Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas

A quick post to let everyone know that Sybil and I are ok for now. Thank you to those that bothered to comment on my last post. I plan to try making some changes in how I react, and hopefully, help Sybil with her reactions, too.

I wanted to leave this for everyone:

God rest ye merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay, [emphasis: mine]
Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day;
To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray.


O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy.

In Bethlehem, in Israel, this blessèd Babe was born,
And laid within a manger upon this blessèd morn;
The which His mother Mary did nothing take in scorn.


From God our heavenly Father a blessèd angel came;
And unto certain shepherds brought tidings of the same;
How that in Bethlehem was born the Son of God by name.


“Fear not, then,” said the angel, “Let nothing you afright
This day is born a Savior of a pure Virgin bright,
To free all those who trust in Him from Satan’s power and might.”


The shepherds at those tidings rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding in tempest, storm and wind,
And went to Bethl’em straightaway this blessèd Babe to find.


But when to Bethlehem they came where our dear Savior lay,
They found Him in a manger where oxen feed on hay;
His mother Mary kneeling unto the Lord did pray.


Now to the Lord sing praises all you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas all others doth deface.


God bless the ruler of this house, and send him long to reign,
And many a merry Christmas may live to see again;
Among your friends and kindred that live both far and near—

That God send you a happy new year, happy new year,
And God send you a happy new year.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Invasion of the Pod People?

Well, Sybil is living up to her name. It was only Sunday night that she was "done." She was tired of living with me. She couldn't take it anymore.

Flash forward to Tuesday morning and she asks, "Why didn't you try anything last night?"


One minute she's "done" and the next she's disappointed because I'm not trying to get into her pants. I can think of lots of reasons but it boils down to frustration of living with her. She's either hot or cold: one extreme or another. There is no middle of the road.

It's getting to the point of I'd rather look at porn and beat off. Sad.

Friday, December 15, 2006


I was going to post on some the comments about Sybil feeling that she isn't being taken seriously. I will post about that later. It is an important topic and tends to be a running theme in our arguments.

Instead, I will post about my weekend. I know, faithful reader, that you have been waiting to see what comes next in the Aphron and Sybil saga. Well, wait no further.

In typical fashion, Sybil and I took one step forward and two steps backward. Friday night was met with a long argument complete with tears from both of us. Basically, she is feeling that she has come to the end of her rope. Sybil feels that she cannot continue with me. My selfishness has led to resentment of me on her part. What brought that up? Well, we had sex the night before, and she asked about why I initiated it. I explained that I am learning to cope with her emotional outbursts, and it had taken time for me to be able to do that. See, I had no right to feel anger at being yelled and embarrassed in front of Daughter and in the restaurant. If I simply stopped trying to defend my action of coming home for lunch based on an assumption from faulty information, Sybil would not have had to yell at me. If I had tried harder to see things from her point of view, then she would have accepted my apology and everything would have been fine. So the gist of this past Friday night was this: I made Sybil lose her cool, I would not stop thinking only of myself, and I refused to try to put myself in her shoes. She was done trying.

On Saturday, Sybil and I had a sort of reconciliation. She informed me that she wasn't going to leave or anything. I explained that I would work harder on trying to put myself in her shoes. Things were looking up. Then last night happened.

After coming home from church-sponsored caroling and hayride, we stopped at the house of Son#1 to pick him up. Sybil went to the front door of the house to get him. A few minutes later Son#1 gets out of the house, rides his scooter around a bit, and then gets into the car. I ask why chose the scooter over his bicycle, and we have a conversation about that. After about a minute or two, Sybil gets into the car. That's when the fun started. She asked why no one told her that Son#1 was in the car. She wanted to know, if Son#1 had told me that he hadn't seen her. He told her no and apologized. Sybil asked me, if I asked Son#1 if he had seen her. I said no because I assumed she was talking inside and knew that Son#1 was with me. I didn't apologize at the time. That was strike three.

Sybil became "mildly irritated" (her words), and we had a two and half hour argument. What came out of the argument is same stuff: I fail to put myself in her shoes, I fail to be put her first, and I fail to set a good example for my son. When she came to the car, that was my cue to ask about her knowing Son#1 was with me. I blew it by not asking, and therefore, failing as mentioned above.

How does one predict what someone would do? I would have to know Sybil inside and out. Although I feel that I know her pretty well, we are so different on our perception of how to handle details. I have a difficult time assigning the same weight to every situation that she does. If I had paid a little more attention to detail by confirming information and not assuming, I would not be in this situation.

The sinking feeling is Sybil is making noise about being "done." How do I make the necessary changes in my behavior? Should I make the necessary changes? Is a person able to make those necessary changes?

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Saga Continues...

To answer elise, therese in heaven, and trueself I decided to answer their comments in a post rather than a comment.

A lot of our arguments are centered around Sybil feeling that I am not listening to her. In fairness, I try using the best of my abilities to focus on what she is saying. There are times where I fail. Do we listen to our spouses 100% of the time? I doubt it. Unfortunately, Sybil doesn't see it as a human failing, nor that I have and want to improve. She sees it as a form of an attack. When the tables are turned and she fails to listen to what I am saying, I do not press the attack. I do not make it into a federal case. Is the point of a marriage to live with someone and try to have peace and harmony, or is a marriage to constantly bicker over little things? If the point is constantly fighting over whether or not I ceded her point about listening to Son #1 about the lunch plans or talking with her, then Sybil and I are doomed.

The reason the last two arguments escalated into a full battle was my lack of seeing her point of view. Of course, Sybil had no intention of seeing my point of view. Instead, she chose to assume that my explanation for my actions was some sort of an attack and become angry. As I continued to try to explain my position, she became more enraged. In each instance, the thing that set her off was the feeling of not being heard. I did hear her and was even able to repeat back what she had said. It wasn't that I didn't think she had a point. However, the point was lost in the yelling. If one is in a restaurant and the server is afraid to come to the table to take the order because one is having a melt down, one might want to reconsider how one approaches the situation.

Sadly, as I bring up how her reactions make me feel closed-off and defensive, Sybil will blithely push that aside with a "it is your fault that I am reacting that way." If I had only done XYZ differently or had not done ABC, then she would not have felt that she has to yell at me to be heard. Personally, I think the natural reaction, when someone is yelling at you, is tune them out. After each episode, I feel less connected to her. For some of the female blogs I read with husbands that won't have sex with them, I have to wonder: do you do the same with your husband? The emotional draining that takes place leaves me not wanting to talk to Sybil much less touch her. After 13 years of it, I've noticed my libido goes way up, when she's not around.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Feelin' Low

Well, that smooth period with Sybil is over. Yesterday we had huge fight. Today we had another one.

We always fight about me not listening to her. Earlier in our marriage I didn't always. I tend to have random thoughts running around in my head and am easily distracted (mild ADD?). However, over last few years I really worked on staying focused on her alone. Unfortunately, the only way to do that is to not be around a distraction (TV, computer, etc.). Until yesterday, things were running pretty good.


Yesterday morning as I'm getting ready for a morning civic club meeting, Sybil asks me to take some stuff to Son#1's middle school for PTO. Now, she said "Could you take this to the school before your meeting?" What I heard was, "Can you take this stuff to the school?" The meeting ran a little long, and I dropped the stuff off afterwards. The problem is the person that needed it was looking frantically around for it for about an hour. As I was leaving the school and running to my next errand, I called Sybil to check in. When she found out what time I dropped the stuff off, she became slightly angry. I apologized for not getting the stuff there on time. I explained that I didn't know she wanted it there before the meeting. Her reaction was a shock to me. I became slightly angry and said something about her not even getting out of bed to talk to me. Now she went ballistic. She is screaming into the phone. I try to maintain calm. She is still screaming into the phone, and then hangs up on me.

I finish my errands and arrive home mid-morning. Syibl isn't there. I had no clue where she was, so I called her. She didn't answer her phone, so I left a voice mail apologizing again and closing with "I love you." I waited a bit. No return phone call. I am pretty keyed up by the whole thing. She eventually calls back and starts screaming at me. This time I hang up on her. She calls back and is a little more rational. We talk and talk and talk. It comes out that to her I really hadn't gotten any better. She still could not depend upon me to do things for her. This was a shock to me. I had been making a conscious effort to improve in that area. We kind of make up. I'm still a little shaken by my apparent lack of progress.

Round #2

The kids are out of school. Sybil decides to take them shopping at a local outlet mall, and I'll meet them for lunch. Lunch time rolls around, and I call her. Son #1 answers the phone and tells me they are at home. I am a bit surprised because of the plans. He says he isn't going out to shop and to lunch. He hands the phone to Sybil. I ask, if I need to bring any food home. She says no and then goes into a spiel about a bank statement. Now, I'm not driving anywhere, yet. I'm still in my car waiting in the parking lot. With the information that Son #1 gave and the conversation about the bank statement, it seems to me that the family is at home, and the plans have changed. I start driving home. As we're talking, Sybil asks where I am. When she finds out, she goes nuts. She starts yelling at as to why would I do that, when we had plans for lunch. I explain to her what our son said and her possibly needing my help with the statement, so I thought the plans had changed.

Things deteriorate from there. Sybil thinks that I have placed what Son #1 said as more important than what she said. Not true I counter. I just made a decision and thought the plans had changed. No avail. My mistake did not inconvenience her any. It was the principle of not taking her seriously or getting information from her, directly.

