August Update

One Saturday morning at 5 a.m. I awoke to shouting, banging, and cursing coming from the basement.

Oh what stupid thing have the former owners of this house done now? I thought.

That was before I realized the diatribe was about me.

You don’t want to hear the things he was yelling. My stomach turned.

I got out of bed, packed a couple bags, and was on the highway to Petra’s house, two hours away, by 5:30.

When I came home on Monday morning, I said (after his apologies) either you get counselling for your anger issues, or I am putting my name in for a rental today. I can’t keep letting you do this to me.

He called the Farm Stress line. Good.

But this morning, a week later, as far as I know he’d done nothing about the temper tantrums; about getting help for them.

I asked again. Are you going to make an appointment somewhere, or am I moving out?

He got on his phone to see if it’s possible to have online or telephone consultations. We live in a rural community where he doesn’t want to be seen going for mental health counselling.

The man is overwhelmed with other things going on in his life — work, and health — and I have never wanted to add to that burden. However, I have put up with this crap too long, and given him plenty of opportunity to do something about his behaviour.

And even if he does get counselling, it might not make a difference.

We shall see.

Dear Petra

It sounds like you had a busy day yesterday. I must’ve been asleep before your text even came back! I read it this morning when I got up at six. 

Spent the first 40 minutes finishing up a proofreading project and getting it submitted, along with my invoice. 

Today will be spent in the office in TinyTown, then the rest of the week in the other office, and I hope after this my hours can be reduced to two days a week, three at most. Although I’ve heard a whisper about not getting back to normal till the end of the month. Oy. My new glasses have arrived at the optometrist’s and I haven’t had a day off to get there.

Himself had a sinkful of green beans when I got home yesterday. He dealt with them; I came into the office here at home and worked on my project, due today. He’s been bringing in zucchini and garlic and has managed to grow a cantaloupe so far, and of course potatoes and tomatoes and whatnot. I see there’s a bag of shelled peas in the fridge this morning so he did that sometime too, not sure when. Maybe this morning after I left him in the kitchen, accusing me of being responsible for the coffee pot not working right — apparently it’s the way I store the cord.

Hee! What a doofus. When he can’t figure out the reason for anything not being quite right, he will reach for the moon, I swear, to find someone to blame. I did, after a few minutes, hear him say he’d found the real problem … but of course there was no admitting that he’d been unfair (or, in my opinion, stupid) and had topped it off with a judgment about how I “don’t listen” and “that’s why I haven’t mentioned the way you put the cord before” … the usual bullshit, an illogical stretch if ever there was one. It’s my fault the sun ain’t shinin’.  

Part of me laughs at the ridiculousness of it, but part of me is irritated too. It doesn’t take much and I don’t even want to look at him. I wish I had thicker skin.

It sure makes me realize how quickly and deeply I am affected by criticism, even when there is no reason to be, when it’s obviously dumb. Here I am, age 62, and still letting myself be rattled by stupidity. It is to laugh! There is no getting away from myself. 

So … another day, another $108. And life goes on. I need to get back to my morning yoga and tarot routine, and daily meditation. As usual, I abandon everything that’s good for me, eventually. I get lazy, distracted by other things. Not enough time in a day. Blah blah blah. 

You were tired last night. I hope today is better. Tell me how you’re really doing. 

Love,
FW

Killing Time at the Office

It’s two o’clock and there are two more hours to go till I can lock up this office and get the Sam Hill out of here. Today, after nearly two years at this job, I feel like I’ve had enough of it. Newly cut keys that wouldn’t work — my fault, I mixed them up with two other newly cut keys — gawd it’s hard being dumb — and having to find a new janitor for the community hall and having to try to explain to ratepayers why their taxes will be going up by 20% and … and… and … just one of those days, I guess.

I did feel a couple drops of rain while out deadheading the planter boxes full of petunias. Oh how I crave a good rain. It’s so dry here. Now my fingernails are dirty though, which I don’t like. They don’t come clean!

I should go into the basement and haul up a box from the shelves of mildewy boxes and start going through them to see what can be discarded and what has to be kept and taken over to the new office.

But I just can’t bear to, today.

Another day. But with luck I’ll be retired first. I’ll be 65 and starting to collect the old age pension and to hell with “running the business of the town.” I have never been good at this sort of thing; it’s stressful, not rewarding.

