Tuesday, September 30, 2008

There Will Be No Honeymoon

When Bill and I were first married and fought, there was that blissful honeymoon period when we made up. We'd be relieved and resolve to try harder and feel more in love than ever.

The last few years, not so much. Bill felt that more than I, but we both would resolve and feel we'd learned about that foxhole and try to avoid it. Things would be better until they weren't.

This time, though, I came back home with no expectations at all. I came home to do the right thing by God, Bill, and the kids. I didn't have any resolve except to take each day as it comes and lean on God with everything I've got.

Bill had some expectations and voiced some sadness and disappointment. There wasn't an explosion, just a little wistfulness, maybe some resentment when I insisted on being authentic.

So, now, what we have is a commitment (not without fear or trepidation) to the institution of the family; love that is so not blind, we could probably light up half of America with my clear eyed look at who we are and how we affect each other; and a devotion to God and the gospel.

Perhaps that's better.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Meathead fixes my computer

I am a total computer slut. I will suck up to anybody who can help me with my computer. My neighbor stopped in the other day while I was working on a form for work, to thank me for some clothes I'd given her. (I gave away five boxes of clothes---I gave her the best ones). I said, "Yes, yes, you're welcome, do you know how to work Excel?" And she did and she was a genius and I figured out how to make the columns smaller and it's a cherry form that I can take to work so the girls can say, "I don't want potatoes." (They are allowed to refuse one food item from each meal, in case they don't like something. But they have to eat a good diet).

And I made it pink and blue and purple because they are girls after all and we need that bit of color in our lives.

So, Sarah, aka Princess Buttgold, has a new boyfriend. Did I mention that she has turned over a new leaf? She has gone back to church, sat before a church court, been put on probation (they were gloriously merciful to her), is wearing her garments again and she is running with a total new crowd. I'm quite proud of her for that.

She just one day up and dumped all her bar friends and spent a couple of months buried in books and staying home except for work and church. She purged herself, in a way. The Lord sent some great kids into her life and she moved out of the home she was renting with 5 male roommates into a great apartment complex where she shares an apartment with students and kids with different goals than she'd previously had.

I hadn't met this boyfriend. Bill had and wasn't too impressed. Sarah wants my opinion. Well, my opinion is that she and this boy don't seem to go together in any conceivable way. I would never have picked him out of a lineup to go out with my daughter.

He is a returned missionary, with avowed faith in the gospel. He has a job and is attending college to get his MBA. But...nope, I can't see him with Sarah. They showed up yesterday on his Harley---he did have her wear a helmet. His hair is curly and long around the nape of his neck, but not long like, uh, Jesus. He has a beard which has a lot of red in it (I looked at that and thought, "I always thought Sarah's children would be redheads)and he's quite handsome in a sort of goofy way.

I was supposed to interrogate him, but when I found out he could figure out my speakers and fix my computer so I could get YouTube, I lost interest. I did ask him, "So, young man, what are your intentions toward my daughter?"

And he laughed and said, "I knew that was coming."

And I said, "Oh, I don't care, how come you can't get that adobe thing to work?" and we forgot to discuss his intentions.

They left, with Sarah hanging on the back of the motorcycle, and as they drove off, I thought, "Isn't that just every mother's dream?"

He kind of reminds me of the guy in "Say Anything" except not so deep. I also couldn't help but think of "All in the Family" and Archie, Edith, and Meathead.

He does like Mo-town and the old 60's music and he knew who B.B. King was, though. I'm too engrossed in my own problems to handle Sarah's--God is on this one, I'm sure, anyway.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

How in hell old am I anyway?

That reminded me of a story I read in the Reader's Digest. A true story. A publicist needed to know how old Cary Grant was, so he sent him a telegram saying: "How old Cary Grant?" Grant responded: "Old Cary Grant fine."

I have a habit of going to the next year the second I turn a certain age, because of my death wish. I want to hurry up and get old and die. For instance, when I turned 43, I started telling people I was 44. (I thought I was 52 for a whole year till my birthday and someone asked how old I was and I said "53" and my sister snorted and said, "Arlene, you are not 53, you're 52!" and I did the math and said, "Oh, yeah, right."

Well, last year, I got particularly confused. I turned 55, then told people I was 56then thought I really was 56, which meant 57, and thought I was going to be 58 today.

I did the math last week, and thought, oh crap, I lost two years. And I was kind of excited about being that close to 60. But I'm only 56. Well, 57, starting tomorrow.

For my birthday, Bill is giving me not mowing the lawn. He drives me crazy with how excited he gets about mowing the lawn. He gets up early, has a quick breakfast instead of the usual rigamarole five course meal, and goes out busily to prepare. He prepares to mow the lawn like some people plan a wedding. And he's very noisy about it and it takes all day. Then he waters and the noise just drives me nuts.