Despite what I feel like are my best efforts, I am losing ground. Things right now haven't been this bad for awhile. I'm not sure I can go on much longer. I'm not sure Sybil can either.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Horns of a Dilemma

I just found out last night that the guy from church I posted about earlier (remember Dick and Jane) has left his wife. He is no longer living at home with his three kids. At least that's the rumor. If true, he couldn't have picked a better time of year. Now, the problem is Sybil wants me to get involved. She wants me to call him up and dive into his personal business. I keep trying to tell her that:
  1. I'm not his best friend or even a close friend. We do not hang out.
  2. I do not have any place getting involved into the personal life of someone else.
  3. If I were in the same situation, I would not want someone sticking their nose into my business.
Sybil is pretty adamant. Although not on the list, one of the problems I have is that I kind of don't blame the guy. Obviously, he should have face the issues WAY before bringing three kids into the mix. It isn't like his wife suddenly turned into a harpy. However, this is only what is seen in public. We cannot know the inner-workings of the marriage. Therefore, I don't have any right to insert myself into it.

Any thoughts on the matter?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Happy Holidays or Humbug?

Ah, the holidays. Sybil and I survived Thanksgiving, barely. I got myself a nice speeding ticket on the way to my parents' house, so that made for good conversation. Luckily, it was early in the trip, and Sybil was able to let me know how she felt. In her defense, I have an almost neurotic need to be punctual. Since we were already running over an hour late, I really put the pressure on myself. Good that's over, now I get to hear about how much the ticket cost.

It's that crazy time of the year. I HATE IT. So much of Christmas has nothing to with Christ Mass. Buying presents, shopping, fighting the crowds all make for a stressful time of the year. I never get into the spirit of the holiday until about five to seven days before Christmas. Usually, I have finished my shopping and am lounging about. Hopefully, that happens again this year.

For me the best thing is Christmas Day. I look forward to cooking the dinner all year. The menu is turkey (might be goose this year), cornbread dressing (I'm sorry, Yankees, but cornbread dressing is waaaaay better than stuffing.), mashed potatoes (is that with an "e"?), rolls, and maybe a salad. Nothing healthy. Last year's turkey was, in a word, awesome. I'm hoping to repeat. I gotta stop; I'm making myself hungry.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

No! Really?!?

Women talk three times as much as men, says study. I thought it was my imagination. Little did I know that the incessent noise called mundane conversation has a biological link. Maybe that is why women feel that men don't really listen to them. The important stuff is lost in the static. Money quote:
Women also speak more quickly, devote more brainpower to chit-chat - and actually get a buzz out of hearing their own voices, a new book suggests.

After I have a conversation with one of my male friends, Sybil always asks what we talked about. I always say, "Nothing." I knew I was right. This explains the frustration Sybil has with me because she feels I don't tell her anything. I can't get a word in edge-wise.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Is Divorce the Answer?

Anon commented on my last post:
Dump her. Having to make her own living for a year might get her to pull her head out of her ass and be grateful. Or at least get her to act more mature than a 5-year-old.

Actually, my 5-year-old acts more mature than she just did.

Well, Anon, it isn't as if that thought hasn't crossed my mind from time to time. I'm thinking that he/she hasn't read my previous posts, nor my "Posts of Note." That's ok, because most of us don't do that with a new (to us) blog. I have brought up this question before. I have posed this question to myself from time-to-time. Why do any of us stay in a marriage that seems rocky? In comparison to some I read about, mine actually seems pretty good. Actually, if not for the petty bickering, it's really good.

For awhile on this blog, I referred to my wife as the Wife. As I wrote, read what I wrote, and thought extensively about her, I decided a new moniker was needed: Sybil. Sybil was the character played by Sally Fields. This was the supposedly true story of a person with multiple personalities. Early in our marriage, I would laughingly call my wife "Sybil" to her face. She tends to be emotionally labile. For someone like myself who tends not to display emotion, overt emotional displays are difficult to handle. Fortunately, the tempest that blows the hardest tends to wind itself down the fastest.

Now the question at hand: divorce. I hate divorce. Looking outside in, it seems that divorce creates nearly as many problems as it possibly solves. Divorced couples are still having to deal with the other person. If there was anger and resentment before divorce, just wait until afterwards. Throw in a long, drawn out divorce proceeding, and there will be no survivors. I'm sure with Sybil there would be a long, difficult divorce. Hell hath no fury like Sybil scorned. The end result, I'm sure, would be two people that can't stand each other, children that are alienated and think they have to choose sides, and financial ruin.

Would I be happier after a divorce? Obviously, I can't really say. Despite all of Sybil's warts, I don't want to find out. I'm mature enough to know that there is no perfect someone. The only enticement to divorce is the peace. That peace and quiet does come once a year, when she and the kids visit her family for a week. It's nice for awhile, but absence makes the heart grow fonder. I find myself missing her and the children. After a divorce, I would not have my children around me as much. That would be too painful to bear.

In the end no marriage is perfect. Although my parents warned me that being married took an incredible effort, nothing can prepare someone for it. Experiencing marriage and living full time with someone is indescribable. No one is easy to live with after a life time. One has to make accommodations with their spouse, or there is nothing but stress and unhappiness. If Sybil left me (she has threatened on occasion), I would survive. Who knows; I might be happier? That has to be her decision. If she chooses to go down that dark path, I'll be saddened and wondering what I could have done differently (after 13 years, probably many things). However, I will not lay on the floor in the fetal position. I've never quit anything in my life. I'll not start now.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Crime and Punishment

I'm not rewriting a long, Russian novel.

Background: I finally came home Monday night at 9 pm. Left home at 7:20 am. That's over twelve hours (for the mathematically challenged). Not only did I have to get up and do my usual routine (get myself and three kids ready and out the door before 7:30 am) and work, but also I had an hour long meeting at church. Anyway, got home and helped with the domestic stuff a bit. After a long day I thought I would watch a little football and have a beer. Now, unlike many men, I do not do this on a regular occasion. Although I enjoy watching sports, I rarely do. Also, I hadn't seen Sybil all day, so I hugged her a bit and gave her a kiss prior to sitting down. She joined me in watching the game. I taught her what a fullback middle screen is (I love TiVo), played with her hair (something she really enjoys), and talked about the day's events. Half time comes, so I decide to get that beer and her a glass of water. Sybil asks if I'm ready to go to upstairs (to bed). Since I had just opened my beer and sat back down, I said if you're tired go on ahead, don't wait for me, and I'll be there in a bit.

The crime:
Thinking only of myself and wanting to isolate myself from her. The evidence is I missed the point of question "are you ready to go upstairs." Although we had been affectionate towards each other that night, I was unaware that it was a form of foreplay. Until she became pissed off, I had no idea. Sybil hadn't said anything verbally. The affection was there, but it is there many times (unless she's pissed off).

The Punishment:
A long argument ensued. We were at it until after midnight. Sybil had left the bed to sleep on the couch. Two days later, she is barely speaking to me. As of last night, she has said she regrets lowering her guard and would not do it again. I have apologized many times, and I do feel bad about disappointing her. I explained that didn't know that I should expect sex every time she shows any affection. My defense was to no avail.

Although Sybil has a right to be disappointed and hurt, she has decided that I should be punished. I'm beginning to feel that she is acting like a spoiled child. I feel that she is throwing a fit, when she doesn't get what she wants. Am I wrong? I always thought people in a marriage should try to reach an understanding and help the other person. I didn't know we could punish each other like children.

When's my parole?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Help Meeeeee

The Witches of Eastwick

written by Michael Cristofer, from novel by John Updike

(Daryl wanders in slowly, bewildered, bitter, very angry, shouting at times)
Daryl: Sorry. Just having a little trouble, a little trouble at home. A little domestic trouble. Nothing to be alarmed at, just a little...female problem. Hi! (vomits on the crowd) Don't pay any attention! It's a cheap trick! Anybody can do it, I taught it to them myself! Ungrateful little BITCHES aren't they? Can I ask you something? You're all church going folk. I really want to ask you something. Do you think God knew what He was doing when He created...woman? Huh? No shit! I really want to know. Or do you think it was another one of His...minor mistakes like Earthquakes. Tidal waves. (kicks something out of his way) Floods! (pause) Think women are like that? (vomits again and looks around) What's the matter? You don't think God makes mistakes? Course He does. We all make mistakes! (pounding his chest) Of course when we make mistakes they call it evil! (grand gesture with mocking reverence) When God makes mistakes they call it nature! So what do you think? Women. A mistake?! Or did He DO IT TO US, ON PURPOSE? (pause) Because I really want to know! Because if it's a mistake maybe we can do something about it! Find a cure! Invent a vaccine! Build up our immune system! (laughing) Get a little exercise! You know, (grandiose) twenty push-ups a day, and you never have to be afflicted with women, EVER AGAIN!


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Everyone's a Little Queer

...but me and thee, and thee's a little strange.

That was told to me by a college friend. It was a saying his grandmother would use, whenever people were gossiping. Gossip. That ugly word. I don't know anyone that doesn't engage in gossip at least a little. Some do nothing but gossip. Although it may be based on truth, gossip usually doesn't get the whole truth. The damage done by gossip is irreparable.

