27 November 2018

Scenes from a Marriage

Everyone who knows me in reals knows that I am not human in the morning.  It takes me a little while to think clearly and successfully quash the need to throw things at you. 

We had to meet a friend on Sunday morning  and it required a bit of travel.  It's even more difficult to get your brain firing on all cylinders when you're in a vehicle for an hour.

While traveling through farm land, I noticed a lone Angus sleeping in a field. (Angus are the giant black cows)  I think I noticed because usually cows are in gangs and he was alone.

Kevin off-handedly says "There's Big Dave."

With slowed synapses, I'm trying to figure out how in the world of Carmen San Diego Kevin knows that the cow's name is Dave.  Let alone "Big Dave."

As I turned to ask him, I spot a cattle truck across the road.  He was talking about one of his drivers. 

I kind of laughed and said "I wondered how you knew the cow's name but it's one of your drivers."

"You just sit over there and look pretty." he says. 

"And everyone knows that cow's name is Dave."

Image result for angus cow
If we're being honest, he does look like a Dave

22 November 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

Related image
                             I hope this finds you happily with whatever family you have: given or chosen.                                  (If you're alone, there's a Friends Thanksgiving marathon on right now. It's                                                    surprisingly soothing) 

21 November 2018

I am Not Going

Warning: this is ranty.

I didn't go to Vegas this year, again.  Last year I had the shiny new job and deadlines so I didn't go. This year, I had the same job and the same deadlines and still didn't go.

The socially accepted reason is that leaving the parents alone is not a good idea.  While the kids did a great job during the last adventure, it's not fair to expect that from them.  Also, the Niece is in Arizona right now.  So, that is a very valid reason to stay behind.  The other is that there isn't anyone to stay with the puppy right now.  Being a shelter dog, she doesn't like it much when her humans go away.

The real reason is I cannot. CANNOT. No, really I can't, travel with the brother-in-law.  At this point in life, it is difficult to be in the same room with him; let alone being on a trip.

*Pause*  (perfect example forthcoming)

Just now, I got a text from the sister-in-law looking for the name of the Japanese restaurant that we go to while down there. It's a local place, not on the strip.  I am assuming that the google doesn't work down there.  Because you know what's super fun?  Making plans for people who are on a trip that YOU AREN'T ON.   And, they've been there about seven times now so How in the Name of Dora the Explorer do you not know this information by now.


Of course Kevin can't say "Well, Surely isn't going because she hates traveling with you."  And, the b-i-l already knows I don't like him so the fact that he is PUZZLED that I didn't want to go on this trip makes me want to kick bunnies.

One of Kevin's best friends is traveling with them on this trip.  On the second day there he told Kevin "Dude doesn't trust street signs or nav."   I KNOW, RIGHT!?!?!   He questions everything and he is right and you are wrong. Street signs are wrong. I'm here to tell you: He is Never Right.  The last time I went, he nearly caused a traffic accident because he was certain that Kevin was turning the wrong way and shouted over me who was giving directions, from my nav, while Not yelling.  Our friend Mike doesn't suffer fools at all.  He makes me look like Gandhi.  Fortunately, he goes on this trip also so there is another buffer.  I love when he is with us because he renders the b-i-l powerless.  We have perfected eye contact high fives over the years. Meaning: it's not just me that has this issue.


Kevin just phoned, equally as frustrated as me, to say that the restaurant is on a different street than before and this apparently caused a systems meltdown. I double-checked and it's the same restaurant but hold onto your socks: In a DIFFERENT location!!!  Inconceivable. What is happening!?!

Meanwhile, Kevin is at the racetrack with his friends and his brother stayed at the hotel today.  Let's see...who has time and resources to solve this problem...thinking, hmmm...it's a puzzler, oh! I know! the person who isn't on the trip and four states away.  I suggested to Kevin that he tell his brother to pack sand, which is actually pretty regular for us.


The b-i-l is the kind of guy who is curt to the wait staff then is puzzled when his food isn't exact or he's served last.  He orders steak at a pizza joint and complains  that it isn't good. (It's a G.D. pizza joint. "but it's on the menu", is his logic.)  They left 45 minutes earlier than the two-hours already planned because he was worried about traveling.  They left at 2:45 in the morning because it was easier than to argue with him.

Last weekend the brother in law was sick with the MAN COLD thus was completely disabled, as often happens with the sniffles. Everyone knows that.  Then the sister-in-law got it the day before the trip and instead of postponing, she decided to fly on an airplane. While I wondered about exploding sinuses, a friend wondered about spreading her cold throughout an airplane. But this is the same person who needed a cane to walk but left it behind because it "was inconvenient on the airplane." You know because it was super convenient for me to go buy one the next day.

