Month Ninety-Two

Dear Husband,

Well this is simply getting ridiculous. I just want to shout oh for f***’s sake, seriously!?! The saga of the water damage to the rumpus room just goes on and on and on and then there is the amount of things that just seem to go pear shaped besides that. Is it because we don’t have 9 to 5 jobs where things can go wrong someplace else? Things just have to go wrong somewhere so that’s gonna be here? I constantly tell myself that they are totally first world problems and that we are not dealing with chronic sickness within the family etc but it really does feel like we keep taking one step forwards and two steps back. We receive what we think of as a glimpse of clarity but this in turn just opens up a whole new swag of things which we do not know. Like getting the water bill.

That sucker was over $800 and we sure as, well you know what, do not use that much water. So now we are dealing with a leaky pipe. Another water problem. Whoopee. Apparently our insurance covers finding this leak (but not fixing it – of course) so we call to get some help. Yet more stress on your part because you are also asking them to reopen the claim they denied because we think they are connected. But they can’t send out a plumber for our water problem. Oh no, they have to send out a builder first. So the builder comes only to say I’m not really sure why I’m here, you need a plumber. Duh. And then the plumber comes out and says, yep, you’ve got a leaky pipe. Great. We knew that. Plumber doesn’t know where it is though and lets us know we need a diagnostics guy to come out. Then the diagnostics guy comes out and determines yeah, so, I looked and I listened but I can’t find your leak. And by the way, all that water gushing out of your internal wall like a fountain? That is totally nothing to do with subsidence or a leaky pipe, that a busted storm water pipe. What the? I know you have had more choice words to say about all of this that I have.


This new state of affairs would explain some things though. Like us getting the fountain during more extreme weather conditions such as when it absolutely pisses down with rain as opposed to just showering. However, it doesn’t make me feel any better that we probably will end up going through weeks of finding and fixing a leaky pipe and then have to turn around and do the whole thing again when we say um, we still have a problem here, can you figure out why I have a fountain coming out of my internal wall which is what was asked of you in the first damn place! Sigh. Meanwhile, we are haemorrhaging money day by day – apparently into the soil or under the house somewhere – as well as to specialist skin clinics.

I’m not begrudging the need to spend this money. You have been dealing with the skin condition for years, applying stop-gap measures just to function. You bit the bullet this month to seek more professional help and I’m not sure if it was a blessing or a curse for you to be told you needed a pharmacy of pills every day and a crazy-arse diet to try and alleviate your symptoms. They pretty much struck at everything you hold dear. No caffeine, no alcohol, no sugar, no red meat, no eggs, no dairy, no tomato, no citrus and a few other things besides. They pretty much left you chicken, fish and selected fruits and vegetables but not much to put with them. With everything they took, they actually left you gluten but not many ways you could consume it.

Finding what a foodie who likes variety can eat given all those limitations has been challenging. The list of allowed foods doesn’t fit any particular fad diet (gluten free, fod map, dairy free, sugar free etc). It’s a weird mix of all of them put together and you have been dealing with that as much as the physical repercussions of the switch. You went into withdrawal the first week. You were moody, irritable, itching all over and were an all-round cranky bastard. We have previously discussed those extreme diets that people go on in order to get washboard abs and have commented that it’s not really worth it to piss off everyone else in your life and enjoy nothing while you’re at it. Apart from the fact that you have not taken on a ridiculous training schedule though (I think that would just about kill you at the moment) that is pretty much the situation that you have put yourself in. Having said that, I definitely have to say that I am so impressed by how diligently you have kept to the strictures of the diet. I know it’s been really hard but you have managed to stay strong. Maybe it’s been a mantra of it’s only for six weeks, it’s only for six weeks, but as I said, I am impressed. And because you have been faithful, your body has also adjusted and your moods are a lot less up and down now at the end of the month. I never thought that our previous diet would have made such an impact there but it really did.


That doesn’t mean that we both don’t still struggle day to day in balancing our lives against our wants and needs. We had a couple of “discussions” about the household this month which has helped resolve some things and highlighted a few others. We seem to have different interpretations of cleanliness. Or rather, we more or less agree on what cleanliness is but we have different thresholds and bugbears surrounding uncleanliness. Which is not to be confused with untidiness but that is another argument. They often get all thrown into the same basket though. You stressed his month that you feel responsible for about 95% of the outside of the house. You also feel responsible for a growing percentage of the work that needs to be done inside the house and it has gotten to the point that it feels unfair.