A story that illustrates gossip is the preacher that was supposedly having an affair with the church secretary. All of the congregation were involved in spreading these rumors about the leader of the flock. There was talk of firing the preacher, or firing the secretary, or both. Well, lo and behold, none of it was true. No affair was taking place. In the spirit of Christian love, the congregation went to the preacher to ask for forgiveness. The preacher instructed the congregation to take a feather pillow to the top of the local mountain, rip it open, scatter the feathers, and pick up every feather. It cannot be done. The rumor will always float around on the next breeze.

I bring this up due to a couple with whom Sybil and I go to church. Let's call the wife Jane and the husband Dick (no pun intended). There is a rumor floating around that Dick is emotionally (for now) involved with a married woman. There are phone calls. She calls him numerous times throughout the day. Her husband is spreading gossip about his wife and Dick. Knowing Dick and Jane, all of this seems to be very hard to believe. Although Jane can be abrasive and tends to talk down to Dick, they have been married about 15 years and have three children. The gossip and innuendo swirling around Dick and Jane have been the talk of everyone. The problem is NO ONE knows what is happening, except the wife and Dick and maybe Jane. All of this talk is just that: talk. Destructive talk. Now, whenever we look at Dick and Jane, we wonder.

This got Sybil to thinking and imagining. She has a wonderfully active imagination and likes to noodle things about. She asked me, if I worry about her doing the same thing the wife and Dick have done. I answer that, although the thought has gone through my mind, I don't actively worry about it. I have had moments of concern but not actual worry. Wrong answer. I should be worried. If I'm not worried, then I don't care. Oops, my bad. Now, the conversation has taken a turn into the surreal. I keep expecting Rod Stirling to start his monologue. What's that sign post up ahead?

The problem was my focusing only on the word "worry." To me that means that one is in a state of angst. "Worry" goes beyond occasional concern or "what if." Worry, to me, becomes every waking moment, loss of sleep, weight pressing down kind of thing. Am I wrong? Am I being too literal, as Sybil says?

I know I did not do a good job of easing Sybil's insecurity. I was unable to convince her that, just because I don't worry, doesn't mean I don't care. Can another person allay one's insecurities? I didn't tell Sybil that I don't care. I did say that I had moments of concern, but it didn't fill my waking hours. Does that mean I take her for granted?

Damn feathers.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Spoke Too Soon?

Had a good one this weekend with Sybil. For some reason it's always the weekends. Anyway, it all started with Son #2's friend sleeping over.

First, a little background: Son#2's friend is, shall we say, high strung. One time while sleeping over, he refused to eat pancakes because we had the wrong syrup. He doesn't play well with others. Once he gets focused on something, he will not change course without a major blow-up.

Saturday night we had some friends over to hang out, watch football, and eat dinner. We had checked with this friend to see what he wanted for dinner. The first thing he said was "mushroom pizza from _____." This is very telling because he names the pizzeria and will accept no pizza from anywhere else. Since no one else wanted pizza, we asked if spaghetti with marinara sauce would be ok. Yes, that was acceptable. We placed the order (no food in the house, of course), and Sybil went to get it. When Sybil returned and we called everyone to dinner, this friend was told that we had gotten spaghetti for him. He walked off saying he wasn't hungry. He was not impolite nor did he pitch a fit. I tried to talk to him and explained that he said spaghetti would be ok. He refused to join us for dinner and stayed in basement away from everyone.

When I rejoined the group, our other guests were surprised by the reaction and were making comments about eating what was served, strangeness of the boy, etc. I made two comments: "when I was growing up, I was given a two choices: eat what was prepared or fix it myself," and "he is a little high strung." Now, Son#1 (who is 12) was there. He was making comments before and after I made these two comments along with the other people. Sybil did not like my comments. She, nicely, asked me to stop making those type of statements. I did not feel that I had done anything wrong and became a little loud in my defense. This only exacerbated the situation further. Sybil called me aside to talk to me. Long story short (too late, right?): we did not agree.

Fast forward to last night. Sybil needs closure on this incident and brings it up again. I, again, say that what I said was not all that bad. She maintains that it was not a good influence on our son. She adds that I only reinforced his bad behavior. I still maintain that what I did was nothing more than vent some frustration. We did not reach an agreement. Sybil thinks I am insensitive and was not a good role model in this instance. I think I made two small, innocuous comments.

Oh, the child in question got to eat his pizza. However, I'm still in the doghouse.

Friday, October 27, 2006

What Can I Say?

I don't have much drama with Sybil, so I haven't been keeping ya'll entertained with our hi-jinks. We had a decent-sized argument this past weekend. It was mostly about me not listening to her or taking her seriously. I think...I can't remember.

This blog was started as a way for me to vent my frustrations of feeling victimized. This process has taught me that I have to own my part of the problem, too. We all have personality problems. Some more than others. My problem is focus. I tend to lose focus and let my mind wander. Sometimes I wonder, if I have ADD. This personality flaw causes great friction with Sybil. She believes that I, purposefully, ignore what she says and don't respect her. While I don't consciously ignore what she says nor do I not intentionally disrespect her, I do admit to finding myself somewhere else during conversations. It takes a great deal of effort to remain with her and engaged at times.

Two things have helped smooth things over between us. I make myself stop whatever I am doing or thinking so I just focus on her, and I have come to realize that Sybil is a passionate person. Unfortunately, I am not. This causes great consternation on my part, since she is very expressive during a conversation. She feels that she is not "getting onto me," but her way of speaking and body language seems to suggest otherwise. When we are having these types of "discussions," I must remain calm and listen to the words and not read the body language. I'm surprised at how much Sybil's body language causes my emotions to flair.

Denial is a powerful thing and breaking through it is difficult. No one likes to look at themselves in a negative light. My journey of self-improvement continues.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A Nation of Pansies

With more and more schools losing recess in favor of gym, this story is indicative of the future. Is it any wonder that Ridalin and other drugs for ADD and ADHD are fastest growing segment of the pharmaceutical industry? When can kids be kids?

Now we find that the game of tag is outlawed. We are afraid that a child might get hurt. Give me a break! What are kids supposed to do? Are they that delicate? How are we going to raise a nation of entrepreneurs and risk-takers without giving children the chance to fail? We can't expect them to able to handle adversity without strength of character.

Am I alone in the wilderness?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

YES! We should pay teachers more!

I hope my kids get this teacher. I may get flamed for it, but sending a kid to detention for being correct is too much. Although this happened awhile ago, I'm constantly amazed by the lack of learning my kids' teachers have. I can't tell you how many times we've gotten notes with typos and bad grammar. I can live with typos, but if a principal cannot make a coherent sentence, then she should be fired.Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Jesus said to him, "I don't tell you until seven times, but, until seventy times seven. Matthew 18:22.

I have a confession to make: I have been resenting Sybil. I have not been a very forgiving person. I have not confronted her enough on she makes me feel. Resentment was allowed to take hold and harden my heart. Sadly, it affected me in a way that I had never expected. I found myself not wanting to be near her, talk with her, touch her. I just wanted to be somewhere else. I would not let myself forgive her for her faults.

The weight was lifted, when I forgave her. Sybil is human. She has many more admirable qualities than I write about. Unfortunately, I chose to focus only on the things that were negative. The power of forgiveness of which Jesus speaks isn't necessarily about helping the person doing wrong, but it is also about healing the person wronged. Forgiveness liberates one from the past. I was shackled to my past dealings with Sybil. I had allowed these events to shape me and affect my behavior.

Achieving a state of Grace allows one to start loving that person. Agape love is much more powerful than romantic love. How can a person love another, when he has resentment in his heart? He cannot. There is only room for one not both. I am ashamed to say that I was not Graceful towards Sybil. One may say that she does not deserve my forgiveness. Who, among us, really does? We are all fallen creatures. Achieving love and grace is the closest we can come to being Godly.

I hope those who are that point of pushing out love from their hearts will rethink their feelings. Forgiveness is truly Divine.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Rise and Fall of America

In these last few posts I have sounded rather depressed. I always get this way, whenever an election is looming. Although I didn't start this blog to espouse my political point of view, I am depressed. It has nothing to do with Sybil. We are doing very well, thank you for caring. She has loosened up with regards to sex, and I learned to let her rantings not get me riled up.

First of all a disclaimer: I did not vote for a major party candidate during the last election. I have come to view the two parties as an amalgamation of one ruling party. Neither the Republicats nor the Democans are worth a plug nickel. I do not blame them. It is our fault for allowing them to seize power. How did this happen? Well, this might shed some light. We, as a whole, have managed to raise a society of people that have been coddled from birth until the grave. We are ENTITLED to a job, health care, retirement, etc. It is only getting worse. This 15 year old girl has been glorified for the excess laid upon her by her mother. Parents are no longer parenting. Heaven forbid we damage our child's self-esteem. We MUST pave the road ahead for little Johnny. Oh my gosh! What if he skins his knee?

Personally, I'm a little sick of it. I am saddened by what I am seeing. Our duty as parents is to prepare our children for the rough road of life. Life is hard. Unfortunately, The Cult of Low Expectations has taken over, and the barbarians are at the gate.

I'll get off of my soap box now.