Tell me, why wouldn't I want to sign up for that? it sounds like so much fun! These are just a few examples and I can go on for DAYS with more. It's a constant stream of stuff like that.  Here is a quick list, I can't help but share because it's comedic level nonsense:

I drive when we're there and the s-i-l wants to valet the car.  Okay, great.  But all the tips shouldn't be my responsibility. She eyerolls that I'm overly-solicitous to the valets, waitstaff, etc. She walks really slow, like people are annoyed slow.  She alternately laughs and/or scorns homeless people. (I stopped that when I quietly said "It must be hell to live like that.  Imagine what landed them there in the first place.")  She likes to gamble all day and I would rather eat my hair. She likes to shop and see: eating my hair.

They are a dream team.  No one can ever be as tired or as sore or as anything as they are.  The amount of heavy sighs and groans are like traveling with unmedicated old people.  Oh, and I missed that she now has ptsd from her car accident. (from four years ago) She now gasps and clings with every bump, stop, turn, movement that happens while in a car.  Dude, I'm so bummed I missed that!

But back to the b-i-l.  His codependency on his brother is a psychologist's dream.  It is the worst kept secret amongst our friends.

I mean if Kevin goes to the bathroom to wash his hands, there goes the brother.  If Kevin buys a t-shirt, he has to buy one too. (this makes packing for a trip fun. I call it "Which shirts won't make you twinsies with your brother.")  If Kevin makes a joke or uses a catchphrase, his brother immediately adopts it as if he invented it. He'll tell Kevin's stories like he was the one or was there when he wasn't.  If someone takes Kevin's attention away, there is pouting or interference.  (once he thrust his cell phone between the two of us when we were in the process of HUGGING.)

You might be wondering about Kevin's role in this.  He really is between a rock and a hard place.  He was raised to coddle his brother because "That's just him"  The fact that "That's just him" is part of the reason "That's just him" is completely lost on the family.  We've been together 28 years and it has been A Thing the whole time. If I think about it too much, I get angry that they would mantle Kevin with that kind of pressure and responsibility.

Essentially Kevin is like a battered spouse when it comes to his brother.  He HATES this analogy, and I get that. It's taken me years to make that connection.  If he rebels, there are consequences.  (Pouting, yelling, silence.) If he goes along, then it upsets me. If I do participate, then I have to squelch everything I am because hims feels gets hurt/offended by most of anything I say or do. If I withdraw then the b-i-l wonders why I'm not participating.

Reminder: he knows on a cellular level that I don't like him. There have been epic arguments about it. (none including me though because also: a coward.)

 Kevin explained that I wouldn't enjoy the trip because he would be gone for 75% of the time.  "But it's still a vacation" the brother-in-law states.  This is the awareness he possesses. In  a marriage, a vacation isn't an activity where your spouse isn't with you, you moron.  But it would never occur to  him to do something his wife likes or wants.  Wouldn't even be a blip on his radar, thus the complete bewilderment when Kevin wants to spend time with his wife.

And, pulling the psychology hat on a little tighter: he is so codependent upon his brother that he WOULD do something that he doesn't want to do because his need to be with his brother overrides the unpleasantness of whatever it would be that he didn't want to do.  He doesn't want to be at the track 24/7 at all but because Kevin does, there he is. He's been asked why and he gets defensive.  "I am having a good time!" he invariably non-convincingly snaps.  If I could post any photograph taken while they are there, you would see that indeed, a good time is not being had.

Again, we can't say "It's not a vacation when you're spending it with people you don't like." Because people are sensitive.  hahahaha...sigh...   I'm Sisyphus pushing to the rock up the mountain in this situation.  "She can't go because there are responsibilities...But she could...She can't go because she doesn't want to...But why wouldn't she...She'd rather have a pelvic exam... Wait, what?"

Kevin was originally okay with the idea of going solo because it makes his life easier and the purpose of this trip is based on his being at the racetrack almost 24/7.  Until he had to be solo.  It's not fun being separated for almost a week.  I know Kevin didn't get out our door to leave before he was already regretting it so I don't imagine it will happen again next year.

If they didn't go, I would go and spend some time at the track with our friends and the rest of the time sleeping in and doing stuff I want to do alone. (which is my heaven, frankly)   So, maybe next year I'll figure something else out, like leaving early or traveling separately.

Again: Sisyphus:
But I just remembered that I did do that the last time we went. We were scheduled to fly out alone, have one day alone, then everyone else would join us.  And they CHANGED THEIR PLANS. Kevin hasn't seen me so mad, like, ever.  Their reaction was feigned regret and uncomfortableness.  "No, you go ahead and do your thing...we'll figure something out..."

