Monday, November 28, 2005

back in the trenches

laid off for thanksgiving week – more than a week without internet access and didn’t much miss it. i wondered a coupla times how long it would take to catch up with the dark wraith message board, and i wondered if my bank account was crashing down around my ears, but for the most part i kept busy at home or hung out at dad’s for the holiday. didn’t watch a lot of TV, preferred to keep high-energy cleaning music in the background, and busted ass on the house.

filed everything. (somehow it all fit in the file box.) de-cluttered, dusted the living room and dining area (which doesn’t actually qualify as a room.) hung up and put away all my clothes, dropped off two bags and a box of shoes to the humane society thrift store, then the next day put away all of brian’s clothes. decluttered and dusted the bedroom, changed the bed over to the winter bedspread. made it more bearable than it’s been for years. packed for the trip to dad’s. made applesauce yesterday. still didn’t get around to mopping the floors.

saw the latest hp movie last friday afternoon. loved it. major props to mike newell, who has done what the previous two directors haven’t managed – he got a solid, genuine, heartbreakingly sincere performance out of dan radcliffe. now if the next director can work on emma watson…

fred and george are back! i think they’re my favorites, maybe more than ron or harry. so sad not to see them much in prisoner of azkaban – so great to have them back in force for this one.

due to the huge cuts they had to make to keep the movie palatable (and sans intermission), the beginning felt a little choppy. not a lot of actual quidditch, but great flying sequences.

the trip to dad’s was nice. judy’s food was beyond delicious, as usual – the woman has an unmatched flair for gravy and apple pie (not served together, of course.) i think i ate the same meal four times and was still sad to see the last of the stuffing go.

pinched a nerve thanksgiving day. a combination of being cramped in the back seat for too long and then falling asleep on the floor with duckie that night in a belated effort to put her to bed. woke up around 2 AM cold and shivering – her binkie isn’t nearly big enough to cover us both. running with dad the next morning it hit – the muscles seized up around the nerve, and i thought it was just your garden-variety cramp, but the damned thing didn’t go away – it got worse, instead. took some back pain meds from judy (otc, not to worry), took a hot shower, got a nap later on and it cleared up pretty quickly. it sucked not to be able to play rough and tumble with my daughter, though – and it made diaper changes a challenge, to say the least. funny how i get injured not through sports but just by being a mom. har-dee-har-har.

i saw war of the worlds, and batman returns. both good flicks. it’s a shame tom cruise is such a freak off-camera. he’s a damned good actor in my book – but it’s hard for me to put aside his ranting and raving to be able to appreciate his work anymore.

batman returns was marred only by – ah, the irony – katie holmes. she just looks funny. eyes too far apart, maybe – minimal acting ability. the rest of the cast – my god, could you ask for more? michael caine, morgan freeman, gary oldman, liam neeson, ken watanabe, tom wilkinson, rutger hauer, i mean, how many a-listers do ya need in one flick? great script, wonderful effects, not cheesy enough to dull the edge of darkness, but enough good one-liners that you get to snort occasionally.

other movie notes: truly, madly, deeply with juliet stevenson and alan rickman is billed as a romantic comedy. this is horse manure of the highest order. if you are even remotely sensitive to painfully honest acting and gut-wrenching grief, keep an entire box of tissues nearby. the little plastic travel packs just won’t do. yeah it has light moments. i rented it for alan rickman – but i’ll buy it for juliet stevenson.

bulworth, a 1998 political comedy starring warren beatty, had me falling off the couch, alternately laughing and cheering. strangely, it could have been released yesterday with no rewrites and wouldn’t seem dated at all. not much has changed, despite the change in presidency.

i got to walk/run with my dad twice. he’s doing great, from what i could see – walking several miles a day, lots of plans for new projects in his woodshop. i did a quick but intense yoga session saturday morning. it was gratifying to be able to conjure up a routine from my memory of the tape, and to spend as much time in the poses as i wanted. was even slightly sore the next day.

