as soon as I done it I seen it.” (Carl Sandburg)

Lest I give the impression karaoke was the sole highlight of our cruise, there are a few other moments, in the interest of remarriage, worth mentioning.

The first took place in a candy store. My husband and our group were shopping and he called to me to look at something. Or at least he meant to. What actually came out of his mouth was…his ex-wife’s name!

I don’t know how every remarriage is, but I confess, it’s something I’d wondered about happening or worried might happen at some point, on either side, given we’d both been married for 20 years. Poor guy! Although he occasionally calls his children by the wrong names, he had made it through all 6 months of our dating, the almost 10 months of our engagement and the entire 7 1/2 months of our marriage without a slip.

And then he did it.

And to be honest, I was just glad it was him and not me that made a slip like that.

As soon as he said it, I saw him freeze, as did the rest of our group around him. I didn’t let him off the hook completely, though. I made a joke about it and then I continued on with what I was doing. My husband came right over to me and apologized, “I am SO sorry! I did not mean to do that, I can’t believe I just did that…” I told him not to worry about it, and I meant it.

As we left the store, he apologized for the mistake again. (He REALLY felt bad!) I told him, again, not to worry about it. I really wasn’t mad. I figure that although I don’t want it become a habit, I’m the woman who got him so that makes me pretty lucky. So lucky, in fact, I can overlook a one-time slip of the tongue. Especially when I’ve had my own moment of “brain freeze,” as well. (But that’s another blog post for another day.)

After all,  ”It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.” (W.C. Fields)

These days, it’s Mrs. Ramsey. And I couldn’t be happier.

Unexpected “Brotherhood”

A few moments after our meeting, my husband’s old friend (now my new friend) caught me alone and quietly said, “I’m sure you could tell from my reaction that I know who you are.”

Yes, I’d noticed.

He then went on to express his sympathy for all that I had been through. He told me the day he’d heard about my former husband’s Ponzi scheme, his heart had broken for me and my children and that he knew many people who experienced those same feelings of sorrow on our behalf. He took the time to ask about me, how my children are doing and couldn’t have been nicer. Unexpectedly, in the course of that conversation, something in me began to change.

I realized I wasn’t worried, or ashamed, of anything I’ve lived through any more. I don’t think I’ll be hesitant to meet anyone ever again, regardless of the name they associate with me.

A few minutes later, his wife approached and said something so unexpected it changed my world. She, also, was very nice and told me we had something in common. For the life of me, I had no idea what that could possibly be! Then SHE dropped a bomb, sharing something very unexpected that we had in common and I was absolutely stunned! I was caught so off-guard all I could think to do was joke, “WHERE have you been? WHERE were you two years ago? I SO could have used a friend like you in 2009!”

Better late than never, I guess. And for some reason, meeting a good woman who lived through something similar to me, who shared her experience with me however briefly, helped the last few scales of shame (or whatever it is I’ve felt but didn’t realize I was still carrying with me) fall from my eyes. It’s totally gone. I don’t think I’ll want to hide my head, ever again, to have anyone know I’m the former Andrea Merriman.

I don’t think I’ll be cringing any longer when my husband introduces me to people; I won’t be afraid of what they’ll think of me—or him, for choosing to marry someone with past experiences like mine.

After all, “…let us never forget that mankind constitutes one great brotherhood; all born to encounter suffering and sorrow, and therefore bound to sympathize with each other.” (Albert Pike)

And to think: if it weren’t for karaoke, I wouldn’t have met my new friends, my new “brotherhood,” born of adversity and facilitated by empathy. Additional proof that life is unexpected and…amazing. Every encounter an opportunity to bless the life of another.


“I knew what my job was; it was to go out and meet the people and love them.” (Princess Diana)

I finished my Madonna representation and was anxious to change out of the costume and hide. But I had one more hurdle to clear. The cast had to go to the ship’s main lobby, greet family, friends, “fans,” and pose for a group photo.

I wanted to do all of the above almost as much as I’d wanted to sing a solo of “Like A Virgin” in front of hundreds of people and wear the costume I’d been provided with—but I did it anyway, comforting myself that at least I wouldn’t know anyone and hopefully, that what happened on a Carnival cruise ship stayed on a Carnival cruise ship!

After the group photo, a man approached. Turns out, he’d been an old friend of my husband’s parents and their family in Winslow, Arizona, and hadn’t seen my husband in approximately 30 years! Their reunion was joyful. As I watched and listened to the conversation, I realized the man had also been a leader in the L.D.S. church when my husband was called on his mission to Japan—and there I stood dressed like Madonna! I took that as my cue to leave, and quick!

I turned to make my escape just as my husband said, “And let me introduce you to my wife!” I wanted to die, but instead, got to make a new acquaintance while wearing a black bustier. Not exactly what I’d expected. I sort of felt like a deer caught in headlights. But it got much, much worse when my new acquaintance revealed he now lives in the Denver-metro area. My husband replied, “Oh! My wife is from Denver!” The man turned to me and asked, “Really? What was your name?”

Have you ever seen television shows where everything comes to a screeching halt and all of the characters “freeze?” That’s how I feel, still, when people ask the question, “What’s your name?” I know, instantly, they’re going to recognize my name and it’s 2009, to some degree, all over again. (To those who think I can’t fully escape my past, try as I might…sometimes it feels like you’re right!) I felt like I stood there, mouth open, as my mind raced to solve the problem of how to answer that question but before I could give a response that did not include the name “Merriman,” my husband introduced me: Andrea Merriman. (He is such a nonjudgmental, kind man, but as much as he thinks he understands what I lived through as the wife of a Ponzi schemer clueless about her husband’s crimes until their 2009 revelation, I just don’t think he gets it; and it’s moments like that that reinforce that suspicion in me.)

It was the man’s turn to look like a deer caught in headlights. I’d known he would. I’d just been hoping to avoid it. A part of me wanted to die, inside. The good news, is that those moments are becoming fewer and further between. The bad news is that they still happen. The conversation resumed and I tried to remove myself from it as unobtrusively as possible.

I’d outdone myself that evening: inappropriate clothing, inappropriate lyrics, a forgettable solo in front of hundreds of strangers…courtesy of Andrea Merriman!

“When a relationship dies, do we ever really give up the ghost or are we forever haunted by the spirits of relationships past?” (Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw, “Sex In The City”)