Anyone out there want to recommend some reading material for me? Blogs, forums, etc? Preferably computer based as I can’t leave anything laying around the house. Feel free to post in comments or email.
I haven’t posted in a while and it’s been a heck of a month. I was on another business trip, probably the last for a good long time which is good and bad. The good part for me is that I actually enjoy the chance to be a way a bit and focus on something exclusively. And even though I work hard while I’m there, I get more alone time, even if it’s just the time driving back and forth. And I mentioned before there’s a certain appeal to a minimalist existence for a while compared to the complicated day-to-day that is home life. I am always happy to come home though. I miss my family, especially the youngest. We have a close bond because he’s at the age where he’s dependent. That will change over time of course. My daughter is nearing independence. The bad part is that things seem to fall apart a bit while I’m gone. There’s always an emergency that W has to deal with and I feel pretty guilty. But I also know, because I have to balance the bank accounts, that she still finds time to stop by The Hangout. Not sure how and when.
This time there was a bigger emergency. W’s mother took ill and she flew up to be there with both kids. I tried to convince her that she should leave the older with the young one for one night and I could change my flight and be back the next night. But she thought it was important that the kids be there. I knew that I was not going to convince her on that one. I was looking at flights to go there too, but things seemed to get better and she said not to bother since it’d be a few days and they’d be back.
I got back and spent the weekend in the house by myself, which is something I have never done before and I was really at a loss. Without the routine and the usual duties and chores I didn’t know what to do. Work is also now very slow and I didn’t really have that to throw myself into. I decided to take a trip and visit my sister who lives a few hours away. We went out to dinner and she had about one and a half beers. I noted this but was not real worried about it and she didn’t seem to act any different.
When I was back I realized that I had made a tragic mistake. W was wanting me to call and check on her more, and for her to tell me all about the family drama. The last message I had from her was that her mother was doing much better and would be moving to a nursing home in a few days, which is where she ought to be honestly. I thought things were going well. The more observant of you are now saying, ‘duh’ and I realize now this was a huge mistake on my part. I should have checked on her. I should have read between the lines better and realized she was stressed. This ended up in a long phone call where I got read a litany of my past and current sins. Some were deserved. I swallowed all of the things I wanted to say and apologized. A lot. Don’t get me wrong, the apology was sincere but some part of me wanted to note the one-sidedness of some of her complaints.
I booked a ticket to fly there the next day. We had another call that night as I was getting ready and I could tell she was well-lubricated. I got up there and there’s not a lot to say. We pretended like things were all normal. I took over watching S and helped out. She managed to have a glass or two each night, always with some justification. I made sure that I never touched a laptop, and only occasionally looked at my phone, i.e. never wanted it to look like I was at all distracted. We all flew back together. Here’s the second part of the contrast…. On the day that we were to leave she’s playing a Xbox game with S, mostly the game was for her. The rest of the family was gathered around and W’s sister said something like, “anyone want soda, coffee, tea?…. wine?” I think she was half joking about the wine. W heard and called from the other room to ask for some. Time went by and the sister had not brought any. She asked again, then asked me, and got annoyed when I hesitated. I went and looked and there was none in the kitchen since W had finished that bottle the night before. I had to ask and the sister brought some up and got her and herself a glass.
Continued… at the airport all of us having dinner, two beers. On the plane, little bottle of wine that she made sure to order on the first pass of the cart. Then she kept getting up to go back and hang out with the flight attendants. I lost track but I think it was at least 3 more little bottles. She became her usual entertaining self, and I could hear her from the back. Then she came back and slept most of it off before we got back.
What I wonder. Why was 1.5 beers for my sister not so affecting? Why, when W has a similar amount, does she act more different. I am more attuned and concerned toward my wife, but still… And last, a petty gripe, if I spent that much time at a family gathering playing a fucking game I’d never hear the end of it, and I’d deserve it probably. But of course I can’t say anything. But after all of this time the amounts still don’t really add up. I don’t understand it. I just fear it.
Is the a webby award for most whining? Cause I’d probably win. I should be more constructive. New Years Resolution.