now, on to the whining.

i want my routine back. i knew it was important, yeah, and i knew i would be hurting without it, but i had no idea how much. it’s not just that life seems directionless without it – it feels downright dangerous. over the last week, i couldn’t know what i’d be doing from one hour to the next – or if i could, there wasn’t enough rhythm to make it feel safe. i’m at the mercy of mood swings. unhappiness washes over me – oily cold liquid that gets into my lungs so i can’t breathe or move without feeling drowned by it.

i wish i felt like the people i live with understood what kind of work it takes just to be stable every day. i wish i could feel like they were as aware as i am of how terribly important it is for me – and us – to do the work, and why. one year, after all, is not so very long. the whisper of those dark times is still there, a soft admonitory sigh from the memory of psychosis.

skipper has to take medication to digest his food – it’s critical to his life. i have to take medication to stabilize my brain chemistry – it’s also critical to my life. but i don’t think he’s aware of it. and i wonder if maybe brian has forgotten – it seems like sometimes he has.

i mourn for what seems lost. i long for the short time we spent in blissful, well-deserved peace. i pray that i will somehow dog-paddle my way through this awful cold water to another little island of happiness, however tiny. right now i’m faking it, hoping that i can teach myself how to live in a small house with what feels like two husbands. right now i’m just trying to keep from drowning.

and that awful disconnected feeling is coming back, because there’s so much unsaid. it wasn’t until last night that i finally came out with it: “i’m unhappy with the current situation,” i said.

“we talked about this beforehand,” he said. “you said you were fine with it.”

which means nothing. it means that i committed to something that’s really freaking hard, takes constant effort to maintain, and doesn’t give me any emotional payback at all. at least being a mother is genuinely fulfilling. being a daughter is natural – and i’ve been doing it for years, so i have lots of practice. being a partner in a good marriage is incredibly rewarding. being a daughter-in-law – well, not so much. not that i’ve discovered, anyhow. and for some reason neither of the men seem to acknowledge what stupendous effort it takes for me to adjust to this new situation. to say that i don’t handle transition well is an understatement of outrageous proportions.

so here i am, looking down another road leading me away from what i’ve known to be healthy, comfortable, and rewarding. i wish i knew where it was going. but it sure ain’t going backwards – so i suppose i’ll have to say good-bye to the way things were, even though i miss it so badly sometimes i cry on the way home from work. home just doesn’t feel safe anymore. anyone got a herd of wild horses to loan me for a few months?

speaking of motherhood – my poor baby girl. she woke up at 3 this morning unable to go back to sleep, unable to get comfortable, wailing “my ear! my ear!” i gave her tylenol and she slept for a little while, curled up with me in the mama chair. i gave her ear drops this morning which only made things worse – she was not only in pain, but she was pissed off at me on top of it – me, mama, who usually is the one to hold her and rock her and make her feel a little better.

brian is home with her today. his guess is water in the ears from her bath last night. (oh, what a lousy *&^%ing mother i am – i still can’t figure out how to rinse her little head without getting water into her ears, no matter how much i try to shield them.) i read up on swimmer’s ear – it’s an outer ear infection that can flare up overnight, when water sits in the ear and grows bacteria. it doesn’t usually present with a fever, just awful ear pain. and it usually happens in one ear or the other, but not both.

i have a call in to the ENT who put in her tubes. she just went to see him a few weeks ago for a check-up and he saw no problems. i’m hoping, for logistics sake, that he can call in some specific antibiotics for swimmer’s ear, but if he needs to see her today, then that’s what we’ll do.

i hate hearing my daughter cry in pain. i hate it especially when i’m half awake and can’t think of what to do to make it better. i hate it when i can still hear her screaming as i walk out the door to work. i hate not being there.

yeah, i want my routine back, and my routine involves getting up early, going to work, all that mundane stuff. but i wish it didn’t require leaving my baby when she’s sick.

ok, done with whining for today. much more work to do, not enough time to do it. piles of stuff to get through from being out for a week.

i do hope that everyone had a great thanksgiving holiday. hope you got some time off, hope you got to spend it with your family, whether they’re blood kin or soul kin or both.


