The Weeks I Didn’t Love My Family

Being out of commission for three weeks gave me a wake up call as to taking better care of myself.  It also gave me a wake up call as to how my family could drive me crazy.

I know I push myself.  My family makes it real easy to push myself.  On the first Saturday that I was sick, before I knew how sick I was, we had tickets to see a Broadway show with friends of ours.  We were supposed to have dinner before.  The day before I told him that I would go to the show, but I was going to skip dinner so I could rest a little more.  He was idiot about this.  I won’t even discuss what he wrote, but we’ll leave it at guilt trip.  So I went to dinner, feeling like crap.  Here’s the next secret:  I am not soon forgetting my Husband’s attitude.  I’m not blaming him for my going: that’s on me.  But…

I was also not happy with his take on doing household chores.  I told him he needed to wash the towels and robes.  All of a sudden he forgot what a robe looked like.  And he threw a hissy fit when he couldn’t “find” the robes- he needed help.  You know, cause the robes hanging on the wall behind the bathroom door were hiding.  He practically stamped his feet.

And my daughter.  She was not an innocent in this charade.  When I asked her to feed the pets I got ‘Oh, the smell makes me nauseous.”  We use dry food…what smell?

And the apartment.

OMG the state they left the apartment in.

And then they complained I was making the mess.  I spent the better part of the week on the couch.  i didn’t leave piles of clothes on the floor.  I didn’t leave my husbands new shoes in the front hallway.  I didn’t leave glasses on literally every flat surface in the apartment.  I washed my soup bowl and spoon and tea mug.  I slept and took medicine. They just left crockery everywhere.

In the mornings, even if I was awake, I pretended to be asleep so they wouldn’t ask me questions.  I didn’t want to disclose the location of keys and water bottles and tennis rackets.  I didn’t want to answer stupid questions.  I didn’t want to walk the dog.  The upside is, they let me sleep.

I’m not going to forget their behavior.  I might not forgive them either.  They were more horrible than they were helpful.  But I realized that I was responsible for their lack of responsibility.  So this is another change that I have to work on: getting them to take responsibility for the home.  I shouldn’t have to ask for help: they should be doing things because this is part of the home we share.  Plates should be left in the sink, or better yet washed.  Garbage should just be thrown out when you see it’s full.  Replace the toilet paper roll.  Seriously.  Just put the roll on the little spinny thing.

It’s funny that I’m writing this today, as my Husband just left for a boys trip to celebrate him and his friend turning 50.  And I can guarantee you that dished will be put away and clothes will not be piled on the floor.  But I do plan on going away for a few days so that my family can fend for itself…

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Date Night

I’m a big believer in couples date night.  It’s very easy to stop looking at your partner as a friend/lover/person when you become enmeshed in household things.  Once you’ve seen a guy floss his teeth or scrub a toilet, a little bit of the macho allure is gone, so you need something to remind you why you fell in love with someone.

Enter date night.

Our goal is three date nights a week (though technically, we love date afternoons) There is usually one meal, one activity, and one outing with at least one other couple.  The meal is our time to talk – our rule is we do not talk about our daughter or anything household related, unless it’s something fun.  This is not the night for airing of the grievances or reminding each other to change a lightbulb.  The activity gives us a shared experience and lets us help each other if needed.  Or laugh at each other- we each have strengths and weaknesses, and I’m sorry, but it’s really funny to see my Husband try to shoot at arrow at archery.  And the couples outing is just fun because it gives us a chance to socialize with other adults.

Back in April, we were scheduled to go to an off-Broadway play.  Four days before the play, my Husband said:

“Can we invite my Father to the play with us?”

I was not amused.  First off, it was supposed to be our “date”, but the one for just the two of us.  You all know I don’t do well with change.  Secondly, I wasn’t up for a family outing.  My FIL is trying under the best of circumstances: bringing him to a tight 50 seat theater in Greenwich Village to see an Agatha Christie play was just not going to work.  Thirdly, even though it’s off Broadway, the tickets are still pricey, and I’m cheap.  There were other things I’d rather spend the money on.

But

How horrible do I look if I tell my Husband that I don’t want him to include his Father for an outing.

So I thought about it.

And I told Husband that I didn’t want him to include his Father.  I was honest in a situation I felt I needed to be honest in. Husband was not pleased. An then we were both annoyed with one another.

Were we honest with one another? Yes.

Did honesty help? Not really.

This is one of those relationship situations were we both wanted different things.  Was I wrong to not want my FIL included?  Ten people will give you ten different answers to that question.  All I can go by is how I felt, and I made that clear to him.