You asked for more help from me, specifically in regards to cleaning up at night. I often do the washing up and the dishwasher but didn’t always wipe down the benchtop or spray and wipe the splat mat, high chair and floor. Not that I would leave massive chunks of food lying around but invariably, some crumbs. Basically, I performed more of a surface level of cleaning than you are comfortable with and you wanted that to change. Fair enough. I could understand your point that you felt the balance was shifting in my favour and I could make a more consistent effort to do things the way you wanted them done. The thing is though, as I felt I was making more of an effort for you, I felt like you stopped making one at all. After I feed Elliot to sleep, I have started coming out to wind up doing everything on the night time checklist whilst you play on your phone in either Genevieve’s room while she is asleep or in the living room. All of these little tasks stopped feeling like something “we” were responsible for and something that just “I” was responsible for. Which doesn’t sit well with “us” either. We each have our nights of needing a little more slack and that’s fine but we are both also stubborn and don’t like to feel as though the other is taking liberties.

And it’s true. I do hold onto things without always saying something right up until the time that you feel it is biting you on the backside. My thought process is different to yours though. I hear the we need to get this stuff out of the way so I’m putting it in your office but I will clear it out in less than a week and the yes, I’ll clear some space for that in the shed but just not this afternoon, ok and the I can’t stand that that this place has crap everywhere so it all needs to be tidied. I hear that and I think great but my office has looked like a bomb site for months, we still have an adult car seat sitting beside our front door and the reason you occasionally run out of clean underwear is that I can’t see the dirty ones for the floordrobe you have going. So I think you said one thing but you are clearly ok living with another and I draw parallels where you don’t seem to see any at all…So it’s a work in progress.

But that’s not all folks. No, we still had car troubles. Ever since we got the car back from the assessors, you have felt that it now pulls to the left when it didn’t and it also now shudders somewhat when it shouldn’t. So back we went for you to insist on the service we pay our premiums for. I am pretty sure this took hours of your time, what was remaining of your patience and some serious negotiation to get the situation sorted. We were not even sure if there was any serious damage to our car the first time around but everything is a process and between us, the insurer, the smash repairer and the hire car company…it all takes its toll. We got Sonia Kluger II though. Which facilitated our long distance trip to the mountains because there was a death in the family…

Your Pop, who has been quite sick for some time, passed away towards the end of the month and we all went up to the mountains for the funeral. It was great to see some family we hadn’t seen for a while despite the unpleasant circumstances. I actually spent most of the service outside the door whilst Elliot transferred dirt from inside the planter pots to the tile floor repeatedly which was fine with me. I will easily pick up on other people’s emotions and I would probably have been in tears if I had stayed inside. As it was, I barely held it together when Genevieve came out to find me and said I just want to see Pop and I’m never going to see him again. My four-year-old did me in!


All in all, it was not a month we expected this month. You especially got slapped a little upside the head but nonetheless, we keep on plodding forwards. Onwards and upwards, eh?

Forwardly Yours,
Your Loving Wife


Month Ninety-One

Dear Husband,

It’s really like adding insult to injury isn’t it? How many more water problems are we going to have? We’ve had from the top down and the bottom up. From the outside in and by nature of it having to go somewhere, the inside out and now we’ve got stuff leaking through the middle! Elliot is yet again boosted from his room due to wet carpet as we now have a leaky shower. Brilliant! Which needless to say did wonderful things to your stress levels. The fact that it took so long for us to get back to being able to use the shower was not so good for mine either.

I left the resolution or the course of action up to you and we discussed ripping the bathroom apart or just siliconing the crap out of it and hoping to blazes that it would hold water for the mean time but you have got to admit that you dithered. It was well over a week that we were bathing and prevailing upon the goodness of family and neighbours to take a wash which was a pain in the backside really. At least I have my shower back now though. When I am under the scalding hot water behind a shut door it’s that heavenly “me” time that helps me function. In a perfect world, no one would be allowed to bang on the door or scream “Mama” at me when I’m taking a shower but I’ll take what I can get.

