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Author Topic: My Story Trusting I am on the right path

M
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My Story Trusting I am on the right path
#100: March 23, 2020, 10:39:03 AM
UrsaMajor - That is the blessing in disguise - time to perhaps get some things done.

It is a very odd thing, having to rewire my brain right now and not rush around trying to get things done. Not having to run to the grocery store and get the week's supplies and such on Sunday was a little odd. It took me a little time to stop my pace of rushing around last night at dinner time, as that has become the last few months before the work week. I have tried to make time for myself on Sundays, but it hasn't worked.

I was thinking back to when things were more relaxed in my life. At one point in time it was something we had down to a bit of a science, and Sundays were really time to be outside working in the gardens and we eased into the week. I think so much of that changed when Xh's business started taking off, and it fell on me more and more to deal with the everyday life. The kids added chaos to the mix, but most people who have kids know that is how it is when each kid has homework or activities for school. Rushing around is what happens. But, even back then, we tried to make at least Sunday evening a time for slowing down.

FIL moved in and that added a different dynamic. Xh went into MLC. The kids were into more things and it is just seemed to mushroom.

Yesterday, I caught myself a couple of times picking up the pace at home for really no reason - there was no emergency going on that required running up the stairs. All though I must admit it is good exercise  ::) It dawned on me, as I stopped myself that even when Xh moved out I kept up some of this frantic pace sometimes when it was not necessary. And, I don't mean work wise, just sometimes flying around the house trying to catch up on things. What has struck me is some of those times I was flying around were on Sunday nights and maybe that is often why I dreaded Mondays so much. The reality that I didn't let myself completely just have time before Monday to switch gears.

On the flip side, I like doing things and making progress, so laying around all day, day in and day out is not going to help either. So, yesterday, when the house was quiet, as both kids were still asleep, I started staining the window frames in the kitchen. I didn't have enough of one stain color and didn't want to risk going out just for that reason, so I used my skills and came up with more than enough stain to complete that task. In a couple of hours, I had them all done and can move on to the trim, which I plan on painting an accent color. There was something very relaxing about the process, as I decided not to tape anything off and rely on my artistic skills and practice keeping my hand steady and understanding how to control how much stain to put on the brush. I could have had it done a bit quicker had I taped it off, but there was something very therapeutic about having to pay attention and concentrate more.

I worked on some laundry and had a relaxing day for the most part.

This morning, I wasn't really sure what to do with myself. I have to work on my student's work for the high school and for the colleges. But, I woke up and felt like I needed to be somewhere. There was a slight moment of panic that I had to rush around. I paused and went about my morning routine, all the while, making it as normal as possible.

It is snowing outside after a very warm snap and it is going right back up again this week to warmer weather. The dog, when I took her out was very excited about the snow and wanted to run around and chase the big flakes. I wasn't dressed for that type of recreation, so she wasn't too happy with me.

S picked up his things from college yesterday. He was a little down about the whole trip, saying it was rather surreal showing up to a campus to be greeted by security in masks and gloves. He had to load his entire room and brought home his roommates things as well. He joked when he got home that we are all set, as he and his roommate both had stockpiles of junk food and paper supplies, which he knows I am not worried about either.

D is going to be the difficult one to deal with in all of this. She is fighting the anxiety and is in need to control mode. She is micromanaging everyone at times and I told her she needs to really reel it in. She is a combination of my M and Xh for sure. I realize this dynamic is going to be a challenge for the two of us.

D's stress is in part to S having to bring in his things from college and we just needed to get it unloaded last night, so it is in a pile. Any disruption to D's routine throws her off, including unexpected "messes" like S's pile which included his roommate's things. S assured her he was putting it in storage, once he cleaned out a part of the garage to put things in, but last night he was just wiped out after the 6 hour round trip and loading and unloading the SUV. He had put in a 10 hour day when all was said and done, without any breaks. I told D she needed to take a step back and figure out a way to cope, because it is going to be tough navigating this time together.

