Fairweather Lives

Saturday, August 10, 2019

9:20am

Just back from a three-mile walk in cool wind, but I’m sweaty and did get overheated for a while and felt like slowing to snail’s crawl. Woke with neck a bit “out” after hoping and half-expecting never again to feel this way due to second treatment (neurowhatever, craniosacral whatever, etc., that two people we know have had such successful results from).

I might have been in bed before eight last night. I’d been tired since the moment of awakening yesterday morning. The shopping day in the city after breakfast and business in our town took it right out of me I guess. Shopping for clothing – disappointing as ever – I wanted some nicer tops to wear to the office in my home town, where my new job is, and browsed through one secondhand store and three clothing shops. I tried on three shirts in one shop and none looked good on me. The only things I bought were from the secondhand store, for $4 each: a pair of pyjamas, a nightie, a black vest, a black blazer, and a black zippered jacket for indoor wear. Last night I wore the nightie. On the label is written, in black felt pen, what I take to be someone’s name. In old folks’ homes and nursing homes, residents’ clothing is identified this way in case it gets misplaced or needs sorting after laundry. Items like my nightie are donated to secondhand stores after the owner dies. I thought about the lady who wore my nightie, whose nightie I was now wearing, whose loved ones miss her, who had a life now mostly forgotten from the inside. I thanked her silently for the pretty nightie because it felt so good to wear something new (to me) and cosy.

There’s a lot I think I have to do today and this weekend. When really I want to do nothing before I get the urge to do it. I’m tired.

When I get home from work I feed the cats in the barn and then deadhead the petunias and portulaca and water the pots. I feel stressed as I do it because I think I should be starting supper, and gradually the stress drains away as the beauty of the flowers becomes larger. I have a right to relax and spend time outside today!, I remind myself. I’ve been stuck indoors most of the day; I’ve been working – learning, more than actually working – and the fresh air is good for me. I remind myself of these things so as to feel less pressured. But I also start feeling hungry and when I come in, instead of starting supper I grab something to eat immediately. Usually it’s an apple if there are no bran muffins. I try for something healthy even though what I crave are the Miss Vickie’s potato chips in the pantry.

Being in my home town those three six-hour days (seven if you count the drive there and back) isn’t hard, but it isn’t easy either. Things at home don’t get done. Not that they always get done when I’m not working outside my home office, but then I have a choice.  Now those 24 hours a week are not available for looking after myself and my home and enjoying both in the ways I’ve become accustomed to.

There hasn’t been time to sit and journal. Blogging has been reduced to sporadically. So on, so forth. This sounds like complaining. It isn’t. It’s coping with a different reality, and trying to describe it.

“What I’m looking for is commitment,” said the councillor, my former schoolteacher, when the village council interviewed me for the clerk/admin job.

“I won’t keep a job that I hate, but what I’m looking for is a stable part-time job till I die,” I said.

I now feel as if I must stick it out for a good long time even if I end up hating it.

I also wonder if, should I stick with it (as I expect to), the village will be able to afford to pay me indefinitely. Apparently sometimes it’s touch’n’go. I’ve seen a lot of overdue bills and at least one collections letter. Many property owners haven’t paid their taxes for many years and that doesn’t help.

Also, I’m not thick-skinned. When people criticize or complain, I will be stressed – even on my four-day weekend. I will have trouble getting to sleep. I know this about myself. It’s not that the stress is obviously from any one thing, but when I feel disapproved-of or wrong or inadequate, I react with anxiety unless I know without a doubt that the critic’s barbs are misplaced (and even then, I am bothered). I will buy some Vitamin B6 to help me withstand stress. I’m also going to start taking silica for my fingernails, which break and tear so that they are now all short and ragged. I’m tired of them looking like shit and if they look like shit, my general health can’t be all that good either. Though my hair is super-healthy so I can’t be in too bad a shape.

I’ve walked virtually every morning for the past four weeks. I know that my fitness has begun to improve but these fingernails tell me something is missing from my diet. My middle is flabby and I don’t like to see it. I hope the walking will tighten that up.