Of course, what we also have is now a bathroom that may just have a precarious fix at best. We’ve got no idea how long it will hold out. And by hold out, I mean hold water in. We also are aware that we have mould between the walls. As part of your trying to figure out what was wrong, the neighbours came over with their bendy camera thing so you could get a look in the wall to see if you could locate the leak. You were not able to but you have been concerned ever since that there is a mould problem in Elliot’s room that is making him sick. I honestly don’t know. As you so often point out, I can’t smell jack in regards to stuff like that.

On more than one occasion you have more or less berated me with exasperated versions of you seriously can’t smell that!! Unless its excessive, apparently I can’t smell musty, mouldy, smoky and otherwise malodorous scents. On the other hand, I seem to have a poo radar. If I get within a couple of metres of one of Elliot’s soiled nappies it’s my turn to exclaim can you not smell that! Sometimes I am positive you are just leaving him squelch in poo so I will be the one to change the nappy because you can be a turd like that but at other times, you honestly seem surprised that he is dirty. Maybe that’s a boy thing.


And, because we needed something else to go wrong this month (like we needed a hole in the head), the hot water heater blew up. Or rather, it didn’t really blow up like a Mythbusters hot water heater blowing up. I’m not sure if that would have been better or worse. I mean, in Mythbusters, no one gets hurt. At least that’s the theory. And if there was an explosion and the house was largely cactus, we could rebuild it but it would be damned inconvenient and we could potentially lose a lot of stuff we have no desire to lose so I’m sure we had the lesser of two evils but it wasn’t exactly in the budget this month to buy a new water heater. I must say though, I was impressed that you resolved this situation in a very expedient manner.

First thing I the morning, we came out to see that the bung had burst from the top of the system and water was pouring out of it at a rapid rate. By the end of the day, you had sourced a new replacement locally and pulled some favours to have it installed and ready to go by that evening. That was pretty cool. Or rather it was hot. Thank God.

Then we come to the car. Because this month we also had to deal with some idiot who doesn’t know how to park and had hit our car. Or rather, we didn’t have to deal with them (or I would hazard to say her because the note left was in lipstick) but you had to deal with the insurance company as you wanted to be sure that our vehicle hadn’t been damaged. Since we have previously been affected by bent control arms and busted ball joints or whatever they are, you didn’t want to get stung with heaps of repairs later so you asked that the car be looked over and checked out. Which apparently takes forever. That wasn’t really our problem though because we got to drive Sonia Kluger for a couple of weeks. I got to revel in the new car smell and feel like we actually had money and could buy a new car like that which right now, kinda feels like it’s never going to be the case in my lifetime. Oh well. She chugged a bit of fuel too but it was a silver lining to the month.


The highlight of the month though was our day trip out to Junee to the liquorice and chocolate factory. It was a day just for us and the kids and it was nice to spend some time away from things. I got to take photos without feeling like I was pushing everyone into it and we could just take our time. You are right, we should do more of that. I do get caught up with it feeling like and effort and an expense beforehand that is taking me away from something that I feel I should do but that can easily wait (I won’t reminisce about a clean house when I’m 60). When I don’t know what to expect, I am warier than I should be but I did have fun and we should have days like that more often.

Chocolately Yours,
Your Loving Wife

Month Ninety

Dear Husband,

Well it’s the start of a new year and there were a couple of nice milestones to celebrate with the kids. Genevieve had her first day of pre-school and Elliot turned one. So we now have a near school-age child and we definitely no longer have a baby. I am sure the school thing is going to be an adjustment. Even if it is only a couple of days a week. We have had years of just being able to do what we wanted regarding kids, the only real commitment being swimming lessons on and off or ballet classes. And though pre-school is not a legal requirement for 4-year-olds, it still seems to fall into that category of we can’t miss this on a whim. Although, we are fully intending on letting her come to all the Babes In Arms screenings which will necessitate her missing some of her time there but you know what I mean.


As for Boo, he’s getting more interactive and interested in playing with others which is great. We did have a rocky day or so at Summerfest where he was totally not happy to be palmed off at crèche, overall though, it was a great week. I think before we went to stay with our friends on the coast, we didn’t really intend on staying as long as we did but it was relaxing to spend the time just chilling with them and I really enjoyed the program at EV. Anywhere you can drop your kids for a couple of hours and enjoy some talks is pretty good. Although the more I learn about raising kids in today’s world, the more daunting it seems.

