Yes, it is!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Storm Damage and Other

We had quite a storm tonight.  Even though the news was predicting severe weather, I decided to go get my Zumba workout in tonight.  As I drove toward the Y, I noticed the sky was starting to look more ominous.  But I continued on hoping that the storm would bypass us.  Halfway through the Zumba class, the announcement came over the PA system to evacuate to the locker rooms immediately.  The tornado warnings were going off.  Of course, I was a little nervous but I knew that we were safe inside that locker room.  A little while after the alarms started going off, we started to hear the heavy rain and the hail.  I was thankful that I drove the 4-Runner tonight instead of my newer Honda which was safe in the garage at home.  After about a half hour, we were finally given the all clear to leave the locker rooms.  I waited for the rain and lightening to slow down before I headed back home. 
Once I got home, I saw the kids were still up and not even ready for bed.  I had left instructions for their daddy to please, at least, have the kids dressed for bed before I got home.  Apparently, I'm superwoman who can multi-task with no problem.  Apparently, I have a superman who cannot multi-task.  Grrr.  This really does irritate me when I come home just before 9pm to kids who are not even close to being ready for bed.  I am trying to be patient because I know that Tim is trying to finish up his MBA studies.  But could he not take 5-10 minutes to at least make sure the kids get dressed for bed and brush their teeth?  I don't feel like I should have to give up my fitness class.  After all, he gets to spend full Saturdays at the dirt bike club.  Just like dirt biking is Tim's outlet, the gym is my outlet.  I'm not quitting. Okay, let me get off my soapbox for a moment.
Sometime after I finally got the kids into bed, I let the dogs out into what I thought was my fenced back yard.  It had stopped raining by this time although it was still very windy.  I gave the dogs 10-15 minutes to do their business before I called them in through the garage door.  Dugan came immediately.  But Lucy?  I called her several times to no avail.  So, I finally came back into the house and walked out the back door to see where Lucy was hiding in the back yard.  That's when I noticed we no longer had an intact fence.  Every single side of the fence was affected.  One side is completely down.  The opposite side is still up but barely with one section actually detached.  The very back of the fence has several panels completely down.  Just the far corners are intact.  I took a better look and it appears the posts have snapped at the very bottom.  Well, Tim came out to find out what was going on and he immediately got all stressed out and started complaining about that and everything else.  I'll get to that more in a moment.  Me?  For some reason, I was not stressed out until the mister got me stressed out.  I was just so thankful that my family was safe and that our house (at least from what I could see in the darkness) wasn't damaged.  It could have been so much worse. I was so grateful that we did not suffer the damage that my childhood home suffered just this past weekend. (see here).  I finally did find Lucy hanging out in the front yard.  About the fence, Tim got all aggravated and wouldn't let it go.  I decided I had enough of it and told him that I was going to Walmart to get a couple of tie-outs for the dogs so they wouldn't run off out of the yard.  Ugh.  I understand that it is stressful to worry about the financial part of the damage but gee, realize that it could have been worse.  It's just a fence.  It's not a life or death event.  Our children our safe.  Our house is safe.  Okay.  So I start to leave to head out to Walmart and I notice that our mailbox is laying on the ground. Dismantled.  Oh boy.  I'm not telling Tim about that.  I decided to just buy another mailbox and stick it out there myself tomorrow during the day.  I'm used to doing things on my own, anyway.
This post brings me to another topic.  This blog has evolved into a therapeutic tool in a sense over the past couple of years.  I've debated about making it private with access by password only.  But I have decided to keep it public for now, mostly as a way to reach out to others with common interests.  It has been really cool to hear from so many others who deal with many of the same things that I have struggled with such as special needs kids, self esteem, bullying, spiritual issues, etc.  It has been a great tool of healing for me.  So, what I am going to write about next is something that I have been struggling with for the past few months.  I don't expect sympathy nor do I expect criticism.  If you feel the need to offer any words of criticism, don't bother.  Encouragement?  Sure, I can use encouragement.  I'm just at a loss lately.