I do know I am going to have to find a way to get that library back in order first and foremost, as I am going to need a place to do work that allows me to shut the door and indicate I am working. It was what we had to do when Xh first started his business and worked exclusively from home. The kids were little and we had to make it clear that they couldn't be in the office. We had glass pocket doors and if the doors were closed they understood there was a meeting or something going on. If the doors were open, it meant they were free to roam about and come visit. And we made sure the doors were open a lot. Right now, I am thinking I will have to do the same in this case, because I need some space to get away. Once the weather gets warmer, I can escape to the back deck and sit outside.

Today, cold and snowy is not the day to be on the back deck working - LOL
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#101: March 24, 2020, 04:55:27 AM
Yeah, I hear you... Here it is just cold (NOT snowy - Sunny in fact but still cold) and the issues of trying to keep 3 teenagers focused on school is a challenge to say the least. I would kill for a library that I could walk into and close the door behind me.....
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#102: March 24, 2020, 01:03:33 PM
UrsaMajor - The snow is gone and it is back up to spring weather. A bit gloomy, but not too terribly bad.

I did not sleep well last night. I tried to get back in the habit of going to bed at a reasonable time and was in bed by 9:30 pm. I read awhile and thought I would fall asleep. That did not happen. At midnight, I was still lying in bed, unable to turn my brain off. I was awake until well after midnight, and this morning I was wide awake again at 4 am. I forced myself to relax and I was able to sleep until 7:30 am. I stayed in bed though until well after 9 am, just not wanting to face the day. It was odd. I wasn't really down, nor was I in a "meh" mood. I think it was a bit of an overwhelmed feeling of what I need to deal with for the colleges and high school. And, in the mean time, I have some of my own household paperwork to deal with. One of which is a blessing, but a bit of a headache in the midst of all of this madness in terms of getting it done as I have to get something notarized. Under normal circumstances these things are much easier. But, I will just tackle it.

S went outside to work and D is working on her room today. She put a second coat of paint on the bottom half of the bathroom for me this morning, thereby helping me out immensely. I will begin dealing with the trim and such later this week. And as I was pondering the desire to pull the bathtub out, S mentioned my neighbor across the way bought a brand new tub not too long ago and his W changed her mind. He has it sitting in his garage and wants to get rid of it, as he bought it on clearance. She is often doing these things where she sees a deal, buys it and then changes her mind. Who knows, it wouldn't be the first time we have gotten a deal on something he picked up for her. It's a good thing he is so easy going. LOL.

I am taking it easier today than yesterday. I don't want to burn out my energy and enthusiasm for my projects, as I fear I am going to need things to keep me occupied. The forecast is calling for rain for a couple of days, so working outside is probably not going to happen.

The large gates that I had a buyer for, never were picked up and I am thinking currently the timing is not great for selling those. I am considering using them myself. As I was organizing some of my papers not too long ago, I came across the blueprints of the property, along with copies I made that we used to design the additions to the house. There is one where  I had started to sketch out the gardens. I may revisit those thoughts, and make the changes I want to happen now. That newly cleared corner is going to be a bit of a challenge, but maybe in a good way. I also have a sculpture of my F's that needs to be placed somewhere on the property. He also told me I could have another one that sets in his studio to put outside at some point. My sister won't be able to put it up where she lives with the rules of her development. I, however, have plenty of property and places to put up my own little sculpture garden.

I was outside looking at the back yard and my fire pit needs some attention. Maybe I will be able to get the pond in order to accommodate goldfish and koi sooner this year, if the weather cooperates.

It is these little things I am shooting for.

I have kept the news off most of today, as it is too overwhelming. D and S mentioned a couple of things that they heard and I didn't stop them from discussing it. It is not that I want to avoid all conversations about this, but I also don't want to be weighed down by the heaviness and the uncertainty.

Being kept from people with such uncertainty right now is so odd. You can be kept apart by distance and life in general and you somehow manage. You make it work. This new restriction makes it so much harder to sometimes cope. And it is not a desire to give up, it maybe sheds light on you realize how much those people mean to you.
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#103: March 25, 2020, 12:10:17 PM
When I have worked from home in the past doing freelance work, or when Xh and I worked together, it could be a bit of a struggle at times. It wasn't always easy to get into that "work" mindset, but once I did, it wasn't too bad. And the kids were respectful of the work time.

This time, it is very different. I am mildly overwhelmed by the reality that in my situation, due to some of the dynamics, that it is not as simple as a typical online course. I know these students well. I know the home situations and that is in some ways a plus, but in other ways, it weighs on me when I don't hear from them.