Monday, October 02, 2006


I'm bored with blogging right now. As if you haven't guessed! That's probably the main reason I haven't posted as much of late. Sybil is the same, but I'm learning how to handle her. After 13 years, it's about time. Basically, I just need to let her rant and vent, and then it's ok. When one is not a passionate person (outwardly), then one has a hard time understanding the passionate. Sybil is passionate. I realize her counting every little thing the same as big things makes it hard me, but it makes it harder on her. Alas, she won't change. Of course, neither will I.

Having been a little introspective over the last few days, has made me realize that a lot of my decreased libido was pent up resentment towards Sybil. Finding grace and letting it go is what I am striving towards. It isn't easy. I'm a "keep-things-bottled-up" kind of guy. Her libido is still higher than mine, but I am accommodating her desires.

I'm not shutting down the blog or anything. However, I reserve the right to change my focus. Since Sybil and I have really improved over the last six months, I find myself with less to post about. Also, I'm starting to feel that all I'm doing is whining about my situation. Therefore, I'll probably be posting on various relationship-type stuff.

I'm sure that I'll keep everyone entertained with a Sybil story now and then. She does like to create drama. I'll leave you with this example:
This morning she had to take the kids to school. I get out of the shower to see her using the bathroom. Instead of saying, "Would you mind leaving the shower on so I can use it?", she says. "You know, it'd be nice if you left the shower on for me. I did that for you yesterday." Nice.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Not Back in the Saddle Again

Thank you for being patient. I didn't mean to have a hiatus. It just happened. Honest. I've had some things come up, so my time available for blogging has diminished. Also, I felt like I was beginning to sound like a broken record. Although I started this blog to vent my frustrations with Sybil, my posts were starting to take on a "whiny" quality, to me anyway. The crossroads was what I could post about, besides the intermittent conflict with Sybil and me. I'm sorry to say that something else has come up: my libido has disappeared.

I'm not sure where it went. It didn't leave a forwarding address. I don't know, if this is a temporary holiday or if it left town for good. It boils down to being a little scary. Until this point, I felt that I was pretty average about my needs. I tend to be average in every way, and my libido was no exception. I was happy with my ~3 episodes a week. Unfortunately, these last few weeks I would rather sleep than get it on.

What are causes of a low libido in a man? This is uncharted territory for me. Is it stress at work? Work has been stressful, but I'm not sure it is any more stressful than usual. Is it stress at home? Well, reading my blog gives one the sense of how stressful home can be. After 13 years of marriage, I'm not sure it is any more stressful. Am I ill? I feel physically fine. In fact, I'm in better shape at 37 than at 27. Has Sybil let herself go? No, she looks great. Am I bored? Possibly. I can't imagine that causing such a lowering of the libido. As a test, I looked at pornography sites, and there was no reaction. Unusual for me. Am I numb to it? Maybe. I stopped looking at those sites for a long time, because I was afraid of what they might do. I was afraid of producing unrealistic needs.

At first glance, it would be easy to blame Sybil for my decline. Her boundaries are pretty tight. However, that seems like an easy way out. A cop out. I'm still trying to figure out how much of this problem I own and how much is hers. Maybe I'm being neurotic. If so, that's a new thing for me, too. I do think that living the stress at the office and then reliving it with Sybil doesn't help. By the time I have retold my day's exploits, I'm exhausted.

I sat down with Sybil last night to voice my concerns. She had noticed a decline, but she attributes that to us being tired. I have my days of being totally wiped out, and she definitely has to have about ten hours of sleep to function. The other thing she attributes it to are the arguments about her boundaries. We all have boundaries. I will, under no circumstances, engage in sexual activities with midgets. Sybil feels that I am uncertain as to what I can and cannot do. That's part of it too. When the clothes come off, isn't that when the fun begins? Do I have to worry about pushing her too far? I'm not talking about anything wild, either.

My heart goes out to the women with low libido men. I think their men are doing them a disservice. I feel that I am letting Sybil down in that regard. It isn't fair to not have one's needs met. I'm supposed to meet her needs as best as I can.

Maybe I'm thinking too much.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Fork in the Road

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it." -- Yogi Berra

That's kind where I'm at right now. Things are going ok. I'm not dead or even very sleepy. Kind of in a bit of a cross roads. I'll post more later. Just wanted to let all of my readers (both of them) know that I'm still alive.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Adam Smith Would be Proud

Digger posted his thoughts about supply and demand and how it relates to sex. I think it succinctly describes what happens to a lot of guys. In a word: if a guy wants regular, exciting sex, don't get married. Although Sybil doesn't have libido issues, she's pretty boring in bed. Whereas, she used to be a hot, little vixen, now, she wants me to do all of the work, yet respect her boundaries. How fun. In my case, the supply is there, but it is of lower quality. I'm paying more now for sex than I ever had. It's shoddy workmanship. Made in China (that's funny: Sybil is Chinese).

I try to look at the bright side of things. After all, that's all I can do. My sex life isn't as bad as Digger's: non-existent. Although there too many boundaries, my sex life doesn't have to be scheduled like FTN's. In my case what used to be a Ritz cracker is now just a plain ol' saltine. I've tried the spicing things up. I've asked Sybil about her fantasies. She doesn't have any. So she says. I've tried taking the initiative to only be rebuffed. But, I'm trying to maintain a positive outlook. No matter how bad things are for a person, there's always someone else that has it worse. Besides, what else would I blog about?

With everything Sybil and I have been through, I have, generally, lost a lot of interest in sex. I don't know if it's living with her, work, kids, or what. It may be my deep seeded resentment of her for the emotional roller coaster ride. For example, last night I was feeling a little amorous. As we were getting into bed, there was an issue with one of my pillow cases. I had not put it on to Sybil's specifications. She jerked it away, adjusted the pillow case, placed it back, and admonished me for accepting less than perfect. It's a PILLOW CASE. The damned thing will be maladjusted by me sleeping on it. Anyway, there went those desires right out the window.

Monday, August 14, 2006


This article might be useful for a beginning of the understanding of what happens to men and women in a committed relationship. The authors ponder that it is some evolutionary thing. Basically, men's sex drive remains the same. However, women's sex drive diminishes after making a "pair bond." Sounds like entrapment. A bait-and-switch. A bill of goods. I know that may sound misogynistic. Deep down, it probably is. Maybe women have a harder time letting go of past slights. They think too much. This doesn't make them more complex. It makes them neurotic. I may catch hell for writing those things, but there it is. Right now, with the place I'm in, it sums it up nicely. I might even add that women's libidos aren't the only thing that's higher in the beginning, but also they have a better personality and treat their significant other better.

Ok, flame away Gridley.

BTW, speaking of thinking too much, I'm still noodling the comments from the last post, especially Christian Husband's about declaring peace.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Sex, Sex, Sex

Thank you to all that commented on my last post.

FTN wondered why I was bringing up this subject, when Sybil and I seem to argue about everything else but sex. That is a good question. Actually, she and I argue quite a bit about sex. I like to give oral sex; she doesn't; I feel like I'm more adventuresome; she isn't; I like to make sure she has at least one (preferably more) orgasm; she doesn't (one of our recent fights that I chose not to post about). Granted, we don't have the same issues as some (sorry, Digger), but we still have some.

Sybil likes to play this game:
Yesterday, I arose to get ready for church, make sure the boys were ready, and to make sure Daughter got her 8:00am dose of antibiotics. As I'm leaving to go to church, Sybil (still in bed) says, "why didn't you start something?"
What am I supposed to say? I don't enjoy necrophilia? Let me get this straight: I'm not only supposed to do all of the above, but also wake you up and "get it on?" Maybe I'm not in the mood. Maybe your morning breathe could stop a raging rhino? Maybe I've TOO much to do? Probably it's because I've heard about not trying things unless your in the mood? See the post about mood rings.

Are we doomed to be with those that have differing libidos?
Yes. We don't marry ourselves, so it only stands to reason that our partner would be different. Does that mean our partner shouldn't be a little more accommodating? I guess that depends upon who one asks. It is possible that my raging libido has been turned down a few notches due to work, kids, Sybil, etc. Although Sybil may instigate it more, that's because I've kind of given up trying to figure out when is a good time. After taking so many figurative body blows, there a lot of times I just want to be alone. In our marriage, Sybil probably has a higher libido but too

Why does this happen?
In the beginning there was sex, and it was good. Everyone is carefree. Everyone is adventuresome. Throw kids, mortgage, career, living with the same person for 13 (THIRTEEN!) years into the mix, and sex gets shorted. I love chocolate cake, but I can't eat it for every meal. In my case, living with Sybil is kind of like cleaning the Augean Stables (she might say the same about me, but this MY blog). All of this can take its toll.

What are we to do about it?
The choices are endless (not really but I wanted to write that).
We can:
  1. Divorce- risk screwing up kids. Poverty. Since kids are involved, we are still connected. Also, seems to be kind of like throwing the baby out with the bath water.
  2. Endeavor to persevere-that is what most of us do. We try to live out our lives day by day in the best way possible. We try to inject small joys to break up the maddening monotony.
  3. Try to find distractions- we play computer games, blog, go to bonko every first Tuesday no matter what the family's schedule. See #2.
  4. Affairs- it seems such an innocent little thing. See #1.
  5. Talk it out- easier said than done. Where does one stop wanting to respect the other person and start wanting their needs met? Where does that fine line come from? Shouldn't there be some sort of sign to tell their spouse that it's time to make love versus time to screw like wild, midget monkeys? See mood ring post.
In the end there are no easy answers. Like the gracious people that commented, I, too, am stumbling through life trying to figure this relationship thing out. My hope is that I can pass on the wisdom I have gleaned through the school of hard knocks to my children. I hope they can learn from it.

