I’ve slept a little late,
which means stepping outside sooner than I’m really ready. The neighbour’s dog
needs to be let outside before 10:00 … darn it. Fortunately my ski pants slide
nicely over my pyjamas.
The three small dogs I’m staying
with are easy (mostly; I had to deal with a dry-hard-shit-egg-stuck-in-an-ass-causing-constipation
horror the other day that left me sweaty and gagging and grossed out, and I
hope upon hope it doesn’t happen again) but the neighbour’s dog doesn’t want to
be here. I was to care for him Sunday to Tuesday, which stretched into
overnight and this morning. When he’s here, he’s driving me nuts, whining and
pacing (and also shit on the floor twice yesterday morning) – I finally took
him home and left him there.
I may have to reconsider
this dogsitting thing, although it’s so nice to be here and not at home that it’s
worth it, for the peace.
My sister gets home on the
18th and I’ve agreed to stay with someone else’s dog from the 21st
to the 6th, also right near our hometown but just out of the village.
After that, Himself is going to the next province to dote on the grandgirl and
work on his son’s basement, and I won’t accompany him. Visits there are no
pleasure for me. The TV is on constantly and loud; their friends are coming
over with big dogs sometimes; their own two neurotic dogs are nuts and
underfoot and fight with each other and freak out if you open an oven door or
use a broom; the daughter-in-law gets bitchy and I hate to be around that – not
with me but with our son – and she yells at the dogs; she and our son love to
shop for six hours at a time, and go out to eat (driving across the city and waiting
in line for a table is not my idea of a fun outing, and neither is shopping),
and have people over for meals – Himself will go along with everything as he
wants to be with his son 24 hours a day even if it’s not doing things he himself
likes to do, but I just don’t have this need; they like board games (snore) in
the evening and want me to play; the little granddaughter is a sweetheart but I’m
not one to entertain a little one constantly and don’t find her as fascinating
as Himself does. He is happy to be part of it all, but me … no. I’d rather read
a book, I really only like “visiting” for about two hours at a time, and there
is no solitude in that house and no real quiet. I can go for walks but the
place is surrounded by houses and the traffic is loud to me; it’s not a
pleasure or a relaxation to walk there. It’s not the place for me for any
length of time, and if Himself goes alone he can stay longer. I don’t want to
be there at all and haven’t returned since our trip to meet the newborn, when
he insisted we stay at their house (though Himself has a sister whom we could’ve
stayed with) and I felt this was so inconsiderate of a new mother with her
first baby that I felt terrible. “We can’t do that, it would hurt my son’s
feelings if we don’t stay there,” was Himself’s excuse. His son’s feelings were
more important than mine, and more important than the new mom’s – who would
never say we weren’t welcome, but did let it slip on the day we left that this
would be the first night they’d had to be alone in their house with their new
baby and she would enjoy it. I didn’t blame her one bit, poor thing. They’d had
constant company staying with them since her return from the hospital. And of
course Himself just wants to be with his son (and now the grandbaby) all the
time, so no one else’s feelings really mattered to him. They didn’t then and
they don’t now. The second grandchild will be born in April and I may not go
then either, even if Himself and I are still together and it doesn’t look like
we will be. I went the first time because I knew he wanted to share this new
life with me; he was so excited. This next time, if I’m true to myself instead
of putting his feelings (and maybe the kids’ too; I don’t want to hurt their
feelings either) first, I won’t go unless he agrees to stay somewhere else than
their home. He won’t, and I hate to put myself through the hell (for me) that
is staying at their place.
I talked to my friend
Clementine last week and was comforted to hear that her spouse has a daughter
whose home she refuses to visit anymore because it is no pleasure for her. She
sends her spouse there alone. He has a son whom Clem loves to visit because he’s
fun to be with, while the daughter is a different story. So I’m not the only
one. I’ve been afraid that I’m too inflexible, too intransigent, too fussy, not
giving enough, not selfless enough, immature, etc. Maybe I am and have to
accept this about myself. I don’t owe anyone anything, least of all my time.
