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.