Posts Tagged ‘christmas in the trenches’

Like most everyone else I’ve got music on my computer. Old stuff, new stuff, weird and obscure stuff. Heavy metal is often followed by a country tune which, I have to admit, can be jarring.

This list of comfort music has begun to take on new irritations. How many love songs can one person have on a play list? Apparently lots.

Songs of new love, unrequited love, lost love.. ya, ya,ya. They’ve been on my playlist for years, hell before there was a playlist as most of them come from CD’s I’ve had to replace tapes and vinyl. Yes, I remember 45’s what’s your point?

As of late they are all ‘ABOUT’ me. What I have, what I don’t have, what I should have. Pfft. Gratefully AC/DC doesn’t lament love or I’d be in deep do.

Trisha Yearwood has a song, “The Song Remember’s When” and it sure does. This music of mine has many memories. There are songs that take me to a certain moment with perfect clarity.

I was listening to Rod Steward today and ‘Forever Young’ came on. I was instantly sitting in my ’74 Mustang waiting for one of my friend’s children to get out of school, so I could take her home.

Michael Bolton’s ‘Time, Love and Tenderness” has me rocking out on north bound I5, in Seattle, on my way to the 520 bridge exit.

I couldn’t explain these connections if I tried and most of the time I just smile and go with it.

Lately? Some songs stop my day in its tracks. My heart compresses and I either skip it or count the seconds until it’s over. Changing stations doesn’t always help, nor does moving to the next song. There are so many of them, dammit!

My solution? I’ve been loading music which has memories that have absolutely nothing to do with ‘us’.  It seems to be helping. Music has always been sanctuary for me. I’m sure not going to stop listening to it because a tune might stab me in the heart.

This super sensitive stuff is for the birds. I mean really. As persons go, I’m normally pretty pragmatic. Not much gets to me. This situation? It’s got me feeling like a burn unit patient. Healing will come. The music will always remember and so will I, and it won’t hurt like this forever. I know it won’t.  I wish it would hurry up and get on with it though.

Have I mentioned I don’t do waiting well?  I don’t. It’s a problem. Lessons in patience suck rocks. So does being stopped in my tracks when some of my favorite tunes come on.

I’m done whining; for the moment.


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Have you ever driven through a neighborhood and wondered about the lives of its occupants? I do. It is a never ending source of fascination to me. One house can be completely dilapidated leading one to believe things aren’t good. While the biggest, best maintained property emanates an air of prosperity and happiness.

Then, it hits the fan and one discovers the folks in the big house have more problems than anyone could have imagined.

The paper does an expose’ on the older couple in the little house. They are happy as clams, but can no longer maintain the house.

Most of us are somewhere in the middle of this. The point is appearances are deceptive, and one can’t make judgements at a glance. At least they shouldn’t.

As I look at our life from the point of view of others it is frankly difficult to understand what the problem is. And so I practice patience when someone says to me, “He seems like a good enough guy.”

Well, der I married him. “He is a good man. That’s not the problem.”

Here’s where people want explanations, I wouldn’t give, because:

A. I’m still trying to sort it all out, how am I supposed to verbalize what I don’t understand myself.

B. If I launch into what I perceive as the problem, without proper background information, he starts to sound like a pathetic human being. And , or I start to look like a self-centered, cold person who doesn’t deserve him.

And then comes the well meaning, yet completely clueless suggestions.

1. Have you talked to him about this?

2. Maybe a weekend, just the two of you, would help.

Okay, here’s the deal. It’s past all of the simple stuff. I appreciate the concern, I really do. But you have no idea what’s been going on and I’m not going to launch into the history of our marriage with you. Some I will, most I won’t. Why?

It’s too complicated.

It’s too long.

I’m sure to forget some important tidbit that will leave you with bad feelings about one or both of us.

I’m tired.

Most importantly? It’s our business. Only we can work it out or not. Who we are in the relationship may or may not be who you see.

So what should a person do when friends are having marital problems?

Listen – There is nothing as therapeutic than getting out so it can be seen in a different light. At some point action has to be brought up, nothing is as irritating as whining for whining sake.

Offer support – Relay an experience or two of your own which may offer solace.

Admit you’re clueless – It’s okay, really it is. I don’t expect someone to have all the answers or to fix this for me. Truth be known if someone tried to fix it we’d both, in all likelihood, unceremoniously kick them out on their ear.

Remind them of who they are when anger threatens to out weigh common sense. Humor helps here, really it does. “You want to kill him? Do you suppose the body would decompose in the septic tank?”  “So, where are you going to run off to? Can I come?”

Divorce, separation, marital discord are impossible to understand from the outside of the relationship. Don’t try. Trust me, you don’t want to know. It would induce a headache you’d never forget.

It is as complicated a situation as there could possibly be. The older the marriage the more complicated it gets.

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The last couple of weeks have been a storm of emotion, other things figure in here as well, and I’m one tired unit.

I need to see the chiropractor so maybe we can release the tension in my upper back. Laying over the exercise ball has its limits, though it is a savior when the doctor isn’t available.