Proofreading to do today. Last night’s supper dishes. Wash our sheets. Order my friend’s product for her because she has no credit card. Put Himself’s roast in the oven and think of something to eat with it. These are my must-do’s.

My list of hope-to-do’s:

Make bran muffins for next week’s lunches

Make granola before we run out

Prune the shasta daisies and delphiniums

Sweep or vacuum the floor

That’s enough, though I have lots of other ideas.

Dreamed I met up with old boyfriend B.H. and we had an affectionate reunion, where I hugged him long and hard. He was doing very well financially and now has a grandchild. He hasn’t aged, looks the same as he did at 20. He met with Petra too but didn’t seem to recognize her; she looks very different than she did back then, very aged, and I hoped she wouldn’t be aware this was the reason he didn’t seem to know her.

Best go eat a bit more and maybe take laptop out to kitchen table so #1Son won’t feel he’s spending his whole day alone, with me here in the office getting my proofing done.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

11:36am

Another day of feeling pressed and not allowing myself to hurry. I’ll live at my own damn pace, dammit!

So instead of getting up and going walking when the alarm came on, I dozed. Instead of going straight out after getting up, I read and had some coffee. Instead of going straight out after that, I ate two slices of toast with Pet’s rhubarb-raspberry jam. Then I walked, but it was already too warm by the time I was making my way home around 10. Walks are going to have to be early, as originally planned.

It’s hard to stick to my plan when I’m waking up tired and the house is cold.

This is the first time I’ve planted nasturtiums and they’re all leaves, hardly any blossoms.

No one has trouble growing a good stand of hollyhocks, but apparently me. Hollyhocks! That’s plain ridiculous. They should be bursting out all over where I planted them. Maybe they’re having to struggle too hard against the caraganas.

Then I spent an hour in the flowerbeds and watering, and am giving the perennial beds a deep watering for the next three hours.

Now: an hour of work.  

Monday, August 12, 2019

8:52am

Dammit, still tired. Today I’ll blame it on having to get up about 3 o’clock to take an anti-inflammatory for my neck so I could sleep.

I hope this lack of energy will soon pass.

So far this morning I didn’t go walking, but did get a load of laundry folded and put another one in to dry and our bedding to wash.

It’s cool and grey out there; I’ve put the furnace on as it’s only 68F in the house this morning. I should be able to take my walk later.

Have a proofing file to finish.

Yesterday I did vacuum the entire house; that’s been needing to be done for quite a while.

I’m tired, but not totally wasted.

Maybe some breakfast will help.

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Trying to Keep Up


It’s been nose-to-the-grindstone around here lately, with several projects on the go and their deadlines. Just realized the current one isn’t due till Monday so I’m not working anymore today. Tomorrow Fairweather will go with Himself to the city. There’s been a recall on his truck and she’ll keep him company, do a little shopping. He’s changed his tune a lot lately, as has she, so it should be an enjoyable outing. 


Mostly the outdoors calls her and she works an hour or more at a time in her office and then bounces out the door for a walk past the flowerbeds and to the end of the driveway and sometimes out onto the road for a mile. She’s trying to do the driveway stroll every time she goes out; to get into the habit. It’s not far but it passes the tiny forest she loves and it gives her a deep peace. 


She was just out to the barn to feed cats, but they had food left over from yesterday. Obviously they’ve had successful hunts lately. The eyes of the youngest, smallest kitten, which is grey (Dorian, she calls it) among all the oranges, are gummed up so it can’t see at all. She’s going to go out again with some clean water and cotton balls, see if she can’t help it out. Sweet little thing, loves to be petted. All the tamer ones do, but Dorian really gets into it. He fits into her hand. She reminds herself not to get attached to any of them because one day they’re just gone, sometimes. But still she does enjoy their little sweetnesses.


It’s become clear that Fairweather needs to cultivate a more active social life, even though she has no desire to. She’s completely content in her little world here only as long as Himself is treating her with affection every day. As soon as he hasn’t for a few days or if he’s gotten rude even for a moment, she’s movin’ on, baybee! Obviously she places too much importance on this relationship and relies on it to keep her heart full. That’s not a healthy thing.

