Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Strategic Retreat!

Mood: Neutral. Don’t laugh, that’s the best description I can come up with right now. Not good or bad, just meh.
Listening to: My Daughter play Spiderman on the PS2

One of the greatest skills you can employ when you’re married is knowing when to throw in the towel and make a strategic retreat. No, I’m not talking about leaving your spouse, I’m talking about the moment when you realize that logic isn’t working anymore and anything you say will either be misinterpreted or will lead to a much larger fight involving screaming and possibly throwing things. This, my friend, is the best time to remove yourself for a few minutes and cool down.

Yesterday, we had such a situation. Daddy G and I had a dinner with some friends of our family that had come to Bangalore. Daddy G came home from the US the day before and was still fighting jet lag pretty badly. He was, however, up all day and seemed to be up to going out to dinner. We don’t get too many friends (even new ones we don’t really know) drop by, so I really wanted to make this happen and since he had been gone for 2 weeks, I really wanted him along too. I did tell him earlier that he didn’t have to if he didn’t feel up to it. He assured me he did. At 5:00, Daddy G passed out from tiredness. I figured if he took a half hour nap, he would be fine. We roused him at 5:30 to get ready to go. He proceeded to pick on my clothing choices (and whether or not I cared if I wore a band tee or an Indian top), and his kids clothes and hair. I pretty much brushed it off because everyone can be grumpy when they wake up. 

Daddy G then proceeded to flip the hell out when I tried to call my friends and confirm and didn’t know their last names, making it difficult for the person in the hotel to confirm I knew them. They are friends of my Aunt’s, so I was only told their first names. I got a little irritated then because I hate it when Daddy G flips the hell out for little things. I yelled back a little and he backed down. As we were leaving, my daughter wanted to bring along a marker and a piece of paper to write about her evening. I think she was afraid she would be bored, as these folks don’t have kids. Daddy G told her no and she talked back. He then started screaming about nothing at all. He was super out of control.

It was exactly this moment when I realized that there was no way he could get through the evening in the state he was in. I told him that I wanted him to go back to bed and sleep it off. I wasn’t mad, but we couldn’t be out in public with him flying off the handle about everything. He stomped off muttering and cursing under his breath. The kids and I took a deep breath and headed out the door. The best option at that point for everyone was to just change the plan and just roll with how it was.

We ended up having a lovely evening (and Daddy G got some much needed sleep!). Looking back, asking him to stay home was the right choice. Had I fought with him at all at that point, it would have turned into an epic battle that would have been pointless and probably would have scared the crap out of our kids. Sometimes, you just have to beat a strategic retreat.

When I got home, I woke Daddy G up and tried to get him to eat something as he hadn’t had dinner.  He asked for coffee, which I got for him. He got up and started doing a little bit of work. When Daddy G is mad, I pretty much just let him grumble/sulk/pout until he’s ready to talk about it. Bothering him about it and picking has never done me any good at all.  He will open up when he’s damn good and ready.  The first thing he told me was that he was really mad when I asked him to stay home, even though he knew it was the right call at the time. Looking back, it really was the best call because while the evening was pleasant, it did contain several unexpected turns that definitely would have set Daddy G off. The thing was, he still seemed pissed. When I asked him about it, he said he wouldn’t have worked from home that day if we weren’t going out to dinner. He started looking a little sheepish. This made me mad and I decided to insert some reality into the conversation. I told him that people who had just flown around the world had no business being at work the next day anyway. Luckily, Daddy G had a little bit of sanity from his extra sleep and tried to backtrack and say he was going to stay home anyways.  Whatever, ya work a holic!

Sometimes, it’s best to confront your significant other; sometimes a strategic retreat is much better than World War III. I’d venture to say that if your spouse is absolutely postal, for whatever reason, in front of your kids, it’s just not worth it, no matter how much you want to scream back.

We haven’t had too many situations that have reached this level of defcon, but the negative half of the coin that is getting comfortable with your spouse is that you feel much more comfortable saying what you mean and confronting him or her when needed.  It’s happened much more for us recently. Moving to India has brought on a whole new level of comfort and reliance on each other, and also a whole new comfort level about disagreeing.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Holding me Down

Mood: Crappy.
Listening to: I’ll Be – Edwin McCain. Don’t worry, I’m not here to be weepy.

So I never understood when people said that their significant other holds them down. Please folks, no 50 Shades of Grey references, I’m sick of em. 

I’m half way through the latest stint of Daddy G flying off to the US to be around everything I miss and some specific people I miss too. I guess that sounds a little bitter – which is not what I was going for. Today has been a crappy day in that I’ve talked to my mom, Daddy G, some beloved cousins, and a friend and I feel like shit anyway. I’m lonely as hell. Talking to people you miss just doesn’t always help. Sometimes it makes the ache worse.