I’ve been here since
Thursday afternoon and haven’t contacted Himself, nor he me. I was keeping my
distance from him the day before I left because he’d had an outburst of temper
and hatred toward me, and he left the house before I was out of bed Thursday
morning. If he does text or call, I doubt I’ll respond. I wouldn’t be surprised
if he just shows up here, but I hope he doesn’t.
Clearly we are both enjoying
the break. That’s the only “drama” in my life, and it’s nothing new. I don’t
want to live with him anymore and don’t know where else to live. Again, nothing
new. I was ready to move out last year at this time and told him so; he said he’d
move instead, then never did, and we muddled along, trying to be better to each
other and with some success. But he’s still a bad-tempered, quick-tempered man
whose life now seems to revolve around not only his son and granddaughter but
his trip to England and Sweden back in June/July and his Facebook account. I am
sick of hearing about them all. I guess that’s his nature – to be obsessive
about whatever his current passions are – but to me there is something pathetic
about having to check the traffic and weather every day in the city where the
kids live and watch the news from there and so on. And he’s still talking about
that Europe trip every chance he gets. I would like to block my ears somehow. I
know it was the trip of his lifetime and all, but what about the here and now?
Is there nothing worth talking about?
This is me “resisting”
what IS, isn’t it? Well, I’m trying not to. I attempt to keep my reaction from
showing, too, because I don’t want to rain on his parade. It’s not my job to
tell him what to focus upon. I don’t and can’t and shouldn’t control his
interests or activities. All I can do is be aware of my own reaction to his
focus, and try to handle myself with some maturity and sense. And patience. My
most obvious urge is to be somewhere else, somewhere I don’t have to listen to him.
At the moment I have no
work to do; finished up my files yesterday and am waiting for a couple more,
and hoping something more substantial soon comes in, as I had to borrow from
our joint savings account to pay for our groceries and internet (and my
personal expenditures) this past month.
Off to let the neighbour’s
dog out to do his business. I’ll be plowing through crusty, deep snowbanks
since the windstorm the other day.
There. That wasn’t so bad.
It’s actually quite nice out, compared to the past couple days where I was
basically housebound due to the wind and cold and snowing. Today I could’ve
gone for a walk happily, but I’ll wait till there’s food in my belly and I’m
dressed. It’s made me want a second cup of coffee though, so I’m indulging. I’ve
finally lit the beeswax pillar candle I brought along; it’s one made by our
friends and I still wish there was an essential oil of that scent I love so much.
The kitchen table looks very different from when my sister’s home: she has a
tablecloth, napkins, two sets of salt and pepper shakers on the table all the
time. I’ve cleared them off and have my laptop, a place mat, a stack of letters
and photos that I’ve saved for her from the old journals I’ve finished reading over
the past few days, a lip balm tube, a small tub of coconut oil, a roll of
toilet paper (my nose-blowing requires these last two often), my Witches’
datebook, a notepad, and a canvas bag of fine-tipped felt markers. I’m especially
relaxing into not having anyone come along to disturb anything, complain about
anything, and so on. The phone has not been ringing. I don’t feel I “should”
make a big supper for the sake of someone who has a far bigger appetite than I
and insists a meal isn’t complete without meat.
My nephew will be over
sometime today to plow out the driveway; his littlest daughter spent yesterday
afternoon with me. She is a delightful angel at two, but I was still looking forward
to her being picked up by her mama! Her mama then brought Chinese food for
supper and the family of four stayed for an hour or so, and that was nice too,
but it was still a relief when they all piled out again. I hadn’t had the TV on
at all since arriving Thursday so I stretched out on the couch and watched several
episodes of “The Closer.”
I can’t help wondering if
the next 10 days will be just as satisfying. And that is probably more than you
want to know about my life these days. I’m on this lovely, richly appointed
island surrounded by snow and ice. There is family around if I need anything or
anyone human. I’m doing yoga every day, and a bit of meditation. My intellectual
and emotional selves have agreed to work more closely together (this in one of
my visualizations). I only get online to post a photo to Instagram in the
mornings (a new custom in recent months) and to check my email. The rest of the time it’s library books, old
journals (just a couple left to read through now, and the burning stack is large),
myself and my thoughts.