 
Well she had better go deal with those little eyes before she forgets. She could easily ramble on here for quite a while and not think of those eyes again till tomorrow. 

Almost Summer

Goodness, Ms Walker has gotten behind, hasn’t she.

What’s going on is that she’s been trying to remember to stay in the moment — practical advice came from Kim Eng, who said “Stop and take one deep breath every 10 minutes” — and of course Fairweather doesn’t remember to do it that often, but it’s a good idea and she tries.

Otherwise she’s been mostly outside walking around or pulling weeds or watering flowers whenever the weather permits. We don’t call her Fairweather Walker for nuthin’!

Today she’s been in the house for one-hour increments between warming up in the sun. She’s been proofreading a 125-page file of text and illustrations. That file’s been polished off and she should start on the next one, due Friday, but y’know … life. There’s life to be lived, and she just Wants To Be Outside!

And that’s where she’s going, as soon as she catches up on one of her favourite blogs. She’s fallen behind. It’s been nice out.

Still Kickin’

Where does the time go, she wonders.

Well, she can keep wondering. The answer never appears.

It’s not that Fairweather’s completely forgotten this blog. She doesn’t want to.

Maybe because things are going well, she doesn’t have the need to be heard.

Update:

They didn’t stay an extra day in the city. The son and daughter-in-law wanted them to, but Himself said no, they’d leave as planned. He heard the daughter-in-law tell someone “The reason I came home from the hospital was I thought they would be here till Thursday.” She had insisted on leaving the hospital before her doctor and nurses thought she should. They were there the first night to help, and Fairweather got her good long hold of the newborn, and they all spent a nice evening together.

On the drive home, she was reading when a sentence jumped out of the book: “Patience is paramount.” She had realized, over the course of their stay, that she could get herself worked up and pissed off by being impatient about her situation when, if she’d just understand that the feelings were temporary, they’d pass more quickly and easily. Patience is paramount.

Fairweather is practising, practising, practising surrender to each moment.

The other night she sat around a kitchen table with 9 other adults and found herself bored with the conversation. She remembered to use this situation as an opportunity to practise focusing on her breathing and staying present.

Anyway, Fairweather is still here. Quite content since returning home / gets a little uptight at the thought of the kids coming to visit later in the month, but hey, at least they’re not moving in.

Evil Step-Grandmother

After a nine-hour drive with no stops for meals (I packed sandwiches, fruit, carrot sticks and sausage), four stops for pees (one of those including a fuel-up), we arrived in the city late Saturday afternoon and, after dropping off Himself’s mother at his sister’s, drove over here to his son’s House of Chaos.

The TV in the living room blared music videos at high volume for the first hour. This could be heard all over the house; there was no escape. I’d been up since 5 a.m. so this was almost painful and I struggled not to let it show. I came upstairs to bed as early as possible and breathed a sigh of relief as the bedroom door closed behind me.

Himself’s 18-month-old granddaughter is very dear but I’m not nearly as smitten and do not dance attendance on her or her parents, as Himself does. They are demanding attention-chasers and everything is done for public effect, as if they are royalty. The new baby was born yesterday and we were “commanded” to arrive at the hospital at a certain time; we had stayed with the granddaughter overnight and were handed a list of the exact clothing she was to wear to the hospital; and so on.

At the end of our first day here, after I’d spent the afternoon sitting around (and doing some pacing from sheer boredom) with Himself’s mother and aunt who came over while he was working in the basement, he invited me to go for a walk.

“You could take one of the dogs,” his son called.

“No,” I said.

“Does anyone want to come along?” Himself said, and I thought to myself — if anyone does, after we go a block I’ll say I have to go to the bathroom, and turn back myself. I didn’t need to be with people; I needed to get away from them. No one took him up on his offer.

I said, “It wouldn’t be a sin to get away on our own like this for a while, you know. You didn’t have to invite anyone else.”

“I was just being polite,” he said.

“Well I’ve had a mittful of other people all day,” I said, “and what I needed was a little bit of time alone with you. There’s nothing impolite about that. We are a couple and I don’t think anyone would think we’re impolite for wanting to go for a walk, just the two of us. There’s still a houseful back there.”

He thought I was being nasty.