Was he wrong to ask to include his Father in our plans?  Again, ten people will answer that question differently.  But he told me what he wanted, and that’s the cornerstone of a relationship, communication.

Did communication help us in this situation?  Did honesty help us?

Unfortunately, relationships are going to have moments like this, where the participants are playing by the “rules”, but they’re sort of playing with the parameters of the rules.  They think they are “asking”, when really, they’re “telling”.  Though the words were “Can I ask my Father”, the message behind it was really “I’m asking my Father”.  I wasn’t expected to say no, so when I said “No” I switched the rules.  Yes, I’m supposed to be honest and tell him my feelings, but I wasn’t supposed to say no there (well, in his mind anyway)

Alas, there is no rule book for how to handle situations like this.  Couples muddle through the best they can.  They hope the fights and annoyances can be forgiven and forgotten, or at least put to the back burner. But you have to be careful how you recover.  Remember, in relationships, it not so much the transgression, it’s about how you recover.  Did Husband and I recover from this incident?

Well, the day of the play was the day I began my long journey into pneumonia, so maybe there will be a post or two about how those three weeks played out…

 

 

The Stovetop Smoker

My Husband likes food.  He loves to go to new restaurants and try new things.  He really loves things that are smoked.  Now, we live in an apartment with no outdoor access, so smoking food is not the easiest thing for us, but one day we were out and saw an indoor, stovetop smoker, and an idea was born:  Husband said, next time I needed to buy him a gift, that was what he wanted.

Now, when Husband says that he wants something material, I usually get it, because he really doesn’t covet much.  But an indoor, stovetop smoker?  I smell more than cedar chips.  See, Husband is not great at reading directions, and putting those directions into actions.

I told him “Here’s the deal.  I don’t want to smoke meats.  I don’t really like smoked meats.  This is not a hobby I want to pursue.  So if I get you a smoker, it’s all on you.  You learn how to do it, and you’re responsible for it.”  He said “of course.”

So I bought him a smoker for the December holiday season.  And January rolled around and he kept saying “We should break out the smoker” and I would ignore the use of the word “we”, and tell him he was free to use it anytime he wished.  And the smoker sat untouched for January.

February strolled in and he said, “Let’s smoke salmon today.”  And I went into the cabinet where I had put the box containing the smoker and handed it to him.  “Have Fun” I said.

“Can you help?”

“When I bought this for you, I specifically told you that this was not a hobby I chose to pursue.”

“But I don’t know what to do?” (he was whining by now)

“Guess what?  Neither do I.”

“Yeah, but you know how to read instructions”

And all I could think was , yup, this man has two masters degrees.  “I have faith in you.” I said.

Which led to more whining.  So I said, “Here’s the deal.  I will stand next to you while you do it.”

“If you do it once, I’ll get how it’s done.”

My frustration level was at about 1000.  This is not something I had any interest in doing, but how much of a fight was this worth?

I read over the really simple instructions for making smoked salmon.  I told him how easy the process was.

Whining by him.

So I stood next to him in the kitchen, reading him the instructions as if he was a three year old with finger paints (because yes, that is the level of complexity- finger painting)

And the meal turned out fine, if you like smoked salmon, which I don’t.  But anyway.

The other day he wanted to make smoked chicken thighs.  I said optimistically “You remember how to do it?”

”Just help me one more time.  Then I’ll know it.” He said.

”Place wood chips in small pile in center of smoker.  Place piece of Tin foil on top.  Put rack atop that.  Add chicken thighs.  Close cover.  Put on stove on medium”  I said, from memory.

”Wait, what?” He said.

The smoker may end up in the donation pile.

Just Another Blog Post

My dog is little, a yorkie (we think) who weighs less than 10 pounds.  When  a pet is that little they can’t get their vaccinations all at the same time- the process has to be done over two weeks.

Now my dog is not the smartest thing, she routinely runs around like a stupid cartoon pet.  She will try to chase the cat, who is smarter and faster and younger, and the dog will routinely slide into things, or run past the cat and will look quizzically around for her.  If a dog can have a dopey expression, mine would certainly qualify.

Now, though we consider her not too smart, she does have a certain instinct.  She knows when she is going to the vet.  So two weeks ago, when I was trying to take her to get round one of shots, she tried to park herself in the lobby of the building.  She used all of her nine pounds to plant herself by the lobby bench- I had to pick her up.  She also pulled the statue move when we got to the clinic.  She refused to go down the stairs.  Again, I needed to carry her down (and so glad that she’s a little thing)

Last weekend she had to get the second set of shots.  The morning started out a little differently.  First off, the Husband was coming with me.  When we left the apartment we stopped off at the donation center, we dropped off shirts at the dry cleaner.  Sally thought she was out for a jaunty walk.

