Yep. Nothing.

In less than a half hour I can pack up and head for home — through blowing snow.

God help me, winter is never going to end. At least the radio isn’t warning drivers to stay off the roads. It just looks scary out there.

It’s been a dead day in the office. I’ve started digging through old records, to re-home them. My regular customer, who always comes in at the end of the day and talks my ear off till well past quitting time, is home with covid today after visiting his anti-vax cousin. So much, my friend, for taking all the precautions smart people do. At least I’ll get out of here on time for a change.

The day started with a headache so I wasn’t much in the mood for accomplishing anything. I did the bare minimum.

I’m not sure why I’m here, posting. Maybe it’s simply because I can. It’s not as if there’s anything to tell. The usual bullshit Chez Nous, and I’m still there, and sick of hearing myself talk about it.

Really I’m just killing time till 5 to four, when I’ll lock up and leave.

Will my Bitching and Whining and Wondering Why ever end?

So at home I’m reading, as I do —  picking it up from time to time to dip into it – Eckhart Tolle’s book A New Earth. I’ve already read it cover to cover but it seems each time I read a bit of it, I understand more and better.

He says the outer world is Form (material things and events on the physical level), and the inner world is Being, or God.

He says when someone or something upsets you, don’t respond. “Don’t mind what happens.” It’s already happened; that is irrefutable and it’s pointless to resist what has already happened. But what do you do?

Feel how you feel. Take the time to feel how you feel. Let yourself feel how you feel, but don’t let your ego get caught up in defending yourself, expressing your opinion, etc. Occasionally you have to speak up or do something, yes – actions may be called for — but first, he says, go within to the heart of yourself. Then your words or actions will come from Presence, be more effective, and so on.

So I go about my days reminding myself many times to “don’t mind what happens.’

Yesterday morning I’m busy in the kitchen making bread, washing the dishes, cleaning up after myself. Himself is at the kitchen table with his tablet. Making conversation, when I carry the heavy bowl full of dough over to another counter to let it rise, I say to him, “How much do you think this weighs?”

And he yells, something like “Shut the fuck up! I’m trying to get this done!” (and so on)

Now this is the first I’ve heard that he’s having trouble right now, doing something that frustrates him, but even so, yelling at me this way is – plain and simple – verbal abuse. He could have asked me politely, in the first place, not to speak to him while he worked at something. How was I to know? Does he think every moment of my attention revolves around him, or should? But again, even so, there is no way he should speak to me like that – even if he has asked me not to interrupt him and I’ve forgotten, which wasn’t the case.

I manage not to respond in kind. I know there is no point. At the moment he cannot admit he’s out of line, and telling him to back off, as I’ve done oh so many times in the past, only escalates his self-righteous anger. He becomes more abusive, begins mocking, makes everything worse by saying things he can never take back, never tries to take back, and never apologizes for.

Instead, although I sure as hell DO mind what has just happened, and am sick and fucking tired of shit like this happening unexpectedly and out of the blue every time something isn’t immediately going his way, this time I say nothing. I finish what I’m doing and leave the room. I have nothing to say to him and avoid him for the rest of the day. Why wouldn’t I? Why would I want to be around someone who thinks it’s fine to scream at me, and then acts like nothing happened, it’s just another day? I go to bed and read early last night instead of sitting in the living room watching TV with him. I don’t kiss him or say goodnight before turning off the light and going to sleep.

 I pay attention to how I feel – hurt by unfair treatment, angry at the disrespect of it and, as always, shocked that he talks to me like that and I still live with him. WHAT THE FUCK IS THE MATTER WITH MY HEAD.

So the question is – and the answer seemed so plain yesterday, when his behaviour was so ridiculous, that I do not want to live with someone who keeps on treating me this way. Does it matter that it’s once a month or once a week or once every three days? Not really. Once a year is more than enough. I know people get crabby with family members and take out their irritations on each other, and it takes a self-aware and self-disciplined person to know better than to do it. Himself is not that person and never will be.

And fine, I don’t need him to know he’s done wrong. It’s beyond that. Abusers know they’ve done wrong. Sometimes, though Himself hasn’t, they apologize, they beg and plead and swear they’ll never do it again and they pledge their undying love. Sometimes. But that changes nothing. It just keeps you living in hope. And dread, because you never know when it’s going to happen again.

What I’m asking myself is, how do I “don’t mind what happens” when I do mind, and I mind bigtime, and I’ve minded for a long time, and I’ve asked my higher self and the universe for guidance time and time again, and yet no path out ever appears, and nothing I think of seems to be a good idea when it comes to other places to live. I look at real estate and rentals in towns in this vicinity, but never see anything that makes me want to live there; the thought of neighbours so close is horrible, as I love (and need! I think I actually need it) my space so much I feel claustrophobic just considering it. I guess I have to think of these imperfect locations as stepping-stones to getting me out of this situation with Himself. They don’t have to be permanent. Still, I want a good, positive step to be obvious, and it never is. I guess I have to be willing to take a rickety step, not wait for the perfect one.