Friday, August 04, 2006


Question: are we doomed to be married to people with differing libidos?

Question: why does this happen?

Question: what are we to do about it?

Inquiring minds want to know.

I'll post about why I'm asking these questions later.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I Ain't Got Time To Bleed

That's how I feel. Work is becoming all consuming. Sybil and I are the usual. Daughter had her tonsils out yesterday. Life keeps rolling along. I'll post when I can and comment when I can.


Thursday, July 27, 2006


I'd thought I'd take a break from Sybil bashing for awhile. It seems to be getting old. Reading my posts makes me think it's same stuff different day. Since things are going pretty good with her right now, I thought I might bore you with why I blog. After over one hundred posts, it's about time, right?

All marriages have problems. I do believe that a marriage without conflict is in trouble. However, I hate conflict. I hate the emotions that run through me and the person talking to me. The feeling of letting my emotions get the better of me is a feeling of helplessness. Yet, an argument, no matter what size, is wrapped in emotion. This blog is a way for me to noodle out my emotional responses.

Some have wondered why I stay with Sybil. There are times I wonder the same thing (see the last post). Marriage, to me, is not disposable. For all of her faults, Sybil is committed to this marriage. There may be times that she will not show it. There may be times that she may seem to sabotage it. However, that is one thing we have in common is our commitment to this marriage.

Before I married Sybil, I had many friends that I hung out with. Since Sybil and I got married and then six months later we had a child (do the math), I have had little time to maintain the friendships I had nor to make new ones. With my work schedule and kids' schedules, making friends just takes too much energy. Posting about my frustrations is similar to talking with a best friend and venting. It is sad, in a way, that I have to rely on a nameless, faceless internet, but that is something. Where would I be without it? Alone? Cut off? Blogging maintains a connection. I am always amazed that anyone comments, and new people are always dropping by. Thank you, friends.

Reading some of my posts, one might get the idea that Sybil is some succubus from the ninth level of hell. Sometimes she is. However, she has many admirable traits. She is kind, empathetic, selfless (in some ways but maybe not as much as she believes), and loves helping people. This blog is a microcosm of who she is. I doubt anyone could remain married to a woman that I have painted her out to be. This blog is a means of grappling with the emotions of marital conflict.

Some have commented and questioned why I stay with Sybil. That is not an easy answer. First of all, what would I gain by leaving her? Independence? Doubtful. I still have to work. I would still have three kids to care for. Independence is an illusion. Happiness? Maybe. I've wondered about that, especially during one of our arguments. Would I be happier away from her? I'm not sure. Happiness is fleeting. I'm not sure the potential emotional damage to my children is worth my happiness. That's not something I'm willing to risk. Do I love her? In the end that is what it boils down to. I understand, a little, why someone stays with an abuser. Although I'm not saying Sybil is abusive, there are times I' ve wondered about it. Unfortunately, I cannot look at her without my breath catching in my throat. After 13 years, I still look upon her in amazement. That feeling is more than just simple lust. That feeling has more length and breadth than any stirring of the loins. That is the real reason. I think it would take something catastrophic (like her having an affair) to push me to leaving her.

Well, this post seems to be rambling. I'm still going to write about my frustrations and anger with Sybil. In the future, I want to try to focus on the positive aspects too.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Changes in Latitudes, No Changes in Attitudes

I apologize for my lack of posting. Sybil is working in my office, and it makes it hard to get privacy on a computer. Since I mainly blog about her, I don't think it wise for her to be around when doing it. When the kids get into school, that should ease up a bit. Unfortunately, we had to do it, because of staffing issues.

Survived the weekend. We drove to another time zone to see Lil' Bro get married, again. Since he left his wife last year, it has been a major bone of contention for Sybil. She has a poor view of him, since he not only left his wife but also risked screwing up their 3 year old in the process. As for me, I don't blame him. Although I would have rather they stayed married and try to work things out for the sake of their child, his Ex is a controlling shrew.

Anyway, for the whole weekend I got to hear Sybil's rant about how he'll screw up again. It's a little old. Naturally, we got into a major fight. I admit to starting it. We argued about stirring straws. Yep, STIRRING STRAWS. I said sticks; Sybil said straws. Since they were hollow, they were straws. I just couldn't help myself. Sybil makes the comment about wanting to go home. I apologize for being a jerk and starting an argument. I mean it was over a little thing. Right? Nope.

On the way to my parent's house after the wedding, I asked if she still wanted to go home. Sybil said, "I can't go home." That doesn't seem like an answer to me. My question could have been answered by a simple yes or no. Another fight ensued. Even bigger than the friggin' straws. After things calmed down, we talked a bit, and I thought the storm had passed.

The next morning I wake up. Sybil wakes up. I start goofing around, and she is distant with her back to me. Sensing that something is amiss, I ask her what is wrong. "Nothing," she says. I know it's B.S., but I ask again. Again, nothing. O.k. it's nothing. I go about my day getting ready to go.

On the way home, we're stuck in the car for nearly 7 hours. Together. Alone. By ourselves. This morning comes up. Sybil is still mad about me getting mad about her "I can't go home" statement. If really cared, I would have known what was wrong. I should have known what was wrong. In my defense, I explained that I asked what was wrong; she spooned me last night (she says to keep from falling off of the bed); and didn't act distant or anything at the end of the day. Not enough. Ugly words were thrown around. Since I had nothing else to say, Sybil indicated that maybe it was time to call the lawyers. I indicated that maybe she was right. Silence ensued. Golden silence. A weight was lifting off of my shoulders. Aww, sweet independence.

Then I pictured having to tell Daughter. I caved. There was no way I could bring myself to do it. I would rather go through Hell itself than disappoint Daughter. So for the next four hours we talked and talked. Things are back to normal, which is to say screwed up. Nothing was accomplished. I still love Sybil, damnit. Despite it all. It ain't easy to do, though.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

In Summing Up...

Things are improving. Time heals all wounds, right? I heard this song this morning and I thought it was apropos.


"Mood Rings"

we all know the girls that i am talking about
well they are time bombs and they are ticking
and the only question's when they'll blow up
and they'll blow up; we know that without a doubt
cause they're those girls, yeah you know those girls that let their emotions get the best of them

and i've contrived some sort of a plan to help my fellow man
let's get emotional girls to all wear mood rings
so we'll be tipped off to when they're ticked off
cause we'll know just what they're thinking
cause what they're thinking...

she's so pretty but she but doesn't always act that way
her mood's out swinging on the swing set almost every day
she said to me that she's so happy it's depressing
and all i said was "someone get that girl a mood ring"

if it's drama you want then look no further
they're like the real world meets boy meets world meets days of our lives
and it just kills me how they get away with murder
they'll anger you then bat their eyes; those pretty eyes that watch you sympathize

and i've contrived some sort of a plan to help my fellow man
let's get emotional girls to all wear mood rings
so we'll be tipped off to when they're ticked off
cause we'll know just what they're thinking
cause what they're thinking...

she's so pretty but she but doesn't always act that way
her mood's out swinging on the swing set almost every day
she said to me that she's so stressed out that it's soothing
and all i said was "someone get that girl a mood ring"

cause when it's black (it) means watch your back because you're probably
the last person in the world right now she wants to see
and when it's blue it means that you should call her up immediately
and ask her out because she'll most likely agree
and when it's green it simply means that she is really stressed
and when it's clear it means she's completely emotionless (and that's all right i must confess)

we all know the girls that i am talking about
she liked you wednesday but now it's friday and she has to wash her hair
and it just figures that we'll never figure them out
first she's jekyll and then she's least she makes a lovely pair

mood ring oh mood ring
oh tell me will you bring
the key to unlock this mystery
of girls and their emotions
play it back in slow motion
so i may understand the complex infrastructure known as the female mind

heh...that's terrible

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Well, it seems I was right to be worried. When we last left Aphron and Sybil, Sybil had just abruptly ended an arguement. Something totally out of character for her. For her arguements are similar to what occurred in Mogadishu with me being the Rangers trying to get out of it. Anyway, Sybil stopped wearing her ring immediately afterwards. Since we were painting Son#2's room, I thought she took it off as not to get paint on it. Wrong. She stopped wearing it because of me.

It would seem we (or I) have some deep issues that have boiling under the surface. It mainly deals with me not respecting her or her wishes. The main issue that was brought up was Las Vegas. Since we were in Vegas sans kids, I thought (expected?) wild, woolly, fun VACATION SEX (thanks FTN). The only sex that was going on was plain, saltine cracker variety the one time we engaged in it. By the third day, I was a little disappointed. That was the day I suggested some shower time fun. Sybil resisted because it was a hotel shower with no seat or anything (I haven't figured that one out). I persisted and she relented to showering together. There was not any sex and barely any foreplay. I became frustrated and angry. Boring run of the mill sex I can understand at home, but on the road without kids in a large hotel room? We had a few words. Sybil became hurt and angry that I would not respect her needs. She fears catching some disease or illness from uncleanliness. I might can understand a little of it, yet we had sex on the bed without stirring her issues. In my mind, a hotel bed is probably worse than a hotel shower. Also, Sybil mentioned my penchant for wanting sex after she has had a shower in the morning. Well, don't traipse around our bedroom naked, and I won't become aroused. Also, if that really bothered you, why do you allow me to do it? Why allow me to think it was ok until now?

