The Fight

Today. for something completely different, I’m going to talk to you about a fight/disagreement my Husband and I are having.  This is not to be cruel to my Husband.  This is not for you all to tell me I’m right and he’s an idiot (you can do that any day of the year).  I’m writing to explain how in a disagreement, both parties are right and both parties are wrong. And different people are going to perceive the situation differently- some of you will side with me, others with my Husband, and most will just think we’re both nuts. I’m trying to show that an argument, no matter how petty, is still an argument.  Call this a life lesson.

It’s hard to tell a story without bias.  It’s out natural inclination to tell a story highlighting how great we are.  You all know I’m not so great, so this might be easier than I thought.

On Sunday afternoon, my Husband and I will be attending a classical music concert.  We actually both love classical, and we try to see a live performance a few times a year.  The concert is at 2, ends about 4, and is probably a 20 minute subway ride from out house, meaning he’ll be home in time for much of the Sunday football line up.  I will be home in time to do laundry. (see- bias.  I can’t help it.  I’m trying to make you feel for me)

My Husband said he was going to invite his Father over for the game.  Fine.  I said.  I have laundry and house stuff, and I’m betting my homework for writing class will not be complete, so I can have a productive afternoon/evening.

Then he asked if he could invite his Aunt and Uncle to the game.

Now, I’m going to point out that “ask” means that the answer could be yes or no.  When you ask a question, you have to know that each answer is a possibility.

I said “No”.

Here’s the thing.  I have things to do on Sunday.  I don’t want to entertain.  I happen to like his Aunt and Uncle very much, but I don’t want to rush in the door and Voila, people arrive 10 minutes later.  I don’t want to watch football.  It’s also hard to talk to his Aunt if there is football on- our apartment is not that big.  I have other things to do.  4:30 means we are going to need to supply a meal.  There are all sorts of dietary issues, and most of them are not health related.  Cooking is a pain for this group.  Alas, ordering in food is no picnic either.   These are things my Husband doesn’t think about/deal with.  These are things I will need to contend with.  I don’t want to contend with them.

Why does he want to invite them over?  Well, obviously it’s a nice thing.  His Uncle has Parkinson’s, and his situation is not getting better.  I know my Husband would like to spend more time with him.  I get that.  My Husband feels very guilty about things with his family.  I usually don’t feel guilty about things.  To me, if you feel guilty you are doing something wrong.  I usually feel good about my decisions. (be prepared though- there will be a guilt induced post soon)

I am not a “family gathering” type of person.  My Husband is constantly trying to push this value system on me.  I am not particularly close with my parents because there are just all sorts of issues and I feel keeping them at arms length is beneficial to my mental health and stability.  Truth be told, my Husband would benefit from keeping his family at arms length, but that’s his cross to bare.

But, back to Sunday.

After I said I didn’t want to watch football/entertain on Sunday, he said “Didn’t I say I’d go to the concert with you?”

Now- this is where I got mad.  First off- I don’t like tit for tat.  I thought an afternoon date of something we both enjoy would be fun.  I didn’t think it was a bargaining chip.  I don’t think like that.  I don’t do things just to score points.

Secondly- he asked a question.  I gave an answer.  Don’t ask a question if you aren’t prepared for the answer to be something you don’t want to hear.

So. we’re at a stalemate.  I’ve made him sad.  He doesn’t like my disregard for family.  That’s fair.  But this is one of those things- it’s who I am.  I am not the type of person who wants to be surrounded by family.

We’re speaking and all, but it’s an overly polite sort of thing.  And eventually we’re going to have a big discussion.  But the problem is- he is never going to be happy about the situation, because there’s a quality in me that he doesn’t like.   He sees me as cold, and frankly, I am a little cold and detached.  That’s my defense mechanism.  But I won’t apologize for it.  It’s who I am.

So there you have it.  The story of a fight.  I hope I was able to give fairness to both sides.  Disagreements are never easy- figuring out how to get past them is even harder.  I think the true test of a relationship is not what we fight about- it’s how we get past the fight.

Thanks for listening!

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Let’s Bag It

Sorry- this is a rant and another vacation themed blog.  I can’t believe the mileage I’m getting out of my family trip.

See the bags in the picture- this is one of those blogs where the picture is integral to the story, not just a pic that I took that I thought was pretty.

The bag on the left is what my daughter used while we were sightseeing.  Cute, right?  The bag on the right  is what I used.  Utilitarian, no?  The bag in the middle is what my husband used.  ?  What word can you use to describe the bag between the other two?

