Posts Tagged 'relationships'

Christmas Zen

We’re all in a festive holiday mood around here. Bonus Baby merrily ripped open all the wrapped presents her sister had bought at Santa’s Workshop for us that we foolishly placed under the Christmas tree.  Bonus Child was focused on torturing me all day, putting her cold feet and hands all over me and deliberately blocking my view of the computer screen.  She claims she’s certain I’m not getting her the kid’s laptop that she wants for Christmas and she’s mad at me for that.  And Big Daddy’s singing Christmas Carols.  After the Red Cross rejected him when he went to give blood Saturday because his blood pressure was so high he was about to burst, he came home singing in his finest baritone voice, “I’ll be deeaad for Christmas…” Funny guy!

Despite all the everyday hustle and bustle, torture and annoyances, I still haven’t been fired up enough about anything to post a rant lately, although I came really close after Black Friday shopping.  So I’m wondering, have I reached the end of the line?  And I’m not talking about the blogging thing…I’m talking about my life line.  You know how they say we’re here for a purpose…to work things out…to grow and change?  And now it seems I’m so zen about things,  so uncharacteristically mature and calm about things that would have sent me through the roof not so long ago, that maybe I’m the one who should be singing that Christmas tune.  Have I worked out all the kinks in my psyche??

For instance, I was reading a post by my brilliant hilarious blog friend Robin who was suffering some angst over her teenaged son’s somewhat slacker ways.  This brought back so many memories of my own endless struggles with my Oldest Son’s apparent willingness to just “get by.”  I pleaded.  I yelled.  I bribed.  I stressed.  But still…he was content to work well below his awesome potential all through school.  I bought him planners and organizers to teach him how to remember to turn in assignments and pay his bills on time.  Still, he ended up losing his full tuition scholarship and frequently paid ridiculous credit card late fees, not because he didn’t have the money, but because he “forgot” to open his mail or write a check.  I stressed.  I agonized.  I pleaded.  He usually took the path of least resistance and took out loans or paid for classes with his own funds rather than go through the paperwork hassle of using his GI bill benefits that he earned by risking his life in Iraq.   I nagged.  I begged.  I foamed at the mouth.  But now that he’s moved out, found a young lady who is happy to take care of marry him, I’ve just learned to let go.  Even when he still gets overdue bills sent to the house.  Even though I’m pretty sure he’s screwing up his classes.  I have finally learned to just take a deep breath and let go.

Then there’s mom.  She used to really push my buttons.  She doesn’t try to do this.  It’s just the way she’s wired.  But it used to piss me off soooo bad.  Here’s a scenario my sis texted me yesterday…substitute her sweet smart daughter–she really is one of the good kids–for my three generally well-behaved sons–and it’s a classic mom soliloquy:

Fourteen year-old niece was going to a formal Christmas dance with her super-nice clean-cut boyfriend wearing heels that mom deems too high and grown-up.  Mom is clueless about these things.  But for weeks she’s railed about these shoes and and how slutty they look.  Sis invited mom over to see how cute lovely niece looked for the dance.  She immediately goes into Sis’s dining room and focuses on the mini blind the dog cracked trying to fix it, then she starts in on the heels, the length of the dress and the pouf it has (I saw it–it’s adorable), how it looks all bunched in the back, BLAH BLAH BLAH, then she starts railing on about the TV show they had on about brides wanting plastic surgery and when niece tries to explain it she cuts her off, then start ragging about Sis not having any decorations on her tree yet because her girls didn’t feel like decorating (like really, who does?) and calling her girls the laziest people God ever made (I told Sis I thought it was my boys that were the laziest because they didn’t hang their jackets up when mom came to visit) and that my sister should have MADE them do it and she should be ashamed etc. etc. etc.  and I just sat here and had to laugh (and sympathize) with poor sis because I’ve lived that scenario so many times…and it finally doesn’t bother me anymore.

Have I mellowed out?  Am I just too old to care?  Or did I finally grow up?  I don’t have it figured out just yet.  But I plan to enjoy the holidays with this new found inner peace.

Merry Christmas, all!