Christmas was somehow perfect. The week leading up to it was filled with being home as little as possible. I have been taking time off of work to stay home with S all through his school break. But Christmas itself went great, and not at all like previous years.
Right after Christmas I arranged for a weekend away for the two of us, which was her suggestion for our mutual Christmas present. So babysitter, hotel, etc for us to spend a couple days together. That was actually quite nice though I could not help but worry about the fact that she had a sip at every opportunity. Never more than what would be socially acceptable/normal though but it was at every opportunity. I tried to let all that go and not worry and just reconnect.
The rest of the time though it really seems like she spends as little time as possible at home — when we’re here anyway. It’s like she wants to be away from her family. She’ll be home for a bit and suddenly think of something she needs to do or somewhere she needs to be. She went to a New Years eve party and texted me updates. She asked to go and I agreed. Like what else was I going to say.
And I have noticed a strange disconnect with S (the younger) she hardly interacts with him she’s home. She has not put him to bed in a month, even the nights she’s here. She assumes I’ll do it. I don’t get it. He’s sort of the center of my life right now for better or worse. But she just sort of passes him by. Often comes and goes without saying anything.
I have a dichotomy about this I know. On the one hand I find myself resentful that I have done near 100% of the childcare lately while she comes and goes as she desires. On the other hand I’m glad that she’s doing whatever she’s doing away from home. And frankly when she leaves, as she did tonight, I find myself relaxing. I want to turn to S and say, “Well, son, it’s you and me… What shall we do?” Bottom line is I can’t say anything, and I can’t let my occasional resentment ever show.
Coda to the scare: It’s my fault. Somehow. Also I’m not interested in what’s going on with her and her job. Actually I am, when I’m not busy being scared. Or irritated. Or worrying. Honestly it’s been like living with a ghost.
Friday night, home late. Saturday up late to say she felt like she was getting sick. There’s a medical term for that… Saturday afternoon, left for a work conference. She sent a text a 2am (I was asleep) said she was switching to soda. Got up in the morning, and she wasn’t there and I read the text. That got me worrying. Spent the morning playing out what-ifs in my mind. Took S to his Sunday morning activity. On the way home I’m wondering how I’m going to react if her car is there or not. My pulse is pounding as I come up the road. No car. Settle S in with the TV and read the overnight police blotter. Never a productive thing. Text her and say, “I hope you are ok.” Ten minutes later says, ‘yes and on her way home.’ I guess I’m glad she didn’t drive, but no idea where she spent the night. Do I complain about this or just suck it up as usual. We all know what I’m going to do.
Question: When she comes home and the middle of the night, and stays up until dawn on the phones, such as last night… Who the hell is she talking to? I don’t mean I’m especially curious about the who except to wonder, who the hell else is up in the middle of the night?
She’s completely messed up her sleep schedule, staying up all night and coming to bed at 6am. This week school has a weird schedule and S basically can’t go in until 11. The deal was that I’d go to work early and she’d take him at 11 and stay late. That happened on Monday. Ever other day she went to sleep at 6am so I needed to stay home in the morning and then go pick S up by 5. This is costing me at work.
Of course I want to say something, but I can’t make any complaints about schedule because there will be backlash. Worse it’d probably result in moving the celebratory operations home. Better than she keep that away. So I shut up and deal with it.
It’s been a strange time. It’s either been one extreme or the other. Either absent and coming home late and very… or at home and very focused. Thanksgiving went just fine despite the run up argument. D is off on her trip and W remembered that she had preordered a turkey so she picked that up and we made and had the traditional Thanksgiving meal just the three of us. At the time it was very nice but some time later I’ll probably hear about how I didn’t help at all. The holiday lasted until Friday night when she went out to the grocery store and got a phone call to go to a birthday party. She came home and was talking about being undecided about going. But I knew how that was going to go. It’s like she can only tolerate so much of us at a time.
Last week was normal. W said that Friday she needed to be at work early and be there until at least 5:30. I said no problem that I’d get S. She’d covered for me all week while I had some work stuff that went a little late so no complaints about that. Of course who’d have known I’d come down with a crappy cold. So I left work early to get a little rest before having to pick up S and noticed her car at The Hangout. Shouldn’t have looked. Should have kept eye fixed forward as I drove by.