And there seems to be no point in talking to Himself about this. We’ve talked before. He still doesn’t control himself, take responsibility for his feelings, stop taking his frustrations out on others. Jesus, just replacing a screw in a piece of furniture can be guaranteed to elicit cursing and bitching as if the end of the world is nigh. Heaven help me if I ask him to help me do anything at all around the house because he just can’t handle it with grace or maturity.

I need to be gone. Plain and simple. Gone.

Do I go? Nope. I like my home, and he’s still in it.

I don’t know what to do.

Tolle says if I learn to practise “don’t mind what happens,” an “uncompromising surrender to the present moment,” a different kind of energy will come into my life and make miraculous changes.

So I keep trying. And trying. And trying.

I’m not very good at not minding what happens.

Still Here

It’s been a week since I was here. Have I thought about this blog at all? Not really. Maybe once or twice. But Himself’s been away, so no one has been getting on my nerves — that might explain it. It’s been heaven to have the house to myself in the mornings before work, again in the evenings, and on the weekend — though our middle son came out and stayed Friday and Saturday nights because his brother told him I might be lonely with Himself gone. Nope. I don’t mind being alone, not one little bit.

He left Tuesday morning and planned to be back on Saturday. On Tuesday afternoon he texted me a photo of the newborn grandson. The next morning he texted me a photo of the two granddaughters. One day he called on Facebook Messenger but it was not to talk to me, it was to entertain the granddaughters. On Friday he texted a photo of grocery items at Costco; presumably wondering if I wanted any. On Saturday his text was “Last day at Princely’s” so I figured he meant to be home Sunday then. But Sunday afternoon, another texted photo of fruit and vegetables on Princely’s kitchen table and which of them did I want? (My reply: “don’t care, you decide.”) Last night his text was “Shopping sucks.”

This morning he phones me here at the office.

“I made one last stop to look at dishwashers.”

We haven’t had a dishwasher for 20 years, though there is a place for one built-in to our kitchen cupboards. I do all the dishes by hand; sometimes he picks up a tea towel, and occasionally he washes dishes but never actually finishes the job.

So he tells me about the different features of all these dishwashers. I say “Whatever you decide is fine. Just don’t be cheap. Get the best we can afford, even if it costs a few hundred more.”

Suddenly he says, “I’m so sick of shopping! I’m leaving.”

And walks out of the store without a dishwasher.

So why phone me in the first place? Because now I AM disappointed. Before the call, I wasn’t expecting him to come home with a dishwasher or even to shop for one.

But I digress. I meant to say that I wanted him to stay away as long as he could — longer than planned — but then was pissed off when led to believe he was coming home on Sunday and not told otherwise.

I reminded myself that even had I a reason to be angry, I don’t have to be. I observed myself. I was pissed off. But why? Do I like being annoyed? Am I looking for reasons to be? Did I want him to call and text me every night, as if I was of some importance? Didn’t I say I was glad to get a break from him and hoped he wouldn’t be calling every day? And finally, all he would talk about anyway are his son and grandchildren, and he’d bitch about his daughter-in-law (who literally wailed like a small child after a mishap while pumping breastmilk during the week the baby was born. It was quite disconcerting to see. I comforted her as best I could – “No you are NOT stupid,” I said, patting her back. It was pretty weird for a grown woman to act like that, but … hormones, lack of sleep, and frustration might do that to the best of us.)

It’s time for me to start packing up and head for home. An old gentleman just got stuck out front in the deep ruts of slush, and two men came running over to push him out. Gotta love small towns for this very reason: people are quick to help.

To Delete or Not to Delete, That is the Question

I write here rarely. I wouldn’t want anyone finding it to recognize me from my “voice” or situations I describe. It’s not open to comments, so I don’t hear from readers. An address for email is available on the About page and I don’t get any; no one will be disappointed or worried if this blog disappears. So the question is, since I don’t make time for it very often, is the relief I get from spilling my guts here upon occasion really essential to my wellbeing?

I’m asking myself these days.

We did, back in January, go to the city to help with the grandchildren when the baby was born. I struggled for a while — the first morning, I stood under the shower and wept, wondering how I would find the strength and stamina to get through the coming week or more.

However, not only did I manage it, but I think I have gotten over the “hump” of myself. There is even a little part of me that is surprised by looking forward to the little family coming out to our place next time. This is what I’ve hoped and prayed for. It’s been a long time coming, but could it be the beginning of my healing?

Maybe it was all the newborn baby-holding that applied a loving balm to my miserable heart.

Maybe it was that Himself was so happy to play with and look after the grandchildren the entire time that he treated me with kindness and respect until we got home.

Maybe it was being treated with such consideration by Princely and his wife, and their appreciation for our help and presence.

“If you need to discipline our kids,” she said to me, “go ahead. We trust your judgment. Even if you have to spank them.”