You wrote in a letter how
hurtful it was when your inlaws didn’t even offer their condolences after your
brother passed away. My brother-in-law’s family reacted the same way after Mom
died. They didn’t say a word and he and my sister were angry about that. He finally
told them –they came from Scotland to stay at my sister’s house for a couple weeks
shortly after! And not a peep! – that Mom had been very important to him and
close to my sister and they were both gutted and not acknowledging the loss
caused even more pain. I know it’s people’s own discomfort at talking about
death that stops them from mentioning the elephant in a room, and that they are
afraid of upsetting the bereaved, but still … most people have enough common
sense to take the risk. Or is it all about manners, and different people/cultures
having different ones?
You will be missing your
boy. It must have been a comfort to have him home, particularly at this time. I’m
glad to hear that your husband seems willing to acknowledge he is not the only
one with stresses and strains. Himself is not there yet. He’s the only one who’s
ever hard-done-by. Everyone uses him and doesn’t appreciate all he does for
them. He’s the only one who ever does anything. Everyone else’s life is a
breeze. Everyone else is stupid and lazy. And so on.
I’ve been trying not to dwell
on these situations with Himself that disappoint and anger me. Trying to take my
reactions and distaste, acknowledge them, and then just let them go, rather
than allow thoughts about them to go around and around in my head as they will
do if left to follow those existing ruts. Trying to strengthen, deepen and encourage
happier, more healthy thoughts that may bring happier, more healthy results. Trying
not to identify with my thoughts so much, to remember that I am not my
thoughts, that my thoughts aren’t necessarily true; they are just thoughts that
come along and don’t need to be clung to, repeated, or even necessarily acted
upon in every moment.
I see my nephew is out
there now with a tractor and blade. I plugged my car in last night, not because
I plan to go anywhere but because it was at least 20-below and I always think
What If there were a fire? I’d need to be able to start a vehicle, to keep
warm. I forgot the neighbour’s house is open and would be the place to go. It’s
not like living at our place, where you’d have to walk a mile in your pyjamas
to get out of the freezing cold if you weren’t warm enough standing outside
watching your house burn.
Seems warmer this morning
so I will unplug the car again.
I have been trying to contact my cousin’s widow often, even just a text, but she is busy and though I know she’s suffering, maybe I’m not the one to help her. We’ve never been close; she and my cousin spent almost all their time together and with their fine sons, and she was never all that welcoming to me. But I’ll keep reaching out to her anyway; I’ve known her since we were kids, too. I have a silly story my cousin wrote one night after we’d been out driving around and drinking as teenagers, and I’ve got it with me to give to her when I get over there. She’s been away helping her son and daughter-in-law care for a young granddaughter whose heart doesn’t work properly and who requires a lot of medications. It’s another great strain that family has been under for the past two years or so. The little one needs a heart transplant but may not be strong enough to survive it if she’s lucky enough to get one.
My life is so easy, in
comparison. Right now. I do appreciate it. All I have to worry about is a place
to live and a reliable income. Nothing life-threatening. Just inconvenience,
really. I don’t seem to mind the impending “loss” of Himself, though I don’t
want to hurt him. I’m not sure it will hurt him anyway. He’s not as able as I
am to be alone, but he orbits around other people so much that I’m not sure I’ll
be missed much, if at all.
Oh! My cousin’s widow has
just answered my text, is home, and will come for tea this afternoon! I’ll get
dressed and wash my face.
I was just making Red River
Cereal for breakfast (yes it’s noon now but whatever), which was reminding me
of a time spent with Inez at a little power-station house near a small village
in British Columbia, where we spent the third term of our volunteer stint as
19-year-olds. And she phoned. By the time I figured out how to answer it, the
phone had stopped ringing and I got a message that the battery is low. I’ve plugged
it in and will talk with her later, when I won’t be tethered to the wall.
It’s time to tidy up and
start preparing for the afternoon visit, so I’ll get this “into the mail” and
hope it finds you doing okay with all you’ve been through lately.
I don’t know when’s the
last time I’ve written such a long letter. Must have something to do with the
perfect roomy conditions around me, with endless time to read and write and
look out the windows all around. Such a freedom.