And, just getting motivated is not as easy in the online environment for me. The creative energy is often found in that environment of sharing in the same space - the energy bounces around the room with the enthusiasm. That energy is not there and I don't care if people say you can video chat, etc. It is not the same.

I know it is a temporary thing, perhaps long term, but I am truly seeing I am not wired to "distance" myself in the long term. Yet, on the flip side, I also need the mental break in the form of being alone and shutting the world out just for a little while.

I spoke to my department coordinator yesterday, and she too is overwhelmed, yet positive. She has kids at home and juggling the new workload including, essentially homeschooling her kids and having to find solutions for this semester is not easy. Add, like in my situation parents that are older, she understands where my head is at. We talked at length last night and again this morning. We are both grateful to be there for each other.

I am managing overall, but at times I catch myself feeling like I am not doing a good enough job. I am not performing at my best level as a teacher. I have to remind myself that it was just a week ago that I was sitting in the classroom with the other high school staff and being hit with the realities of the situation. I cannot expect myself to just flip a switch.

I am having a moment of feeling like BD aftershock. Not quite to that degree, but a little bit of a numbness at times. It is not as debilitating and I am not a puddle on the floor, but I am having moments of finding myself, at least while I am working on the school things, just on autopilot. I will work my way through it.

It is not helping that D is chatty today. My sister is bored and my M wants to check in every hour. I feel a bit like a b!tc# when I tell them I can't talk right now, but that is the truth. I have to re-establish a little bit of a work schedule from here on out in terms of not accepting calls and such. Getting the library back to where I can use it solely as an office is within reach, but probably not until next week.

For now, I have to set those boundaries and take my mental breaks as I need them.

On the plus side, I have space to roam and things that allow me to be outside. I heard from my coworker, and he has landed with his son full time. It is a blessing for him in many ways, as it would seem his STBX is far from doing the "adult" thing and following the rules. His F is working from home as well. He said that it isn't easy keeping the 3 year old busy as he is trying to teach his classes and his F is also busy. In the past, he could have had a babysitter to drop his S off at, but that is not an option. To add to the mix, he lives in an area where there is little space to run and play. The playground was their go-to and that is closed down. He said, short of driving somewhere, he is stuck. He is making it work, but it makes me grateful my kids are at least older and have been finding things to keep themselves busy for the most part.

They have been working on their school work. S has been working outside on projects. D has been painting her room, so that is progressing, which hopefully will move the library project forward, as she gets the remainder of things of hers out of the library. She also has been doing a ton of baking. She loves to bake when she is stressed. I keep trying to convince her to make things I don't like, so as not to be tempted. But, no, today she made 2 batches of cookies and I am practicing not only social distancing, but cookie distancing now as well. Coffee, however is not being kept out of my reach today.  ::)

I thought about today how at one point I was questioning myself about splurging for the roof and windows when I did. Right now, I am convinced the timing on those 2 projects was right. The rain they are predicting in the next few days would have really put that roof to the test and I could have had so much damage. I was reminded of that when I looked in the library and recalled the ice had dammed underneath the older roof and caused a leak into the house. I can now repair that and not be as concerned about a repeat performance. And, the kitchen is so much warmer and it has become where I am setting up the "office" for the time being. I had wanted to originally use the dining nook as that space, but currently that is housing S's and his roommate's college things until we find a place to store those items. My art space, would have worked, but I decided it best to not mix my work for school into my creative sanctuary, because I know myself well enough to know that I would be working on school work all the time and never give myself permission to do anything in that room for myself.

So, until I can get back into the library, I am in the kitchen, and it seems more like a cafe lately with both kids at home. There is always someone sitting at the bar or making food throughout the day.  ::)
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#104: March 25, 2020, 02:09:22 PM

This time, it is very different. I am mildly overwhelmed by the reality that in my situation, due to some of the dynamics, that it is not as simple as a typical online course. I know these students well. I know the home situations and that is in some ways a plus, but in other ways, it weighs on me when I don't hear from them.

And, just getting motivated is not as easy in the online environment for me. The creative energy is often found in that environment of sharing in the same space - the energy bounces around the room with the enthusiasm. That energy is not there and I don't care if people say you can video chat, etc. It is not the same.


