Friday, November 30, 2012


After days of arguing discussing, we arrived at a decision.  Because my husband will not entertain a cleaning lady, moving into an apartment, talking about privacy needs and boundaries with his parents, he said he will come home every weekend.  "That way, I won't have to hear you bitch at me the whole time you're up here."  I sound bitter but I'm not.  I'm actually quite happy today.  I consider that progress.  I'm planning on making lasagna and a vanilla cheesecake this weekend.  The weather here promises to be dreary. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Reflecting on family

Why is it when something bad happens, all the bad, painful memories crop up?  Anyway, I'm sorry I neglected to tell my faithful readers that I didn't get that job.  I found out a couple of weeks ago.  He said somebody had more experience than me which I absolutely don't believe.  But, that attitude will take me nowhere. :)  Life goes on, I guess.

I wish I was one of those Catholic bloggers with the perfect attitudes and ever cheerful posts.  But I'm thankful (see, I can do it too) my relative anonymity gives me more freedom to talk honestly.  Not that the cheerful bloggers aren't honest, of course.  They're just more perfect than me.

That said, I struggle against playing my type.  If I'm paranoid to any degree I tend to believe everybody who knows us is waiting for me to crack.  "Oh yeah, he shouldn't have married someone so much younger."  "Yeah, she's too ambitious."  "Give it a few years, she'll mess around."  I don't so my struggle with my own feelings as I wrestle with what other people think about me and what I'll do.  But, my mother said not to worry, nobody's thinking about me. ;)  She told me that as a teenager, I think, to make me not worry about maintaining a good reputation?  I don't know.  My mother says some very wise things and also some very dumb things.  I guess everybody's capable of that.

I'm beating around the bush, yes!  

To follow up on the comments on the last post....  My husband's family is just very different from my own.  My FIL's age is just shy of what my own grandfather's would be if he were still alive.  It's a generational problem.  It's a cultural problem.  Even though we're all from California, they identify themselves as still part of a culture that keep family close.  I'm from one who considers the individual more important than the family.  We prize fierce Independence.  Not to say we don't love our family.  We do.

There's a really interesting piece in the NY Times today.  It's about a mother who worries about her adult children.  Enlightening to say the least.  It helped me figure out why my husband's situation with his parents bothers me so much.  It's the lack of privacy I so cherish.  I view my marriage as creating a separate family.  We are separate from my family and his family.

But that's not the case anymore.  He lives what he views as not with his parents but he's a stone's throw away.  That's too close for me.  The asking about sleep from my FIL was an invasion of privacy.  The best thing my in-laws can do is kick my husband out of the house.  But should I ask them to do that?  F*ck.  This situation is totally screwed.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Conflict with the In-Laws

About a week or so before Thanksgiving, my husband informed me that he had invited his parents to stay at our/my house Thanksgiving night.  My husband and I were planning on attending my sister's party and my in-laws would be at my husband's aunt's celebration.  I was not happy my husband had not consulted me before extending the invitation to his parents.  I mean, I look at our house as my house at this point.  Shouldn't I be the one doing the inviting since I'm the one doing the hosting?

Cleaning the guest bedroom and bathroom was not exactly taxing.  But I take great pride in my skills as a housekeeper and I want my guests to be impressed by the state of things.  While I complained to my husband, he told me it was just one day out of the year so I could handle it.  That was his dictate to me.  I accept these things more often than not.

I made an appetizer and a side dish Thursday morning and to my husband's credit, he helped out a lot with the prep and cleaning the dishes.  He, however, found time to head out to his aunt's to shoot the sh*t with his cousins and give his parents a house key.  I told him to be back by 12:20 so we could leave our house at 1:00pm.  He did.

We got home that night a bit after nine o'clock.  I was tired.  Since this is my house, I'm the only one that carries a key.  My husband does not.  I get to the door and it's locked.  Like my in-laws thought some bad person would just walk in.  I knock.  My MIL calls our names out to check our identity.  I'm carrying stuff in both hands.  Please open the door!!!

