Month Eighty-Four

Dear Husband,

I want to say that this was a really shit month. Like the worst one we have had in a long time. The one in which we reached a new low and the one where really bad things happened. Starting with the fact that I got incredibly mad at you. Not just annoyed or peeved or aggravated but spitting chips mad at you. Livid in fact. Apoplectic. So absolutely furious that I had to leave the house and just walk away. A long way. To the other side of town. As quick as my legs could take me. And it took me at least forty-five minutes to work off the worst of my mad and get to a point where I wasn’t ready to punch you in the head. I then had to turn around and get all the way home again and it took me the rest of the long walk home (and becoming sufficiently worn out) to stop thinking of you as a sanctimonious jackass.

And it was over something dumb too. It was over tax invoices.

Having just passed the end of the financial year, we needed to invoice a place of business through your personal ABN. Something I had been asking you to do for a while. Something I had been reminding you about for even longer. Something I can only assume you had been putting off till the last possible moment. It wasn’t like you didn’t know you had to do it but I felt like all of a sudden, I was being made out to be the bad guy for trying to force you into something. And then the push back started. I didn’t realise what it necessitated. I was naïve and didn’t understand the work involved. I was clueless as to the sheer amount of effort and diligence it would require to ensure that all legalities were addressed and accounted for in such a task…I kind of felt like you were saying I was too dumb to have any idea what I was talking about.

Didn’t I know we had to have an accounting program? That’s the only real way to keep everything together, to allow things to be accurately communicated and collated at tax time. Invoices must have comprehensive information on them after all. Did I honestly think I could just open a template invoice in Word, whack an ABN on there and address it to someone with a name and street location?? What about tax? What about Super? What about Centrelink benefits? How was I going to take those into consideration? What on Earth made me think that I could issue an invoice in the middle of a reporting period instead of at the end of a reporting period?

You were totally on your high horse as Mr Judgy Judgepants and all ensuing conversations did not go well. At all. When you then produced an accounting software based invoice complete with receiving business addresses, multiple email contacts and ABN etc that did not have what I felt was the most basic and relevant information (ie. actual hours worked and rate of pay), I finally lost it. I told you I just had to leave before I would say something I’d regret. You said well at least you would regret it. That wasn’t your finest moment.

I’m not saying I was right. Well, actually, in terms of being able to issue an invoice in Word midway through a Centrelink reporting period and reserving 30% in tax to pay back at the end of the financial year, I’m pretty sure I am right, but in terms of my behaviour, not so much. I was snide, combative, defensive and I probably did as much to prolong the situation as I did to try and diffuse it. So I am sorry. Because that wasn’t the only crap thing this month. The pain of that particular day was nothing compared to having to say goodbye to Reuben. That really sucked.

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I know that we made the decision to put him down. I know why we made the decision. I know that the decision was even the recommendation by the vet but that really doesn’t make me feel any better about the decision itself. Like you, I asked myself again and again, are we doing the right thing? Are we doing a convenient thing? Is there a better way? Is there another solution in which I will not find myself in this situation? Which is probably why it really didn’t help having everyone else do the same thing.

I know everyone meant well but when the first response is have you thought about this or couldn’t you do that, its not really helpful. If they didn’t have the other information, I can understand why that would be the first response but the conversation would usually be something like:
We have to make this decision.
Why?
After talking to qualified professionals, because of a, b, c and d.
Oh. But can’t you just do c or d?
No. No we can’t.

Or rather, yes. We could. But I have just explained the reasons to you why we won’t. So when you who has no qualifications in animal behaviour or veterinary science suggest that I should question my second opinion or respond with something equivalent to well, I’m not in your situation so I really don’t know all the ins and outs – you will do what you think is best of course – it is no consolation to the loss of a friend whatsoever.