MD - I sure hear you!  It's been a rough two weeks trying to get ready for this "distance" learning. 

We're great at what we do and we'll get it done in the best possible way, of that I'm sure!   
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After all, tomorrow is another day.

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#105: March 26, 2020, 07:12:01 AM
I feel for your colleague as well as for you... OK, I am not a teacher but dealing with teleworking in an environment where you are normally face-to-face, where you get up and walk down the corridor to chat for a minute, etc., is a hard shift to being isolated...

Plus riding herd on a bunch of kids that would really rather be thinking of this as a huge holiday.... ::)

Cookies? Did someone say Cookies? I have to admit that the isolation has been good in that I have lost about 7 lbs in the last 2 weeks since there aren't colleagues to meet with in the coffee shop....
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Me - 56, xW - 50
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation
S - 13, D - 9
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BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019

Survival Instructions for Newbies
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A "friend" will not "stand by you" no matter what you do. That is NOT a friend. That is an enabler. That is an accomplice.
A REAL friend will sit you down and tell you to your face to stop being a firetrucking idiot before you ruin your life and the lives of those around you.

M
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#106: March 26, 2020, 11:08:15 AM
stillbaffled & UrsaMajor - the shift is really very dynamic. I am sure there are those students who do treat it like a holiday. There are others who I know look to school as the only normal part of their day, where they can be a kid. The learning environment is for some where they not only shine, but where they are safe for a time. Even with the college students. And for some just having the social skills become important. Some of the nuances in how to interact with others is not always easily learned online, such as how to read body language or the inflection in someone's tone.

The creative aspect is also a little daunting. And I am rising to the challenge, but life has a way of tripping you up along the way.

I have some outside pressures that are much harder to escape. I am going to have to get creative in how to make a space that allows me to shut off the other part of my world as I work. In the past, when I was at work, those things in life might be lapping at my feet, but for a few hours, I was in work mode, so it was easier to switch those things off temporarily or mute them.

But, right now, that is not nearly as easy.

I was presented with what is a blessing in disguise, yet, it brings up those old feelings of benefiting from my friend's death and right as the second anniversary of that is upon me. There was apparently another part of a small death benefit that didn't go through the estate. It is time sensitive, as the state it is drawn from (and it is in fact a legitimate document) claimed they sent the information 2 years ago. Neither my sister nor I received the information. Suffice it to say, it required all sorts of legal stuff done and one was getting something notarized at the bank. Well, that was an interesting process, as now they have shut down the lobbies, etc. Apparently, I was the test subject since they just shut down today. The gentleman behind me in the drive thru was not at all patient and kept beeping his horn. And there were other lanes open, but apparently he wanted the same lane I was in. After a long wait, that was accomplished and then off to the post office to have it sent certified mail.

Again, it is a good problem to have, but the online website wasn't working properly last night. The phone wouldn't connect to their offices because of the volume of phone traffic. Meanwhile, the dog was barking at my heels.

To add to my fun evening, I was firming up the supporting documents so that my accountant can push my taxes through and finish that. But the technology was misbehaving as well. I was up until 1 am working to finish that.

With the paperwork mayhem came news that my uncle, who has not been well is dying. I have never been close to him, but, it is very surreal realizing he is now in a hospital where his own family cannot sit with him. He will in fact die essentially alone, although in his case, it seems rather fitting, considering how he lived his life. That said, no one should ever have to die alone. And there will be no funeral because of it. Perhaps a memorial service down the road, although I don't see my bitter aunt putting any effort into that down the line. No matter what, it is a heavy feeling, realizing that life is still going on and he is not the only one in this situation. Rather sobering.

On the bright side, yes, D has been baking cookies. I too have lost weight in all of this because I am getting more exercise again. I am behaving even with the temptation in front of me. I kind of wish D wasn't any good at baking, but she has clearly inherited that skill from both her grandmother and great grandmother.

One of my students texted this morning from my college class. She sent me a picture of a painting she did. Very whimsical and happy. It made me smile immediately. We chatted for a bit and she is struggling with all of this. Very nervous about it all. I told her I too was nervous and it was okay to admit that. She was grateful that I was honest with her and I said knowing we are all in an unknown area is tough, but we are going to help each other out as best as we can.