What I actually hope is that I’ll find fulltime work doing something that I’m actually good at (to do with publishing) and that pays more. Then I’d have to quit this job, because I couldn’t turn down a better opportunity. Without a worthy excuse such as that, I’d feel I was letting my current employer down. I need to stick this out during the transition from one place to another, that’s all.

And then — I may not be so bad at this job, otherwise they wouldn’t be talking about keeping me on — perhaps by then everything will be straightened out and I’ll be enjoying the work more. Right now it’s confusing because the records were so badly kept. Trying to figure out what’s what is frustrating.

I’ve just spent three lovely days off, totally alone but for coffee and breakfast with my ex-husband yesterday morning. I’m not looking forward to being joined again by Himself, and have no idea when he’s returning. When I asked before he left, he wouldn’t tell me what his plans were.

“I told you once,” he said.

“I’ve forgotten,” I said. “Would it kill you to tell me again?”

Apparently it would.

I remember him saying, when he first started talking about this trip, that he’d spend four or five nights there, then come home. But I thought that might’ve changed by the time he left. We’ll see if he shows up tonight with no warning. He seems to like to do that.

Lest ye think I’m “skiving” here at the office … there isn’t any work to do. I’m here to take payments if anyone wants to make one, and sell reverse osmosis water and garbage tags, and that’s about it. The maintenance man asked me to order water sample containers. Done. An update to the cemetery record needed doing after a burial on the weekend. Done.

Maybe I’ll sweep the floor.

It’s a Brain Dump

I pulled the furniture away from the walls so the floor could be vacuumed beneath and behind it, and found a piece of sour candy and two shrivelled things, shaped somewhat like french fries, that couldn’t be positively identified.

It was the first thing I thought of when I awoke at 6:30 this morning, and it lit an ugly little fire in my stomach.

I raised my kids to eat at the kitchen table, not run around the house with food in their hands, dropping crumbs everywhere and leaving a sticky, greasy trail behind them. When Princely and his wife come with their children, I impose the same simple rule. Apparently they ignored it when they were here this spring while I was away. Himself sent me a photo that showed them in the living room with food. It made me feel as if all bets were off when I wasn’t here to remind them of the simple courtesy I’d requested. I asked Himself why.

“I didn’t know,” he said. “I was having a nap and didn’t see.”

After my return I found, one day, the dog gnawing at a spot on the bedroom floor, trying to get what seemed to be a piece of hard candy that was stuck hard to it.

Then yesterday, more.

Resentment is my reaction. I’m not here, so they think they can do whatever they want? And my husband, the ball-less wonder, lets them. Heaven forbid he should ever stand up for me, for our home, for himself, and insist on simple courtesy from his family.

This morning, with the churning anger in my gut, I observe myself. I’m letting something that happened in the past, something that isn’t important in the long run, affect me in this moment when I am otherwise perfectly content.

Why do I do this to myself?

There are two ways to look at it.

You may say I have every right to be pissed off; that you would be, too.

Or you may say that I make mountains out of molehills; that perhaps I like being self-righteously angry.

Me, I just want these kinds of feelings to stop. I would like to feel, when the kids are here, glad to be with them instead of walked all over.

I wonder if it will ever happen, and what I will have to do to make it so.

Brain transplant, anyone?

Maybe it’s as simple as this: when they’re your children and grandchildren whom you only see every few months, you don’t care what they do. They can bring their hairy neurotic dogs and sit on their asses while their own kids tear up your house, and it’s worth it to you. You will put up with pretty much anything because what matters to you is that they’re here. You love them and they can do no wrong. If your wife gets annoyed, she’s overreacting.

When these things happen, and even when I think about them later, I long to live alone. I cast about in my mind for places I could move to, wondering what there is to rent. Then I look around our house and yard and think of how much I’d hate to leave it, really. How infrequently the kids are here. How they just want to be accepted and loved by me, and how I could be more open and accepting, which is what I aim for, what I intend, how I see myself and am disappointed to find that I am not really that way. That little things bother me, that I see motivations behind them that may not be there at all, at least not consciously.