That was good to hear — not that we would spank children unless they insist on charging into danger without some serious consequences — but that they don’t expect us to let their children run all over us like brats. They still let them get away with far more than I would, but everyone parents differently. And they’re used to the noise; I’m not. Quite often I went to the upstairs bedroom to get a break from it and just to be alone, which is something I need at the best of times.

As soon as we got home Himself was bitchy to me again, as if it was my fault we weren’t there anymore.

I’ve realized that in general he’s a bitchy person. And that I hate living with someone who can turn on me at the drop of a hat. And that he has many physical reasons to be bitchy, to be irritable; pain and lack of sleep are two of them. But I still hate it when it happens. And he rants. Rants. And blames. And accuses. And is the mockingest person I know.

I saw a saying that makes sense. Now can I remember it. Something like “Don’t fight to win. Fight to agree.” If only we would both do that, instead of one of us pointing a finger and mocking the other so that any hope of understanding goes to shit.

It must be admitted, though, that as I have changed my attitude over the last couple years and “stood down” more often, handling my own feelings and not sharing my every thought, and letting go of hopes and expectations I had, there is a lot less conflict between us. Maybe I don’t need the escape valve that this blog has been.

2022 Begins

Monday, January 3, 2022 

I spent much of the day in bed, and Himself was home too. I saw him walk through the hallway and into the office, and realized something I’ve been missing.

I told him:

“When you used to act happy to see me.”

His response?

“You’re never happy to see me.”

I said, “Who meets you at the door with a kiss when you come home?”

I guess that doesn’t say anything to him.

That’s what he does. Turns everything around. Anything I say about my feelings, especially if they have anything to do with him.

And I am missing him acting glad to see me. Ever. Even when he comes home, he’s looking for the dog and to see what’s on the stove. There’s no being glad to see me.

I shouldn’t feel sorry for myself, there’s no point in it.

It does remind me of one of the reasons people are vulnerable to affairs.

Because maybe someone is glad to see them.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Pushing through something unpleasant is one thing, but having to try to hide natural reactions takes it to a whole other level of discomfort.  – A Blogger

Tell me about it. That’s what I’m afraid of. I’ve told Himself he won’t hear another word from me about our time in the city being a struggle for me. I will act my ass off to hide any discomfort I have. That’s what he seems to want, more than the truth. And I’m angry about that because having to hide it makes it more difficult. I hide it as best I can from everyone else, of course, but now I have to hide it from him too, which isn’t going to be easy. What will I say if he asks me anything straight out? I’d have to lie, for god’s sake; fucking lie. And frankly if I have to lie to my spouse about my real feelings … well, then, that seems like a very bad thing. Very bad. Not the kind of relationship I’ve ever wanted, and I don’t want one like that now.

I saw him walk through that hallway the other day and it struck me how different things are now than they once were. How I felt I could be totally open with him, how good that felt. How our relationship has lost so much of what was best about it. I know the blush of new love doesn’t last forever, but I hoped the trust would.

Last of the December Journal

Wednesday, December 15, 2021   10:44a.m.

I don’t like to be inconvenienced.

There, I said it. It’s absolutely true.

Himself points this out to me during a fight, to prove his point that I am “all about yourself.”

Do people have to be martyrs in order not to be judged as self-serving?

I do some good deeds, but not many that put me very far out.

I don’t drive to town to go to the food bank to help pack hampers or distribute them, because I don’t want to spend any of my free time that way. I post notices and thank you’s on the food bank’s behalf from the comfort of my laptop here at home, instead.

I drop off my refundable containers at the recycling depot to be cashed-in and donated to the food bank every month. This is convenient as I don’t have to wait in line to get up to the counter while my ears ring from the noise of bottles and cans being banged about. I haven’t gone out of my way, but am helping in my own way.

I don’t cook specifically to please Himself, though I do it when the mood strikes. Mostly I make what I want to eat whether I feel like cooking or not, and I make enough for two, and he often isn’t thrilled because it isn’t meat and potatoes and a vegetable or salad besides. How self-serving of me to not force myself to stand longer at the kitchen counter preparing someone else’s idea of a satisfying meal!

Tomorrow he is driving home from Up North and I have taken out a package of ground beef to leave something warm in the slow cooker for when he arrives, in case he’s hungry. I won’t be here to eat it as I’m off to dog-sit at B’s in the afternoon. But I’ll be looking for a recipe that requires only ingredients that are already in the house. I don’t want to go to town for groceries today. I’m thinking of my own convenience.

I will dog-sit at B’s because she lives out of town and I don’t have to walk the dog and pick up its shit. I have turned down a request to dog-sit for a friend in town, because I don’t want to scoop poop. I have turned down a request to take Princely’s dogs for a walk in the city for the same reason. Does this make me “all about me” and not enough about helping others? Some people may think so.

It’s as if I should have no right to say No.