I keep trying to find the glimmers of good here and there. And reminding myself about what I have control over.
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#107: March 27, 2020, 01:58:09 AM
Is this uncle the H of "Toxic Aunt?"

I think that, regardless of the distance that some people choose to implement and the ways they behave, it is still difficult when someone we know or are related to is dying.

The "bittersweet surprise" is ... well.... Bittersweet... And the impatient man behind you .. was it xH by chance or just some random Richard Cranium who couldn't be bothered to move to a different empty lane?

I made the discovery yesterday that one reason I was ending up daily with headaches was that, at the office, I have a 1.5 liter bottle that I fill with water daily and by the end of the day, it was empty. When I am at home, I didn't have that visual reminder so I wasn't drinking enough (water, that is - having 3 teens at the same table would cause me to drink other things) and would end up with a headache. Now I put a pitcher of water on the table and we all use it so it gets refilled multiple times... But the reminder is there and that is good... Yesterday, no headache! It is simple but effective things like that which we are still learning as we go along in this situation...
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Me - 56, xW - 50
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation
S - 13, D - 9
2 Dogs
BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019

Survival Instructions for Newbies
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A "friend" will not "stand by you" no matter what you do. That is NOT a friend. That is an enabler. That is an accomplice.
A REAL friend will sit you down and tell you to your face to stop being a firetrucking idiot before you ruin your life and the lives of those around you.

M
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#108: March 27, 2020, 11:58:54 AM
UrsaMajor -
No, it was a random Richard Cranium, who didn't quite understand that all bank business was being done via the drive thru.

On a side note, I found really rather amusing, as I thought about the privacy laws that we have put into place over the years. Some of them that I find to be almost laughable in the extremes. So, as this idiot behind me was beeping, the woman in front of me was having trouble with the speaker system and screaming her personal information over the speaker. I realized the complete insanity of it all and had to laugh.

Toxic aunt's H is a very good man and if it were him, I would be devastated. This is the infamous aunt that took the jar off of the dining hutch my grandmother kept the money from my sister when my grandfather died.

My aunt for as long as I know has told everyone she was not able to go to college because there was no money left by the time she was college age. I think that is the only time I ever saw my grandmother breathe fire, was when my aunt dared to sell this story to me when I was in college. My normally very cheerful, docile grandmother told her that she made a choice and in fact my grandparents were quite well off by then and she chose to take her money and marry my uncle. It shut my aunt up rather quickly, as she admitted to my grandmother she had forgotten that. However, she still will tell that story to anyone that will listen. This aunt has always had a victim mentality and it is exhausting.

IDK what household my aunt grew up in. My grandparents came from the working class whose parents were immigrants. They certainly lived a life that did not judge people based on their skin color nor their station in life. It was something that carried over into my F's values and my M was of the same mind. So, my aunt and uncle go so against my core values to begin with. And, I am not sure my aunt would have had the same values if she had married someone else or not, but her values do not align with mine at all.

Strangely, she has been a good example for me to follow though, in the realm of MLC. My uncle, was a narcissist from the start. Not a good H, nor a good F. He left my aunt when the kids were little and the house my aunt bought with the money my grandparent's gave her was lost in the mess the first time he left.

My grandfather, he had a tenuous relationship with his own F, and I am just now learning more about that situation. My grandfather moved in with my grandmother's family when he was 17 as a farm worker. He remained close to his siblings, but he thought of my grandmother's F as his own. My grandfather, I never recall him being bitter about his life circumstances, which I now have learned that when my great grandmother died, my great grandfather basically abandoned my grandfather and his siblings to live with a new woman. My grandfather talked about his F, but I don't recall bad stories, just matter of fact. But, the one thing my grandfather did not have tolerance for was people abandoning their children, which my uncle in fact did. My aunt moved in with my grandparents with her kids for awhile and then bought a trailer in a trailer park. And then my uncle reappeared, moved back in. My grandfather made comments under his breath at times, which now as an adult make me realize how much he really knew about the situation. He said if my uncle were having a heart attack in the lawn, he wasn't sure he would call an ambulance. And for me, now that I think about it, that was so strange coming from a man who I knew as a man who would have helped anyone.

