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?

Long Distance Love

Whoa, Nellie! Long time no see. Best intentions aside, I just never get around to this blogging business as I mean to.

While I was away from home for two weeks, Himself sent daily reports in photos. There was snow back here, and deer in our yard, and then the grandchildren were with him for a week. I got to the point where I didn’t even look at his messages, meant to share the wonders of grandparenthood with me. It was nice to be away for two weeks and not have to hear about them every day.

When I arrived back home it was 10 at night and all he wanted to do was talk about them.

I walked away and made tea and tidied up the kitchen, and he was offended that I didn’t seem interested in every detail of what the children said and did.

It’s been three weeks now since that night, and I’ve noticed he hasn’t been video-calling them from our house. It’s unusual, but I imagine he goes over to his mother’s to do it, because she’s into it. Or won’t say so if she isn’t.

His “overdoing” it when it comes to the grandchildren has resulted in me “underdoing” it.

I am much better at loving them from a distance.

Too Good to be True

Recently I asked my guides – my higher self, whom I call Ms Fairweather in visualization – to give me signs that they are really there and not my imagination or wishful thinking. I don’t know why I do this – it’s not as if I haven’t experienced enough in this lifetime – but I do wonder if I’m kidding myself too, out of desperation to believe there is meaning in all this, more to it than there appears to be, help at hand, invisible support. I question my beliefs even at this late date, having already tested them for decades now.

When there are uncanny coincidences, I take these as my guides answering me.

For instance, I have been reading a book whose protagonist’s surname is Boudreau. The next book I pick up – published in another year, another genre altogether – also has the main character’s surname Boudreau.

We watch Back to the Future, and then we watch a British sitcom that refers to something in that movie.

I ask Himself, sitting next to me, if he noticed the coincidence. He did. “Life’s like that,” he says. He’s right, it is. Maybe coincidences mean nothing at all, are just chance.

Yesterday in my meditation – which maybe I shouldn’t call meditation because it’s not a clearing of the mind; it’s an active imagining, really – my “lower” self, whom I call Ms Fairy, suggested she had something to tell me. I tried to listen; got distracted. Today tried again. I felt she was giving me the headsup that something challenging is soon to occur in my life. I don’t want to hear that, it scares me. I wonder if I’m imagining it because I feel low this morning.

Always this doubt, this hesitance to believe.

Perfect Timing

Himself’s son and grandchildren will come to visit us while I’m away later this month. It will be safer for them (my reasoning; not theirs – they seem to take no precautions whatsoever for themselves or anyone else when it comes to spreading covid — or maybe they will be just as happy that I’m not here as I will be) than coming after I return, when who knows what I may have picked up in my travels. I will have had my vaccination by then, but can still be a carrier.

That last part is what I’m saying out loud. As if I regret not being here and seeing them.

In my head, I’m saying Whew, I won’t have to put up with their mother squawking at them in her high voice, Himself fawning ridiculously over the children as he does (which makes my lack of fawning so obvious), and so on.

This time, I get a reprieve.

I know, I’m awful.

I accept that. Not in a hate-myself, sorry way. In a too-bad, that’s-me way. It is what it is. TRY NOT TO MIND.

Of course I try not to let Himself see the truth, but am probably kidding myself that he doesn’t sense it.

I suspect that when the toddlers are a little older, I’ll enjoy spending time with them. I’d enjoy them right now if their parents weren’t around. Why do kids so often act like little shits around their mom and dad? and like angels when they’re alone with babysitters or grandparents?

Blond to the Bone

I’m trying to add Grill Wanderlust to my blogroll, which already contains several listings so obviously at some point I had the smarts to do it. I’ll keep at it till I figure it out again. Meanwhile, check it out: great pics.

I found Grill Wanderlust’s website by following up his/her “Like” on one of my entries here. Please, if you have a blog, please do click on the Like button on the bottom of this page so I can visit it.

The other day I said to a co-worker whom I’ve only known for a year, “Some days it makes sense that I’m blond.” I had been absent-minded about something and was acknowledging it.

His response? “Oh, were you blond?”