I remember my Dad’s mum saying once that she didn’t always agree with his parenting choices but she wouldn’t want to raise kids in the environment I grew up in for quids. And today’s world is a whole hell of a lot harder. To a certain extent, some of the stuff they were talking about doesn’t affect us as the kids are both too young and or still under constant supervision (mostly by us) but then standards and attitudes have to start somewhere so that doesn’t mean we can be ignorant either. More than one person stressed that you need to know exactly what apps your kids are using and what they do. Facebook, for all its evils, is not the problem and it’s no longer the it thing either. Just in case you were feeling cool and hip as opposed to old school. There was also the take home that cyber-parenting is really 10% cyber and 90% parenting. Or maybe the percentages were different than that but the basic message being that you have to be present with your kids and teach them to use their own discernment effectively. Model good behaviour; more is caught than taught.

Then there were the sex talks. The sexologist was particularly entertaining. A little old Indian lady who amongst her many stories from years in the field of study was telling us that kids are just like a Ferrari on steroids. Pedal to the metal, using minimum breaks and with no GPS. She talked about tactics for kids and porn, that is get them to name and shame. Recognise what it is, say I don’t like it and go and tell an adult. Good idea really. I know that we are a lot more liberal than some other people in our circle. I also don’t quite have the doom and gloom attitude that some seem to think justifies banning their kids from any situation they can’t control but it is a little disquieting to realise that exposure happens so much earlier now and to a certain extent, we have to hope our kids want to come and talk to us about this stuff and not hide it from us.


When you first have children and you can totally control the environment around them you are not thinking how do I teach my kids about porn. How do I make sure they don’t fall victim to emotional abusers or sex predators. How do I teach them to be confident and self-assured such that they value their body, their friends and their family? We’re having a bash at it of course and it’s easy to think we’re doing well when Genevieve asks questions and shows compassion but then seeing what friends with older kids are going through, friends who I would assume have the same morals and values as we do, well I’m buggered if I know how to avoid that…

And on that note, I will leave those bridges to be crossed another day and get on with enjoying today. We’ve got vague plans for this year so who knows what will happen.

Ponderingly Yours,
Your Loving Wife

Month Eighty-Nine

Dear Husband,

Well here we are at the end of another year. And seemingly, we are no wiser than we were last year. I mean you’d think we might have learned that you trying to buy me a watch as a Christmas present was an exercise fraught with danger and unforeseen perils. A threat to goodwill and burden borne rather than a blessing received. Even if you don’t quite understand it, I have tried to impart on you that jewellery for me is a very personal thing and not a functional thing and so it definitely matters how it looks and how it feels and if it doesn’t “feel” right then it’s wrong. And that’s not to say that you are wrong or unappreciated or incapable or anything else that you were feeling but everything you showed me didn’t feel right so it wasn’t. You can’t make a square peg fit a round hole so if you actually want me to wear the damn thing and not stuff it in a drawer never to be seen again then I really can’t justify the expense right now. Its not as though we have that much to spare.

Because what we really got each other for Christmas this year was an evaporative air cooler. Since the old one was pretty much a rust bucket, we would have been in for a hellish season without the ability to cool down so we had to suck it up so we could blow it out. That’s pretty much it, isn’t it? We did have to wait a little longer than I would have liked. I brought the topic of buying a new one up a couple of months ago with you but you said to wait and by the time you had finished waiting, it was days before Christmas that provided the earliest opportunity to get the unit installed. Right before we went away on holidays. Figures. I shouldn’t complain though, I know. We did get it before what I am sure will be the height of summer and we can afford to get it as opposed to not being able to afford anything at all. I do not fancy sitting in the bath for the next month or so because that’s the only place I can cool down and not feel drenched in sweat. Besides, I still have to work on my computer and water and electricity don’t mix.