If I have to clean up puke next time I dog-sit, I may refuse future requests to do it. Why should I have to do things that make me gag? I mean, when someone has broken elbows and can’t wipe her own bum, maybe, because then you power through – there’s no option if you don’t have a bidet in your house, and most of us don’t – but I am not unselfish enough to do whatever anyone asks whenever they ask it. It’s bad enough that I have to clean up after our own dog once in a while. Blecccch.

I carry heavy jugs of water to their cars when ladies older than me come to the office to get it. My back doesn’t like it, but theirs like it less. Do I get brownie points from this Character Judge for doing something that helps someone else? No. I’m self-centred and can’t stand a moment’s inconvenience to myself.

I should be laughing when he says this to me; he who loses his shit if you get in the way for 3 seconds and slow him down when he’s doing something. Really I don’t know why I let this blind hypocrite’s words get to me. He should be looking into a mirror.

Some seem to think that in order to be a decent person, you must not consider yourself but must put others first and suffer through doing things you don’t want to do, that you find distasteful and unpleasant, because that is what “good” people do.

Clearly, I’ll never be one of those. Oh I do my duty and try not to show when I mind but it’s exhausting to pretend. I tell myself that I’m doing a service for someone else and it’s character-building and isn’t killing me, but I do sometimes wonder if I’m really doing anyone any favours when I’m not being honest.

Meanwhile I do what I can to help others, but I do it in a way that doesn’t hurt – or yes, inconvenience — me whenever possible. And I don’t feel bad about that, though there are some who think I ought not to credit myself with anything, maybe because helping others when it doesn’t inconvenience oneself too much is too easy? We have to suffer in silence while meeting the expectations of others, in order to be altruistic enough to be considered good or decent people?

I’m not going to sacrifice myself on the altar of other people’s judgments. I’m worth taking care of and standing up for. My sensibilities are just as important as anyone else’s. I have boundaries and I respect them whether others do or not, and when others try to put me down for having different boundaries than they do, and for not allowing them to erase my boundaries to suit them, they can go suck eggs.

2:47pm

Three months ago if I had a day off and didn’t want to do anything but read all day and not go out for a walk, I’d’ve blamed it on my pot-smoking. Even though I only ever had one toke at a time, two at most.

Now I haven’t had a toke since the first part of October and today I only now managed to force myself to go out. I also turned around when the harsh wind hit my face, and turned back again without going the whole distance the other way, and came in.

There are dishes to do and I don’t want to do them. It’s got fuck-all to do with pot.

Monday, December 20, 2021   7:46 a.m.

I have to work at the office today, be there by 9 for I will be alone.

Himself left at 7, a full two hours before he has to be at a physio appointment. Why? He wouldn’t give me a straightforward answer, so of course I think he’s pissed off at me. Why?

I can only guess that while I waited for the coffee to brew and was clearing off the counters and tabletop, I moved the blood pressure monitor from the table to a platter on the piano where I put papers and other stuff he leaves on the table.

He said, “Leave it on the table, I’ll be taking my blood pressure.”

“Yes,” said I, “but then you will leave it on the table and it will be there all day and tomorrow and the next day and all week.”

“You and your OCD,” he said.

“It doesn’t belong on the kitchen table. Put it away after you use it.”

And I bet that was all it took for his nose to get out of joint. How terrible of me to want all the crap off the kitchen table, which he seems to think is the ideal landing place for everything he’s too lazy to put away. He sits there to read and leaves two giant history books there, and his opened mail, and pens, and his new laptop which has been there for days now, and everything else, and if I didn’t clear off the table once in a while, it would all still be there in a growing pile as more is added to it.

OCD indeed. What is the word for cluttering laziness? There should be one.

This afternoon after getting home from work I will take a Zoom call from a writer who needs her book edited. I have wanted to get into book editing or proofreading and this fell into my lap via a former co-worker, who edited the last book and doesn’t have time to help with this one. Bless her for the work that has come my way over the past few years.

I’ve said no to both Bellwether and B about dogsitting at their homes in January right after spending 10 days in the city, thinking I would want to stay home. But yesterday it occurred to me that after 24 hours a day with Himself and the girls (and then the entire royal family and the queen’s sister) for 10 days, doing my best to hide it when I’m not enjoying it and it’s dragged on so much longer than we really need to be there, I may be ready to collapse and might welcome getting away from him to do it. I might also be very angry, another thing I will be endeavouring to keep under wraps because showing it just turns it back on me from Himself only 10 times more intensely and rude.

I may often, while there, find myself so frustrated that I will be near tears. And I’ll tell myself to stop feeling sorry for myself, as if my feelings aren’t genuine and even if they are, they aren’t valid. This isn’t healthy to do to myself, but I have done it in the past and am trying not to do it anymore.

I shouldn’t go. I shouldn’t put myself through it. What for? So I don’t miss out on the odd pleasant moment? So I’ll continue to feel outside of it all, as I already do, because I don’t have Himself’s need to be in the middle of it? That’s the worst that can happen if I don’t go, and of course the fallout of Himself’s resentment in future, though he may deny it. I know damn well it would live to slap me in the face someday.