Anyway, we had a running arguement that lasted three days. It was centered around my lack of respect for Sybil and her issues. For three days she would not wear her ring. On that third day, I was about ready to throw it and mine away. Then as if after a summer time storm, the wind and rain calmed. Sybil, is that you? Last night she was cuddly and affectionate. To recap, we went from, what I thought was divorce, to a loving couple in 36 hours. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it.

I guess from now on, I won't instigate things. If I have to do all of the work anyway, why should I have to be the one to get things started? If my timing is that bad or if my lack of respect for her issues is that bad, then why wouldn't I stop trying all together? Right now, I feel very withdrawn...bruised.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Sybil, Is That You?...Redux

After the last post that went into the leftfield with questions about why I stay with Sybil, I had intended to write a nice post about Sybil. After glancing through my archives, it seems that I have painted a pretty negative picture of her. So, I wanted to give a more rounded description of Sybil. I hoped that my new readers (God bless 'em) would see that she has some wonderful qualities. I mean what kind of fool stays with a woman that is such a shrew? Me.

Screw it. I can't post anything positive about her right now. Not after yesterday's little spat, which I did not precipitate. We're laying in bed watching Wedding Crashers (campy yet stupid in a fun way). The TV turned itself off (on a timer). I, playfully, fumbled with the remote trying to turn it on. Until this moment Sybil and I were sharing a moment. That disappeared. She moved to the foot of the bed and stayed out of touch. Sensing a playful moment, I tried to stretch out my toes to touch, etc. One thing led to another, and I'm on her playfully nuzzling her ear. Sybil tells me to "get off of her." No smile or anything. Fine. I get off. A few moments later, Sybil says, "you're such a jerk." Ok, fine, whatever. I say some disposable comment. Something to the effect whatever your loss. She says something to the effect of "you don't even know what I'm talking about." I leave to make coffee. As I'm making the coffee, I'm replaying the conversation. I did NOTHING wrong, yet I'm getting abused. Now the question becomes, do I confront her or leave sleeping dogs lie? I confront. Long story short (too late) she blows me off. She even laughed at me at first. She said she was joking. I explained that I'm no longer irritated but I'm pissed off. No apology or anything.

This is the same woman that turned an innocent remark into an hour screaming match, yet I have NEVER called her any name except Sybil (really). I have never laughed at her when she approached me with hurt feelings, which happens quite a lot. I find this whole episode to be quite demeaning. Although I may have a hard time expressing my feelings, do not make it harder by belittling them. I can handle name calling in the heat of the moment. Although I do not remember calling her any derogatory names, being called "asshole" is meaningless to me. Yep, I can be one. However, this case goes beyond the pale.

I apologize fellow bloggers. I had really hoped to paint a more positive picture of Sybil. Right now I cannot. Why do I stay? That is a good question. Off of the top of my head these are the reasons:
  1. The children. I have three of them. They mean everything to me. I would rather suffer than potentially lose them through divorce.
  2. Promises. I made a promise to Sybil, myself, and the state I live in to stay married. Since it was a civil ceremony, does that count as a promise to God? Probably. Doesn't matter. I try to do the honorable thing. Leaving a wife and children, to me, is dishonorable.
  3. Financial ruin. I am lucky enough to earn enough money to support us fairly comfortably. We want for little. In a divorce situation, that would change. Too many stories of men being financially ruined in a divorce scare the heeby-jeebies out of me.
  4. Fear of failure. I have a strong fear of failing. To me divorce would mean failing. The marriage would have failed.
  5. Deep down, deep, deep down I still love Sybil. I know that, for all of her flaws, she was given to me for a reason. Bad kharma, maybe? Anyway, she has made some positive changes in me not just bitterness.
I'm sure this will pass. I know this latest episode is a trifle. It is the principle of the thing, though. I hope to post a more favorable account of Sybil in the future. Stay tuned.

**UPDATE** Sybil and I had a long conversation last night about what happened Sunday. Instead of apologizing for demeaning my feelings, she took the time to outline how much of a jerk I really am. Some of the stuff I've blogged about (what happened in Vegas was brought up, mainly). Other stuff I haven't. She had some points that were legitamite. The problem is she warmed up past arguements to defend her position that I'm a jerk. She asked me did I love her and if so what did I do to show it besides going to work everday? I listed: dealing with kids every morning so she could sleep in, not critizing her for her failure of housekeeping duties, helping her on her various projects at church (she has a whole committee, yet I get to help), etc. The fight ended abruptly with her apologizing for calling me a jerk (not for demeaning my feelings) and apologizing for starting the fight. This was totally out of character. Now I'm really worried.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Tagged...I think

A Passionate Man tagged me with 5 celebs I want to have sex with. I think. His post says "Apron." I don't see anybody else on his blog roll with a name close to it, except mine. So anyway...

This is actually a hard post. I have such a dim view of celebs. Number 1 used to Cameron Diaz until I read this piece. Man, am I that picky? If I were 18 again, I'd have no problem. At the ripe, old age of 37, I am more discerning. I've realized that at some point conversation will come up. The person's conversation could affect my mood, which could affect my libido. Damn.

Five celebs I want to have sex with (in no particular order):

I can't think of any. They aren't real people. They are imaginary. In high school I was in the drama department. They were weird, self-absorbed, melodramatic, bitches. And those were just the guys. I can only imagine what the women were like.

It's better to worship from afar.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

My First HNT!

Don't laugh. It took a lot of courage to share this candid moment with you, my readers. I hope you enjoy. Be gentle in the comments. To add to the surprise, you gotta scroll down to view it.

Posted by Picasa

Well, what do you think? I think I captured my good side. With Sybil gone for a couple more days, I might play with that digital camera some more.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bachin' It

Well, Sybil is at her parents' house for her annual visit. I haven't seen her since I got back from Vegas. Naturally, I have to talk to her several times a day. Still it has been pretty relaxing. Last night I enjoyed sitting outside, blogging wirelessly, drinking a beer and enjoying a good stogie. Life doesn't get any better. Sadly, I'm pretty boring after work. I'm usually too tired and want to go home and unwind. So if anyone wants to drop by Casa de Aphron, just let me know. I'll keep a light on for ya.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Viva Las Vegas

Well, Sybil and I survived the week together. From Friday to Wednesday was spent at her parent's house in Dallas, and Wednesday until today (Saturday) was spent in Las Vegas. It was a very interesting visit.

I learned a few things:
  1. When Sybil wants her flight itinerary changed, it nearly takes an act of Congress. If I don't do it to her specifications or in the fashion she would, then hell will break loose. Although I knew a flight she needed was available, I should check with her first to make sure it meets with her approval before changing anything. Of course, it would be easier if she handled it HER flight herself. That way it will be done as she wants it.
  2. When Sybil says her new shoes are comfortable, she is a liar. I knew they weren't. I asked several times. Each time I was met with her telling me how comfortable they are. Naturally, walking the strip in new, high heels makes for a short walk. I guess it's better to look good than be comfortable.
  3. The purpose of going to Las Vegas is to go shopping. Looking at the archetecture of the buildings and possibly gambling is a distant second. It's all about the stores.
  4. Getting a large room with a walk-in shower and a jacuzzi does not mean they are to be used as anything other that getting clean. I mean the shower didn't have a seat. The jacuzzi is there for looks.
  5. Nibbling on Sybil's neck after her shower but before I brush my teeth is a no-no. I will leave a residue that others can smell.
  6. Finally, Las Vegas is a city of vice. No two ways about it. A weak individual could get into a lot of trouble.
Anyway, I'm glad to be back home. I think Vegas is a cool city. Although gambling, drinking, and sex is in one's face nearly the whole time, there is other stuff to do. We saw KA, which was a great show and "eye candy."

Friday, June 16, 2006

Gone Fishin'

Not really.

I'm going to be out of town all next week. Traveling with Sybil. I'm sure there won't be a dull moment. I may be able to bore you with details when I get back next weekend.

Also will be going to Las Vegas for a conference. That will be very interesting for this small town Southern Boy.

Have a Great Week!

I'm sitting at the airport, drinking a cold Heine and watching Georgia tech try to mount a comeback against Clemson. The only down side is the $6.00 I paid to T-Mobile to connect to their Wi-Fi hotspot. But with an hour to kill and nothing to read, I'll manage...somehow.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Random Mutterings

Well, Sybil and I survived this weekend without killing each other. Our anniversary was Saturday. Thirteen years of We spent the majority of it apart. Son#1 had a baseball tournament while daughter and son#2 has a swim meet. The meet was in another city an hour and a half away. I was chosen to go to the swim meet. Although I made it clear that I would rather go to the baseball tournament, Sybil made it clear I was going to the meet. Since I have a much better sense of direction and don't mind driving, it made logical choice. Naturally, Sybil made the mistake of asking which I would rather do. I made the mistake of answering truthfully. Fireworks ensued, and I went to the meet. I rather enjoyed myself. Driving by myself (the two kids had gone ahead with a friend since I had to work) was cathartic. I got to listen to my music and generally enjoyed myself. The kids came in third in their age group, so it worked out well. Sadly, I missed Son#1's game. Apparently, he played very well. C'est la vie. Saturday ended on a high note with a visit to our best friend's house. They live about an hour away, so by the time we came home Saturday night I was exhausted.