Thanks to some issues I can’t seem to leave at the baggage carousel at the airport, I tend to mentally freak out when Daddy G and I aren’t around each other for long periods of time. I’m not talking a weekend, I’m talking weeks at a time.  I end up in some very dark, bad mental spaces that aren’t healthy or productive for me to visit. I lasted 2 days this time before I gave in and started letting my mind wander. And just like that, I get it. If it’s just me, I tend to feel unanchored and destructive. Eating seems less important, spending time doing constructively just doesn’t seem to matter, I just float. It makes it hard for me to be a good mom to my kids. So I shove it down in a little mental compartment until they go to bed, and then it runs wild.

I get it now when people say that have someone that holds them down. That is what Daddy G is for me. He’s been an amazing influence in my life and almost always has my back. Even when we’re busy, or have nothing to say, or even are fighting, he’s there for me and keeps me centered as to what’s good for our family. He’s there to pull me out of my mental funk or call me on not doing what needs to be done.
The times when he’s not here, it terrifies me what I would be like if the good universe forbid we get divorced or he dies before we’re old. The man holds me down and I love him for it.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Boob Variations

Listening to: Silence, strangely enough.
Mood: On.

Daddy G and I were having one of our chats in bed before falling asleep recently, and got to talking about boobs. And please, no harassment about calling them boobs. If I want to talk about breasts, I’ll go find my gyno, mmkay? Anyhow, this is one of the few times when I have Daddy G’s undivided attention, so the conversations are usually pretty entertaining.

Daddy G is an unapologetic (yet very much closeted, thanks to being Indian) boob guy. He has been for as long as I’ve known him, which is going on 12 years now.  For some reason, we got to talking about how men have a tendency to look at other women and compare and fantasize. Specifically at boobs, because that’s what Daddy G is most interested in.

This has never bothered me a bit. I have a rule that as long as it’s just looking and not touching, you’re home free.  He observed that it seemed to be strictly a guy thing and wondered what women have to compare and fantasize about. He even ventured that women don’t do that, because after all, what outward body part do we have to do that with?

I looked at him amused for a minute and then said that yes, I think women do that quite a bit more often than he thinks.  “But with what?” was his stuttered, curious reply. I admitted that being ladies, we probably don’t size up every.single.last. man we see on the street. Or sometimes we do, because when you gotta have it, you look at everyone.  This brought uncomfortable laugh from him because women being overtly sexual? Makes the man damn uncomfortable. I went on to say that we do occasionally wonder what a guy is packing in those jeans. After all, no two packages are wrapped quite the same. I then countered that I didn’t see what was so fascinating about boobs. They’re not all that different aside from obvious size differences.
Daddy G looked amazed that I didn’t get this and then launched into no fewer than 15 different variations in boobs that boob guys pay attention to. I can’t even remember them all because I was rolling on the ground laughing.

Mother nature saw fit to curse me with big boobs after I had my kids.In case you didn't notice, I’m pretty unimpressed with the whole thing. The funny thing is, Daddy G doesn't get all that crazy about mine unless we’re outside and my shirt is either too tight, too low cut, or see through, and not in a good way. In a quietly hissed “Why did you wear that shirt outside? All the guys on the street are staring!” way. Boob guy indeed.

What do you think ladies? Am I the only one who wonders occasionally what a guy is packing in those slacks? Gentlemen, are there really that many variations on boobs, asses, and legs?  Weigh in.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

All the Things that Should Remain Unsaid

Listening to: Night Train – Guns N Roses
Mood: Trying my best to chill the heck out

Hello, sorry for the disappearing act, life has been keeping me busy.

So as I mentioned last time, Daddy G is headed abroad to the US for 2 weeks in July. I am still unenthusiastic (which is putting it nicely) about this development. I got to thinking of the ways two people deal with living with each other on a long term basis and all the things that aren’t said in the name of keeping the peace. I know not all people have this coping strategy. Some people prefer to get it all out there and let it fly fast and furious, but Daddy G and I are master avoiders of conflict and confrontation. 

Except when we aren’t, like the past few weeks. It’s been interesting. It’s not all about his trip, and most of it has to do with a little hormone imbalance problem that I’m having. Don’t be fooled by the skin people, there’s a veloceraptor hiding just under the surface. In some ways, it’s good. No one at the hospital gets to tell me that they just “accidentally” charged me wrong and now I have to pay lots more money. Oh hell no, sugar, your logic for that one was convoluted at best, circular at worst. Not paying. Unfortunately, Daddy G has had to avoid all of the flying objects (and I wish I was being hyperbolic here) that I find when my inner Tasmanian devil surfaces for some retarded reason. I feel awful about it, but it is really hard to control. I’m hoping a second visit with the doctor tomorrow and possibly some medication can help me feel a little more sane. Or at least tame the rage.