About halfway to the clinic, Sally realized this was not an ordinary walk.  I guess she realized the route, and did the statue thing.  So maybe she’s not an intellectual, but she does have instincts.

Then there is the Husband.

When we got to the clinic, I reminded the admin that I hadn’t gotten the fecal container the previous week because they were out, and told her I needed it.

Husband said “I have plastic bags.  Why do we need a container from the vet?” (because I often refer to poop bags as fecal containers in casual conversation)

The admin and I just looked at Husband (2 masters degrees FYI) until he realized what indeed the fecal container was for.

So there you go…

Peace and love to you all…..

The Socks

Last weekend I had date night with my Husband- dinner (awesome sandwich shop) movie (The Disaster Artist- I know-James Franco is on the shit list, but don’t throw every other person who worked on this movie under the bus- good movie) and shopping.  Shopping you say?  Yes.  We had time between dinner and movie so we ran to discount store cause my husband needed new gym socks.

Now, my blog friend Andrea recently wrote a blog posing the question, “Are products for men geared to be more simple” (well- to be fair she’s a brilliant writer and her hypothesis was worded much better, but you get the idea)  i commented to her- “No.  men just don’t like going through the hoopla of many choices etc.”  I know I’m generalizing, but I’m going to give you my real life example

My Husband actually had a specific idea of the gym socks he wanted.  Sort of.  He currently had gym socks that went about halfway up his calf.  He did not like these.  He wanted something else.

Fine.

We approached the sock display.

me: What kind of socks do you want?

him: Ones not like the ones I have.

me: ( I held up a pair of quarter length socks) These?

him: How high do these go up?

me: They cover the ankle bone but that’s about it

him: Is that good?

me: Depends what you want.  This is length I get, because I like when my gym socks come over my sneakers.  It’s more comfortable for me

him: I don’t know

me: (I pick up a more ped like variety) These will be completely inside your shoe.  you will not see them

Him: (makes face)

me: (I hold up a pair that is between a ped and a quarter length) these will come up just slightly above the sneaker edge

him: (make face)  what do you think?

me: I don’t know what you want.  What’s the goal?

him: I don’t like the socks I have now.  They are too high.

me: Fine.  These are all shorter.  Which ones do you want?

him:  I don’t know.

me: (bang head against sock display)

You get the idea.  When faced with a plethora of sock choices my husband was at a standstill. It was his personal “Sophie’s Choice”.  To add more, once he’d decided on quarter length, we then had to choose brand, color and amount.  By the time we were on the checkout line I had a headache that only popcorn and a diet coke were going to cure.

When my Husband knew I was going to the drug store, he asked me to buy him a new toothbrush.  I asked him “What kind?”.  His response. ” Just choose one.”

So:

  1. Do some people have trouble making a decision when faced with myriad choices?
  2. Are there too many options out there?
  3. How often do people really know what they want?
  4. Will my Husband actually like the socks he bought, (quarter length, black and grey, 10 pack, reebok) or will be back at discount store this weekend?

When You Can’t Really Say No-

Text from the Husband on discussing vacation plans:

Husband: Can we stop by nephew’s camp?  It’s on way- maybe a quick lunch?

Me:

It is not your imagination.  There really is nothing typed.  Because I didn’t respond.  Because this isn’t really “asking” me something. this is telling me something.  This is telling me something the Husband knows I don’t want to do, but really, how bad a person am I if I say no?

So before you hand me a verdict on “guilty”- lets really look at my case:

  1. I am a strong believer in yearly family vacation (it is one thing my parents did that I thought was a great experience)
  2. Family trip does not need to be long, expensive or exotic
  3. Family trip includes only members of the immediate family.
  4. We have a rule that unless a trip is done to specifically see a friend or family member, we do not visit anyone.  We came up with this rule while prepping for a trip to California and realized that we had more friends/family there than we had days on the trip.  To have seen everyone would have been unrealistic, and we didn’t want to choose one person over another.
  5. We are not a spontaneous lot- we’re those irksome planner types.  I have a pretty solid idea of what we will be doing on each day of the trip.
  6. This trip involves multiple destinations.  When planning out the trip, I have taken into consideration driving distances and scheduled activities.
  7. On the day we are driving to destination D (supposedly near the camp) we will have been on a college tour that morning.  I know we will not be in the vicinity of the camp till past lunch.
  8. The camp is not really “on the way”- it is at least an hour west from the road we need to be on- putting us way off schedule by about 4 hours (if you can’t tell- I don’t like to be off schedule)
  9. My nephews are 8 and 12.  They are at a camp that they love.  When we do see them in real life, it is from behind there cell phones because in the real world- apps rule relatives drool.  Seriously, do they really want to leave, I don’t know swimming and fun, to spend an hour with Uncle Dufus and Aunt Sarcasm?  When they never actually talk to us anyway?
  10. On the day we leave destination D, we are heading to Destination E, and shockingly, another college visit- which has a scheduled time.  It is not logical to try and visit them.
  11. I know the Husband does not really care about visiting the boys.  I know it is his sister goading him- guilting him into not “caring about the family” (but wait- there are at least 15 blogs in that relationship- so I’m stopping at that)
  12. I have literally been planning this trip for 4 months.  (I don’t mean every day- I mean in general)- why was this question posed 3 days before departure?

As of right now- I don’t know what we’re doing.  I don’t like that the Husband has put me in this position, and I have told him that. (People in relationships – think about what you are asking of your partner, and always tell your partner when you are annoyed and what you are annoyed at- this is relationship 101)

So: What’s the verdict?

A Tale of Two Temperatures: A play in one act

The Setting: Booth in a deli in New York City, 2017

The Players: Mother in Law, Waiter, Son, Daughter in Law

Waiter approaches table, notepad in hand:

Waiter:  Can I get you something to drink?

Mother in Law:  Do you have diet black cherry soda?

Waiter:  Yes.

Mother in Law: In the can?

Waiter: Yes

Mother:  Is the can cold?

Waiter: Yes

Mother in Law: Very cold?  Because I don’t like ice.  I don’t want the soda to be made cold because of ice.  I only want it if its a very cold can.

Waiter:  Yes.  Very cold can.

Waiter begins to walk away

Mother in Law: And make sure you bring me a cup of ice.

Waiter returns with soda, ice, and complimentary bowls of cole slaw and pickles, and quickly leaves.

  Mother in law touches all six pickles in bowl.  Takes one and bites it.

Mother in Law: Blah.  These pickles are warm.  Who serves warm pickles.  Pickles are supposed to be cold.

Son: They always serve them like that.

Mother in law picks up pickle and hands it to son

Mother in law:  That is NOT how a pickle is supposed to feel.

In what seems like 3 hours, but in reality is only 5 minutes, waiter returns with plate of stuffed derma

Mother in law:  Can you bring us a bowl of cold pickles.  Cold.  Like from the refrigerator.  Cold.

Waiter takes bowl of apparently ill tempered pickles.

Mother in Law:  Is the derma hot?  Derma has to be hot.

Son:  Ma, there’s steam coming off it.

Mother in Law:  Fine.  If you’re sure it’s hot enough.

After another eternity seeming 5 minutes, waiter returns with corned beef, pastrami and hopefully cold pickles.  He places food and sprints from table, clearly shattering the table to kitchen speed record

Mother in law touches all the pickles.  But doesn’t take any.

Mother in law: Cold pickles.  But is the pastrami warm?  You know how I like my pastrami warm.

Mother in law rises to use rest room.  Waiter chooses that moment to bus table, taking with him a touched but uneaten bowl of cold pickles.

The End

 

 

 

 

Screwed….

It’s been an eventful 12 hours for me.  The Husband got home from the Dominican Republic last night at about 9.  My daughter got home about the same time from her pre-community service mani/pedi.  Things from husbands trip are literally all over the house.   Daughters things are also in disarray as she finished up packing for her trip.  Her trip which required me to wake up at 2:15.  AM. Because we had to be at the airport at 4.  AM.  And since this is the city that never sleeps, you must give yourself an hour to drive 15 miles.  (FYI- we reached JFK from Manhattan in a record 22 minutes.  Then spent 45 minutes searching for caffeine and tried to bribe retail doughnut establishment into opening early but stale cough drop and forever stamp not enticing enough)  But anyway.  I’m tired and cranky and house is a mess and there is a bag of moldy laundry fresh from Caribbean.

Now look at my featured image.  See that screw?  That lonely screw that looks like its missing its friends?  I found that under the dining room table.  Obviously I looked under the table- but no screws were missing.  I looked under the chairs, turned them over, but alas- everything was intact.   So where does the screw belong?  Who knows.  You see, we share our abode with a cat.  A cat who sees things on the ground and bats them around.  So the screw could literally belong to any piece of furniture in the house.  From any room. I’ve been wandering around my small, sparsely furnished apartment in search of the hole where this screw belongs.  And I can’t find it.