This morning was interesting. Sybil awoke mad at me for dreaming that I had a conversation with an ex-girlfriend. I haven't spoken with this person in thirteen years. The last time I spoke with her was when she called me out of the blue. I had just gotten married and Son #1 had just been born. Due to the circumstances of us getting married (shotgun wedding, so to speak), I did not want to speak to the woman. I, basically, just had a monosyllable conversation. Unfortunately, I did not tell her that I was married and had a kid. That has come back to bite me on more than one occasion. Sybil's already deep seeded insecurity has solidified.

We all have insecurities. It is how we deal with our insecurity that tells the story. When insecurities raise their ugly specter, the aftermath is difficult to deal with. In Sybil's case the episode happened over a decade ago, yet she is still grappling with it. Do I do things to instill that insecurity? I guess so. I'm not sure what it would be. Maybe she is an insecure person. No matter what I do, she will remain so. Despite my best efforts of reassurance, she remains to this day convinced that I would run off with said girlfriend, if given a chance. Nope. Could it be that deep down inside she understands that she does things to make me unhappy? Instead of dealing with that, it is easier to lash out. I don't have the answers just mutterings.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I'm Mad as Hell and I'm not Going to Take it Anymore

I was going to write about Digger's article on outward appearances. I even started a post but deleted it. We all have pain from somewhere in our lives. We may not blog about it, but it is there. Life can be painful, sometimes.

Nope. I'm going write about how angry I am at myself. I have somehow allowed Sybil to run nearly all aspects of my life. Where do I draw the line? This realization had been forming for quite sometime but became crystallized during lunch. Sybil, the SAHM that doesn't, was working at church getting ready for vacation bible school. I got out of the office late, so my lunch time was shortened. I call her to see what's the deal with lunch (we eat together nearly everyday). She asks me to bring her something, and, oh by the way, bring something for a friend. My irritation kicked in and was followed by anger. I begged off saying I don't have time. I'll go home for lunch. I could hear the disappointment in her voice. I relented. Naturally, she had no clue what she wanted. Anger building.

Finally, I bring food to her at the church. I arrive unable to find her. I call her cellphone. No answer. I see her stuff lying there, so I know she is there. By this time I had about 15 minutes to eat. Now the dilemma: should I waste more time looking for her or should I just say screw it and eat? I said screw it and ate. Just as I'm finishing, she appears all smiling and happy.

Do I have an anger management problem, or do I have a spouse that doesn't give a _ _ _ _ about anything except how to escape from her dull existence at home? My schedule is not my own. I do not get to choose to help out at church, cook lunch, go grocery shopping, clean the house, go to the spa, or any of that. I get to go work and be a drone. I really don't mind her helping at church. Really, I don't. What I care about is her lack of sensitivity that I have an allotted amount of time. If she really wants to eat lunch with me, it is much easier to bend her schedule around mine.

If I choose to go home (I have done so in the past), I can choose from the yummy and delectable choices of peanut butter and cracker (no bread), Ramen noodles (I ate that in college. I did not work this hard to go back to Ramen), popcorn, or just drink a lot of water. As you can see, I get to waste a quarter of my lunch hour getting food to eat.

I understand being a SAHM can be drudgery but so is going to work. I'm not trying to keep her in the kitchen. All I'm asking is for the house stuff to be done first and concentrate on outside stuff next. Sadly, it's times like these that makes me wonder what is going to happen to us when the kids leave home.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Youth Sports

Taking a break from "Sybil bashing" for now. I'm posting about youth sports. As you know I have 3 kids. I am in constant awe of them and their abilities. Although I don't write much about them,since this blog was intended to explore the dynamic between Sybil and me. Anyway, my two boys play various sports. My daughter plays a couple too, which is a surprise because she was very much a "girlie-girl" when she was small.

Son #1's Little League baseball team has had a terrible season. Currently, they are 3 and 12. Pretty dismal. He hasn't played much this whole season. It is very disheartening to be one of the oldest on the team, yet play the nearly the least. The previous year, on a different team, he played the whole game, could be counted on to get on base, and improved his fielding. Fast forward to this year, the decreased playing time told him that he wasn't good enough, so in a game he tried harder and put more stress on himself. The result was striking out at the one time at bat and playing 3 or less innings (usually less). Son#1's self-confidence was shot. As the season progressed, it became painfully obvious that he was outside looking in of a clique. The coach and about six of the players knew each other previously. Despite mounting errors and bad plays, he kept them in their positions throughout the season.

Then last week it happened. Son#1's team lost by the "mercy rule." For those that don't know, it says that a ten run difference ends the game. His team got beat 13 to 3. Embarrassing. Who made the most errors? The coach's son at first base. Usually a first baseman can catch. Not on this team. He missed a toss from three feet. After the game, Son#1 walked up to the coach and asked for more playing time. Coach said that he told everyone at the beginning of the season that some wouldn't play as much as others. The ones he thought could do the job would play the most. Sybil and he started to argue. She brought up the valid point that, if you're losing nearly all of your games, why not try players in different positions? Coach said that he wouldn't change anything. Sybil yelled for me saying that Coach said that Son#1 wouldn't get anymore playing time and that he wasn't "good enough." Coach said she was putting words in his mouth. I, in the nicest way possible, said,"Coach, in the first scrimmage he played flawlessly, but in the games Son#1 was passed over." Coach said he was done and stomped off.

Flash forward to Thursday night. Although we won by forfeit because the other team had too few players, we won on the scoreboard too. Son#1 started and stayed at third base. He was on fire. He went 2 for 2 with a bunt (It was a thing of beauty. The ball stopped right in front of home plate, beat the throw and made it to first) and a triple. His defense was good too. For a kid that wasn't "good enough" Son#1 had a stellar night. Coach gave him the game ball.

Afterwards, I talked to Coach. I thanked him for giving Son#1 a second chance. He stated that is wasn't because of the conversation we had, but Son#1 had worked hard in the last practice. Whatever. The season is shot because of the Coach's desire to play certain kids. The parents outside of the clique are fed up. At least the season will end on a high note.

Before I had kids, I told myself I wouldn't get worked up about the sports my children play. I would not be that guy yelling at his kids to do better. Although I am not belligerent, I have a lot of excitement watching my kids play sports. They are far better athletes than I was. Son#1 can actually hit a baseball, Daughter can swim 100 yard freestyle and gets faster towards the end, and Son#2 is like a Hoover vacuum cleaner on the baseball field. Before my sons played baseball, I was pretty ambivalent towards it. Daughter played one year of softball and was decent. I wish she would've stuck with it. It has been a tremendous amount of fun, excitement, and even pride to watch my children play ball. I hope all parents get that opportunity.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Happy 100th Post!

100 posts! Ya'll like the look? It seems a little happier, brighter. Definitely easier to read. Wow, 100 posts about the ups and downs of my marriage. I even have people that read about it. That is truly amazing.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Survived the weekend with Sybil. We went camping in Big South Fork. I love going there. Even during a busy Memorial day weekend.

First the good stuff. I bought a cast iron skillet and a cast iron dutch oven just for this trip. Cooking bacon, sausage and eggs on the skillet was easy. I didn't have to worry about tearing up the surface. For the first time I was able to make biscuits for breakfast thanks to the dutch oven. Had a lot of fun trail bike riding to some gorgeous overlooks. Made peach cobbler for desert Sunday night (in the dutch oven, of course) and the kids made S'mores. Although it was hot, we had a great time.

Now the bad stuff (some of which is embarrassing). Friday I took the afternoon off, since the kids were out that afternoon from school. I came home, and Sybil was all over me, physically. She was "ready to go." I'm thinking, "All right!" We move to the bedroom and do our thing. It involved oral (giving and receiving, which I love to give and receive) and was truly mind blowing. Later that day I let slip that I had gone to the bathroom several hours before our activities. Number 2. Now, I try to be as hygienic as anyone else. In the heat of the moment, I forgot to tell Sybil. Anyway, she is pissed that I let her do that knowing what I had done earlier. I apologized profusely and explained that I was too consumed to remember. Not good enough. Apparently I'm not only selfish but my parents weren't married. Fast forward to yesterday. This cast a pall over the whole weekend. Everything that happened was colored by it. We had a blow-up while trying to pack up and motivate our kids to help. Everything goes back to Friday afternoon. So I'm now back in the wilderness.

Sybil uses all of this bring up an interesting point that I try to push her away. Maybe. More on that as I grapple with that. She may have a point there. I do tend to be guarded. I am not one to let anyone come too close.

Anyway, that's it. I hope ya'll had a great weekend.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Don't Try to Adjust Your Set. We Control the Horizontal and the Vertial.

Ahhh, Saturday morning. At work. Missing Son#2's baseball game. This sucks. At least the sun is out and drying off the world from the interesting thunderstorms we had.

Things are looking up for Sybil and me. This whole month we haven't had any major arguements. Her period started yesterday, yet she has not lived up to her name. Oh sure, we had some minor things, but none like we've had in the past. Overall, this has been a decent month.

