OK, so I give up — I just can't write a short blog to save my life! Sorry guys, but I've learned I just can't do it! I went into writing this thinking I could make it short, and after writing this blog I am now coming back up to the top to say I just can't do it. Hehe. As I sat down tonight to write my blog — finally — I realized that I really don't know where to start. I have so much to talk about. First, I have to say that was a hell of a long potty break! Ha! They made us wait a whole week to see what would happen between Ryan and I. Wow, we must have been really exciting. The funniest part was that all of us women said to one another that it was one of the best times we had together. So I think it was disappointing to all of us that the footage came across the way it did. Vicki even told me that night that I was cracking her up and that I was fun, but all you saw was her giving me a weird facial expression. Vicki and I had an entire conversation for about 40 minutes over at Tamra's bar about some important topics as well, but none of that was shown. Tamra's house was beautiful and very well put together! I texted her the day of the party to see if there was anything I could do to help with the set up because I knew she was worried about it being perfect — which it was! Chef Brain cooked a beautiful meal and he put so much time into the preparation. It really was a fun night and we were all a lot more tolerant and forgiving of one another, so that made the party even more fun.
After watching the footage on TV, I think it is too bad that they had to taint that night so badly. They focused so much on Ryan and me, when in reality that was not at all what was fun or even interesting about that night. (The food, the surroundings, the company, the conversation, and the toasts we all made were far more interesting). I had such mixed emotions about the footage at Tamra's party that I think I needed a good week to just process them. It was a roller coaster ride of people calling, texting, and e-mailing with advice or words of frustration because of what went on in that episode. I understood completely because I found it hard to watch myself. I mean I didn't remember a lot about that night, but all the girls kept telling me how funny I was and what a hoot it was to have me making such funny gestures and imitations. So when we saw the footage I think we all were surprised at our actions. I was utterly embarrassed, Tamra was taken back by what she said (when we text each other), and it was just a little disappointing.
The worst part is I actually started to believe that what I was watching was the truth and I started to believe all the things people were telling me really happened that night. It got inside my head and I became angry and mad about what went on that night. The worst part is we have to relive what we have already been through all over again. I mean this was last summer for goodness sakes and now we are seeing it for the first time and getting mad and hurt by what others are saying or doing, even when we have worked out our differences long since then. That emotional roller coaster ride is not fun to go through over and over again as the series continues.
Let me first start by saying that I was totally embarrassed by my behavior. I'm not going to lie — at times I was laughing out loud at myself, but ultimately I sat with a pillow over my head. Unfortunately due to too much alcohol I do not remember a lot from that night, so watching yourself for the first time knowing the entire nation is seeing the same thing is a little, OK, a LOT embarrassing.
I do not condone the way I was acting with Ryan at all! I was engaged and it was not appropriate, whether or not he started it. I engaged in it and it was not good! My problem is that I don't know how to be mean to people who I believe are being kind to me. This is part of the reason I think I have become known as a flirt. I feel so horrible whenever a guy comes up and makes a gesture to let me know he thinks I'm cute or whatever, and I tell him to get away or say something rude to make him walk away. I've come to the conclusion that I am just too nice. I don't like to hurt anyone's feelings, so knowing me I probably was feeling the same way with Ryan. He is young and it was cute that he was flirting with me, but ultimately I didn't want to embarrass him, or his mom for that matter, by saying, "Hey, this is creepy, get away from me." Know what I mean? Most of you probably don't understand this, but I wish I was able to be straight with people about certain things, even if it meant being rude, but I don't think I have it in me to be that way towards people I believe are being nice to me.
I'm not going to lie, and Tamra and I talked about this already, but when I saw what Tamra was saying that night I was very, very taken back and I could hardly believe what I saw and heard. While watching the footage I thought to myself, 'How could someone do that to one of their guests?' I felt like a total schmuck for a week, because I had no idea that had been said that night. I was with people I considered friends, enjoying my time and trying to get away from the horrible feelings I was dealing with in regards to Jeff, who had recently told me that he had lost his will to live. Even Tamra mentioned at the dinner, "Let her drink, she is in the hospital all the time, she needs to relax a little." I had asked production if my mom could go with me to that dinner party and they said they only wanted cast members and significant others there that night. I remember thinking it was a little hard to go to those kinds of parties by myself (I wish I had Jeff with me). So that is why I wanted someone to go with me like my mom. Boy, do I wish my mom came with me now! At least she could have been my clear head thinking for me. I was feeling extremely down and vulnerable and should have thought more clearly about my alcohol intake. I guess I just got caught up in the moment of laughing, being silly and having fun — which we all certainly did!
I remember having such a great time with everyone and especially Tamra that night, so that was why I was so surprised to hear all the things that were said. But I think editing can make things look a lot worse then they were, because she and I immediately talked after we saw the episode and she apologized for what she said. She said she didn't even remember saying it herself. I received a lot of e-mails saying that I am naive to trust and forgive Tamra for her actions, and I appreciate the concern. But like I have said many times in the past, what good does it do me to hold a grudge? It only makes me a negative person who lacks a happy spirit because I become guarded and cynical towards everyone if I let one person affect me. So, do I like what I saw? No. Do I think that it was hurtful and wrong? Of course, but I choose to get past it and move on, especially because Tamra apologized.