When I look into a mirror, I’m still blond to my own eye. Although the front of my hair has lightened up a lot in recent years from the ash blond hair I’ve always naturally had as an adult, the back of my head still appears ash blond when I happen to be checking out how much it’s bent and/or sticking up funny, deciding whether I can go out without soaking it down first.

All this silver hair doesn’t bother me in the least. I don’t see it as being a lot different from what I’ve always had. Colouring it has never entered my mind. It is what it is and it’s okay.

It’s just surprising how others see you sometimes, isn’t it?

Don’t Mind What Happens

I’m in the office when Himself calls from the porch, “I’m leaving!”

I hurry there to say goodbye.

“Are you gone for the day then? I see you’ve made a lunch. Did you have breakfast?”

Yes but no one made it for me, he replies, suggesting that it was somehow my job.

“Still,” I say, hugging him tightly, “you have someone who loves you.”

Yes and she’s the sweetest little girl I know, is his response before going out the door.

He is talking about his three-year-old granddaughter in another province. My declaration of love is met with a statement about his grandchild. Why? And why does this sit so wrong with me?

He could’ve said “Love you too” or “That’s nice” or anything else, but he has to bring up his granddaughter as if there is some comparison between me, his partner, a grown woman, and this little girl he loves and misses so much that it often appears she is all he can think about. He is constantly looking at pictures and videos of her, and never misses a chance to show them to anyone who will look, and to talk about her to anyone who will listen.

I notice it’s always this one he mentions, not the younger granddaughter, who apparently has not made such an impact on his heart.

I am accustomed to these sorts of comments from him, “teasing,” he’d call it, that now that he has his granddaughters, they are the focus of his life and I don’t compare. I’ve slipped down the priority list. They are his sweethearts now.

And some of that is fine. It’s natural. Grandparents get doolally about grandchildren.

What makes me uncomfortable is the way he seems to think it’s appropriate to suggest that they and I hold similar places in his heart. Are they not little girls, who shouldn’t be thought of in the same way at all?

And surely he doesn’t see them as romantic or sexual objects. Well I can’t say that; I’ve seen him wax romantic about #1 Grandchild; nothing sexual, but extremely sentimental bordering on romantic. He’d like to be the “first” one in her life to give her a flower, for example. He envisions this incredible attachment between them, where he is practically the centre of her life. And he IS a big deal to her; he makes sure of it. She loves her grandpa.

Anyway, I walked away from that exchange feeling uncomfortable and asking myself why, and telling myself it’s only my ego or my “pain body” looking for something to be upset about. Surely he didn’t mean it the way it sounded, and I misinterpreted it. It was said off the cuff, without thinking. He’s trying to be cute or funny or just remind me that he misses the child terribly and she is on his mind almost constantly, especially since he hasn’t been able to visit her during this past year of pandemic.

I analyze too much. He was just being flip. Unfortunately, I react the way I react. Just not out loud anymore. I keep it to myself.

Getting a Grip on Myself

Look at me! Three times in the past week … I should get a prize.

What do I have to tell you. Let’s see.

In my neck of the woods, we are experiencing snow and wind today. Winter’s last gasp, even though it’s technically spring. I feel sorry for the small flocks of Canada geese that have returned, so far, from the southern climates. They must wonder, themselves, why this always happens. Why they always show up too early. You hear the occasional story about a goose getting its feet frozen into ice on a slough or lake, making it an easy target for a four-legged predator.

I’m at the office with an hour and a half to go before I can drive home. A local man has phoned to report that he’s seen another man coming out of a house owned by the town, wondering if the man — a known asshole avoided by all — had permission to be in there. He didn’t, so I await the caller, who is coming down to give me a written report.

Don’t Mind What Happens. Don’t Mind What Happens. Don’t Mind What Happens.

Now that I’m paying attention, I find that I quite often mind what happens. I quite often mind small, unimportant things that are none of my frigging business, or things that have no noticeable effect on my life whatsoever. There have been some eye-opening observations. I see where I have been judgey and sarcastic and still am. Now maybe we can’t help the critical thoughts that come into our heads, but we don’t have to express them. We don’t even have to believe them.