Okay, here goes.  Tonight's events have inspired me to open up about what I've been struggling with these last couple of months.  I used to be a happily married woman.  Well, for the most part.  I remember early in my marriage, I did often get annoyed when Tim would wait until the last moment about his plans for the next day.  When we were still living in Florida, Tim was a member of a motorcycle club.  The club participated in various activities including fun runs, charity runs, barbecues, etc.  I would occasionally join Tim at these events but being a biker chick just was not my thing.  I really tried but I didn't really feel comfortable on the bike or even hanging around the heavy drinkers from the club.  After a few times of Tim springing his plans on me at the last moment, I told him that I would like to know, in advance, what his plans were so that I could make plans of my own.  It worked.  Sometimes.  I finally just had to get used to that about Tim and it got to where it didn't bother me anymore.  Well, most of the time.  I just started making my own plans without Tim.
Over the years, even though I have tried to get used to Tim's ways, I still have difficulty just letting it go and letting Tim be Tim.  And it has become a stressful thing to be married to him.  Especially lately. I tried to be a good wife by being a "submissive" wife and just going along with everything.  It seems like I don't have any good ideas about anything from what movie we should see to how I should arrange my flowers in the front yard.  I finally quit going to movie theaters because no matter what movie I would suggest, Tim would always shoot my idea down.  I just finally let him make most of the decisions about movies.  The same about restaurants. In fact, a couple of years ago on Mother's Day, we were heading to Olive Garden where I wanted to go but right before we arrived, Tim decided that we should just go to this local barbecue place.  Okay.  It's Mother's Day so it's his choice.  Like a good wife, I just kept quiet about it.  And Tim couldn't figure out what was wrong with me when I became quiet. And he wonders why I never want to make the decision about where we should dine out.  Well, this year, I made the decision where to dine out for my birthday and then for my birthday.  And surprisingly, he didn't balk at either choice.  So, it's not always bad.  But it's more bad than good lately.
Tim has this very pessimistic attitude about him.  He always has as long as I've known him.  And when I married him, I thought I could live with it. It's been difficult to live with it, unfortunately.  This pessimism really affects me and causes me to be somewhat depressed and negative.  It doesn't matter what it is, Tim finds something to be pessimistic about.  If his dirt bike doesn't start, his response? "Why doesn't anything ever work out for me?" or "Nothing ever works out for me." or "Just leave it to me to mess up."  That's just an example. I've tried to  encourage him.  But my words just go through one ear and out the other.  I just waste my breath. 
I don't enjoy going to amusement parks with Tim (unless it's Holiday World) because all he does is complain about the crowds, the parking, etc.  I should say that I am proud of his attitude when we took the kids to Disney a couple of years ago.  But, I think it was because he got a stern warning from me beforehand.  Perhaps I should do that again. I even let Tim know that I was proud of how he kept his attitude in check. 
Another source of contention is Tim's attention problems.  I firmly believe that he has ADD. From the things Tim has brought up about his school years, I believe Tim has likely had this problem since childhood. However, the quality of his work has not been affected by it.  He is very good at concentrating at work and when he's working on his dirt bikes.  But, Tim has difficulty studying and he has difficulty remembering instructions that I leave for him. He gets distracted very easily. He loses things very easily and he breaks things very easily.  When he opens a package of something, say M&Ms, he doesn't neatly tear the bag open.  He downright destroys the bag.  I find that very annoying because then the stuff gets everywhere. And guess who cleans it up?  Certainly not him. No matter how often I ask him to close cabinet doors, I still often find them wide open just waiting for somebody to bonk their head and collapse.  Tim is also known for leaving his shoes where somebody will trip over them.  He is also known for putting his laundry away while the empty basket just sits in the middle of the room waiting to be tripped on.  I can't tell you how many times I have had to assist him in finding lost keys or something else of importance.  And guess who always finds them?  Certainly not him.  For years, as annoyed as I would get with these behaviors, I did find humor in them.  Now that we have children, there have been times when I wondered if I could trust Tim alone with our children because he does get distracted so easily.  There have been some incidents but, so far, my children are still alive.  Thankfully.  Tim refuses to take anything that could help him.  He scoffs at my suggestions to write himself notes to help him remember certain things.  He scoffs at a lot of my suggestions and it gets downright annoying. 