Apparently us and insurance companies don’t mix either. At least, I’m pretty sure if insurance companies could fire clients, we’d be on that list. The saga with the rumpus room still continues. We can’t categorically prove our problem is subsidence and they can’t categorically prove that it’s not and we are at an impasse. A tense, stressful, negative impasse. One where you leave the house to take phonecalls lest the kids hear the language you end up using. One that has our four year old saying Daddy, you have to let go of your anger. One that has you building a wall up that I can’t break down. I find out about what has been happening and where everything is up to by overhearing your conversations with other people. You will go into detail for them as you never will for me. If I ask you what is going on, if I push you for details or ask where are we up to after you have had a half hour conversation, you simply tell me there is nothing to tell. We are no further along. The status quo hasn’t changed. And its hard…


Hopefully though, the time away and out of the house will be at least a little refreshing. This year, for the first time, we went to see your Dad for Christmas. Or rather, we saw him on Christmas and went to the Mountains for Boxing Day. Ever since we have been together, we have been with my family. I assume that this has not been as issue for you as your side of the family has never seemed attached to the day or any particular traditions but more to the idea that it’s nice to catch up over the season? After making the round trip in July / August this year though, we are now in the process of going the other way and ending at the beach. But after passing through Sydney traffic (and Pennant Hills Road  which I will never miss) and catching up with your Mum, we are now with friends for New Years which feels a little like coming home in the best possible way.

So this is a great way to end the year. Moving on from the commitments and projects that existed back in town; the Christmas Carols event at which you actually performed this year and the Babes in Arms trial that is another brainchild come to life. Setting aside the stress and tension of negotiations with the insurance company and the large ticket expenditure of the evaporative cooler. Putting away the angst and frustration of Christmas gifts because for you and I, this is still our first world problem “thing” (although I totally got you the best present ever as it was in budget and right on the money – if you lose both your phone AND your keys then you’re still up shit creek but given your propensity to only misplace one at a time, that tile is going to drastically reduce some additional stress in my life alone!). We are loved, we are loving, we are together and at midnight, we are (or were as I am totally backdating this) not entirely sober.

Happy New Yearily yours,

Your Loving Wife

Month Eighty-Eight

Dear Husband,

This was the month of the Lost Keys. The lost keys that were almost my fault but not really and the lost keys that were totally not my fault at all. And I know its not or it shouldn’t be about blame but you get so MAD when stuff like this happens that I either feel like scuttling into a corner or coming out punching. And the fact that your keys went missing twice in one week was really unfortunate.

The first time was when we went to meet your sister for coffee. When driving up to Sydney, the house keys (because you keep house and car keys separately which is just another thing to keep track of in my opinion but what do I know) were given to Boo. Then we stopped at Roselands while you made a toilet stop and I got Boo out of the car. I was so wishing I hadn’t done that later…Then we fast forward to getting out of the car on the North Shore and we can’t find the keys.

They weren’t in Boo’s capsule. They weren’t on the floor of the car. They weren’t in the bags in the car. They weren’t on the street. Did Genevieve know what had happened to them? No. Boo threw them somewhere? Did they fall out of the car when I got him out at Roselands? No, I don’t think so. But do you know? Can you categorically tell me that they are not somewhere at Roselands or even worse, in someone else’s pocket because they stole them from the ground kilometres from where we are now!?! Could they have fallen out and you didn’t notice? Were you not careful enough when you got him out of the car? Did you look at the ground specifically to make sure that none of our possessions had fallen out?…It was around this time that I was feeling particularly small.

I wondered if I had somehow missed the falling of the keys. I was pretty sure I hadn’t. I mean, when I get Boo out of the car, I generally stand him up in the seat first to adjust my hold and lift him out of the car carefully so I don’t knock him out on the ceiling. I try and be a good parent. DOCS frowns on braining your kids after all. I figured if the keys had been in the seat though, they would have fallen out IN THE CAR. The house keys themselves are also a massive bunch of metal and I thought I would have heard them clang on the ground for sure. Which I had not. I didn’t know where they were though and I couldn’t categorically say it was not my fault.

So we went to coffee. You were trying not to be openly pissy with me, we finished coffee and then we went back to the car. We still couldn’t find the keys. You searched again, pulling things out of the car. Muttering and swearing not so under your breath. I sat down on the side of the road with the kids and looked through the nappy bag with me (which I had already SEARCHED TWICE) to find something to amuse Boo and I found the keys. Which had presumably landed in the open back pocket when Boo threw them out of his car seat. And my first thought was I DID NOT LOSE THEM AT ROSELANDS AND THIS WAS TOTALLY NOT MY FAULT! You may argue that my relief was somewhat misplaced and should have been in the locating of the keys that would not result in re-keying anything rather than the lack of fault in losing them beyond recovery but I don’t care. You could also argue that a lot of stress could have been alleviated had they been found when I first checked the nappy bag but nevertheless, they were found and this was now not a terrible event in history that was going to go down as my fault.