Good Morning, Auntie

I’m alone on the farm till tomorrow or Thursday as Himself has taken his mother to see his sister who lost her husband recently. He hoped to get her input as he builds a wooden urn for the ashes. 

On Thursday I’m off to spend a few days dog/house-sitting as B and her husband are going away to celebrate their 35th anniversary. She’s asked if I’d do it again in January but I can’t commit as Princely’s wife is having their third baby by caesarean and we will be in the city for 10 days looking after the other grandchildren. As it is, Merriweather and her husband will be gone to see their own daughter who’s having her baby the same day, so there is no one to look after our little mutt. Maybe I should ask B to come and stay here. Ha! Why does that seem ridiculous? But the other way around doesn’t.

Bellwether and her husband have lost their son’s longtime aide at the school because she refuses to get vaccinated. She’s had covid already and Bellwether’s had to keep her son quarantined but fortunately he didn’t catch it. Bellwether’s had to spend a lot of time with the new aide, showing her the ropes re feeding tube, etc. 

She’s also busy helping Dad, who up and bought another condo about two blocks from the one he’s been renting. He takes possession shortly and Bell’s been helping him pack up before the movers come. The new place is attached to an assisted living facility so once the covid crisis is over he will be able to get meals if he wants.

I talked to Brother Dear on the weekend. He was pleased to announce he’s been given a huge raise and is now earning $7500 a month. Says reliable and competent truckers have been impossible to get lately, so his boss is making sure he stays on the job. He has no Xmas plans yet. 

Bell and family, and Dad, have been invited Xmas Day to the new home of Bell’s friends who have just built a $10-million mansion. Dad says that will be his only opportunity to ever see one from the inside. 

We’re full into winter now and I’ve taken my beautiful parka out of the closet and still get admiring comments on it all the time. The other day it was a compliment from a stranger in the grocery checkout line at the Co-op. I always think of Uncle C with gratitude yet again for his generosity in paying me as he did for the editing I would’ve done for free.

The village office opens at 10 this morning so that’s where I’ll be till 4 o’clock, watching the locals coming and going at the post office on the other side of the wall. I sit by the window and they wave but only a quarter of them come into my side: the regulars for R.O. water, and a few come to buy garbage tags. Changes in town are that J has moved from the garage into a low rental across the alley from Aunt S. You maybe already have heard that from J’s cousin. I hear my cousin K is coming to Aunt S’s for Christmas. 

Usually if Merriweather’s not at her job I stop in after work for a coffee, but today will hurry home in hopes the dog won’t pee on the floor again, as he did last night while I lay on the couch watching TV. I don’t pay close enough attention and miss his requests to go out, Himself says. He speaks the dog’s silent language. I’m sure the dog is already missing the constant cuddling and conversation he gets from my taller half. He got quite a tongue-lashing last night, I’ll tell you, and went to his bed in disgrace. 

Love,
Fairweather

Letter to an Unmet Friend

I call myself Goldilocks sometimes. Himself accuses me, and it’s true, of avoiding any kind of discomfort or inconvenience. And complaining about it if it’s something I have to do, a duty I don’t really like.
Of course I don’t think of it as complaining, but as stating how I feel or think. There is a fine line there. I’m learning to keep my mouth shut more often, but to paste a neutral expression on my face for days at a time is pretty tough.

We had verbal fisticuffs the other night because he has agreed to go to his son’s in the city for 10 days to help with the existing grandchildren as our daughter-in-law is having a caesarian. I will go along because it is a duty, I feel, and certainly would be noticeable if I didn’t, but I hate the thought of being there for so long. Also our daughter-in-law’s sister, who is gah-gah over the kids and really good with them, will also be there the whole time. So why are we needed too, for so long? However, it’s what Himself wants; it doesn’t matter to him what I think is needed or what I would rather we do.

I’ve never liked being there; to me it’s like being dropped into a box with four walls and no escape. I go fucking nuts, I pace, I go to bed early, I go for walks to get away from the TV that is always on, I do whatever I can to get some solitude but I just don’t love playing with kids or running around shopping or visiting with our son’s friends or other members of Himself’s family for more than an hour or two at a time, while he is all about that stuff and perfectly happy going with the flow they live in. Even getting out for a walk is no pleasure as their house is packed in among blocks and blocks of endless houses and there is a lot of traffic noise from vehicles and planes. I’m sick with dread, even waking up at night anxious, and I’ve told him so. It kind of helped me to feel that he understood I am struggling and I didn’t have to hide it from him in private.

But now I know he is angry about that, as he thinks he has done so much for me, gone out of his way for me in the past, but I can’t do this for him without being miserable. I do my best to hide it but he says I don’t do it well enough. I thought I’d done pretty well lately, but I guess not.