One day last week I had a few moments of clarity where it was plain that I’m not happy with Himself anymore. He bores me to tears quite often. All he talks about are his crops and machinery and cattle, and his son and grandchildren, and his relatives in Europe with whom he keeps in daily touch via text and Facebook. Occasionally, after a half-hour of ruminating out loud about these things and people while he lies in the tub after getting home — I go into the bathroom and sit on the lid of the toilet to demonstrate my interest in connecting with him for a chat — he remembers to ask me how my day went. I guess he’s trying. I’m sure he’s as interested in my administrative/accounting frustrations and successes as I am about his cattle and crops.

Nowadays when I find myself irritated and disappointed, I look back at myself. I don’t have to feel sorry for myself, or offended, or irked. I’m choosing to. I’m blaming someone else instead of taking responsibility for the importance I give to my own thoughts, which come out of nowhere sometimes, are sometimes – maybe often – mistaken, and so on.

Maybe I think too much.

Y’know, I don’t write in my paper journal anymore, as I had intermittently since my early teens. I keep notes of quotations and excerpts and the occasional brief update, but I don’t put down all these thoughts. That’s where I used to dump them, and putting them out there for someone else to ever see wasn’t my intention. It also created resentment and anger when someone, disrespecting my privacy, read the entries and took me to task for them. It became not worth the hassle. I do seem to need to write, though. I’ve taken control of where I write, but not what I write about. I’m still repeating myself, writing about the same old things.

O I know you are out there, friends of mine, listening to me. I can’t see you or hear you; not your cheering me on, not your well-meant suggestions, not your disapproval or criticism or anything else. I assume you like and respect me and that’s why you keep coming back, though I sometimes wonder if I sound like a trainwreck that hasn’t happened yet.

Heh.

My Deepest Need

You are a little cutie,” I say to my image in the full-length mirror as I tuck my new blue T-shirt into the jeans I bought recently.

And I am. I’m trim and shapely and right now have a good haircut.

It reminded me of what I say to my lady bits each day during my sponge bath.

“Good Morning, beautiful girl. Thank you for all you’ve done for me, you sweet thing. All the pleasure, and my beloved children.”

And now back to our regular programming:

Himself was out the door by five but not before turning on the bedroom light as I lay sleeping, and having a cursing fit when something he was packing apparently got hung up on something else and wouldn’t cooperate.

I can’t help it; that kind of angry tantrum, which seems a violent overreaction, makes my stomach freeze.

I got out of bed. I’d asked him to wake me before he left but I didn’t touch the coffee pot in case he made only enough for himself, which turned out to be the case. I tucked under a blanket on the loveseat and read a library book while he finished his breakfast and packing. He gave me a perfunctory, dry goodbye kiss and, when I heard him come back into the house for something, I went to the door.

“Back for a proper hug?” I said. So we gave each other one. But he couldn’t wait to get going.

Within 15 minutes he phoned to say maybe an unidentified plant on the side of the road is Seneca root. I didn’t think Seneca root would be so tall, but will stop on my way to work this morning and take another look.

At 6:30, a text: Check the freezer.

Hm. Would he have left me a sweet little love note? It’s the kind of thing he used to do when love was new. It wooed the hell out of me. So thoughtful; like the gifts he’d give me all the time. I had never been treated that way and it touched my heart and made me believe even more than I already did that he was the nicest man I knew.

Nope. No love note. I don’t know what I was supposed to be checking for. Everything seems in order. Maybe he meant the deep freeze out in the shed? No reply yet to that query. I’ve been out to take an empty pizza box to the car (can drop off household garbage in town on my way to the office today) and turn the sprinkler onto the flower bed for a deep watering. We’ve had weeks of heat and drought and I’ve watered most mornings but only for a half hour on each area. This morning I’m letting the sprinkler run for a couple hours. The temperature could get up as high as 90F this afternoon.

I’ve washed, dressed, and had a toasted bagel and coffee. I’ve got 45 minutes to sit here and relax a bit. Should go brush my teeth first though. In spite of getting up hours before it’s time to leave, I always feel rushed when I go out the door.