Luckily the neighbor lady's battery died, so he'll go out and mess with that in his shop. Quietly. We are also having crab legs for dinner and no cake, although I may ask him to make pie crust (I LOVE pie crust! which is basically flour and lard, gross, huh? I put sugar and cinnamon on it. It's the only thing I'll eat totally until it's gone. You'd think it would make me sick, but it doesn't. Nor do I gain weight from it.). Yeah, pie crust will be my cake.

Sarah and her new boyfriend, who is afraid of Bill because his debit card got rejected (a real oversight on his part) and Bill had to pay for the gas the last time they came and he's the cheapest guy on the planet. Then Sarah was dumb enough to tell him her dad was mad, so the poor kid is afraid of her dad. Oh! Where was I?

Sarah and her new boyfriend are coming up (from St. George) to bring me Olive Garden's potato sausage soup. My friend brought me a pedicure coupon, which I dearly need.

Traditionally, my birthday is punctuated by visits and phone calls and cards from friends all day long. I tried one year to have Bill and Sarah ignore my birthday but nobody else did and they felt bad. I hate this week because it's when James died and he called me a lot and sent me diamond and pearl jewelry and then he shot himself. Anyway, now I just grin and bear it and get through it. I was thinking I wish, if he had to commit suicide, he'd done it in a month I hate, like August, which is when David and Davey died, instead of this time of year which I love most of all.

So I go through this total conflicted emotion cycle of smelling the fresh crisp air and thanking God summer is over to the warm feeling of being loved to the terrible horror of my son's suicide.

I guess that's life in general. Anyway, today I'm 56. But in real body age, I'm 76 because I took a test on-line and I'm in terrible shape. A psychic who read my palm said I'd live until I'm 80, so I think I have four more years to endure. Woo-hoo!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Back in the High Life Again

I can't tell you how chagrined and mystified I am about all the stuff I've brought back into the house. Like I wrote before, the house didn't seem empty to me (although, it did to Bill, he seems to have missed my cluttery ways).

Moving sucks, although we did it fairly efficiently, I believe, in only two days and two truck-loads, plus two trailer fulls. Hmm...is that grammatically correct?

I made him get the twenty boxes of "Christmas Items" still unorganized from last Christmas which he hastily threw into boxes after I left and put into the storage unit. I want to organize them, although it may take till next Christmas.

I also have about 40 boxes down in the basement, many are books, still to be unpacked and five boxes marked "fragile" in the dining room, which I shall unpack today. I suppose newspaper accounts for half the heft in the boxes because my visiting teacher carefully wrapped all my delicate stuff.

Now, I have satellite TV. Now, I have a washer and dryer readily available (and I wash every day--I no longer have to make my work shirts last two days).

I have two freezers-full of food and immense storage for when I get hungry and all the amenities of home. Our arrangement is odd, I guess; for the moment, we haven't arranged anything at all. Bill buys the groceries, sometimes I shop and pay for stuff out of my account. He hasn't incurred any extra debt by me moving back, so far. We just don't talk about it. I borrowed $20 for gas, but didn't need to use it so I just gave it back.

I have no idea how he feels about all that, but since money was an issue with us, I assume he's relieved.

Things here are tenuously peaceful, we are probably too careful around one another. I find that I'm still unable to forgive him for many things and so haven't settled in as I would if I were truly "at home." I feel like a guest.

How sad, huh?

I'm maintaining my separate checking account, paying my own bills, except for living expenses and insurance (and you know, I don't eat much, so I don't think that takes too much money)keeping my own mailing address in Parowan, and hanging on to my job with everything I've got. I'm keeping all the stuff I bought for my home which are now extra (canisters with sugar and flour, a mixer, the ironing board and iron, the small kitchen table, etc.) "Just in case." I'm saving money in case I need it for rent.

I realize that may not be the best course, but perhaps I need that safety net. I've always been commitment-phobic---I wanted to date other guys, but I didn't want the guy I liked best to date anybody else---and maybe Bill and I would never have married if he hadn't set a line in the sand. I cared enough about him not to play around and to marry him, you see.

My neighbors are being kind and giving me space, greeting me carefully. Some, I think, are angry with me. So be it. I haven't been to church and have no plans to do so. Bill is now one of those sad guys married to an inactive woman.

There is so much to work out. And I'm depressing myself. But---dang! I do have that DVR and the washer! Woo-hoo!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Cheap Thrill of Moving

When I left Bill, back in March, I threw some stuff into an overnight bag and stomped out over to my sister's spare room. When I decided to stay gone, my daughter, Jessie, went to the house and packed up my computer, clothes, and a lot of furniture, piling it into her red Chevy truck.

My sister, Sarah and Jessie, and I completed the move the next day via a small wood trailer we own and two trucks and two cars. I can't believe I had that much stuff. And it hardly made a dent in the house. You could hardly tell I was gone.

I packed up my bedroom, clothes, etc. Monday. I've got boxes piled down the hallway of this small trailer---eleven in all, plus three laundry baskets and two garbage bags full of clothes and bedding.

I was thinking how I'd come to live with less LOL. I even took a bunch of stuff to DI and a huge heavy box of really cool books to the public library, trying to simplify.