Repressing my real feelings for days at a time and pretending to want to be there or have them here is exhausting. This last time, however, I didn’t cry in the bedroom although I drove home from work as slowly as I could to delay my arrival in the noise and the full house of activity and people because not only are there 2 more adults and 2 young active children besides us, but Himself’s mother invites herself over for supper every night they’re here. Often for breakfast too. If we all sit at the table we are elbow to elbow. We’re crowded. I fucking hate it.

The wine and the edible cannabis seemed to relax me. I still went to bed as early as I could without making them feel unwelcome — I said I had to work the next day but they should go ahead and enjoy their movie or their board game or whatever — and I made an appointment for a haircut after work one day, or I had to get groceries, or I stopped for coffee at my sister’s after work, so I didn’t have to come straight home.

I have even considered, many times, leaving Himself so I don’t have to be part of it several times a year when we go there or they come here. He tells me I don’t have to go when he goes next month — he doesn’t want me to be miserable — but I feel it is a duty I have and I have to adjust my attitude and keep trying to make the best of it, and maybe as the children get older I will enjoy them more. And maybe eventually I’ll get this stick out of my ass and be able to go with the flow. It’s not like it’s 12 months at a time or anything or as if they live with us, though if Himself had his way they would. It wouldn’t even surprise me all that much if he moved out there to be near them. I’ve suggested it, since he seems to want to be in their pockets every hour of every day. I wouldn’t go, but there are times when I wouldn’t mind if he did, if that’s the only way he can be satisfied. Otherwise he feels he’s missing out.

I don’t want to be left out of it, but I’m not comfortable with the lack of boundaries either. Himself wants to be in the middle of everything that has to do with them. I don’t. Once when we were there I asked him to go for a walk with me just so we could have a few minutes break alone together, and he immediately invited others along. I didn’t even want to go anymore once he did that, as it wasn’t what I was after. It wasn’t the walk I craved, it was the escape with him. He wants to spend every moment with them, while I would probably do better if we went and did something ourselves for an hour or two now and then. But what? There is nothing to do there for us but visit the kids and family. Himself likes doing that. I don’t. Visiting family is his idea of a holiday. I do it out of duty — my own family too, not just his.  A holiday, for me, is a very different thing. Even if I had something to go and do alone in the city, that would probably help.  There is not even a mall or any place close enough to walk to, and I don’t drive in that traffic, and taking a bus, too, would seem standoffish when they know I don’t enjoy shopping or have any need to.

I try to imagine how I would feel if he responded to my kids the way I respond to his, which is why I am trying so hard to do better. But failing, partly because he seems obsessed with them and always puts them first, and I think that’s what’s driven me away from being so involved with them as might otherwise be natural. He has lately stopped video-calling them on a virtually daily basis (in my presence, at least; I think he goes to his mother’s to do it, assuming she’ll enjoy it and she probably does, while I find half-hour videocalls with small children boring and once a week would suit me, and even then I sit there and participate for 10 minutes and then go), and he doesn’t talk about them to me several times a day anymore. I don’t care about every word the grandchildren have said and whether they pooped in the potty and so on, although the kids can be sweet and quite entertaining and I appreciate him sharing the experience with me, going out of his way to make me feel part of it and important to them as grandma. He does all he can to share his joy with me and I just find too much of it intrusive. It seems to me that he texts his son or daughter-in-law every day,  more than once. At least I no longer have to hear every exchange, but I still hear plenty as he is dying to share them with anyone at all times, and I’m the one who’s available I guess.  He is so focussed on them that it’s like his life now revolves around them. That bugs me.

Right now I can’t think of anyone to leave our small dog with while we’re away, as my sister Merriweather who normally keeps him will be away visiting her own grandchild being born the same day as ours, so maybe I won’t have a choice and will have to stay home and except for the three or four days I could normally handle being in the city (when I know what day we’re coming home because Himself has, under pressure, agreed not to let them talk him into staying longer than we planned – because he has no fucking backbone and can’t say no to his son or sister who try manipulate him to stay longer by making their own plans for which his presence is the reason – then I have an end date to gear myself for and that seems to help me get through), and I’d like to hold the newborn and let Himself feel good about having me to share his pleasure with, I would feel I’ve avoided spending 10 days in a hell I will never get back. At the same time I would feel outside of things when I should be inside them to welcome the new baby.

So: conflicted. And not looking forward to feeling like this for the rest of my life. Keep thinking I should get counselling. I have had counselling before — though not for this particular situation — and each time, the counsellors have said I seem to have a good grasp of everything and know what to do. It helps when they tell me I am seeing clearly and am not a rotten selfish person for feeling as I do, but … well for this, I really don’t see that offering much solution. Maybe I’d best try it anyway. Won’t hurt. And when you’re waking up at night feeling sick about the next trip to the city, that can’t be good. Something’s gotta give.