The city kids plan to come out here toward the end of August so I don’t know why Himself felt he had to make a trip there now (it’s a 10-hour drive one way), but I didn’t say anything. I was glad he was going and that I have a reason not to. Work is flat-out fulltime last week, this week, and next week, and I’d be leaving the office in the lurch if I took even one or two extra days off to go visiting. Plus I don’t like staying at Princely’s house so it’s not as if I’m missing a wonderful time. I’m missing what, for me, has always been an ordeal.

That’s not to say I wouldn’t like to see those little girls. I sent my love by buying two tiny tongs with colourful rubber hands for tips, one for each of the girls, and making a pan of chocolate fudge for him to take to their place. I sliced the fudge into small cubes with the thought that the kids might like picking it up with the tongs.

I’ll be seeing them soon enough, by the sound of it. And I’ll have to figure out how to keep myself sane over the span of about five days they will likely be here. My mentor, in giving me a reading, advised me to take frequent breaks (“You go ahead and enjoy yourselves; I’m just going to lie down and stretch out my back”) and to schedule activities that would require me not to be home all day when they’re here.

She understood that while Himself wants to be with them every moment, I am not that kind of person. I need solitude and space, and when I don’t have enough of it, I’m rattled and off-centre. It’s one reason why the thought of accompanying him on a three-week trip to Europe with them did not excite me.

Himself has what I think is FOMO: fear of missing out. He doesn’t seem to be comfortable with solitude or space, but fills his spare time almost obsessively with people and long-winded phone calls and TV and Facebook and scrolling through Kijiji. I doubt he ever sits with a cup of tea and just looks out the window, while I am making a point of doing exactly that when I get home from the office. It feels so good to, for the first time all day, do nothing – not to be on my way somewhere or have something I have to do – for at least 10 minutes. 

If I’m missing out on anything, it’s stillness and peace for long enough periods. Here I am now with a glorious three days alone and no job to go to, and more than six hours have flown by while I’ve done nothing but sit here and read and write, and tour my flower gardens, as I do each morning to admire and prune them, to talk to them and sing to them, and to thank them for all the delight they give me in spite of my lackadaisical approach to gardening.

When You Went Away

I tossed your pillows off the bed and put mine right in the middle of the king-size mattress.

I turned the table sideways in front of the kitchen window so that I can sit as close to the glass as possible.

I threw your doghair-covered towels off the loveseat and spread a clean quilt over it for me to sit on.

I vacuumed the living room and kitchen — my gawd those floors were filthy! disgusting — and might just move furniture and clean properly without you bitching because I moved it by myself and risked marking up the cork floor. Not that you’ve ever helped me move the furniture when I asked you to. Heaven forbid you spend five minutes doing anything I request of you.

You texted me when you were only 15 minutes down the road. You phoned when you were two-and-a-half hours away. You texted me when you arrived at Princely’s home. You sent a photo of your grandchildren showing you their toys. You texted me a goodnight. You texted me this morning. You sent a picture of the grandchildren brushing their teeth.

I’m just hoping you don’t videocall me too.

It’s nice that you keep in touch and try to include me in your joy. I know that. You want me to be special to your grandchildren as you are to them, and for them to be special to me as they are to you. This is thoughtful and honorable.

But I am still glad you are there with them this weekend, rather than here with them. What can I say. I love having the house to myself, as I will for the next three days.

Last night for supper I had two Arrowroot cookies, an apple, some taco chips, and some Pringles with dip.

I’m on a holiday; that’s how it feels.

Another Tuesday in TinyTown

Almost noon; soon time to eat my peanut butter sandwich. It’s supposed to get up to 90F today so I’ve got the noisy air conditioner plugged in beside me. Except for people coming in to buy water or garbage tags, or to ask for this or that, my only task for today is to list the lots for sale in town so they can be advertised.

I can hardly hear myself think. But if I don’t run the machine, I’ll be sorry when the sun starts hitting the front window here to the left of the table.

Himself’s hoping to go see his grandchildren on Thursday. I can’t go without feeling irresponsible, leaving my co-workers in the lurch as everything is delayed because of the condition of this town’s financial records. We just got the computer back from the government so could transfer the balances forward, which is what I’ve been working on for taxes and utilities accounts.