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Men Bite…And Stab

Sooo…the other night, I’m finishing up with dinner preparation.  We were eating rather late because Big Daddy was spending the bulk of the evening on one of his marathon bicycle rides.  I heard him come in through the basement after his ride, so I got the slotted spoon to start taking the cabbage out of the pan of water and into a serving bowl.  I don’t know if he came home super hungry or what, but for some reason, he starts taking over without saying he was taking over.  I mean, you know, had he said, “Go sit down. I’ll finish up here,” I would have gladly left the room.  But instead, he gets in my way, knocks the slotted spoon off the counter and as I lunge to catch it before it hits the floor, he stabs me with some sharp utensil that plunges through my hand near the base of my right thumb.

“AAARGHHH“…I grab my wrist and ran toward the powder room, crying and screaming “I’m stabbed, OMG he stabbed me,” and started running cold water on it to stop the blood and hopefully numb the pain.  I ran right past Oldest Son, lying on the couch playing some hand held video game.  I don’t even think he looked up.  Big Daddy comes moseying in, looked at my hand and said surprised, “Oh, it’s bleeding.”  Like, no shit, Sherlock, that’s what happens when you pierce living flesh with a sharp object.  A minute or two later, Middle Son J comes downstairs and says, “I thought someone was being killed down here.”  Well, so proud and happy you came down to intervene on my behalf.  At least you didn’t wait until I started to decompose.

Big Daddy was kind enough to bandage my hand with some gauze.  “I’m done in here,” I muttered as I left the kitchen and sat in front of the computer to cry and feel sorry for myself.  Big Daddy finished getting the corned beef and cabbage to the table, and we all ate.  My hand throbbed, but I managed later to put the leftovers away before the food spoiled.  I was wondering to myself why hubby wasn’t so eager for kitchen duty now when I actually could use the help.

I left the bulk of the dishes on the counter.  My hand hurt and I was feeling depressed.  I plopped my butt on my recliner, leaned back, and went to sleep.  To his credit, Big Daddy had cleaned up the rest of the kitchen by the time I woke up.  I woke up the next morning with a huge headache and some major depression.  For some reason, this injury pushed me over the edge.  At the risk of sending hubby on some week-long pouting session, I will try to dissect what sent me into a downward spiral, one that caused me to spend the bulk of a beautiful Saturday afternoon in bed, and the rest of the day a snapping bitchy wench.  Stay tuned.

Relationship Questions for My Blog Friends

I’m a stress-avoider.  I’ve made that clear many times.  Now that the busiest (and most stressful) time of my year is coming up, I’m wondering how far I should go to keep myself in a stress-free zone.  Am I denying myself opportunities for growth, or am I just pruning dead branches that are harmful to my well-being?  Here is my dilemma:

When people who you know are inexplicably nasty, yet you’re tied to them in some way, is it best to just cut them out of your life completely?  I tend to avoid people like that, but sometimes it seems like you’re throwing the baby out with the bath water if you cut off all ties.  Even though I know in my heart that I haven’t done anything to deserve their disdain, it still kind of hurts when they attack.  If  it was a deserved or retaliatory attack I can make sense of that.  But when people who you cared about only pop out of the woodwork to dismiss you or belittle you, what do you do with that?

There are different levels to this.  First are very close relatives.  If my mother wasn’t my mom, we wouldn’t be friends.  She automatically sees the negative in most situations while ignoring the positive.  She’ll make irritating comments.  But I know that’s just the way she is.  If I get irritated, there are plenty of people I can complain to and compare stories with and get over it.  Mom is also good-hearted and I know she cares about us.  She’s there for the good and bad, and she’s rooting for us.  People like mom are here to stay.

Then there are people who aren’t really a part of your life that make you scratch your head.  An acquaintance of one of my sons made a snarky anonymous comment on my blog once that didn’t make sense.  She barely knows me.  Although she had a huge crush on my son, she never even tried to interact with us like most of the other girls that my sons bring home.  I attributed it to shyness, and I always was pleasant to her and wished her a safe drive home.  I’m baffled by her hostility, but I realize it’s her problem and I have no reason to deal with her.  It doesn’t matter if I ever see her again.

The gray area for me is people who have ties to people I love.  When I think of cutting them completely out of my life, I feel no regret.  They were never there to share the good times with us, and in fact, seemed to go out of their way to avoid even acknowledging them.  When I think about never having to be irritated by them again, I feel relief.  But am I short-changing my loved ones?  Am I just being selfish by avoiding confrontation?  Should I just maintain essential contact?  Do I need these irritations in my life to help me grow and learn to be a better person, or are they just aggravations that serve no purpose that I should just avoid?