I have to say that Bravo certainly knows how to keep you coming back for more with a cliffhanger! They say that reality TV is the modern day TV soap opera, and by golly gee they fit us right into that category by having a "To Be Continued..." episode! Dun dun dunnn! For a week I was stuck in that damn bathroom! I finally came out and thank God made the right decision despite the high level of alcohol! I knew I would pull through! Hehe. Jeff would have watched the episode with me just shaking his head going, "Gretchen, what did you get yourself into this time?" I can hear him telling me it now. How much I miss him. Even when I royally screwed something up, he would show me unconditional love and support and always walk me through how to get out of the hole I dug for myself!
I loved the next episode and how it went right into Tamra's pool party. I agree with Tamra — seriously, are we friends or not? I'm just so confused and I was living it. You see I never saw or heard any of what our personal interviews were about. So people keep asking me why I was still hanging out with Tamra, and I have to ask myself the same question now after watching how much she talks about me! Hehe. I always liked Tamra and thought she was a fun girl with a lot of spunk. I thought we got along the best, so I hung with her the most. I really do have a good time with her. Meanwhile there was a lot going on behind the scenes I didn't know about. So the viewers are just as confused as I am watching the show. I guess this is the part in the series where they start to show us getting along and become friends AGAIN? A lot of the footage is out of context and doesn't follow the actual timeline. I didn't have my burlesque party until way at the end of shooting, but it was one of the first episodes. So I am even starting to get confused about whether Tamra and I liked each other or not...hehe! I know she gets exactly what I am saying right now.
I know most of you think I am nutso for getting lifejackets for my dogs, but I will tell you honestly why I got them. I watch the History Channel a lot and it was talking about past tsunamis and the chances of them hitting certain coasts. Well the coast of California is one of those, and God forbid a tsunami hits Newport Beach and I have to try to not only save myself from the rushing water, but also keep my dogs afloat as well. I guess I'm just a protective pet owner. Those little ones are like my kids and I would be so upset with myself if I didn't do everything in my power to protect them from everything that they have no chance of doing themselves. They are not good swimmers, so lifejackets are a good way to try to save their lives if it ever came to that. I know I am crazy! Oh well. I would rather be crazy and keep my dogs alive than not crazy.
I had a great time at Tamra's pool party and all the kids were hilarious and tons of fun. I really do enjoy kids a lot -- they make me laugh like crazy and if you haven't noticed yet, I like to laugh. I look forward to the day I have my own. I hope God has that special gift or gifts in store for me as well.
Lunch at the Viceroy unfortunately turned into something ugly when I simply wanted advice from women who I felt had more life experience. I was never asking if I should ask for Jeff's money, I asked if I should consider going back to work full-time. My question led to other questions, which ultimately led to the dramatic scenes in this episode. I stopped working full-time to take care of Jeff and I was wondering what they would do in my situation. I started to realize that I was paying a lot of the bills out of my own savings, due to him being out of it so often.
Now if you understood the difference between his bills and mine, you would understand why I was a little nervous. My savings would diminish quickly if I was paying his bills every month and not bringing in any money. So I was asking the women if they would go back to work to protect their own assets if they were in my situation. I worked so hard to buy my own home, and if I lost Jeff and then had no consistent income coming in, I would be devastated. I could loose my house! I was suddenly facing an extremely hard situation. I never ever once considered going in and asking Jeff if he was leaving me money. I never felt it was right, and I never felt it was my money to ask for. Honestly, even if I married him like he wanted me to do while he was in the hospital, I still wouldn't feel like it was my money. Jeff's kids were the ones who needed to be taken care of. I knew I would be ok, but I had to start thinking about it and considering what I needed to do in order to protect my financial future. I wasn't handed anything by any guy or my parents — I worked for it all on my own.
I write about this because I want every woman out there to take finances into consideration, especially when marriage law does not protect them. I struggled between being by my loved one's bed side daily and knowing what my future held financially if I didn't make sure to still take care of myself. It was one of the more difficult decisions I have had to make. I wouldn't change taking care of Jeff for the world, but I would change taking on the responsibility all on my own. I thought we made the best choice by getting him to the best hospital, "City of Hope." But in reality, I was the only one here in California to take care of him. That is a tall order for any one person. (Now I understand that a lot more, back then I thought I was more than capable) We had one couple that would come in every couple of weeks and stay with him to give me a few hours off (thank God for them), but that was about it for the majority of the time. In hindsight, I needed to be sharing the time with family members, but unfortunately for our situation it was a catch-22. My home and family were in California, and the hospital he chose was in California as well, but Jeff's kids and family were in Michigan. It was a very tough decision for both of us — it was simultaneously confusing and frustrating.
To this day I question so many decisions that were made. I believe it is part of the guilt that one goes through when they lose someone -- they second-guess every decision they ever made because the outcome was not what they wanted. But my mother shared something with me that allowed me to gradually be ok with the situation and myself. She said, "You know honey no matter what you do or what doctor you choose or how much research you do or what hospital or what medicine or chemo or amount of love you give them, no matter what...God is the person who has the final say, not you, not anybody, and if he loses this battle it is because it was his time to go and no matter what you did, that could never be changed." My mom's statement rang so true with me the night Jeff passed away. I begged and cried and asked him to stay here with me, and pleaded with the hospital staff to please do something, but ultimately God had control over it, not me. I decided to share all this with the viewers because I hope people can learn and grow from my experiences just by sharing them.
Hope everyone's 2009 is going great so far! My motto this year is to never be afraid to reach for the stars! xoxo