“You want to be miserable,” he said.

“No one wants to be miserable,” I said. “That’s not fair. I’m doing my best to get through a situation that is uncomfortable for me; I can’t help that.”

“You’ve looked at me with disdain all day.”

“I haven’t! I haven’t meant to.” Clearly my attempt at acting like any of this is a pleasure for me is not getting past him.

As usual, his family here has already started pressuring him to stay longer than we planned, and he feels it’s his responsibility to “help” as if we haven’t helped enough already by being here to look after the little one and finish up work in their basement and run back and forth to the hospital with stuff the daughter-in-law wants. I pray he doesn’t succumb to their desires but know that he probably would like to never leave, frankly.

I am trying to welcome the moment as it is or at least accept it, but failing quite … miserably. I’m trying to open my heart to support his need to be here and jump at their commands and be a part of it all, and to hide my own desperation to be anywhere but here. Honest to God, when everyone leaves the house I’m sure my sigh of relief can be heard one province over. But I just can’t seem to get away from my own feelings and thoughts that are “Fuck I hate this.” Maybe I need to accept those too — just don’t let them show. I’m doing my best acting but Himself seems to see through it.

I fantasize about leaving him to move into my own house and wash my hands of his family — none of whom are terrible people! Except maybe the daughter-in-law, who is, kinda, sometimes. Has no qualms about throwing loud temper tantrums and giving orders to Himself, his son, and her sister who is also staying here right now to help with her niece. She’s good to me so far, but I don’t like to witness some of her behaviour. I wake up during the night feeling sick at the thought of next time they visit our house for days at a time and all the years ahead when they will do so.

I must be a horrible person. They and Himself do all they can to include me as if I’m one of the “real” grandmas. This is kind and I appreciate it; I wouldn’t feel better if they didn’t, would I?

It just seems that I’m unable to get over myself and enjoy this thing that everyone else in the world seems to find enriching: grandparenthood. I don’t enjoy looking after the granddaughter or playing with her. It bores me. Himself could do it for hours and find it engrossing; he thinks she’s the smartest, most fascinating and best of all children everywhere, ever. I don’t enjoy other people talking baby talk and trying to cajole her into doing something she doesn’t want to do. I don’t believe in asking permission from small children when the only thing that gets results is gentle firmness. I don’t talk down to children as if they don’t understand normal English. I don’t speak of myself in the third person, saying “Let Grandma put your pants on.” I say “Let’s get your pants on; I’ll help you.”

Oh I judge. I judge! I roll my eyes (not visibly, but in my head that’s what I’m doing).

It seems to me that Himself now chooses to have his life revolve around the life of his grandchildren, while I choose to have my life revolve around our life. This is a major difference in our focus and I’m not sure we’ll get past it.

His text from the hospital just now: “They’re coming home.”

Me, here alone, to myself: “Shit.”

Oh well. Better to hold the baby here than in the hospital. Look on the bright side, Fairweather. If all goes well, we’re out of here tomorrow. If Himself chooses to stay an extra day, I don’t know how I’ll react. I know how I’ll react on the inside. On the outside, will I be able to be gracious and understanding and oh! sure! I will try. Meanwhile I’ll be promising myself that I’ll never come back here again.

Kill Me Now

“You seem to be talking yourself into hating it,” says Birdie. “Try not to stew about it ahead of time. Try to enjoy yourself.”

How do I do that?

Tell myself lies, I guess, and hope they become true.

Fake it till you make it. Isn’t that the saying?

When Birdie texts me and asks how things are going, I’ll reply: “Couldn’t be better.” She’ll know it’s a lie, but at least I won’t sound like a complainer.

Maybe the next day I’ll respond with “Thrilled to be here” or “Having a wonderful time.”

So phony! But at least I won’t be complaining to her.

It will be the same with Himself. He may be watching me while we’re there, he may even ask me how I’m doing, and I will pretend it’s no problem, I’m having an easy time of it, that I want to do the things his son wants us to do. FUCK. Right now I just can’t see how I’ll get through being so goddamn fake. I hate being fake, but being my real self will ruin things for Himself and I don’t want to be that kind of spouse.