My FIL is sitting in my living room, reclining in my chair, reading a National Geographic magazine that I keep on my coffee table.  He's made himself right at home.  I don't remember either of them asking if we needed help getting stuff out of the car.  So, we're all gathering in the kitchen to watch me put containers and unused bottles of wine away.  My MIL saw the brand new food processor I bought to make the food I brought for Thanksgiving.  She giggles as she asks how I liked using it. (I had never used a food processor before.  And I'm 35.)  I said the cauliflower smash was delicious and she should try a little bit.  I think I just said to taste it.  She waves her hand and says she'd already brushed her teeth.  I didn't bother to check to oral status of my FIL. 

So, I go into my bedroom to change my clothes into my house clothes: a cotton tank top, a long cotton boyfriend cardigan, and velour sweat pants.  When I reemerge in the living room, my husband is now in the recliner, and my in-laws are on the couch.  My MIL tells me I look more comfortable.  She must have meant more physically comfortable because emotionally, I was no where close to being comfortable.

I was putting around the kitchen.  My MIL was in the back bedroom.  My FIL was asking my husband what time he got home last night (Wednesday.)  He asked what time we got up that morning.  My husband said we got out of bed around 7:00am but we didn't sleep so well.  This set me off.  I'm not proud of my reaction but here's what I said to my FIL.  "My husband is tired because I woke him up at 3:00am to have sex with him." 

I went back to my bedroom for a few minutes and go back out to the living room.  I took a seat in the chair opposite my husband.  So, it's me on one side and everybody else on the other.  They are talking about what they always talk about, other people and commodity prices.  They'll sometimes talk about how much they hate Oba.m.a but it didn't come up.  I sit quietly because they are talking about people I don't even know and I'm tired of making light fun of them.  I've joked in the past that my MIL should write a book about who's fat, gay, and an alcoholic in their town. 

The amount of time they spend talking about the personal problems of other people is disturbing.  Their favorite topic is what women they know that are now fat.  And they have no mercy for their own relatives.  My huband's cousin's daughter is a favorite target.  I don't know if I ever told the story here but on Easter this year, in line in the family buffet, my FIL came up to me totally unprovoked and said, "Don't eat so much.  You'll get fat."  You don't say that to people.  My sister's a (former) an.orexi.c.   

As the time Thursday night approached 10:30 (past my bedtime), my FIL announces that they'll go to bed because I LOOK TIRED.  They'll go to bed because I look tired?????  What kind of logic is that?  They ask what time we get up.  I said, "whenever we get up.  It might be 7:00, 7:30, 8:00."  Who knows? 

In the morning, my husband got up about a half-hour before me.  So, I got into the kitchen about 7:30.  We have no coffee maker because my husband took it with him.  And I don't keep anything in the house for breakfast except cereal.  My husband asked if they wanted to got out for breakfast.  My FIL's reaction?  "After yesterday, I'm not hungry at all for breakfast.  You're hungry?"  Now that was directed at my husband but frankly, I was hungry and not ashamed to admit it. 

They were gone by 8:00am.  They didn't thank me as they walked out the door.  A few hours later, I told me husband that they didn't thank us for staying at our house.  He said, "Oh, yeah they did.  When I walked them out to their car, they thanked me."

You're probably asking yourself right now (if you've read this far) why I'm so touchy about the subject of sleep.  That's because I never was before I got married.  I like to sleep between nine to ten hours a night.  That's ideal.  I can function just fine with less.  I prefer not to.  If I can get to sleep by 10pm, I will likely sleep until 7:30 or 8:00, depending on the time of sunrise. 

My husband hates that.  Literally hates it.  For the first year of our marriage, he would mercilessly annoy me about my sleep habits.  He would wake me up early just to bother me.  When we went through Retrouvaille, you work on conflict resolution skills.  The topic he picked out of the entire list of problems within a marriage was MY SLEEP HABITS.

And why does he care so much about sleep.  Because his parents do.  This is an inherited opinion.  His parents relate the amount of sleep a person gets per night with their overall personal productivity rate and their moral status.  The less you sleep, the better worker you are.  I was not raised that way.  Nobody in my house growing up cared about how much you slept.  And that's because we were all high achieving people (please forgive any spelling errors :))  So, who gives a damn about whether you wake up at 7:00 or 7:00, we all got to school and work on time.