I’ve been observing my one-sided inner dialogues more carefully, too, and catch myself wrapped up in resentments and anger, rehashing old shit, ruining my present moment for no reason whatsoever. Yeesh. Enough already.

Smoke Now, Pay Later

She was an excellent blogger.

She wrote at length and daily. She struggled financially and was resentful of the people of wealth for whom she worked. They didn’t pay her enough for her services. She had to do without the dental care she needed, and she suffered from aching teeth. She carefully planned her food preparation so that she wouldn’t go hungry between paycheques. Of course, every single item in her ingredients lists was prefaced with the word “organic.”

We corresponded quite a long time, until she learned that I was a pot smoker. That was it for her; she couldn’t associate with me anymore, she said, as I was not only a lawbreaker but my habit supported the criminal element of society who grew and trafficked the stuff. And did I know that my children could be taken away from me if I was caught?

At the time I was shocked that what I considered a friendship would be ended, by one party, over something like that. I thought that a friendship based on caring and understanding should be honoured and maintained forever. I still miss her blog entries; don’t know if she has a webpage anymore. She used a pseudonym I think; I’m not sure what her real name is.

I had forgotten that in my late teens, I’d ended a casual friendship because the other person insisted on constantly being rude to another friend of mine. A couple years later, a dear friend cut off communication with me after her parents found out I was in possession of marijuana. She herself had been a recreational smoker during our high school days, but now our friendship had, according to her, outgrown its lifespan.

I’ve never been an abuser of pot. I remind myself of this when I consider that no amount of smoking, however minimal, can be good for my lungs. I hope the day doesn’t come that I have to “pay for” my habit with my health. Then I’d be kicking myself, wouldn’t I?

March On By

Here it is, March, and another month has passed. What a terrible blogger I am.

On the other hand, since I have no idea how many of you are reading this — and I assume not many — I don’t feel honour-bound to keep up my end of the deal. There’s no deal.

So it’s a matter of updating when I feel like it, without any pressure whatsoever.

I hate blogs like this, personally. Recently I’ve started deleting them from my favourites folder as soon as I find they haven’t been updated in a year. Perhaps I’ll graduate to deleting them every six months, then every month … will I be so hardhearted? Doubt it. But what’s the point of keeping the listing, only to be disappointed when I go to the blog and no one’s written a word in many months? Till now I’ve kept the listings because I want to hear from those writers again. That’s why their blogs are in my list in the first place.

I’m at the office with nothing to do unless I want to spend the rest of the day cleaning. Which I do not. I wasn’t hired to clean; or to put it another way, I didn’t apply for a cleaning position. I am the only person who does it in this one-person office, though, so I guess it’s up to me. That said, if the cleaning waits for me, it can wait a long time.

I do sweep the floor now and then.

I do kill the odd fly.

I do sanitize the counter and doorknob after customers leave.

Anyway, all that is my way of priming the writing pump. This is what I’m looking at, dear reader. I have set the scene in hopes that something of interest will present itself to be shared with you. So far, nothing has come up. Hmmm…

Here’s what I’m working on in my life lately: trying to “Don’t mind what happens.”

Himself turns a look of vicious hatred on me for asking an innocent question?

Don’t mind. (I have yet to succeed. I mind, terribly.)

Wake up in the middle of the night with a migraine coming on?

Don’t mind. (It is what it is. Drag myself out of bed and take a pill to head it off.)

Hear news of another mass shooting in the States?

Don’t mind. (Send thoughts of comfort and healing and hope; that’s all I can do.)

And so on.

Not minding = accepting that the thing has already happened and won’t be changed by my reaction.

Unless it will. Unless it could be.

I do have to remind myself, often, to “don’t mind what happens.”

Himself is doing something that irritates me? Let it go.

Stupid people are holding anti-mask “freedom” rallies that will be superspreaders? Let it go.

Not everything is up to me to change or to judge or to worry about.

Let it go.

Honestly, it does improve my state of mind. Now I just have to remember to do it when something really pisses me off.

I need to choose my battles wisely.