My aunt took my uncle back and he "behaved" for years. But, then he decided when he was 50 to run off again. My aunt "stood" because she didn't want to have the stigma of being divorced. Oddly, their relationship worked for them though in that it allowed my aunt to nurture her victim status. She became more and more self absorbed herself.

And oddly, she is the example I have followed as to how not to live my life when MLC hit. She took my uncle back a second time, and nothing changed. Neither did their work. Nothing changed. It would seem my uncle never quit spending all of the money he made and not taking care of his family. And he was very well off. Apparently, now my aunt may have to sell the house. He leveraged everything he had to fund travel excursions over the years, none his family ever went on.

They lived together again after the last "reconciliation" and couldn't ride more than 2 miles in a car together because they were both so bitter. My aunt has certainly become the poster child for bitterness and resentment. But, those were and are choices, like it or not. Yes, leaving my uncle would have been tough in some ways, as it was the dysfunction they were used to.

My aunt once told me a couple of years ago that she and I were a lot alike and my life mirrored hers. It was after my divorce was finalized. I was with my F that day and I burst into tears on our way home. My F said that my situation was not like my aunt's and my Xh had been a good man. The only similarities between my uncle and my Xh was they were incredibly hard workers and had huge FOO issues, but my Xh had been a wonderful H and F for a long time. As far as my aunt and I, he said there are perhaps talents we shared in common, but I am not my aunt. I was worried I would become bitter like her and my F reassured me that I was working very hard to not become hardened. That day will be seared into my memory for a long time.

It was that day that I vowed to allow myself to vent and get out the toxic feelings in a healthy way - journaling or some other way, but not to let it seep into my being.

I feel bad for my aunt. She is in essence facing the consequences of her choices. That will be scary at her age now realizing staying with my uncle did not give her security at all.

My uncle - he was a hard worker and he too reaped what he sowed. He didn't really soften much over the years, although once in a while he would surprise us. It is sad he is dying alone.

As I have been thinking about their marriage though and compare it to living with the MLC monster I had, I too could have ended up in the same mess. My Xh wasn't moving out of MLC any time soon. He could have easily behaved like my uncle. In his self-absorbed state he didn't care about anyone but himself. He was on a path that would have rendered the kids and I homeless. I could have easily become my aunt - bitter and full of resentment.

Yet, I also think about future relationships. I want security, certainly financially in terms of having some say in what happens. I don't want to live like I did in MLC, where I started to just let Xh make all the decisions because it was easier than fighting with him. But, I also am not driven by money. I want a partnership. I am not sure what that looks like, but I am not afraid of marrying again, for instance, as long as the financial aspects are discussed. I look at how my parents have worked as a team and more and more, I see the healthy aspects of how they have worked together, financially and otherwise.

Financially, they have their own accounts, that things like inheritances have gone into. My F has his studio account. And they have money they have pooled. My M always managed those accounts, but discussed things with my F. He trusted her to pay all the household bills, but big expenses were discussed. I don't recall my parents ever fighting about money. And they share their inheritance monies at times, but neither assumes because the money is there that the other has a say in it. It has afforded them independence and security aside from the pooled money. IDK, neither of them have ever been selfish.

And, they are that way about their whole relationship.

My kids have said over and over again that my parents have a marriage they themselves strive to have.
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Trusting I am on the right path
#109: March 29, 2020, 08:34:52 PM
The past couple of days I have really felt the sense of isolation, even with my children here with me.

Yesterday, I went out to pick up the few things that we needed. D went with me, as I am trying to get my parents to stay in and the elderly neighbors to avoid going out as well. The neighbor's children all live out of state. The husband suffered from polio as a teenager, and is especially vulnerable to respiratory ailments now that he is in his 80's. And they have been so good to the kids and I over the years. So, I called them and picked up items they need, dropping them off in their garage afterwards.

The grocery store was very quiet mid-day. I did notice that people are really very funny now with how they shop. Apparently, some people have adopted the method of parking the cart in the middle of the aisle, halfway down and shopping the whole aisle, leisurely, and the rest of the people can pi$$ off. This was the method several shoppers were using and who is going to get close enough to ask them to please move.