So now I'm living in fear. When is that shoe gonna drop? When will Sybil's face peal back and reveal the monster lurking under the surface? Is this what happens to people in abusive relationships? I would not have thought of myself to be in that class, but these thoughts have been in the back of my mind. I find myself sitting here wondering WTF?

What is going on? She hasn't changed her BCPs. I think it might have to do with the fact that we haven't seen much of each other this month. Too busy. My little, cute (to me) mannerisms that irritate the crap out of her...aren't. What's the deal? We've even been having fairly regular, decent sex. Is this the invasion of the pod people? Who took my wife? What's that up ahead? A sign post.

I should just enjoy the ride. Like everything else in life, it won't last.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Nothing much to say

I actually have time to blog but have little to say.

I haven't seen much of Sybil today. She made this Thursday her spa day, since I now work every 2nd and fourth Thursday. She doesn't want me to ruin it because of what happened last time. That was six weeks ago. That's Sybil: memory like an elephant.

It's just as well. She would probably figure out a way to keep me from going home. Since Sunday, I've been home before 9:00pm once. Sybil has managed to schedule enough stuff to keep us on the go. This way she has an excuse to have no food, the house to be trashed, and not have to cook. What were we doing? Mainly she (that means we) was preparing for a church program. Now, I try to lead a Christian life. I do come up short in many aspects (usually temptations of the flesh but that's a post of a different day). Being at work all day and then helping setup for a program until late is tiring. Yeah, I'm a little snarky. It's like "let's see how much stuff we can cram into a day." Even the kids are worn out. Sybil must understand that it will get done.

That's life with a perfectionist. Sybil believes that whoever does it will not do a good enough job. A perfectionist is an unhappy person becuase they aren't good enough. They will put a tremendous amount of pressure on themselves. In doing so, they will put a tremendous amount of pressure upon those closest to them. A perfectionist never realizes in the end, that we are all "shadows and dust." Now, that doesn't mean we shouldn't try, but what is more important? How well a crab costume looks or spending quiet, quality time with the family?

Anyway, that's all I had to say. More than I expected.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Daddy's Lil Girl tagged me to list some weird/noteworthy things about myself. This is hard because I'm pretty boring. I know, I know with all of the drama in my life, one might think I'm more exciting. Truth be told I'm not. Anyway, without further ado here it goes:

Let's do noteworthy first.
  1. I have a doctorate.
  2. I own my own business.
  3. Some might call me financially successful.
  4. I'm blessed with the ability to talk to anyone about anything.
  5. Everybody likes me, especially upon first impression.
Now for the weird.
  1. I have a hard time making and keeping friends.
  2. The one area I am anal is my clothes. I refuse to wear even slightly wrinkled or clothes with a small spot to my office.
  3. I have lived my whole life in the South (rural at that), yet somehow I have lost my accent.
  4. I'm never, ever cold.
  5. I have a hard time maintaining mental focus during conversations.
There you go. Not much of a list. Now, I must tag some people. So Shining Star, Whoami929, and Anteros tag you're it!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Counting the Cost

Well friends and neighbors, Sybil and I seem to be going downhill fast. Thursday saw another fight. It seemed to be building from the previous ones this week. The same stuff rehashed. A new twist was introduced: I am not engaged in our conversations. Funny thing though, I was able to recount three times as many conversation subjects that took place the night before than Sybil. Who's engaged? I believe it has come down to her finding things to fight about. Minor irritations that occur when two people live together take on a larger than life roll.

These mole-hill sized mountains are nothing new. We have been dealing with this throughout our marriage. However, I am so tired of fending off this person, who is my wife. Broaching the subject with Sybil does little good. Being the Type A person she is, Sybil feels that confronting all of the little things that happen will mean the big things are taken care of. Being the Type B person that I am, I say that leaves everyone raw and too emotionally spent to care about them.

This Thursday may have been a turning point for me. I quite nearly walked. After spending all morning trying to show love and appreciation to her, Sybil decides to criticize everything from my driving to how I carry on my conversations. If I have less to say than she expects, I don't care about her. I am so tired of being the villain. My self-esteem has started to be affected.

In an earlier post I mentioned that Sybil has a "slash and burn style" of arguing. I do not. I want to come to a consensus. She wants only to pummel me into the ground and win at any cost. If things progress, Sybil may win the battles but lose the war, ultimately.

Why didn't I leave? The cost, right now, is too great. The potential damage done to my kids, financial ruin, etc. is too much to bear. For now. As things continue, that might change. I want to love Sybil. How can I? How can I love someone who is critical of everything I say and do?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

We're on the Road to Nowhere

Another "discussion" lasting into the wee hours of the morning. What the hell? Sybil doesn't have to get up and do anything before noon. Basically, the same argument warmed up and served on a platter of resentment.

I won't go the gory details. Except to say that Sybil and I didn't start our "conversation" until about 11:30pm. She had just gotten home from bonko. We were talking about Son#1's baseball game (which she missed). During the course of my conversation, I was realizing the need to teach Son#1 some things about baseball, since his coaches, apparently, weren't. Sybil start with statements like "you should have been doing that all along," and "you should have not relied on the coaches to teach him," and my favorite: "you know that just because he goes to school doesn't mean that you don't need to teach him anything." Sensing another lecture coming on and knowing the time of the night and the fact I have to get up early, I said "yeah, yeah, yeah." Sybil becomes pissed. My rudeness in cutting her off in mid-point sends her over the edge. My rudeness in assuming that she is lecturing me, when she is really just enforcing my points. My rudeness in not listening to her.

I admit it. I was rude. I was tired, and I didn't want to hear it. I cut her off. I apologized for cutting her off. I explained that I was sensing another lecture on my failings. I told her that I was tired and under normal circumstances I would not have made that comment and would have been more patient. Excuses, excuses. Sybil believes my fatigue is just another excuse to absolve me of any responsibility. No. Not true. Like anyone averaging less than six hours of sleep a night, I am a little less patient. Excuses, excuses.

Naturally, the "whatever" (see last post) comment from two nights prior was thrown into the mix and given a good stir. This proves a pattern of my rudeness.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Monday, May 01, 2006

My Journey of Self-Improvement

Well, I barely survived this weekend. Naturally, Sybil and I had two big arguments. As she sees it, they were all my fault. I see her points on both, but I'm having a hard time coping with the idea that they are this big of a deal.

Argument #1 was on Saturday afternoon. For reasons I won't go into, I had very little sleep the night before. Naturally, we had the whole day planned down to the microsecond. Long story short, Sybil suggested we start cleaning the house for the cleaning lady (don't get me started) instead of waiting for the last minute. I agreed that I didn't want to wait until the last minute but suggested to wait until Sunday (she comes on Tuesday), because we usually have less things going on. She became angry saying that I took what she said and "flushed it down the toilet." I countered by saying I merely contradicted what she said. I agreed about the last minute thing but not about the need to do it in the hour and a half "down time" we had before the next event. Naturally, she countered with the need to work on things with the time we have rather than procrastinate. Sunday rolls around, and we don't have time to work on the house because of church activities that had to be done right then (according to Sybil). The house cleaning was started by me in the hour I had between activities on Sunday. We still have a long way to go. On an aside, a cleaning person sounds great in theory but in practice seems to be creating more marital strife.

Argument #2 started last night. We finally get home around 8:30pm. Sybil and I had nothing to eat for dinner. Since she is taking some high dose antibiotics for a skin infection from a bug bite, she must eat every time she takes the medicine. There was some left over fried rice that I was hoping we could share. After getting all my stuff done and coming into the house, I notice that she had eaten all but 2 spoonfuls. I comment that she ate nearly all of it. She states that Son #2 helped. I say "whatever" and proceed to try to find something to eat. Which, by the way, was fruitless because Sybil doesn't grocery shop. My one word seemed to speak volumes to her. She decided I was being uncaring about her condition, I was being rude to her, and basically being a jerk. I explained my irritation of not having anything to eat. I did not mean it as a rude comment. I apologized more than twice. She did not accept it. Sybil felt I was not caring about her situation. I countered that I was the one who talked her into going to the doctor.

Apparently, my journey of self-improvement is going slowly. As I try to improve myself to make Sybil happy, I seem to take one step forward and at least two steps back. Not the way I had envisioned it.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Enjoying the Ride

Sybil has reverted back to her normal, loving, patient self. The week after her period is usually the best week. We actually enjoyed two days of great, wild, monkey sex. Unfortunately, she has some kind of dermatitis on her leg. The doc put her on high dose antibiotics, so much for the fun. The fear of antibiotics interfering with her BCPs put a damper on things.

As I walk through life, I learn that I cannot expect Sybil to change herself. Some (all?) is beyond her control. I'm convinced that her monthly cycle plays havoc with her moods and personality. Men really don't get it. At least I don't. This woman with the qualities I wrote about above will become some kind of demoness at the flip of a switch. Anyway, like I said, I can't change or control her. It is incumbent on me to be the best husband I can be. I must take responsibility for my faults, and there are many.

I must become more attentive. I must become a better listener. I must be more patient. When Sybil is again in the middle of her other self, I must not allow myself to be pulled into situations. It may be a Herculean task, but I must strive for it.

Although I will never be a perfect husband, that cannot be an excuse. If Sybil will not see how different she can act (I have discussed it during calm days) and understand the strain it puts on our marriage, I cannot change that.

Hang on tight! It's going to be a bumpy ride!