So what do you do with things that you either can’t say, or it won’t do any good to say?

I find the fact that you have a work spouse in Minneapolis that you talk to way more than me a lot less amusing than you think.

You are a grown ass man. Pick your towel up off the floor. Now.

No, it is not funny to generally act like I’m being a baby because I don’t want to go to the hospital here by myself even if you are busy.

Daddy G is an awesome guy and he’s excellent for me. This isn’t an attack on him in any way. It’s about 2 people who have to shelve certain thoughts and ideas because it just doesn’t gel with the reality of someone else. I’d give some examples that he can’t say, but Daddy G has always been smarter than me when it comes to leaving things unsaid and doesn’t say them. Living with someone else, even someone you love and generally get along with well, is hard yo. 

I’ve learned the hard way over the years that some things just aren’t worth saying. If I have to ask you for the 7th time to please take out the gawd damned trash, it probably won’t happen unless I do it. You’re not my son. There are no consequences if you don’t do what I ask. I know it’s a down side of Daddy G seeing me as an independent, capable person – he doesn’t really have to do something he knows I can do. You want a drying rack? Sure, let me just procrastinate until you do it yourself.

I spent almost 8 of the 10 years of our marriage not saying much at all to Daddy G that would disturb the peace. This was my hang-up, a leftover of all the daddy issues I have. After I hit 30, I started feeling a little more secure that we were in this for the long run together and have become more vocal about what I want and what I need.  This has been intensely uncomfortable for Daddy G. In general, he has dealt with it with some grace and humor, but it’s hard to deal with someone who has generally become more outspoken when you’re used to someone who just goes along with what you want.

I don’t want to be a bitch, or a nag, or generally cow him into being a pussy. Definitely not. I detest that kind of thing. But I don’t want to walk on eggshells either. I’m not a fan of people feeling helpless and unable to change things that need change. Hiding from issues never solves them.  On the other hand though, there are things that aren’t going to be solved in my marriage. Daddy G’s work ethic is an issue that I’ve been over many times. This will never change. Nagging and harping on him will not only not change anything, it will make him resentful that he has to listen to said carping.

His insane need to sharpen what I said into pencil point accuracy? That will never change, it’s just his style. It’s not even worth a sharp retort because it will just cause us to fight. Will he listen if I come to him nicely and tell him it bothers me? Absolutely. Will it change? Eh, most likely not. It’s just a part of who he is. I think it would be good for me to remember that a little bit of serenity for the things that we can’t change about each other is necessary when advocating for what we need. After all, we’re going in the same direction and want to continue together. We have the rest of our lives to live with each other’s foibles. No point in letting small things grow into mountains.

How do you deal with the things that you just can’t change about your partner? Do you solicit your partner's help, or do you just manage yourself on your own?


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The One in Which I Warn You of More Whining Coming Your Way

Mood: Aggravated. I hate when stuff disappears
Listening to: Some Beautiful Silence

Daddy G came home the other day with a more serious than usual expression on his face. I was sweaty (from the weather), exasperated (from the children) and hormonal (from, well, hormones. Girls have PMS hormones, let’s let it go already). This is never a good entry for a scene, but it does set the state for what comes next.

Daddy G: I have some news that you really won’t like, but I have to tell you.

I froze and got that deer in the headlights look that says I’m about to hear about an affair, a lost job, a death or something similarly serious. Daddy G of course took his sweet time continuing. This drives me nuts, but he does it all the time. Daddy G hates breaking bad news to me because I inevitably overreact and he hates confrontation.

Daddy G: I have to go to the US in June.

Me: No.

Daddy G: And September.

Me: Are you fucking kidding me? No.

Daddy G: Yes. My boss says blah blah blah I am needed in the US. (I honestly can’t remember what he said, I was trying to remove half of the red from my vision and stop my blood pressure from rising any further)

Me: Was something about “no” unclear?

I knew I was being bitchy, but I really didn’t care at that time.

Daddy G: Don’t be like this Becky.

Me: And why the hell not? You told me twice a year. Already once this year you’ve been gone for almost 2 months.  

Daddy G: It won’t be that long this time. You know that was for citizenship purposes.

Me: I think you’re missing the point here. We both know I am able to do it, but I don’t WANT to be left here to deal with life, the kids school, and the kids craziness all by myself.

Daddy G: I know.

Me: Not only that, both the times you are going are times when the kids and I can’t come with you. They have school.  I was looking forward to going to the US on your company’s generousness.

Part of the draw of Daddy G’s company is that they will fly us to the US with him when he goes, but we have to arrange the trip when our kids have school vacation. School starts in June and there are no holidays in September.

Daddy G: I know. Look Becky, I just brought you all to Sri Lanka for a family trip that we all enjoyed.

Me: I will not be bribed. Or shamed into being quiet.

Daddy G: I know.

Me: You better stop sayin I know, mister.