Birdie tells me if I hate being there so much, just don’t go. She says she would hate it too; she always understands and supports me, thank god, while reminding me that his strong connection with them is normal and my lack of that same strong connection is normal too.  A friend like that is worth her weight in gold. But I think I have to keep trying for Himself’s sake because it would be awful for me if he hated being around my kids. Although he’s never stuck with them in the same way I’m trapped with his; we don’t stay in their homes and Himself, unlike me, likes small kids so was great with mine until we moved here, when they were older mind you, and when he became such a prick (verbally) overnight that my son BiggusLunkus hates him to this day and doesn’t respect me, he says, because I’ve stayed with him. Even though the man has smartened up considerably and I’ve been content since August after leaving for that 3 days, BiggusLunkus is not the forgiving sort. No one holds a grudge like that kid.

My first thought is always move out, escape! as if that solves every problem. But does it, really? Or am *I* the problem I can’t get away from?

Ah the tangled webs we weave … I am so sick of not having things better handled at my age.

***

Was listening to an interview with actor Benedict Cumberbatch. He said he was fully vaxxed and got covid anyway (it was never claimed that we wouldn’t, so we shouldn’t be surprised), and it was quite bad for 5 days.
WTF though, that sucks.
I’m still avoiding crowds.
Just a sore arm today after my booster shot so it probably isn’t going to get worse. I know the odd person who got something like a flu afterward. I’ve been lucky. Himself too.

***

And you, dearie, after listening to my sad tale of whiny woe, does it make you think that even with these irritations you’d rather be in similar shoes than be missing your loved one as you do after his death, even these years later? Like I just need a shift in thinking to remind myself that these are small problems in comparison to the big ones in life? That I could quit being so goddamn self-interested and fussy? I know it looks like this from certain perspectives which I also do view myself from, but changing how I feel isn’t as easy as snapping my fingers and deciding to be different.

Oh aren’t I just a ray of sunshine. There was blue sky when I started this letter, and now it’s gone completely white.

It was pretty icy around here after Himself and I tried to discuss this on Monday night. I’m the one who goes about my business as if he doesn’t exist, though I am not uncivil. He at the same time goes out of his way to be considerate — making a supper, washing the dishes, plugging in my car before work — while I, instead of watching TV with him in the evenings, come in here and work at my laptop or go to bed and read or even sit up and watch TV myself after he goes to bed because I don’t want to lie beside him. I don’t kiss him when he comes home or hug him before he leaves or any of the things I normally do to show affection. I’m pretty sure this is the kind of thing the relationship therapists advise not to do — distancing? — but for a couple days I can’t make myself go near him.

I said to Himself, before leaving the room Monday night, OK then, I will never again tell you how I feel about any of this, or what I think, since you are telling me my feelings are not valid and you are figuratively beating me over the head for having them. I will act my ass off so that it looks like I’m being what you want me to be.

And then I came in here, felt like crying, and over the next days realized I’m angry too. I think if he can’t respect my feelings and only wants to see what is acceptable to him, then I have to act, and if I have to pretend, then this is not an honest relationship, and if I have to hide from him that I am struggling, and if he is unwilling to do anything different that might help me cope then why should I share with him what is true for me at all? In other words, why be intimate with him, period, if I’m to be verbally flogged when he doesn’t see or experience things as I do?

I don’t expect you to have answers or give advice, but it does feel good to get this off my chest. Please do tell me if you’d as soon not be hearing it, especially because I fear I’ve told you before and it does get sickening to hear me bitch about the same things over and over and not solve the problem. I’m trying to break this habit with Birdie, as I do tell her what’s going on with me and she’s a great listener but must find it frustrating at times. I’m tired of myself, actually, and keep trying to break the habit of talking or writing about this shit, but haven’t yet succeeded. I worry that talking and writing about it entrenches it rather than relieves it, and determine not to keep doing it, and then out it comes anyway. Bad habits are hard to break!

He did come home last night sometime after working past 8 o’clock. Starving, he gobbled down the meal I’d made for supper two hours earlier, then because I stayed in the living room he talked my ear off and finally, before going to bed, leaned over and kissed me goodnight. So the ice is off, as it always is after a couple days, but nothing has been resolved or moved forward. I still don’t know what to do to change anything. I can only change myself, although it would sure help if he’d make some changes to his behaviour too when it comes to Princely and family.

For me it would make a lot of difference to be heard and understood by him without being attacked and judged and resented. I would not feel so alone in coping, though I know I have to make adjustments to my attitude of resistance to what is normal and natural to him and probably many other families. He doesn’t see himself as acting obsessed or having no boundaries between us and them, or he thinks having no boundaries is normal, while I seem to need a few.  My friends do agree that he acts over the top when I tell them what goes on, but then they are only hearing my side of it. Only once was a friend here to see for herself at the same time Princely was here with his wife and kids, and without any prompting she exclaimed in private, “That’s crazy!” Which made me feel I wasn’t being ridiculous about all this.