I would like to see the little girls, so part of me is disappointed not to be able to go. The other part is glad I have an excuse not to go, as being there 24 hours a day for several days is so irritating and boring for me. I’m glad Himself will go anyway, as it’s always so relaxing to have a few days at home without him around. That sounds mean. Let me explain. I look forward to his arrival every afternoon or evening, but I also feel pressure because I know he wants food to be prepared when he gets there and when it isn’t, he is in a snit and finds other things to criticize.

I’m not going to prepare meals in order to avoid his disapproval. When I don’t feel like cooking at the end of the day, I often do anyway, but sometimes I don’t. And that’s my god-given choice and no one has any business criticizing me for it or being pissed off about it. Feeding another adult is NOT my responsibility, NOT something I ever agreed to, NOT something I was even asked, outright, to do. It’s an unspoken expectation of the woman in a domestic arrangement and I’m not buying into it.

I’ve only said this out loud a thousand times, and written it down just as many.

Yet I still feel the pressure, because someone will be making his dissatisfaction known and that is not pleasant to live with.

In actual news, if not previously mentioned:

I have a new friend, a pen-pal in the States, whom I was asked to correspond with because she lives alone and was isolated due to the pandemic. It’s crossed my mind to give her a link to this blog but then again, doing so might have an impact on what I write here. So I’ll hold off on acting upon that impulse, because I might regret it. One time I had an anonymous blog that, after a while, I “outed” to my best friend. She’s my best friend for a reason: she accepts me as I am unconditionally, she is always kind, and she always understands me. However, she managed to find something in there that hurt her feelings, something I’d said about her (she is flat-chested while I am buxom for my build, and I thought she might envy that occasionally) and forgotten about. So I think I’ll hold off on sharing this blog with anyone I know — even a woman I’ll probably never meet.

I’ve also been thinking about opening up the comments section. But why? If any readers have anything to say to me, my email address is on the About Me page. It’s not as if I’m not reachable. So I’ll forget about that for now.

Heat and Smoke

Life goes on, doesn’t it? On and on and on and …

Until it doesn’t. Then life seems too short.

Mine’s been busy, between working extra hours and wishing for more leisure hours otherwise.

Oh well. Money in the bank never hurts. I could say no to the extra hours, but there is a lot to be done and my help is needed and appreciated.

I have only two-and-a-half years left till I’m old enough to get the old age pension.

Fortunately the months and years fly by. Till then I can work lots, pad my pension plan (since I’ve hardly ever worked full-time in my life and won’t receive much of a workers’ pension), and try to enjoy life in the meantime.

I’m in one of my working offices. It’s 2:30 in the afternoon and there’s another hour-and-a-half to go. This is the first chance I’ve had to take a break since arriving shortly before 10 o’clock. This office is in a tiny village of fewer than 100 inhabitants. You’d think there’d be nothing much to do here, wouldn’t you? But since everyone knows most everyone, and many of the villagers were here when I was a little girl riding my bicycle up and down the streets and alleys, there is a lot of chitchat whenever someone stops in. Often it’s just to say hello. And I’m related to half the people in town and around the countryside. Well not quite half; but quite a few.

We’ve had a record heatwave over the past couple weeks, and the smoke from up north as well as from another province has blown in heavily. This means we can’t open our windows at night to cool off the house. Today we have a lot of smoke again but it’s not hot, so it’s a reprieve of sorts. But the heat is to come again this week. Not something to look forward to. The crops have pretty much stalled due to drought and heat. If we don’t get rain soon, there will be a lot of farmers in this area going belly-up. Himself won’t, as he doesn’t borrow money to operate the farm like so many do, believing they have to buy the pesticides and fertilizer that add up to tens of thousands of dollars each year; but he will still lose the time and money he put into seeding and operating machinery this spring. That’s a stress for him, as well as a bit heartbreaking — you hate to see your crops fail after you’ve given them so much care and attention.

And he has cattle, and a hay crop that isn’t doing well, so it could mean having to buy feed to get the animals through the winter. It will be expensive, and cattle prices will be low with so many farmers having to sell them due to the cost. He has said this is the last year he will raise cattle. I’ve been asking him to stop it for the last 10 years already. If he loses his shirt now after ignoring me for a decade, so be it.

You couldn’t pay me enough to be a farmer. Too much risk. It’s hard enough living with one.

Still Here

I’m home. Been home since Friday night. Today’s Tuesday.