As I was discussing with amazing Ann yesterday http://muddlingthroughmymiddleage.wordpress.com/, we like to be prepared in the event of say, anything happens.  I like to be ready- which means I carry a very large bag when we go on vacations.  ( I believe this is the fault of diaper bags- when you have a young child you routinely walk around with so much stuff you forget there is any other way to travel)

Personally, I take the following with me:

  1. wallet- can’t forget cash and credit
  2. key- hotel room key very important
  3. camera- I take a lot of pictures
  4. phone- I mean really- this is my datebook, alarm and means to the outside world- I don’t go anywhere without my phone.
  5. sunglasses- they add an air of mystery to any outfit
  6. rain poncho (I find the poncho is easier on vacation)

Now- these six things do not take up much room.  Frankly- I could use a smaller bag.  And I realize that I like to be prepared, and I might need the following things for my own use…..but…… I will in get the following questions:

Do you have any sunscreen?

Do you have any insect repellent?

Do you have any water?

Do you have any gum/mints?

Do you have a tissue?

Do you have lip stuff with SPF?

Do you have the map the hotel clerk gave us?

Do you have the brochure I picked up at that kiosk?

Do you have the review of lobster rolls that I ripped out of that magazine?

Do you have an advil?

Do you have any quarters for the meter?

Did you bring the phone charger?

I also get the following requests:

Can you hold my camera?

Can you hold this 500 page guidebook I found which has all the thing they list on the trip advisor sight?

Can you hold this 5 pound piece of fudge that I had to have?

Do you have room for my sunglasses?

We don’t need a bag for the 600 Boston Tea Party tea bags we’re buying, my wife can put them in her purse- you know- my wife is Mary Poppins in her spare time…….her bag can hold everything……

Hold open your bag so I can wash my hands, because you forget the hand sanitizer, but remembered the kitchen sink…….

I think you get the idea……you see how I began to go off the rails?

I know this is all my own fault.  I’ve spent 15 years being super mom/wife.  But frankly, I’m ready to take off the cape.  The only thing I’ve received for my super hero status are shoulders that are never not tense.  Silly me didn’t book a massage when I made the hotel reservations, so all the other Mom superheroes had already taken all the available spots.  Next vacation is being booked around spa treatment appointments.

Drop the cape.

A fish tale

Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Teenage Bear went on a vacation to New England.  In the far off land of Cape Cod, they crossed many bridges and found an enlightened sandy forest surrounded by water.  This was paradise.  Though the coast could be rocky under their paws, the water was surprisingly warm and clear.  They enjoyed frolicking in the gentle waves, the salty water misting their fur.  They struggled a bit with their beach tent, and no one was there to help them- perhaps they should not have brought a Met towel and Met blanket, and worn a Giants cap, but we never said the Bear family was smart…..But tent aside, their time in this village by the sea was magical……

Papa Bear and Teenage Bear enjoyed fish- not the sport of catching them, but the task of eating them.  They found little food huts and partook of clams and lobsters and quahogs- many of them caught that morning.  Mama Bear- she’s a little bit of a pain though.  Mama Bear doesn’t really like seafood- she’s OK with a bite of lobster roll, or a few spoons of calm chowder- but she doesn’t like it enough to base a whole meal out of it.  So Mama Bear ate a lot of salad.  She didn’t complain, because just as seafood was fresh- the fruits and vegetables were some of the best she had ever got her paws on- ( she even briefly thought about what it would be like to live close to the land, but then she realized how far Sephora was and that idea went out the window)

Mama Bear felt a little weird,  being in this land that loved the bounty of the sea, yet not really wanting to partake.  Is it bad to not like seafood?  She prided herself on being an individual, and not succumbing to pier pressure- but she couldn’t help but think she was the odd person out.  And true- she has tried seafood in the past- and she loved food- but to her, lobsters were just “eh”, salmon was bland, and oysters were okay if they were fried.

And as Mama Bear’s often do- she felt bad when her family didn’t choose a seafood restaurant out of deference to her.  Mama Bear felt guilty if her family wasn’t getting maximum enjoyment out of every moment- she unrealistically wanted them to be happy always.  Mama Bear often put herself last.

Mama Bear knows she has to get over feeling guilty about enjoying herself, or putting herself first.  This is something Mama Bear needs to work on.

And that’s how we end our tale today:  it’s Ok for Mama Bear to put herself first- she just needs to figure out how to do it.  And Mama Bear is probably going to have a list about this in the near future.