For the moment most of my hurt, denial and sadness has been drained. So the vexation is still there? What do you want from me perfection? Hand to heart, I promise to temper my tongue–mostly.

So last night my husband asks me what I want to do this weekend. Normal enough question, if you’re in a different marriage. In all fairness he’s been trying to do things with me. That’s part of the problem. He goes through the motions, and his heart just isn’t in it. It’s a difficult situation for both of us. I’ve been playing along in hopes of rekindling a fire, long since gone out. We both know it’s not working, and neither has wanted to admit it.

I’m done with ‘pretending’. Do I want to do something this weekend? Besides the wake on Sunday? Em, yes and no. I have things I want to do. Pretending we enjoy each other (on the last shopping Saturday before Christmas) isn’t on the docket.

He and I are in two completely different spaces. I opened my mouth and made it real. I’ve cried, huffed, growled and howled, hence my current physical state.  The illusions, delusions have been exposed for what they are; a sorry state of denial in which everything will be fine if only I can hold on.  We’re broken.

He knows we’re broken. He knows, I’m serious. He’s still in denial though. Like the child grounded, he’s scrambling to make nice until he’s out of the dog house. Whether or not the better behavior will continue is anyone’s guess. I’m too tired to bite.

We’ve done this too many times. I want to believe; I do.  And I’m afraid. I’m afraid of getting sucked in, yet again, only to find myself in this position six months from now.  I’ve been riding this roller coaster for nine years. It is rather embarrassing to admit I’ve held on in futility for so long. The excuses, rationalizations, and all of the assorted other crapiage  floating in the river of denial are gone. It’s just me and the facts.

It’s a weird, numbing place. There is still a sense of emergency in my husband. He’s scrambling. Me? I’m just waiting for counseling to start so I can assess whether or not I’m wasting my time.  This from the woman who didn’t allow the ‘D’ word in her vocabulary, nor has he. We promised each other at the start not to brandish divorce as a weapon or threat, and we haven’t.

A year ago I had an epiphany. He was doing what he does, and I thought, ‘How many times are you going to do this with him?’ Since then I’ve been wrestling with the situation. We’ve spoken a numerous occasions about what needed to happen to make this better, and he couldn’t bring himself to believe it was happening.

So, he’s where I was a year ago (or so we can hope). Still holding on to strangulated hope, fingers in his ears singing, Lalalalalala…..

Enter the weirdness. There were years and years when we were on the same page. Once and a while one lagged behind, but as a rule we were a team.  Our kids didn’t stand a chance with divide or conquer with us. Ha! We rocked!

Maybe we’ve run our course. When we got married we were both all about having a family. We did that. They’re both grown, and maybe we’ve done together what we were meant to do. It’s a possibility, I’ve just come to grips with. It hasn’t entered his darkest dreams yet.

What a journey.

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Okay, so there’s no storm here. Mostly cuz I won’t fight. Pointless activity in situations such as ours.

Anyway. I finally forced myself to think about Christmas presents for the spouse. The grandkids and kids were far too easy. I was rather tempted to tell him that I’d spent too much on them and couldn’t afford a present for him. Sorry Dear.

Frown, I don’t have it in me to be purposefully mean. I think a lot of mean things. To carry them out? Sigh, not me.

Shopping for someone you’ve known for 30 years should be a breeze. Really.

It’s become torturous.

Thinking of things to get him isn’t the problem, I know him well. I’ve got  privileged access to what he has, and therefore needs. That’s not the problem. The trauma of Christmas pasts tends to be at issue.

There is nothing (And I mean nothing on this planet) that is engineered properly. My spouse can glance at an object and go into agonizing detail as to how it’s all wrong, and then launch into the way it ‘Should’ have been made. Blank stare

It sort of sucks the joy of finding the perfect present. Instantly deflating, actually. He has received two presents which he liked without complaint. The last Slippers.

These slippers met his exacting standards of form, combine with proper materials for maximum function. I scoured the internet for days in order to locate this prized pair of slippers. We won’t talk about how much the things cost. Let’s just leave it at, one could purchase a LOT of slippers from the drug store with what I paid for these.

At finding them suitable, did I get a smile, hug or thanks? Nope. “You should have bought at least two pair. You’ll never be able to find them again.”

Now that makes me want to run out and start next year’s search ASAP.

I scored the perfect VCR a number of years ago, on sale no less. He never, not once, complained about it for any reason. This is my one shining example of success in all of our years married, and that was for Father’s Day… so does it even count at Christmas?

Yesterday I nabbed a couple of things he should like, but not enough to deconstruct before telling me how to make a better one. The first pair of slippers is wearing out, so a different pair was ordered. They aren’t the same brand. The sole looks as if it will hold up better, but. They’re different.

Ghosts of Christmas past have a litany of complaints, comparisons, odd facial expressions (he excels at these) and “They’re nice, but – fill in the blank – or the other ones were better.”  Running through my head.

“Should I send them back and get the other ones?”

“Oh, no, these will do. For next time you know.”

There won’t be a damned next time. grr And I’m sure of it, until the next year. Cross my eyes.

I’ll let you know how I fair.  The kids will LOVE their presents. I’ll concentrate on them, yes I will.

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