One way I will be myself is refusing to walk the dogs if they ask me to, because it will mean picking up dog shit. I will not carry a plastic bag and pick up dog shit. They can look after their own damn pets.

Bitching to a Friend. Again.

I guess I probably “should” be in my home town, helping my cousin’s wife and her daughter-in-law and whoever else is involved with pinching perogies for a fundraiser. But instead I’m home with a free afternoon after agreeing to a hair appointment at 9:30 this morning, so I’ve already been to town and stopped at the bank, library and post office after the haircut and  don’t want to go out again. I think I’m a bit shellshocked or something and really just want to crawl under the covers and sleep for the next 10 days. But … can’t.

Things are going well around here; the odd fisticuffs but much more rare and less intense these days. The new grandchild is due to be delivered by caesarean next Monday so we are planning a trip to the city, which I dread — the 10 hours on the road there, the four nights at the kids’ home with the 18-month-old and the 2 neurotic dogs and the constant TV in the living room and no escape from traffic noise and closed-in by houses all around, and the long drive back.
 

The thought of it makes me feel slightly sick. I’ve told Himself how I feel and why (hoping that between us we could come up with a plan that would help me handle things), that it would be a lot easier for me if we didn’t stay at his son’s and especially when our daughter-in-law is recovering from surgery and they have a new baby (this is extremely inconsiderate and I’m embarrassed to be doing it; I wouldn’t want my inlaws as house guests if it was me in her shoes, as house guests add stress even if they’re helping with cooking and childcare), and if we didn’t stay in the city as long either, but he won’t budge to meet me in any direction, he just gets mad and abusive when it isn’t his way the whole way, so finally I just said Make Your Plans, Then, Just Let Me Know So I Can Psyche Myself Up For It.  He’d also said his mother would like to ride with us and since I hate the way he speaks to her (rude, impatient, condescending; gee, where do you think the pattern in OUR relationship came from!) this also stresses me; I don’t like to be with him when he is with her, and I’ll be stuck in a vehicle with them both.

This morning he told me that I don’t have to go if I don’t want to; that if I’m just going to be miserable and make everyone around me suffer, he’d rather I stay home. 

Since when do I make everyone around me suffer? I said. I don’t bang things around in the kitchen or stomp about; I try to keep a smile on my face and be pleasant. You’re the only one who knows I don’t want to be there, and that’s not because I’m giving you the stink-eye or the cold shoulder. I don’t act pissed off when we’re there. I try to go along with everything. I’ve told you how I feel beforehand so that we could try to accommodate each other, but if you choose to ignore my every request and I choose to go along with your plans anyway, as is the case here, I’m going to keep my feelings to myself and cope with them as best I can. 

But I know you’re not enjoying yourself and I feel guilty, he said. I can already see that you’re stressed.

Well, says I, I’d feel guilty if I don’t go. I feel expected to show an interest (one I don’t really feel; I didn’t say this part to him)  so that no one’s feelings are hurt, and I know you’d do it for me if the shoe was on the other foot, so I don’t think I have an option. This is a special time for you and I know that, and that I’m part of it, for you.

Well I’m giving you an out. You aren’t obligated to go. 

That’s kind of you. I still feel obligated. If you don’t WANT me to go, that’s different. I don’t have a need to be there and if you really don’t want me to go, I won’t. But I think you want me to be there because you want to share the experience of welcoming the new baby with me.

Yes, he said. I do want you with me. 

Well then, said I, I’ll cope. Sometimes we have to do things we don’t really want to do, and I will, and I’ll do my best to do it with a smile on my face. And I can’t resist a newborn baby. 

And that’s where we left it after a kiss goodbye before we each went our own way this morning. Those kisses and goodwill mean so much to me. They give me hope and comfort.

And that’s where I’m at. Sitting with a big lump of negative anticipation that isn’t going away, wishing I knew what to do with it, not knowing how to dissolve it, thinking at my age I should know better how to deal with such things, how to handle myself with more grace in order to have Himself’s back and never mind about my petty little self.