But what this really comes down to, and my husband and I talked about it last night before he left to go back to his parents is this: I don't want my husband living on his parent's property.  I didn't want it before he left and I don't want it now.  But he tells me he won't do anything else.  And why?  Because he doesn't want to spend any money he doesn't feel he has to.  He believes he can live in the guest house rent free because he worked for his family business for no pay for many years. 

I am now intimately tied to a very painful and complicated family problem that is not my own.  The ironic thing is that why my husband defended his parents to me the entire holiday weekend, just before he left, he said he would tell his father some day that my husband might not have accomplished as my work as his father but that he had more fun that his father.  I told my husband not to sell himself short.  He's accomplished a great deal.  I asked him if his father is harassing him.  He said no.  But this statement about speaking truth to the old man came out of nowhere so I suspect something happened.

This situation is not normal.  A man should not live three hours from his wife and 100 meters from his parents.  I'm not sure how this is going to be resolved or when but it's a doozy. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Recommended reading for the involuntary childless couple

For those of you who are involuntarily childless, I recommend reading the short article linked above.  Essentially, because it takes quite a bit of money to raise children, if you don't have them, you theoretically can save a certain amount on those costs.  I found it to be a good psychological pick-me-up if you're at the stage where you've accepted your situation and are looking for things to be happy about other than being able to sleep in on the weekends or have sex with your husband in the kitchen whenever you feel like it.  (And I consider that a major bonus of infertility.)

Certainly computing the financial costs of having and raising children is not putting an implicit value on the experience.  I think anybody who wants children whether they have them or not believes in the worthiness of the experience.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

It's gonna take patience and time

I liked my hair, my hairstyle Friday morning, November 16th.  It was flirty, fluffy, sexy, maybe.  But it just felt too long for my taste.  I had to put mouse on it, blow dry it, and then top it with wax.  The night before I'd text my hairdresser and asked for an appointment around lunchtime on Friday.  Dumb idea number one.  Trying to get a good haircut in twenty minutes is an impossibility.  I told her as I sat down in the chair, I wanted it shorter.  But that's as much as I'd articulated.  So, she washed it and started cutting.

It's a slightly long version of a pixie.  And by slightly longer, I mean 1/8" of an inch.  It's short.  I've had it this short before but it's so short it eliminates the waves and curls I like so much.  I was scared after she finished blow drying and styling it.  When I paid for it and three other stylists were at the counter, nobody complemented the cut.  It was a certified dud.  When I got back to work, the few people who did see me said nothing.  Did they not notice or did they fall into the category of "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all?"

I was pretty despondent when I got home.  I had run after work and jumped into the shower the minute I stepped through the door just trying to get the little excess hairs off my face and neck.  I didn't feel any better after the shower.  I told my husband about it and he kind of laughed on the phone.  He said it couldn't be as bad as I thought.  I said it was really that bad.  I needed a wig.  I spent an hour last night searching for wigs online.  Most of what looked good were several hundred dollars.  My husband scoffed at the cost and told me to be patient, that it will grow out.  But that will take time, I told him.  I needed to cover the damage.

My mother thought if I was going to have it that short (I didn't bother to tell her that I regretted the cut completely) I should make it platinum.  I told her I wouldn't pay for that.  It's expensive and time-consuming. She said she'd pay for it.  That's how shallow my mom is, in my opinion.  My dad asked me what I wanted for Christmas.  "Apparently, I want a series of bleach jobs."  He didn't get the sarcasm.

My husband and I met at a gun show today.  He didn't say anything about my hair, thank God.  He did say I made it sound worse and shorter than it really was.  I just think he doesn't really study my hair length long enough to remember.  I guess that's just as well.

But, I'm trying to peek out of the darkness that is my appearance and look at this as the start of a growth project.  Personal growth through hair growth.  So, November 16th 2012, is Day 1 of my journey into good hair.  I took a picture of myself a couple hours ago so I could memorialize the changes.  As I type, I have the hood of my college sweatshirt over my head.  I'm a monk.  My monastic period will last at least eight weeks in my estimation to get to an acceptable length.

I think maybe I did this to myself subconsciously.  To feel like I'm making progress in my life in some arena when most areas are pretty good.  Maybe I wanted to torture myself.  Make problems in order to make solutions.  But this solution is just patience.  And I'd rate patience as an overrated virtue.  Maybe this is a lesson from God.  I don't know.  