So that's why I'm Not Going.

And guess what?  They found the restaurant.  And there's a photograph and he looks miserable.

18 November 2018

Adventures in Painting

In the old house I could paint and I didn’t care one ounce if it wasn’t perfect.  It was an old house.  Thus my getting banned of ever painting in the new house. 

But now the house is thirteen years old and things need painting.  This is one of the situations where Kevin and I shouldn’t be together because we both turn into small children.  “I can’t WANT to!”

Also in the old house, when Kevin left for a trip, I would paint.  Once the poor guy left with a 1970’s harvest gold and gothic kitchen and returned to 1990’s country blue wonderfulness.  When I bored of that color, I painted it light green.  He wasn’t a fan of that one at all.

I set a hesitant intention to paint the bathroom while Kevin is gone.  I didn’t realize how big of a job it was going to be.  Let’s just say I’m 5’3” and it has vaulted ceilings.  And a garden tub.  Then I thought okay, I would just paint the laundry room instead.  It needs it too.

So, of course I’m prepping to paint the bathroom.

I thought I could get away with a household step ladder, but 5’3” so I went outside to get a ladder.  Two things at play here:  Kevin’s parents are home. (that’s why I’m home, kinda) and I forget that we live in the woods. 

Kevin’s dad is gone so I was in the clear there.  If he finds out I’m doing something, I am going to have his not-whistling person over here all.damn.day.  (We’ll check in on this decision later)

The ladder is stored outside. Dude, so gross.  November is dark and wet here so everything is soaking and slimy.  SUPER.  Now the ladder is in the common folk bathtub, soaking in scrubbing bubbles. 

Here’s something to know about me: I always underestimate how long and complicated these kinds of tasks are.  Like ladder soaking in the tub right now, thus rendering both bathrooms into a messy state. Vaulted ceilings vs. short person.

Yesterday I went to Ace Hardware because I’ve become a Shop Local human over the past years.  The young man who helped me was really good at explaining how things are done now unlike in the olden days.  Not having to prime the walls is MAGIC.  It was worth probably spending a little more just to have someone help me like that.

I did forget to buy drop cloths and I know that there is probably some in the shed.  But I really can’t want to go dig around lawnmowers, garden tools, and racecar stuff to find that tote.  See: ladder in the tub.  I did read on the interwebs to use plastic wrap so we’ll see how that goes.   Guess who took paper to the recycle yesterday?  *this girl!*

The new intention is to start in the shower and work outward.  I believe I’m only going to do the wall where the shower lives because other wall has the counter, mirror, medicine chest, window, garden tub.  I predict disaster awaits there. But I swear the contractor didn’t paint that part beyond primer so it needs to happen.  Also, I usually begin with the most difficult part of a project.  This I regret every time. 

The interwebs also says it should take an hour to paint a bathroom, once the prep is done.  I started a hour ago and haven’t even cracked a can.  I make good decisions.  Oh, I researched painting a bathroom, you ask?  Have you met me?  Research Nerd.

Okay, well, it’s now the same time the next morning.  I am not dead and ninety percent of the bathroom is painted by some paint miracle.  Or stubbornness.  It wasn’t as terrible as I thought.  Oh, wait, well the shower was terrible.  Super high ceiling plus 4x4” shower stall made for some sketchy balancing.  Only fell once.  *high five*  
Forgive the dirty shower floor. I can't scrub it until tonight

It looks pretty good.  I can see in the morning light a few places that will need a second coat but that isn’t happening until Kevin gets home.  Also, no form of applied physics and geometry was making painting above the toilet happen.  Welcome Home, Kevin. Missed you. Here’s a paint brush.

You might be wondering if I have a paint handle extension.  I do. Do I know where it is?  I suspect it went next door and never returned. Because that is what happens to our stuff.  This will be Kevin’s cross the bear.

And wow, if this doesn’t get me Get Out of Jail Free cards for a while.  Gesturing widely in response to anything “Painted the bathroom By My Self”  (I know “myself” is one word. It looks more emphatic this way)

If you’re curious what paint I used, here is a photo:

I really liked it.  It didn’t smell painty, it cleaned up easily, and covered nicely with one coat.  I chose Magnetic White, which is in the yellow section I think.  I grabbed a paint color card at Home Depot then found it at Ace Hardware.  At Home Depot, it’s called Glass of Milk.  It’s a pale/soft white (not bright or sharp) with a tiny shade of yellow. 