And then there was the second time the keys were lost. I was getting ready to go to bed. You were coming too but you like to gather up your keys and phone etc before you go to bed and did I know where your keys were? No, I do not keep their whereabouts on my radar. I can’t recall seeing them either so I don’t know. I dutifully helped you look though. Through the couches, on top of the bench, in the piles of stuff we have about the place. You searched the car and the grass in the garden. No keys. When was the last time you saw them? I don’t know, if I knew that don’t you think I would be looking there? Sorry I asked. Did you need to use them today? I gave them to Boo in the park to play with. Which is where I struggle not to suggest that had they been on the same keychain as the car keys, you would remember if they had come home or not. Did we learn nothing from earlier in the week? Apart from this is not helpful at all?

So at this point you head down to the park with a torch and then come back – with no keys. Since it is dark and late and the kids are asleep, I figure there is not much more we can do now. I am pretty sure that we will find them tomorrow so I send up a little prayer for same, go to bed and incredibly selfishly think at least this wasn’t my fault either. I never said I was perfect. The next morning you had a commitment so you were out of the house and I was cleaning up. As I went through Boo’s room, I pick up some dirty clothes from atop the column heater and find the keys. It then takes me a couple more minutes to reset my phone so I can let you know because it decided to freeze on me and the home phone had no charge whatsoever.

You said that you did not put the keys there, however, you had been sitting on the floor there with both kids the previous day. You had given the keys to Elliot to play with (again) in the exersaucer and Genevieve must have moved them to the side…in your presence…I am saying nothing…

After all, its not like this kind of thing happens to us all the time


I can’t however keep silent on the following. Every so often, you berate me regarding one of your apparent pet peeves which would not nearly be so bad if I had any idea of its coming. And if it wasn’t the pot calling the kettle black. The other day I was getting a piece of toast. I cooked the bread, spread on some butter and vegemite and went about doing my thing. At which point I got can you please JUST USE A PLATE!?! Do you not THINK that you are spreading crumbs everywhere and that this is what attracts insects? Can’t you just eat over a PLATE?

Um, I’m sorry? You are picking now after 7 years of marriage during which I cannot even count the times I have eaten toast without a plate to tell me that you think I am being dirty and unhygienic? You who frequently leave things like the peel of fruit sitting on the couch overnight without even resting it on a plate? You are unofficially insinuating that I am going to be the sole cause of a potential insect infestation because I can’t eat toast over crockery? Sure, if it means that much to you, I can make an effort to eat toast such that crumbs should never touch the floor but you might want to tone down the vitriol…

And then there was the hardly done by can you please just FILL THE KETTLE TO AT LEAST THE MINIMUM when you pour water out of it!?! I should just be able to turn it on without running the risk that it doesn’t have enough water to boil…So you’re saying that I am the weird one because I always take a quick glance at the kettle before I put it on and if it is in fact not holding enough water, I fill it in the sink that is like 40cms away? It’s me that has the problem and the lack of all common decency since I have failed to think of my fellow man in the household? You NEVER do this yourself? Oh wait, you do, so you totally just opened up a can of worms. I now make it my mission to check the jug every time I finish with it and every time I go to put it on the boil and it’s too empty I ask can you please JUST FILL THE DAMN JUG!?! Should have thought about that one, shouldn’t you…

And what was the whole defrosting bacon thing about!?! We were calmly discussing what to have for dinner one night and I was thinking along the lines of something easy, you know, like breakfast, and suggested bacon and eggs. You then informed me (I want to say snootily) that we didn’t have bacon. I said I thought we had some in the freezer and by extension figured that we could just defrost it cause we have a microwave with a defrost setting which is what it is there for. This was apparently the WRONG THING TO DO. For reasons completely unbeknownst to me, in this family, seemingly, we do not defrost bacon. Or rather, just to clarify a point, we do not defrost bacon when I make the suggestion, perhaps as we all know that I do none of the cooking in the house so therefore I should not stick my oar in where it is not wanted? Which is the impression I got when a week later you needed bacon for a recipe and HAD TO DEFROST IT!