I got S and brought him home, did an easy dinner, and let him hang out and watch TV while I rested. No big deal. I should mention that D is now a high schooler with a car so she’s pretty independent of us. More on that shortly.
Later in the evening W came in, much earlier than expected, and said she just need to grab something and “go back” for a while. That part was true, but the implication of where was misleading. Whatever. I went to sleep as soon as S did.
Saturday morning W and D sleep in while I take care of things. When W gets up she has the cold too and is pretty miserable.
Sunday morning the same. Somewhere later in the day she notices that she’s feeling crappy and realizes it was harder for me to cover everything since I’d been through the same. I actually am happy to hear the acknowledgement.
At some point, I think it was Sunday night, I bring up the question of where D should spend Thanksgiving. She’d been asking to go out of town with her friend. W had already committed us to dinner at The Friends. Apparently I asked this somewhat clumsily since I really just wanted to discuss it, but she thought it was a demand. She said fine (I thought) and agreed. D asked me later said can she go since mom said maybe she could. Yeah, basically I got caught in the classic ask mom/ask dad thing. I should have know better and said we’ll discuss it more to make sure we were actually in agreement.
The odd thing was Sunday night was fine. We hung out and went to bed. I had to get up and go sleep in a chair because I was so congested, which is not unusual.
Monday night… I picked up S, we did homework, chores etc. I went to go to bed somewhat early since I was still not feeling 100%. W came in and started in on me about the Thanksgiving thing. Then came to bed and continued. I said that I was sorry I brought it up (which I genuinely was and am), and she accused me of a lot of things that I thought were unfair about that conversation. In the end she said something unrelated then immediately retracted it. I tried to make amends but she went outside to smoke (and told me she was doing so) then came back an hour or so later, didn’t say a word, and went to sleep. I literally stayed up all night sitting in bed since this was so heavy on me.
Here’s the thing about that fight though: It was among the more coherent we’ve had. I refrained from retorting (and boy did I think it) about her being out all the time, or the inconsistency, or trying to debate some of the chaff arguments that she threw out along the way. But she actually told me what was bothering her. And while she’d clearly been drinking earlier in the night she was not acting it during this fight.
And here’s the other odd part, Tuesday while I’m at work she emails me an apology and some more explanation. I answered as truthfully and even-handedly as I could. It’s still going to be an awkward and crappy holiday though.
Then there’s Tuesday night. I did go to bed early this time because I’d had no sleep Monday night. About 2am I wake up and she’s not there. House was quiet. I did not get up to see if her car was in the driveway. About 4am she’s on the phone with someone downstairs talking loudly. About 5 or so (I think) she’s in bed. I wake up and get D to school. There’s an empty wine bottle in the recycle and a half-empty bottle on the counter.
I have literally no fucking idea what this is about. I don’t think it’s about Thanksgiving plans. There’s more going on. It’s not job stress. This job seems genuinely all around better than the last. There’s a manic edge to all of this that I don’t understand.
Administrative note: Looks like 2-3 new people discovered this blog and read it through. I’m too chicken to reread so I don’t know what it’s like in total. If you came here looking for answers, I’m sorry I don’t have any.
Seems that a few people still come by here once in a while to check on us, so I feel I should check in.
I was gone again for a while on another business trip and then back. It feels to me as though there is a lot more distance between us now, and I recognize that some or a lot of it is me. I built that wall by trying to keep myself separated when it felt bad. Her new job is engaging and demanding in a good way, but I think she’s focusing on that and not us. But takes one to know one.
The other night I went to bed and she came home in the usual state. I said “hi” and went back to sleep. I woke up a time or two in the night to her sitting up and frosty, but she didn’t talk. In the morning it was even icier and I asked what was wrong. She eventually said that at some point in the night she tried to embrace me and I said, “Don’t”. I honestly have no memory of this. It’s likely I was talking to someone else in a (very confused) dream. But it’s possible I did know it was her and my unease manifested as a blunt negative. I hope that’s not true. I’m making an effort to reconnect and remember that the good is good and the bad,… well is at least not being brought home as much as it used to be.