The November Entry

I am at the office. No one has come in for more than an hour. I’ve done all my work and then some. There are three hours to go. The sun is shining in a blue sky, with a few wispy white clouds spread out thin like gauze. A Canadian flag is flapping on a pole across the street. My car is out front; the postmistress’s half-ton truck is across the street. We are both angle-parked. There are snowbanks. I can hear a machine running somewhere, and the post office radio on the other side of our shared wall. Dozens of pigeons are perched on the ridge of the roof of the grain elevator a block away, visible high above the other buildings – all empty – seen from my office window.

It sounds like my sister Merriweather is home today. I haven’t seen her for the past three weeks because she’s been at work. Usually I stop in for a coffee on my way home from here. Today I’ll go visit her again.

Himself has been on best behaviour for the past three months. We have been enjoying our evenings together and have been kind to and considerate of each other. He started my car to warm up this morning and I saw him scraping ice from the windows before getting into his own vehicle and driving off. We are kissing and hugging daily, which is so important to me and I think makes a difference for him too. One of these days I may even jump his bones again.

I haven’t smoked any pot for more than a month. Once in a while, on my way past the store, I think about stopping in to buy some. But I don’t. After all, I don’t like the way I feel when I have a toke. I love to light up and inhale, but I don’t like the anxiety created from it. You wouldn’t think, with the little I smoked (one puff only; two when I got greedy) at one time, that it would’ve had that effect. But it did. It wasn’t doing me any good. I’ll keep on driving past with my nose in the air. I’m sure my lungs don’t mind.

There isn’t much to say. I have nothing to bitch about, so I’m silent? How sad is that.

There is no drama. All is well. Life is good! Now if only I can get into the book-editing business, which I think I’d prefer to my part-time gigs clerking in municipal offices, and copyediting and proofreading blog articles and educational materials. That’s about the only major change I’d like to make in my life. I’ve just made my first two steps in that direction so we shall see what comes of it.

See you back here next month. Same time, same place.

GrrrRAMBO

In the spring I got some advice about how to give myself some breaks, when Himself’s grandchildren visit, from the noise and commotion in our house. I followed that advice, and excused myself from the living room after wishing them goodnight and telling them to enjoy themselves, but I had to get up early and needed to get to bed.

That helped; it didn’t make them feel unwelcome, or me feel guilty or rude.

But come the end of the working day, I did not want to go home. Not at all. I dreaded it. When I turned off the highway onto the gravel road that leads the five miles to our farmhouse, I drove about 20 miles per hour. Had I been able to come up with any good reason not to go home, I would have put it off forever. For one late afternoon I’d made a hair appointment, so I also went to the library, fuelled up my car, and did other errands in town. But I couldn’t arrange things for every day, unfortunately.

What did help, when I had to be there, was pouring myself a glass of wine and eating a tiny piece of a pot brownie that had been in my freezer for months. I did that for a couple evenings. I also, one night, snapped. The kids were screeching and hollering in our living room at Himself’s feet, and not listening to him asking them to pipe down, and I stormed into the room, set my wine glass down, and told them to Stop That Noise or I Will Put You in the Bedroom! The kids, their grandfather, and his mother all looked at me open-mouthed but silent.

So be it. Enough is enough.

I tuned the kids in a few more times when they were yelling or running in the house. Well? If their parents won’t, and their grandfather won’t, this woman will. And if they don’t like it, too bad. I’ve been tippy-toeing around long enough, feeling like I had to be nice, that it wasn’t up to me to discipline them, that their parents would think I was being a bitch.

But it IS my house and I have a right not to permit certain behaviour. Kids don’t need to run and yell in the house. Sure there will be a certain amount of it — they’re small children, after all — but I’m not putting up with any more than what I consider normal.

For the first time, Himself agreed with me: the kids are loud. Too loud. Even he had to go close himself in the bedroom once to get a break from it. And when they were leaving after their five-day visit, he said to me, “I don’t want them to go, but it will be nice to have a quiet house again.”

Where Did September Go?

It’s kind of funny that I feel I’m letting you down when I don’t update for an entire month, when I don’t even know who’s out there!

I also have to laugh at myself now, reading the tagline underneath the blog’s title: “Firmly on the path of least resistance.” Who am I trying to kid? Learning not to resist the facts in front of me has been my biggest challenge for the past two years! Figuring out what is resistance and what is necessary action or self-expression is not easy, at least for me.

Oh the things we realize about ourselves, given enough time and the willingness to take an honest look.

It’s been almost two months since I left home around 5 a.m. and went to Birdie’s for a couple days. When I came back, Himself said he’d get counselling. He still hasn’t done so. “Been busy,” he says. “When are you not?” I replied. “You make time for things that are important to you.”

On the other hand, he’s been a prince ever since. He has been showing me in little ways that he means to do better. It makes a big difference to me right now, because it makes things pretty good between us. It won’t when he flies off the handle and says nasty things again, and I’d be an idiot to believe that, without tools to help him manage his temper, he won’t.

I give him the benefit of the doubt. I’m hopeful. But faith, I don’t have.