Himself is on “best behaviour” (not that it can be maintained 24 hours a day; his nasty has come out once since I returned) and although he says he has been trying and will keep trying not to get “carried away” with drinking, I don’t have much faith in that toothless plan. Where are the tools he didn’t have before, that he has now? Where will he get them?

All our discussion, all my suggestions, were to do with improving the connection between us. As if the poor state of our relationship is the source of his intoxication. The hell it is.

This morning I made a crack (“What — you didn’t solve all the world’s problems during all those hours of talktalktalking?”) about the “big party” and he left in a snit, with only a cold goodbye as he walked away. I can be a sarcastic little cowgirl, a trait I’ve worked on changing. Not always with success, alas. Mostly it comes down to not saying what I’m thinking. I’ve become quite good at that, but not 100% by any means.

My son said to me, “Mom, maybe you should let yourself be unhappy — I mean, stay mad long enough to take effective action. You’re too forgiving, and then you let things go.”

That’s exactly what happens. My anger subsides and I reach for a positive, loving solution that will let me stay in my home and in this relationship. We end up reaffirming our love for each other, but nothing changes.

I like my conveniences, and staying in my home and this relationship are two of them.

I make far too many life choices for convenience’s sake.

My best friend, Petra: “I’m surprised you’re still with him You always make excuses for him. Other people have stressors in their lives; they don’t do or say the things he does.”

My sister Bellwether: “I’m surprised you’re still with him, the way he treats you.”

They hear my upset, my frustration, my disappointment and hurt. I don’t yak about the parts of my life that are going smoothly, the parts of this relationship that are quite nice, supportive, loving, kind and warm. Does this make it sound as if misery is all there is, so that when I let off steam with my close friends, the small picture erases the big picture in their minds?

Let’s give the man some of his due.

He phones to tell me there’s a white goose at the ravine.

He brings me a bouquet of wildflowers when he’s been out in the field.

He makes a fuss about me to the grandchildren, trying to get them to be as excited about me as they are about him.

He brags about me to his family and friends. He doesn’t complain about me, as I do to my family and friends about him. Although as my friends and family say, he has no reason to complain. Then again, they’ve only heard my side of the stories.

I heard on the radio last night someone say “People who have trouble maintaining healthy relationships are often very kind and loving to a companion animal.”

That’s Himself to a T. He dotes on our little dog, searches for it, gets it out of its bed to lie beside him on the couch and be petted, looks for it whenever it’s out of sight.

Thank god he doesn’t do that to me. Though I could use a bit of that massage, if he were ever to offer it, it would be for 30 seconds and then he’d want his turn and would complain if it didn’t last half an hour.

Well I’d better go, have to spend the day in the office.

I wonder how irritating it is for you, dear reader, to follow all this and have things to say to me about how I should smarten up and take the dive off this pier, and not be able to say them.

Man Loaded, Woman Running

It was a beautiful spring evening, windless, fresh because we’d had a lovely rain during the night before. I was looking forward to Himself arriving home. He’d texted me shortly after six that he was “Coming home in a while” and I’d texted back “Should I be taking your pork roast out of the oven now?” but he hadn’t replied, so I took it out anyway and made a pot of steamed cauliflower. I ate half of the vegetable myself, with butter, salt and pepper. Delicious. Afterward I went for a walk.

Soon I saw his truck coming down the road but was confused because he doesn’t normally drive fast enough to make the motor roar like that. Alongside me it came, with a teenage girl driving; behind that, another half-ton driven by someone else. They waved, I waved, and soon after they turned into our driveway I could hear Himself’s cousin in our yard.

Shit, I thought. I hope he hasn’t brought that drunken idiot home for the evening. Those kinds of guests I can do without. I felt sick but there was no escape. I’d been seen heading toward the yard and it would be obvious, if I carried on past our driveway, that I was avoiding them.

I made my way into the yard, where the cousin and Himself were standing outside the truck that would, I hope, soon be leaving. I could hear the cousin insisting they must wait till I got there to meet his daughter’s boyfriend, who’d been driving one of the vehicles.

“Don’t be mad!” the cousin said to me. “I got him home safely!” Once on a 30-below winter night the two of them had been drinking and hit the ditch on a country road. By the time someone came along and got them out, the cousin’s wife had gone out looking for them, putting herself in considerable danger. When the men got to our place, they got an earful. I guess the cousin hasn’t forgotten.