So I’m sorry if this month you feel that you have been a little ganged up on. It just so happened that a number of things that might have been smaller in and of themselves seemed to pile up in one month or perhaps you reacted more strongly or vehemently than usual and what would normally have been a smile and nod from me became a thing. And the “things” in our house are totally not restricted to you as the initiator. I know this. I do plenty of things that drive you insane because they are absurd, nonsensical and or unprovoked but I can’t write them from your point of view so you would have to do that one yourself. I love that you put up with my crap as well as call me on it occasionally though.

Non-crappily yours,
Your Loving Wife

Month Eighty-Seven

Dear Husband,

We finished the Playgroup this month. That cause of intense stress and angst for you is now over and that’s a really good thing. You have asked me to let you know if the ministry stuff you do is ever too much and I have to say, we couldn’t sustain that, at least not the way it was this first time around. It was borderline there for a little bit but it was important and it was only the six days. We were all looking forward to the end by the second week. I do acknowledge that some great things came out of it though.

There were some really good connections made and a lot of goodwill that was generated. There were tangible results that could be shared and it’s easier to communicate your vision to others with a practical example rather than trying to assure them that what you have in mind totally looks freaking awesome in your head! I think there are definitely a number of things we would know to do better the next time around as well. So now we have to tackle the question of when that would be. I know you are itching for some time in the summer holiday break but I have reservations. You know I want to support you if you think it’s that important but I think this works better as a term break project. We will see I guess.

Other than that this month, life sort of went on day to day as usual. Nothing particularly sticks out in my head or comes to mind as I look over photos from the last couple of weeks. Except for my birthday. And this was actually not specifically because it was my birthday. That just happened to be the reason for the party.

When we moved last year, I had grand plans for a housewarming / birthday party. We talked about it and I got as far as making up invitations. Ultimately, when we got down to talking about invitees, the thought of a significant number people in your personal space looked very much like it was weighing you down though and it didn’t seem worth it. This time however, you started that ball rolling yourself.

You tried to make it a surprise birthday party. You started smsing people to ask if they were free but couldn’t quite hide everything. I was about to start organising myself into a salon visit and dinner though so I needed to know that really wasn’t going to work. In the end, we had a great day. A lot of work went into cleaning up the garden and tidying the house beforehand and I’m sure there was a portion of terse and tense moments leading up to the afternoon but the event itself was really great.

It was a gorgeous day and it was lovely to see the house really being used for entertaining. I got to share that day with one of my “birthday buddies” in town too and so friends and family for us both were spread across the lawn and the garden for a barbeque lunch and good company. Following the lunch, we then ended up at an impromptu dinner at a friend’s house which was a nice way to cap of the evening.

What was really nice about the day though was now, you kind of get it. As much as I desperately need my personal space sometimes and I can be an introvert, I love the idea of a house full of friends and family. I like entertaining at home and this has been a topic of conversation (and contention) more than once. Up until now though, you haven’t been able to focus beyond the many people in your house bit and see it for what it could be. Now you can and you are starting to get it. You don’t want to do it all the time or even frequently per se, which is totally cool, but making the most of what we have and sharing it a little more might be something we would all enjoy.

Partyingly yours,
Your Loving Wife

Month Eighty-Six

Dear Husband,

This was a really hard month for me. And it was particularly hard for me because it was a complete bear for you. It felt like everything went wrong this month. Or rather, you felt like everything was going wrong this month.

For starters, you were sick. Not just man-flu slightly inconvenienced but more like the flu but not quite on your deathbed. You were exhausted and irritable. Very short tempered and somewhat sorry for yourself. Which is never a good place to be because I don’t get it. I mean I try to be sympathetic and helpful but ultimately, I don’t know what to do. Your reactions are completely foreign to me. When I am sick, I want to retreat into my own shell. Don’t touch me, don’t talk to me, leave me alone to get better. You want contact though. You want conversation. You want constant consideration. You want connection. You also reserve the right to be pissed off when you don’t get it and frequently, I don’t deliver.

It is of course not that I don’t care. I do. But its not on my radar to behave as I would believe to be out of character because I don’t want those things. And not only do I not want those things but I don’t place the same importance on circumstances as you do. Like the water situation. Our sunroom has been one long continuous saga of rivers across the floor when it rains and drought (which is the proper state of affairs for an indoors space) when it doesn’t. You have been doing a marvellous job of trying to progress the resolution with both the builder and the insurance company but it has been taking its toll. More than you realise. I know it frustrates you completely beyond measure but you also get angry. And not just at the situation or even just at third parties. So it was like adding insult to injury when this month, not only were we dealing with a river down one end of the house, we ended up with a pond up the other. You totally lost it.