Tim and I are also not on the same page when it comes to raising our children.  I often feel like a single parent because I am the primary caretaker who makes sure that everyone's needs are met and who runs the kids to all of their appointments.  It's no wonder that my kids would rather be with me ALL the time, even when they think I don't love them.  When Tim gets frustrated or angry with the kids, he is much more aggressive with them.  Tim thinks I fill the kids up with junk all day because they often won't eat dinner.  That really pisses me off because it is quite the opposite.  Sure the kids get a snack when they get home from school but I do limit what I give them.  However, they have been known to sneak something out of the pantry or refrigerator and hide. It really annoys me when Tim wrongly assumes that I'm feeding the kids whatever they want.  I'm the main parent here.  He has no idea what I'm dealing with.  I deal with 2 very strong-willed children who both have medical needs that keep me busy with all the appointments. I make sure the bills are paid.  I make sure everyone is clothed adequately.  I do it all.  I am superwoman.  By the way, my rule for dinner for the kids is that they have the choice between eating with a treat afterward or no eating dinner with nothing for the rest of the evening.  So, phooey on Tim.  He's the one who feels sorry enough for the kids when they don't eat (but still complain of hunger) and then ask me if he can make them a pbj sandwich.  Well, he used to.  I have to give him credit because he hasn't fallen for that in a few months.
This probably sounds rambling but I just wrote freely as the thoughts came.  What I wrote is just the tip of the iceberg. I've been frustrated for some time.  Maybe I'm being too hard about Tim.  After all, he is trying to finish up his MBA.  But, if he can find time to go do his dirt bike thing every other weekend or so, then he should be able to spend time trying to figure out how to be a happy person.  Or perhaps he should stop coming home from work and immediately fall into bed as I prepare dinner while the kids fight and destroy my house.  And yes, I've asked him before if he could take just 2 of those days to help with the kids instead of retreating to his room while I prepare dinner.  He does it a couple of times and then falls right back into his old habits.  It really does get old.
I know Tim takes me for granted. He used to be really bad about leaving dirty dinner dishes on the table for me to clean up.  Or cleaning up after him, period.  I finally put a stop to that a few years ago.  The rule in this household is that you clean up after yourself.  I'm known for leaving dishes, glasses, utensils on the table that weren't mine.  Yah, I'm just mean like that. 
I really don't believe he is happy and that in turn tends to make me less happy.  We don't fight but I know our marriage is a mess right now.  We're not on the same page about anything.  I've gotten to where I quit trying to encourage Tim.  I've become more bold and have told him to be quiet and quit complaining.  The pessimistic attitude is very annoying and bothersome to me.  I know, that's not being a good "submissive" wife.  I've dealt with this long enough. I know I'm not happy and I'm pretty certain that he isn't happy. 
I hate that I no longer feel like encouraging Tim, helping him, or even being around him.  I admit that I enjoy doing things without him.  It's less stressful when I can take my time doing whatever and not have to worry about whether Tim's getting bored.  He paces when he gets bored and I find that very annoying.  I wish I could say that I would rather be with my husband anywhere.  But that simply is not the case, unfortunately.  I just can't take the constant pessimistic attitude.  I feel more relaxed when I go somewhere without him most of the time.
I enjoy encouraging people.  I don't know why.  I was rarely encouraged as a youth.  In fact, I was a misfit and a social outcast. Coming from a very dysfunctional home only made matters worse.  But I do enjoy encouraging others.  And it feels good when others encourage me.  I want to be able to encourage Tim again and to have him be more receptive of my encouragement instead of rebuff me. As distressed as I am about this marriage, divorce simply is not an option.  So don't worry. When I said those vows, I truly meant them.  Beside, I seriously doubt that Tim can function without me around.  I also have to consider my children.  Tim may not be the best father right now but I have hope that when he is finished with that MBA, that Tim will invest more time into his family and do things that are fun for the kids, not just for himself.  I want more than anything for my kids to experience a father/son, father/daughter relationship unlike what I had (or lacked).  My daughter's relationship with her daddy is especially important to me because I often longed for a strong bond with a father as a little girl and even as a young person.  I just hope that by the time Tim finally has the time (I mean QUALITY time) for her that the damage is not irreparable.
I know this post turned into a rant of sorts but I can't say enough how thankful I am that my family, my home, and my pets are all safe despite the damage that we incurred around our property. The fence and the mailbox can be replaced but a life cannot.  Sure, it's going to cost us a lot of money and possibly cost us our family vacation we were planning but the lives of my children (and Tim, of course) are priceless.

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