Then watch. We’ll agree on a plan to leave for home Wednesday morning and his sister or son or mother will try to manipulate us into staying longer. They always do and he doesn’t like to say no so he lets it be known that I’m the reason we have to stick to our original plans. Maybe this time he’ll stand up to them and not make it look like I’m the only one who wants to get going. We’ll see. 

I’ll also have to see the renovations he did on their basement, another thing that sickens me because so much is left undone in our own home — no time, he always says — but there is always time to work on his mom’s basement reno or his son’s or to fuck off to Europe for a month like he did last year. While our house still hasn’t got the siding on, which has been stacked in an outbuilding for the last 5 years. Don’t even get me started on the other smaller things he won’t do around here. I’m so resentful, which comes from anger, which comes from hurt — blah blah blah — when he talks about what he’s done or is doing there, that I can’t even pat him on the back for a job well done. Instead I take a deep breath and try not to react honestly, but to look as if I have no feelings or thoughts at all other than courteous interest. His actions are not in my control and nothing I say or ask him to do here makes any difference and so I say nothing to him anymore about it. He has his reasons and I may not like them but they’re his right to have. Meanwhile my stomach churns whenever the subject comes up, and I try to keep my feelings off my face. I’m not denying or repressing them; I’m aware of them, I acknowledge them and their particular truth; I just don’t share them with him now. I have in the past; he knows. I do believe in honesty between spouses, but once is enough. What’s the point of repetition, of carrying on saying the same things over and over. Unfortunately I have a tendency to be spiteful, to want to punish him for disappointing me; this, also, is a way I don’t want to be. 

I’m so torn between how I want to be and think and feel (because life would be better for me) and how I really do. I’m reaching for the proverbial high road but so often I just am not tall enough. I keep reminding myself, “This is how it is.” Trying to accept it, surrender to it, let it be, go with the flow, relax, it is what it is, this too shall pass, it’s not the end of the world, see?
Talk about needing to ‘get over yourself.’ It seems I can’t!

The hairdresser said to me out of the blue, “You look sad.” I was surprised, just as I was surprised when Himself said he can see I’m stressed about this trip. I don’t think it’s showing, but it must be. Maybe it always does, when you feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. This latter must be one of my life challenges, as I’ve so often felt this way.

Another thing I’m trying to do is to stop talking and writing about it, focusing on it. So far I’ve managed this in my handwritten journal. Mostly. When I talk or write to you, my crap still comes out. In a way this reminds me of your desire not to talk about a writing project in the works, as it dissipates your energy to get the thing done. While on the one hand I think in my case that sharing my ‘troubles’ with an understanding friend gives me some relief and occasionally a helpful alternate perspective, on the other I think it might just be more firmly entrenching my habitual thinking — the thoughts that seem to create trouble for me — and dissipating my energy to create the positive change in myself that I’m seeking.

Even now, I consider deleting all this or most of it before hitting the Send button. I’m embarrassed to be telling it — again. And again. And again. What a fuckin whiner. What a selfish, immature twat. Sheesh. 

And with that, I can have a laugh at myself and get on with the day. I think a nap might do me good. 

Please ignore all that’s gone before this sentence, which I will send regardless of my shame, in service of the truth of my experience of the moment, and tell me about your days instead. I hope that chemical smell isn’t making you sick; I can well imagine it might. Oh, on Saturday I went to help Himself in another town on a reno job and afterward I went by myself and sat in the Chinese cafe for two hours, reading. Nobody knew me or stopped to talk. So restful! 

How wonderful it would be if I could find my way to a nice little coffee shop near the kids’ house in the city, and spend part of my days there. I have looked for one, before, but with no luck. They’re close to a hospital — when you drive there — but that’s the only business or public building I’m aware of in their area. Maybe I’ll have to investigate bussing! Maybe I’ll just get on a bus and ride around all day, feeling anonymous! Who knows. Maybe I’ll turn over a leaf and start loving this grandma thing, instead of hating too-large doses of a loud, active child and her grandfather with his fucking baby talk.

In trying to let go of my resistance, I see how intolerant, judgy and critical I actually am. It’s been a real eye-opener. I am my father’s daughter, no doubt about it. Excuse me while I try to remove the stick that appears to be stuck up my ass!