D was picking on me because Xh used to laugh at me when I would stock up on hand sanitizer years ago. I always carry some in my work bag and in my car. When the sales for school supplies rolled around this year, one of the items that was on clearance was the travel sizes. I bought several and sent them with the kids when they went to college. I had some in reserve. I told D yesterday when she was picking on me, yes, who is laughing now?

My sister called and has discovered that her freezer in the basement is actually a very good thing to have. She and her H bought it years ago and never used it. She and her H have always been ones to run out and shop 2-3 times a week. She also said she and my niece were watching movies together all weekend once they had done some cleaning together. My BIL is an essential worker, so he goes to his office during the week and barricades himself inside. He said it is odd, but he is not working the late hours as much right now and admitted to me today that he is really embracing taking daily walks with my sister, something they haven't done in years. And yesterday, my sister called me via FaceTime and shared with me the cool trail she and the kids discovered near their house.

And, I am grateful for the positives. Today though, I have been in a rather strange mood. My friend texted me tonight, as I finally got out of my own head for a bit and said she knew I would totally understand, but she just really needed a hug. She is in education, a single M with her kids at home. She gets some help from her H, who she has been separated from, but when she said what she did, I told her I knew exactly what she meant. And, we both love our jobs, but neither of us even have the desire to teach right now. It just seems like too much.

I had spent today feeling like a dog chasing it's tail at times. I managed to get a few things done, but couldn't quite find a rhythm. And, sitting and reading wasn't doing it. By late afternoon, I took a walk. The sky was incredible, as there was a storm rolling in. And I would have kept on walking, but my normal hour long walk turned into a 15 minute event, when thunder clapped and then the lightning followed. Had there only been thunder, I would have kept going, but lightning was my cue to get back home. I think a longer walk would have helped.

D was home making bagels. She found a recipe for them online and told me yesterday she is finding that baking relaxes her.

And then after dinner, I made up my mind I needed to just do something physical. I found myself dealing with a project I have been dreading, which is dealing with a spot on the ceiling of the library. There had been an ice dam on the roof years ago and Xh told me he repaired it. That would have been during the MLC time period. The plaster on the ceiling had bubbled up and pieces had fallen. We fixed the ceiling and then a year later the paint and plaster bubbled again. It sat neglected and when the roof was replaced, that repair Xh claimed he made, was non-existent. My concern now, is I may have an area that may have to be cut into and a section of the ceiling may have wood rot. Fortunately, it is not a large section, or a load bearing wall, but I was annoyed to say the least. And maybe annoyed with myself for believing the MLCer. But, that is not worth dwelling on, as I need to move forward.

I scraped away the plaster that was loose and left the area open that we need to check. S told me that tomorrow he will bring in his little camera he uses on his truck to diagnose and we can cut a section into the ceiling and look at the potential damage before going full tilt and ripping out the plaster ceiling. I have already done that in other rooms, and the idea of pulling down a plaster and chicken wired ceiling is not my idea of fun. And the ceiling for the most part is in good shape. I am pretty sure the area we are talking is about a 6 inch section, but who knows.

At any rate, it wasn't long before S came back in and was inspecting my handiwork. He had a perplexed look on his face and then asked me why was it Xh said I couldn't work on projects with him because I always screwed it up. I laughed and said it wasn't always that way. S said he remembered when Xh and I used to do all the projects together. S smiled and said he was really impressed by my skills. It made me laugh, because I told him it is good that the ceiling looked good, because, I was covered in plaster dust and had joint compound in my hair, so I was not looking nearly as good. He called D in and they said they thought I looked kind of cute. I made them promise not to put up pictures on social media or revenge would be mine.  ::)

Rain is in the forecast for the next few days and as long as it doesn't storm, I am going to try and make myself go out for more walks. Being out in nature is the only way I am going to survive the pressures of trying to teach under these circumstances. I know that little things are stressing me out, like realizing that if my electric and cable go out in a storm, I am going to have a hard time teaching a class. And, while our IT staff are on hand, what can they do about a student whose own electric might go out, etc. Those are not tech issues that IT can resolve. The mental well being of some of my students is weighing on me, I won't lie. And, I can't fix it for them. It is just a very different feeling, almost one of helplessness. I have to find a way to work through this.

And I have to quell these feelings of feeling so very alone right now. It makes very little sense.
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