“I see that,” I said, somewhat wryly, as Himself, grinning as if this was a big joke, put an arm around my shoulders. “Thanks for noth — thanks,” I said, and walked toward the house.

Himself followed me up the steps; I entered the porch and closed the door in his face. I picked up my purse, my keys, my toothbrush and toothpaste, and went outside. He was walking on the grass, or trying to; barely able to remain on his feet. Disgusting.

“I’m drunk,” he said.

“I feel sorry for that daughter who often has to see her father drunk, and any woman who has to live with a man who comes home drunk. I’m not one of them. Goodbye.” I turned and walked away.

I drove into town and came to my son’s house to ask if I could spend the night here. We had a nice evening together. I slept on the couch and went home early the next morning to change into clothes for work, make myself a lunch to take along, and pick up my office binder. Himself remained in bed.

After work I went home again to carry my bedding plants into the house, since it had been very windy all day and worse was forecast. Himself was at the kitchen sink, washing dishes… something he only does when he is well aware he has crossed a line and seems to think this is the only way to apologize. He didn’t stop to speak to me, nor I to him. I packed my pyjamas, a couple books, and my laptop, and left again without a word, staying there all of five minutes.

I spent last night here at my son’s again. He went to work this morning, I had a freelance project to complete by noon, and my son came for lunch at one o’clock. I wondered if he could put up with me and his brother over this weekend, and me till Thursday, when I move to the lakeside cabin I am renting for the following four nights. By then I might have found a solution, a place to move to, something. His answer was no and, though disappointed and just a little surprised, I thanked him for the two nights of hospitality and prepared to go home. There isn’t anywhere else to go, really; not with my other son for the weekend, and even if he wasn’t coming out. My sister’s husband wouldn’t want me there and would browbeat her if I stayed a few nights. My aunt would keep me but I’d go insane with her TV up at high volume day and night and her constant bitching. I’d rather sleep in my car and who knows, I still might. There’s no hotel within 75 miles, although there are some bed-and-breakfast places. I’ll see. Maybe this time Himself will go stay elsewhere when asked.

So I’ve packed up the few things I have here, done up the dishes, tidied the house a bit, and will go pick up my son in half an hour. I feel for women whose spouse is abusive when he’s drunk. Mine isn’t; he’s just pathetic and I feel sick to my stomach just remembering how he appeared that night. I know I can’t change his behaviour — it’s not my monkey — but I also know I can’t stomach it. All I want is to get away, as far away from it — and the memory of it — as I can.

This isn’t the first time he’s come home in this condition. I think last time, he promised it wouldn’t happen again. I think. He’s been successful for a while then. But even if it’s only once a year, even if it’s only once every five years, it’s too often for me. And maybe this is just the thin straw that is breaking the camel’s back because there are other conditions I’ve been miserable about many, many times, and didn’t leave because I had no place to go.

I still have no place to go. Will it be enough that he might get my message that this cannot happen again? Can I get past it?

I’m sad and disheartened. I’ll be fine. I’m always fine. It’s just that I don’t know what to do next, and oh how I HATE IT when that happens.

I Had a Dream

Soon time to pack up my laptop, lock the office door, do a quick drop-off of garbage tags for a disabled lady, stop in and say hello to the aunt whom I’ve been able to avoid visiting because of health regulations (which have been loosened this past week), maybe swing by my sister Bellwether’s for a quick gab if she’s home from her own job by then … and I’m looking forward to the rest of the week FREE. Free, I say! Free from working for a living, that is. I’ll still have to do dishes, all by hand. I’ll still have to load up and take the garbage and recycling to town, and get the household groceries, and sweep the floor (when I think of it), and … well, the stuff of life that most of us have to do at least some of.

I am so entitled. Somehow, I figure I should be able to do what I want, all day, every day. As if I don’t have to pay my way or anything.

It’s not as if I have a spouse who supports me financially, or an independent income that doesn’t rely upon any effort from me.

Still, I dream of the day, should it ever come, when inexplicably I’ll have enough money coming in by magic that I can just stay home and do exactly what I want, day after day, till I die.

Am I asking too much?