But never fear.  I have a strong premonition that tonight, we will find out where the screw resides.  You see, my Mother in law is coming over tonight- visiting from Florida.  I’m sure she will sit on, or put something on, whatever this screw belongs to.

Please tune in tomorrow for the continuation……

Dear Husband….

The Husband has spent the past few days in the Caribbean, celebrating the 50th birthdays of four of his friends.  I’m going to allow you a rare glimpse into our personal lives by sharing our email correspondence.

TO: Husband

FROM: Wife

Hi!  Hope you are having a great time.  It has not been same around here without you.

Going to sleep was different- it was funny sleeping under the covers- I missed playing tug of war with them in middle of night.  I think I figured out your secret though….after you pull them you roll on top of them so I can’t possibly dislodge you….But the jig is up- expect a better comforter grabbing competitor when you get back!!!! LOL

It was also odd not to be wakened by your sexy voice, asking…”Are you eating breakfast?  What’s for breakfast?  Do we have bananas?”  And as you’re eating breakfast, the age old question…”What’s for lunch?  And have you thought about what you’re ordering for dinner tonight?  Maybe we should pull up the menu so we can plan a food strategy….”  And speaking of food- the dog actually ate all her food….she never does that when you’re around……

It was lonely when I was doing a face mask and a hair mask.  No one entered the bathroom saying…”Ooh- what’s that brown stuff on your face?  Does that stuff really work on your hair?  Is this really relaxing for you?  Have you thought about breakfast tomorrow?”  I needed to turn up the music to drown out my sorrow….

TTYL

TO:  Wife

FROM: Husband

All good.  Went snorkeling today.  I wasn’t allowed to dive for some reason.   Food is awesome.  All inclusive and they always have a food spot open.  Amazing. Oh well.  BTW- did I pack underwear?  FYI- Told you that you can’t survive without me.

TO: Husband

FROM: Wife

Did you check outside pocket of suitcase?

TO: Wife

FROM: Husband

Got it.  Thanks.  I’ll be home soon!  Miss me?

 

 

The Tale of a Husband Packing- a play in 1 act

The Setting:  A living room in NYC

The Players: A Husband and Wife (for this performance, played by me and the Husband)

The Premise:  Husband is packing for a weekend jaunt with his posse, four of whom turn 50 this year.

H: Which suitcase should I use?  Medium or small?

W:  Small

H: But the stuff doesn’t fit in the small.

W: OK.  Use the medium.

H: How much underwear should I bring?

W: One for every day plus an emergency pair.  

H: Should I bring linen pants?

W: Are there any restaurants with dress code?

H: How would I know? (husband is cluelessly throwing clothes into suitcase-in hope that wife will take pity on him and help)

H: Do you know where my dive card is?

W: Is it in your dive bag?

H:  Why would my dive card be in my dive bag?

W: OK.  Check your ski bag.

H: Not funny.  I can’t scuba without my dive card.

(Wife stands up, looks in pocket of dive bag.  Amazingly finds dive card, log book and 15$ Belize currency)

W: Voila.

(Husband is holding mask and breathing tube, looking at them quizzically.)

H:  Do you know how to connect the tube to the mask?

(wife takes the apparatus from husband)

W: Is your insurance paid up?

H: What?

(wife correctly puts mask thing together)

W: Nothing.  Here you go.

H: Cool.  I didn’t realize you had to take that piece out and slide it in there.  How did you know that?

(husband continues to throw random sporting things in suitcase)

H: Should I pack my inhaler or carry on?

W: I think you should carry on.  You know, if you have trouble breathing while you’re mid air and all.

(husband is browsing through box of travel size toiletries)

H: What’s the difference between facial moisturizer and facial cleanser?

W: You have two masters degrees, right?

H: What?

W: You clean your face with cleanser, and moisturize with moisturizer.

H: Do I use moisturizer?

W: Bring it in case you get sun or wind burn.

H: So I use it after the cleanser?

(husband puts toiletry bag in suitcase.  struggles with closing suitcase)

H: I hate the zipper on this suitcase.  It’s in such an awkward spot.

W: I promise you- all suitcases have zippers in pretty much the same way 

(wife effortlessly zips suitcase)

H: Have you seen my headphones?

W: Gym bag?

Husband is finally packed- suitcase, tennis racket and tote by front door.

H: How are you going to survive without me?

THE END