Now the laundry room is giving me side-eye because it really needs painting.  I don’t know that I have it in me today though.  Maybe when Kevin gets home.  It really will be one of those “If You Give A Mouse a Cookie” situations.  Painting the bathroom was singular, it doesn’t affect the look of any of the other rooms.  The laundry room (also known as a Mud room) will make the kitchen look shabby and the exterior door too.  (it’s 32 degrees here today.  Painting anything exterior has to wait until May)

I bought adhesive tile at Home Depot too so that’s another chapter.

08 November 2018

What's Too Much for a Little Peace?

It's not news to anyone that life has been stressful around here.  I mean, take away the whole elderly parents thing, just the state of 'Merica right now is stressing. And it's getting to me.

A few weeks ago I went to a conference about trauma stewardship.  I'll post that bloggity later.  It really kind of cracked my head open a bit.

Lately, I've been avoiding the news and the twitter and I've been, let's just say, hibernating and not say avoiding.  I've been perhaps, maybe, eating some emotions. (Oh, hello Halloween candy)  I've lost some interest in things that usually help me process life.   This space, for instance.

Taking heed to some of what I heard at this seminar, I really thought about things I can change.  Nothing big because who has the energy for big changes right now.  Not this girl.  This is what I'm going to do:

I'm going to take a walk during my lunch, if the weather isn't monsooning.
I'm going to listen to not triggering music.  Today I played classical all day while at work.
I'm going to side-eye what our meals look like. (also another post: Kevin got a pre-diagnosis last week)
I'm going to continue my Instagram because it gives me pleasure and takes little time.

This is my one big leap though: meditation.

I know, I know.  I'm A.D.D so this felt impossible.  I'm told that meditation can help with it.  I will let you know.  It essentially tries to teach you to rein in your thoughts. To acknowledge that too many things are happening in your brain and to purposefully focus.

I found an app, because there is an app for all.the.things.  I used the free trial and started very, very slowly.  3 minutes, working up to 5 minutes.  I didn't set a goal because that tends to spin me out when it's not reached.

I do it before I go to sleep, when I'm sleepy and on the verge of sleep.  Only once have I actually fell asleep, which was super fun when the guide started  talking again and woke me.  I know a person is supposed to do it in a quiet room, alone, and all that.  That is not how I'm wired or what my life looks like.  So, I adapted.

I've done 12 sessions, I think and can say that it helps.  My sleep was better.  I didn't wake up with runaway thoughts.  I wasn't so mentally exhausted when I got home from work.  I just felt better, like someone had saged my spirit or cleansed my aura.
<---sarcasm kinda="" nbsp="" p="">
I have an over-active imagination so I superficially worried that something like hypnotism would happen.  How pissed would I be if I started clucking every time a phone rang.  It's kind of an act of faith though, which is a whole other topic for another day.

It has been great for me, I can do it and no one is the wiser.  It takes just a few minutes and doesn't require me to go anywhere.  There isn't people, just my new imaginary friend.  There's no judgment if I can't concentrate or miss a day.  It feels doable.

But now I've hit a roadblock.  The free trial is up.  This app that I really like is relatively expensive.  $12.99 MONTHLY.  That's more than our Sirius or our Pandora or anything like that.  I did the math, because nerd trying to justify something, and it's 43 cents a day for a few minutes peace.  Breaking it down like that, it doesn't seem like much.  But they don't take it out at 43 cents a day.  It's the cost of two mochas! (Pacific Northwest currency exchange)

So, pros and cons because nerd.
it's a really good app
There are encouraging notifications and feedback.
I like the graphics and graphic design.  This matters to no one else but me, I realize.
I enjoy the guides voice, a lot.
It helps.

$12.99 a month
I'm the type of person who loses interest then forgets to cancel subscriptions. (Looking at you, CBS All Access)
There are other free apps.

"But what price is your mental health worth?" is a question.  A question that I'm going to answer "Not worth more than any of my other subscriptions to anything else"

Here's what I'm going to do.  I'm going to use another app that is free.  It's recommended by the interwebs so we'll see.  If I don't like it or use it as much, then I'll consider paying the fee.

Meanwhile, I've also created other ways to take a beat.  I downloaded an app that isn't anything but a quote on a beautiful photo. If I click an icon, there is soothing music.  It takes not thirty seconds to just stop for a moment and reset.  This is the kind of interval that I need.

I have another app that features a piece of art daily with the biography of it.

I even have a yoga app that I have yet to even open.  Let's just figure out this whole meditation  thing first then we'll try it.  I know, I know, I can multitask and try them simultaneously.  If I were another person.

So we'll see.  I was skeptical but so far, so good.  I would recommend to try it if you're needing to do something to reset.  Life is hard right now.  We gotta do something to get through it in one piece. Peanut butter cups will only take us so far.

06 November 2018