SB Gypsy said...

Oh, whew, you're back! more later on - hafta run to work.

EB said...

Oh my, your poor girl. I suffered horribly from ear infections as a child, so I feel her pain. Literally. I hope she gets better quickly.

As for your routine- I hope you continue getting back on that path; this time of year makes that practically impossible, but I send you a dose of hope and strength with this post.

As for being daughter-in-law and the rewards thereof, I have a few words on that subject. Being a good wife and partner is FAR FAR easier than being daughter-in-law. So far, I have seen few rewards on that front myself, and I severely limit the amount of energy I put into it. The emotional obstacles you must hurdle in order to maintain equilibrium must make this exceedingly difficult, especially with dad-in-law under the same roof. I may be many hundreds of miles away from your dear self, Andi, but believe me when I say that I do know what you go through to maintain that delicate equilibrium, and I applaude your courage and your emotional fortitude.

I have attempted to be as gracious as possible as a daughter-in-law but C's Jersey-grown family makes this a goddess-level task. Passive-aggressive is the psycho-babble term for their tactics. I wonder how the f*ck C got born into that family. If there's one thing that dear sweetman is NOT, it's passive-agressive. Completely lacking in finesse or tact is generally how I might describe him.

Okay, take just as one teensy little example- C's mom gave us a box of mail, etc., that had come to her house (from all those ages ago when -shudder- we lived under her roof). When I got the box home and began to empty the contents, I discovered a book- no a TOME- entitled The Care of your Infant to 5-Year Old, compliments of Publix supermarkets. Now, I am not pregnant, nor do I intend on becoming a mother, which I have made quite clear to my mother-in-law. By the way, my husband feels the same way, so it's not as if I'm bitchily denying him long-desired fatherhood. So this particular stunt was obnoxious, a bit. I called her on it the next time we were at their house, and she stammered around, red-faced for several moments before making some mumbled excuse about 'meant for someone else'. Not sure who that someone else might be, since there are no infant-to-5-year-olds in our familial vicinity, but WHATEVER.

I have a long list of these mom-in-law tactics. Feel free to ask me about them anytime you need a good horrified chuckle.

SB Gypsy said...

Hey Andi,

Oh, gosh, earaches are the worst! My kids got them with the teething, every time. Nothing like having yer gums exploding, and then get a nuke to the ear as well.

I hope the little one is better, and I wish you much patience with your new living situation. Loosing his autonomy must make your father in law cranky and harder to deal with as well. Whew!

andi said...

Eb- thanks for the support, as usual. if you're not using the "care of" book, can i send you a sase to send it to me?

holidays are always nuts. what will save me, i think, is mapping out the next few weeks so i have an idea of what i can do, what help i need, and how i can involve duckie as much as possible so she doesn't feel like mommy's leaving her out of the major activities going on in the house.

putting up the tree on saturday ought to be... well, interesting, to say the least.

SB - yeah, EIs SUCK. we had lots before duckie got the tubes in last february - this is the first time we've seen a major problem since then. poor baby just couldn't get comfortable last night and the discharge was a lot worse than anything i'd yet seen. but you know, i was actually able to speak to her ENT doc at 9 PM - got lucky enough to get him on call at the hospital. he said it usually looks worse than it actually is. and to get her in at the end of the week for a checkup. which was very reassuring on several levels.

as far as FIL goes, yeah, it's hard for him to have to depend on us for anything. like it's hard for me to ask for help doing anything. we're all having to adjust, a little at a time.

thanks, ladies, for all your support and comments. i can't tell you how much it means to me to feel less alone in the world.