I would appreciate opinions and thoughts on these questions, even if you have never commented before.  At what point do you distance yourself from someone?  How far away do you go?  Is it helpful or harmful?  Am I just protecting myself, or am I just a coward?

Thanks in advance for your insight!

I DO Appreciate Him

ugly antWhile my biggest peeve in our marriage may have been my perception that Big Daddy didn’t always defend me as he should or validate my hurt and anger with some action on his part, he seems convinced that I don’t fully appreciate him.  I can honestly say that this is not reality.  I know he’s one of the good guys and I really do appreciate all the things he does for me and our family.  I do what I can to show him that I care, but alas, I’m not the demonstrative touchy-feely person that I think he needs.   (I’m thinking he may not be truly satisfied unless I greet him at the door in saran wrap every night, like some loser with no life.  Umm, not gonna happen).

Although I appreciate hubby all the time, my need and appreciation has been even greater lately.  He is not only my partner in life, father of my children, and bff — he is the killer of BUGS.  And for some reason, bugs have decided to start bugging us!

As much as I like to pretend I’m a hard-ass, itty-bitty bugs freak me out.  It’s pathetic.  I still scream like a little girl when I see a swarm of bugs.  Although a lot of people hate spiders, those critters don’t bother me.  They’re single solitary creatures and I can handle them.  But great big social clusters of ants or gnats send me up a wall.  I’ve been brought to tears upon spying a giant teeming mass of squirming piss ants on a sidewalk outside.  Even a tiny fraction of that amount of insects in my home will send me into a panic.

Last week, it was the attack of Mothra and her clan.  I’ve learned it is not wise to buy and store grain products in bulk.  No matter how clean you keep your cupboards, too much rice or noodles is an invitation for an insect party.  So I keep things lean and mean in the pasta department.  However, there’s not much you can do when a freaking bag of rice that you just purchased harbors a little flying moth, which somehow multiplies into seven or eight despicable little rice-dwelling moths that fly around in your cupboard.  When we figured out where these things were coming from, I summoned all the courage I could and threw away the bag of rice with the visible moth inside.  Big Daddy said I’d have to clean the entire cabinet to get rid of all of the bugs.  I knew he’d done more than his share of the housework that day but I begged him to PLEEEEASE don’t make me deal with those bugs.  I had tears in my eyes.  I am eternally grateful that he finished cleaning out the cupboard that night.mothra

Last night, Oldest Son spied an ant in the kitchen.  About the same time, Big Daddy saw one crawling across the family room carpet.  These rooms are not connected.  Big Daddy told me to keep an eye out for more of these creatures.  Now, these ants are not the tiny piss ants that found their way in last year due to my leaving sticky fruit juice on the counter.  And they don’t look like the giant destructive carpenter ant variety.  They’re kind of medium-sized reddish things, and so far we’ve just been spotting one at a time.  There are no crumbs or sticky substances attracting them.  We don’t know what the hell they want!

I’m keeping an ant chart so we can figure out where they’re coming in at.  So far, I’ve spotted two more by the family room fireplace, one more on the kitchen floor, and one wayward little freak all the way upstairs in my master bathroom.  It makes no sense.  I’m getting scared!

It’s time for Big Daddy to put on his bug-huntin’ gear.  He’ll have my undying gratitude.  But I’m still not buying any saran wrap.

bug

Wiring

As I unloaded the dishwasher for what seemed to be the hundredth time this week, I was cursing J’s college landlords under my breath.  He was supposed to be moved into his cozy little college apartment last week, the one they assured us would be completely constructed and ready to move in before the first week of school.  Instead, the poor kid has had to commute the 30 some miles every day, while I have had the pleasure of cleaning up the aftermath of his non-stop cooking and eating, and running the dishwasher every single day so we have glasses for him to mix up his various protein drinks and muscle-building concoctions.