Daddy G: Sigh. I’m sorry it’s worked out like this, can you please stop pouting and talk to me about this like 
a grown up?

Me: Danger Daddy G, Danger.  It is not my fault that you spring this shit on me when I have PMS and am least able to deal with it like a mature adult. You should count yourself lucky that the shoes are two rooms away. I really, really feel like being super immature and chucking some shoes. At you.

At this point Daddy G started laughing and hugged me. As usual, my tantrum about anything related to his work is acknowledged, but really doesn’t ever change a damn thing.

Me: You do know that if you leave again without buying a car I will get extremely stabby and probably not be here when you get back.

More laughter. Sigh. At least I can have the bed and the fan to myself.


On Why I'm Glad I'm Not the Girlfriend Any Longer

Mood: Aggravated. I hate when stuff disappears
Listening to: My daughter getting Hindi tuition

Daddy G and I were watching TV the other day. A mushy boyfriend/girlfriend make out scene came on as we watched. As is his way, Daddy G proceeded to laugh his ass off at the scene and make fun of it. And you people said romance is dead. Hah! He’s never been the romantic type. I was placing bets in my head about whether they would be sex involved (none, unfortunately) and if so, how many naked body parts (oh come on India!) would be blurred out.

It got me to reminiscing about the good old dating days with Daddy G and how new and exciting everything was. I was missing it for a while, but then I started thinking a little more objectively. At that time, life was hard; both for me and for us as a couple. I was struggling to make it on my own as a semi-adult. Daddy G and I had a long distance relationship in which we only saw each other every 5 weeks. We weren’t even sure if we would last, so even our emotions were held in check a bit.

Now that I think about it, the time Daddy G and I had dating did have its own magical quality and I’m very thankful for the time and experiences we had. However, I would never want to go back to doing life like that. I really don’t ever want to be the girlfriend again. I’ve said many times before that I hope I never have to create a relationship of this type again. I never want to have to put in the crazy time and emotions it takes to get to know someone that well and marry them again. I can just see myself analyzing every little thing and thinking about how this is so not the same as last time – I want it the same!

I’m glad I’m the wife because for me, that comes with a good deal of permanence and security. The longer Daddy G and I are married, the more comfortable we are with ourselves, each other, and the relationship we have.  I love the way I can talk about uncomfortable things with him without having to walk on eggshells for fear of saying something wrong and chasing him away. Well, maybe I do tread some thin ice occasionally, but you’re stuck buster.

Yes, I do miss the excitement a bit. I miss things being new and being a fascinating creature to Daddy G. I have been known to occasionally whine when he no longer reaches for my hand when we walk together. Even with that, I know we’ve had our season for that type of thing. I’m continually learning to appreciate the man he has become and the direction our relationship has taken. For everything there is a season and all that good jazz. Most of all, I’m glad I’m not that same insecure, scared 19 year old who is terrified that I will do or say something to chase him away. I’ve grown to learn how silly that philosophy is.

Yep. I’m glad to be the wife.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Recent Conversation

Daddy G: Becky, what did you buy on Amazon on our US credit card?

Becky: Erm….mumble mumble something DaddyG. I won’t do it again, promise. (Daddy G gets paid in rupees, so spending in dollars is expensive for us)

Daddy G: Seriously, what was it?

Becky: Mumble mumble… 50 Shades of Grey.

Daddy G: You spent 2,000 rupees on Trash Lit?

Becky: Yes.

Daddy G: Why???

Becky: I’m not apologizing. It was worth it.

Daddy G: Why was it worth it? It’s not even good writing!

Becky: I agree, the writing was absolutely awful. The good scenes were pretty hot though. That directly 
benefits you, you know.

Daddy G: Why didn’t you just buy it on Flipcart? (The Indian equivalent of Amazon, where books are 
much, much cheaper)

Becky: Well, first things first, I really didn’t think I would find it there.

Daddy G: I checked, it’s there.

Becky: Well, ahem. Second, I knew you would flip if I bought an actual book where our kids could get their hands on it or it could accidentally embarrass you in front of company.

Daddy G: Hmmm. Point given there. There will be no erotic literature on our bookshelves.

Becky: I’m sorry, I won’t buy stuff from Amazon anymore.

Daddy G: Wait a minute. Is this why you call me Sir?

Becky: Absolutely not. Number 1 I started calling you that long ago. Number 2, you’re totally not a dominant personality.

Daddy G: You really have to stop calling me that. People are going to think we’re all kinky.

Becky: Oh no. We can’t have that. (Eyes rolling so far back I can see the back of my head)

Daddy G: Seriously, I’m an exec now, you can’t be putting shit like this on the internets.

Becky: I call you Sir because you insufferably bossy sometimes.

Daddy G: This is not helping your cause. At all.  No Sir.

Becky: Damnit.