I've heard people who move a lot don't have a lot of stuff. Well, maybe 20 more moves and I'll eliminate a box. Stuff multiplies exponentially!

Bill's bringing over the truck today and we'll see how much we can fit and move. It's weird to think of moving back into one's own house and I wonder how the neighbors will take it. I wonder if Bill will feel lessened for having to move his wife back into their home.

As I said, we're fairly well known in the community, mostly out of longevity, not out of riches or accomplishment or stature, and it's been embarrassing to have our problems made so blatantly public. Actually, I've been uncustomarily reticent on the subject (except here LOL). I usually blab to anybody about anything but this time, even when people pry (and hell, yes, they do) I will not discuss my marriage with just anyone.

I've written already about the hungry look in the eyes of some single women (and you know, my heart goes out, I was single and lonely once and I understand that Bill seems like Gregory Peck reincarnate to some)---and the men who've flirted (I'm fairly certain that the cute(sort-of, in a scruffy, convenience store worker who's trying to get sober kind of way)guy who works at the local small hardware/toy/dishes/little bit of everything store has a crush. Well, he did call me "Baby" the other day. To which I said, "I bet you call all the little old ladies who come in here "baby."

I've had people be extra kind and cheerful without mentioning my problems, but I can tell they've heard. They give me a little hug or squeeze on the arm as we pass in Wal-Mart. Others give me dirty looks and shun me. Really. Sometimes I feel like a celebrity with the furtive stares. I feel sorry for those who are trying to work out these most painfully intimate and sensitive problems with me staring at them via the People magazine.

We haven't been out in public together since March. Not once. I wonder what that will be like. I wonder what it will be like to have someone around all the time instead of this delicious silence, this delicious freedom of leaving a half eaten sandwich on the nightstand alongside the glass of milk when I turn over and go to sleep.

I'm afraid. I haven't changed much, nor, I suppose, has he.

I'm scaring the crap out of myself (catastrophizing, my AA sponsor calls it). So I'll go back to what's gotten me through the last six months: doing what's in front of me and leaving the rest to the Lord.

Crap. The sink is full and here I am blogging. Off to the real world. Anybody got any good boxes they can drop by?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Just Another Manic Monday

I'm not even sure that's the line in the song, but that's how it feels.

I work, usually, Thursday-Sunday, 3-11 pm, give or take adjustments for the schedules of others. I find it disconserting and often have no idea what day it is. The day I go back to work seems like Monday and my first day seems like Saturday.

So, Thursday feels like Monday and Monday feels like Saturday and others get incredibly confused when speaking with me as we sort out where are and what day it is.

Today, though, it's Monday. I'll be moving back in with Bill in our home in Enoch on Wednesday. I've asked my visiting teachers---who've never been to my home---to come help me pack up my kitchen and front room. I've never even met one of them and only spoke to her when I called to ask for her help! I figured that would count for the last six months.

They've tried, we've just never been able to jive with our schedules. I'm going to ask that I get letters when I move home, I don't want visits. I feel a vague sense of unease at my reluctance to interact with others and wonder if I'm truly getting agoraphobic. This is so unlike me not to reach out and have multitudes of friends that I'm sure my old pals "back in the hood" will have some adjusting to do. Maybe not.

(Parenthetically, I've realized, not unhappily, how quickly people get over you when you're gone! We are all expendable and I find that comforting.)

Today, I have to sort out our storage unit to contain my furniture, bought or borrowed in the separation (I have the cutest little round kitchen table, with two chairs, bought from Wal-Mart for $139!---I put it together myself), begin to take some stuff home, small boxes that will fit in my car. Maybe all my nice dresses and blouses, which I seldom wear.

'm going to be very careful with the stuff from my sister's funeral, which is still stacked in my spare room. There are dried flowers from the wreaths, which I intend to put into frames for my niece and nephews, CD's of the funeral, which I intend to copy, letters and pictures which I intend to sort out. All are not for myself, they are for her children, especially for her daughter, who only found out about her mother's death two weeks after the fact and who hasn't been heard from since.

I've bought some stuff for my grandchildren to play with over here. They'll be added to the piles of toys especially for those beloved little bodies. I'll be taking only my computer, my dishes, and my clothes back home. Oh, and of course, my books. (You know, I bought a set of encyclopedias back in 1978 and I use them all the time---especially when I read, looking up facts for context. I bought them on time, making payments for three years. I consider them to be one of my best purchases, because they're pretty good for being so old and out of date).

Bill and I are both pretty uptight about this move. It's sort of make or break. I can't bring myself to commit, but I feel that for my famiy's sake, I must attempt to reconcile and that can't be done while we're living apart. My home doesn't seem like home. It's a scary place.

But, I'm taking it one day at a time these days. So, I'll pile stuff in my car and run over to Cedar and pile that stuff around the house and come home and vegetate till tomorrow and hope the spirit hits me and all somehow becomes well.