According to some old-school gents on Dr. Phil yesterday, they just aren’t wired to do housework (implying that we women are!).  Their fragile little egos were damaged because instead of being out in the big wide world earning a paycheck, the recession has relegated them to the world of dirty dishes and laundry, while their wife brings home the bacon.  I’m not saying that losing one’s job wouldn’t be a blow to the ego, but these guys were mostly upset that now their wives were earning more money than they were (gasp!), and worse yet, they had to take care of the housework while she was out working!  One of them insisted that no way would he do that, and I wasn’t sure if he meant his wife would not work outside the home, meaning they would all go down in a sinking ship with no income at all, or if he expected her to not only go to work but then to take care of all the “menial” household duties that were so beneath his macho existence.

I did feel sorry for one newly retired man, however.  His wife seemed a bit anal and hostile over the idea that he was home while she was still working and going to school.  While I agree that if one spouse is working full-time and the other one is not, the bulk of the household duties should fall upon the one who is home most often to do them.  She nagged him about not doing more than he was doing, and criticized the way he cleaned house.  She bitched about the dust bunnies on the floor and bugged him about vacuuming the couch.  If I was married to her, I’d be in a heap of trouble!  In my world, as long as there is a decent meal ready sometime in the evening, clean clothes to wear and a pressed shirt for work, we’re doing okay.  When both of us are working full-time, we split up the household chores.  I launder and iron, hubby cooks and shops.  The household chores need to be done, and it’s all equally beneath both of us.  However, we suck it up and do it.

I find it hard to believe that in this day and age, there are still men out there that have never changed their child’s diaper or that expect their wife to do all the housework with no help from them because it’s “women’s work”.  I’m no more wired to clean a toilet than anybody else, and  it’s pretty obvious that these guys that think they’re too “manly” to scrub a floor are just too lazy and looking for an excuse.

Twenty-Nine Years Ago Today

weddinggarterWe met at a party on the night I was determined to ignore the male of the species.  I had found out a guy I had a major crush on had decided to go another less complicated route.  He asked me to dance.  I hate to dance.  But I had enough beer in me and was tired of acting like a hard ass, so I figured what the hell.

We were young and immature.  He used to nonchalantly ride his bicycle around the building where I had my Econ class, at about the time when class let out.  He would stop by my dorm in the evenings after working out at the gym.  My parents liked him.  My dad thought he looked like Mark Spitz, the Olympic swimmer.

Fast forward quite a few years.  He still works out and rides his bike.  Our kids tell me I’m immature.  Still.  They’re usually laughing when they say it.

Me and Big Daddy.  What a long strange trip it’s been…

Family Loyalty

One of the very few things Big Daddy and I fight about has to do with family loyalty.  We both are very loyal to each other and to our children; our little family is the center of the world — for both of us.  But how we show that loyalty, and how we react to someone perceived to be slighting or attacking our family — that’s a whole different story.

It may have to do with our very different upbringing.  His father was very authoritarian and Big Daddy learned it was best to just obey and not make waves.  Meanwhile, I sometimes felt like the exasperated parent to my somewhat child-like folks.  If they pissed me off, I let them know it.  If you’re being a douche, it’s really hard for me to zip my lips, no matter who you are.

When someone messes with my little brood, I get irate.  If they slight them, I get hurt.  I’ll lash out, speak out, or get even.  When Big Daddy has a particularly bad day at work and comes home to vent and tell me about some asshole trying to make his job tougher or screwing him over, I get angry.  I get indignant, my eyes tear up, and I bitch about how much I hate the pricks screwing him over.  How dare they mess with my husband!  And then…hubby gets mad at me for getting mad!  What does he expect?  He just wants to vent these things and expects me to be able to listen and not get upset.  Well, obviously, I’m just not that mature folks.

On the other hand, when I feel our kids or I have gotten short shrift from someone, I want him to be indignant along with me.  I want him to snort and rage and tell somebody off.  I want him to stick up for us!   He gets mad for sure.  He’s been hurt and disappointed, too.  But it’s always a quiet mad.  I can almost see him choking it down and swallowing it, while I just want to spew it right back at the jerks.  It’s especially bad when it’s his side of the family; he’ll act all calm and unruffled like they haven’t hurt his feelings.  He’ll pretend like nothing wrong has happened.   He’ll let me vent and rage alone, and he doesn’t always have my back.  This hurts me way more than the original slight.  This is betrayal from someone I care about.


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