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Proust Questionnaire

The Proust Questionnaire is a questionnaire about one's personality. Its name and modern popularity as a form of interview is owed to the responses given by the French writer Marcel Proust.
At the end of the nineteenth century, when Proust was still in his teens, he answered a questionnaire in an English-language confession album belonging to his friend Antoinette, daughter of future French President FĂ©lix Faure, entitled "An Album to Record Thoughts, Feelings, etc." At that time, it was popular among English families to answer such a list of questions that revealed the tastes and aspirations of the taker.
I thought it would fun to post my answers to the Proust Questionnaire.  Since none of my readers have met me and because I reveal very little about my life details here, I thought it a great idea to share so it might give you some insight (if you cared.)  You'll see more about my fear of apathy below.

1.  What is your idea of perfect happiness?  Being in incredible cardiovascular shape
2.  What is your greatest fear?  Being in the middle of an apathetic crowd during a major crisis
3.  Which historical figure do you most identify with?  Catherine the Great
4.  Which living person do you most admire?  Any person who stands up for the right thing in the face of violent opposition.
5.  What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?  Egocentricity
6.  What is the trait you most deplore in others?  Willful ignorance and apathy
7.  What is your greatest extravagance?  Unbridled ideas and opinions
8.  On what occasion do you lie?  To save a loved one unnecessary hurt
9.  What do you most dislike about your appearance?  An easily readable facial expression
10.  When and where you the happiest?  Late summer/early fall 2012 when, for the first time in my life, my allergies didn't bother me
11.  If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?  An immature need for attention
12.  If you could change one thing about your family what would it be?  That they were better listeners
13.  What do you consider your greatest achievement?  My marriage but I can't take all the credit
14.  If you died and came back as a person or thing what do you think it would be?  Christians only get one turn around this particular block
15.  What is your most treasured possession?  My waterproof Merrell boots that can go anywhere and never cause me pain
16.  What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?  Being a member of an apathetic society
17.  Who are your heroes in real life?  My husband, my father, and my best girlfriend
18.  What is it that you most dislike?  Wanton cruelty
19.  How would you like to die?  In the arms of my husband
20.  What is your motto?  An anecdote is not evidence.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

When David Hasselhoff is your moral compass

I've really have no one else to tell this story to, so I'll tell the internets.  It's been a rough two weeks but I persevere.  I'm proud of that.  I struggle with my feelings of loneliness but I get through.  That's something.

Ok, David Hasselhoff.  Some years ago, I watched, I think it was the E! True Hollywood Story on Baywatch.  I remember two things about that.  One, the tall, skinny brunette actress said that Pamela Anderson made ten times more than she.  Two, that some women were trying to "get with" David Hasselhoff somewhere and he said that he wouldn't go for it because "you're either married or you're not and I'm married."  For some reason, I have a vivid memory of him saying that.

Fast forward to this morning.  There's a guy who works for a competitor and we see each other often in meetings.  Over the past five years since we met, we've had lunch a few times.  We are friends. 

We saw each other at a meeting this morning and as I walk to my car he says, "If you're around this weekend, maybe we could have a drink."  "Well, my husband will be in town so it will have to be the three of us," I said as I closed my car door.

I knew instantly as I drove back to work that gaul dang it, I had to have THE CONVERSATION.  I left him a message and waited for his call.  He called back about 45 minutes later.  I explained that although I like him and enjoy talking to him about our industry and work, I am married and we shouldn't see each other socially, i.e. for lunch anymore.  Sure, we'll see each other in professional settings but no socializing will take place.  He asked if he said something that offended me.  I said no.  Things were just getting to the point where something bad was going to happen if I took him up on his offer at a meet-up in a bar.  So, that's why no meet-ups in bars.

I'm a little ashamed (maybe a lot ashamed) it got to the point of having that conversation, but I figure (so soon after the fact) that once you're married, your feelings don't go away, they just have to be dealt with in a mature, ethical way and if you have to tell someone to back off or get the hell away, you should do so.  So I tip my hat to David Hasselhoff because "you're either married or you're not, and I'm [most certainly] married."