After all that talk of reclaiming the bedroom last month, Elliot ended up back in our room for what felt like an indefinite period of time. Which probably just added to the stress that you were already going through. Stress that kept you up late at night watching tv then subsequently falling asleep on the couch until I woke you after one of Elliot’s night feeds. Stress that kept you tense and struggling to maintain your game face. Stress that was unfortunately added to by our car. Here was yet again another thing that was not as it should be and nobody could tell you why. You take the car in for what should be routine work but then you come out with another problem that doesn’t present for anyone but you. It was not a pretty sight. And then there was playgroup.

This was the culmination of months of dreaming and planning and petitioning and prepping. It was late nights taken up with tasks not in your wheelhouse and the constant feeling that you were going it alone. I know that rationally you could see that others were playing a part and that we were not without some tangible forms of support during this time but emotionally, you were not in that space. You couldn’t see the wood for the trees. If that makes sense? Probably not.

Emotionally, you told me you felt as if you were way out in front, trying to run slow enough that others weren’t left behind – or perhaps that was so you could drag us with you. You were swimming upstream. Trying to sow seed on solid ground. You told me you felt alone and you were struggling and it was devastating you. I have mentioned before that you often have two emotional states: everything is fine and my world is falling apart. Which would be fair enough up to a point if you reserved my world is falling apart for someone died or I can’t put three meals a day on the table for my family – not something just fell on my finger and damnit, it hurt.

Again, I just don’t understand. Like you cannot comprehend my seeming lack of a suitable reaction, I cannot make sense of what feels like an overreaction. Everywhere I looked I was hearing stories of people flying across the country to pay vigil at the bedside of a sick parent or other real tragedies and here we were in a nice house and relative good health with friends. Now I can accept that as good as things are for us, they are quite possibly as shit as they have ever been and our displeasure in that state of affairs should not be negated. I also know that you were sick of the Christian response to problems of everything happens for a reason or maybe its part of the plan. You just wanted someone to commiserate with you. Someone to just go yep, it sucks to be you…You wanted things you never told anyone else.

You want people to offer help off their own bat without you telling them what you need. If they were really your friends, they’d know, right? Except, I hate to break it to you, I’ve been married to you for over 7 years and I don’t know how to respond to you when you are in this headspace. Everything I said to you regarding our state of affairs was wrong. Everything. At least it felt that way. If I was responding it was patronising or irritating or stating the obvious or otherwise not helpful at all. If I didn’t respond, I was too wrapped up in myself and being insensitive. It felt like I couldn’t win. It felt like you were sinking deeper and I couldn’t do anything about it. I even started questioning whether you were beginning to fall into a spiral of depression. I’d ask myself when you would go and lie down in bed in the middle of the day if you were just tired and trying to recuperate or running away. I felt like I was letting you down because I can’t be the person you need me to be. I still do a bit.

The reality is, you may be way out in front trailblazing away because that is the type of person you are. Its not the person I am though. And to allow you that freedom, I totally have your back and can manage the kids and the house but I will never be right beside you doing that, I’ll always be behind you instead. And I know I’m not the best at communicating this with you either. I dislike confrontation and when you snap, I will sometimes withdraw. Ok, I usually withdraw. When I feel out of my depth, I hope you will be in a better frame of mind later and you are none the wiser that I am honestly concerned. I’m sorry if I don’t try hard enough…

To end on a positive note though. Despite all the stress leading up to the playgroup, at least so far, it has been a rip roaring success. Plenty of people have shown up and praised your efforts. As well they might cause everything was pretty awesome I thought. Of course, you hate the limelight and many of them have no idea that you are the playgroup and the whole thing has been your brainchild but it has been wonderful to see it so well received.

It was also wonderful to see you embrace your silly side at the circus. You got us front row seats for the opening night of Cirque Africa which in turn allowed you to get picked for audience participation. You were to mime being a band member and a guitarist no less and you hammed it up beautifully which was great. I know in your head that was purely for Genevieve’s benefit so that she would see it is ok get up and have a go but you got past your own head to do it and I know that. I also know that you were reluctant to let me publish the photos but you acquiesced to one of them so that was cool too.


Patiently yours,

Your Loving Wife