So that sucked arse. And I was as devastated as you. The only saving grace for me was that Genevieve just took it in her stride. We always thought we would have a distraught child when it was time to say goodbye to Reuben but apparently not so much. She was just very matter of fact. Reuben is not here anymore because he died. Just like that. And thus we had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad month. Except for the fact that we went on our first family holiday in, like, ever. Your mum was awesome in offering to take care of us so we could just be. Be out of our house. Be together. Be distanced from the broken routine that would remind us of what we’d lost. Be rested.

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I didn’t realise how tired and stressed we had become till we went away. Until we were on your mum’s schedule of kids should have a bath around 5:30 because dinner is at 6. Because after that, the kids would be in bed by 7 and all of a sudden, we were free. Free for adult time. Free for a movie or going for a walk or for anything. So what did we do? We went to sleep. We crawled into bed by 8pm on some nights and just went to sleep.

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It wasn’t an escape though, it was refreshing. I got out the camera every day to take stuff of the kids and we did stuff together. We didn’t watch hours of tv but spent time with each other. That shouldn’t be something that is harder to do at home than it is to do away but somehow for us, it is. We make way for distractions at home instead of making time for fun. I’d like to say that when we get home we will try to continue as we have been while we were away but we probably won’t. One day.

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In the meantime, as much as you started out the month infuriating me, the end of the month was awesome. I love having a family with you.

Familiarly yours
Your Loving Wife

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Month Eighty-Three

Dear Husband,

It occurred to me the other day that we do our marriage in the car. Now I know where your mind is immediately going to go with that one (get it out of the gutter) which would probably lead to well if she’s doing that in the car, she’s certainly not doing it with me or at least what on earth is she talking about but let me explain.

We don’t talk to each other at home. Not really. I mean there is a lot of did you put the chickens out, how much sleep has he had, do you know where my long pants are and what do you want for dinner? There is a passing of factual information that is immediately relevant as we manage the house and the kids and all those other practical things.

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There are also the comments that are not quite a commentary on the world around us. You might share something amusing that you saw on Facebook (which you still have your nose in all the time), there could be limited dialogue on something observed in town or a remark about something shared at one of the kids events but rarely do we sit down in the house or the garden or even out on a date and really talk to one another.

This is not to say that we never talk to each other. We do. In the car. Usually on the way to or from Canberra. On those hour long stretches of time in the car where we become each other’s captive audience and perhaps even because we are beside each other and don’t have to face each other, we chat. Without screens, we converse with each other. We do talk about the kids and the house but we also talk about life and work and things. We’re not in a rush to do something else. As we pass paddocks and pastures (and the kids frequently fall asleep), there is almost something relaxing that allows us to settle into talking to each other as adults again. As a married couple. As friends.

Now I am not saying that we can’t do better here. I mean, we really do have more time now than we’ve ever had before. I know its easy to get caught up in the day to day though and we are not the only ones in this situation. Sometimes I feel like we should be trying to find more time at home to be like this. To a certain extent though, I also think we are lucky that we do get that time with each other (in a moving vehicle) and that some of our amenities are that far away. So on reflection, we could definitely be doing much worse. We could probably take each other for granted a little less (and I totally admit to being guilty here) and value our time together a little more but we could really be doing a lot worse.

I definitely know that you miss me when I’m gone. Which I was this month for a good day and a half. I really enjoy taking photos and walking around light installations such as Enlighten and Vivid. I didn’t want to miss out this year since we moved but it has always been more my thing that yours so I took a road trip with my sister and Elliot this month. It was really nice to get that hit of one-on-one time with my sister and be part of that big city again for a night. I know that it can be stressful for you when I am away but I enjoy coming home that much more when I can truly take some time for myself. So thank you.

Appreciatively yours,
Your Loving Wife

Month Eighty-Two

Dear Husband,

I am just curious, are you completely adverse to putting bottle caps in the bin? Do you break out in hives when such a circumstance occurs? Does it give you the heebie-jeebies when it comes down to dropping that bit of metal in the rubbish receptacle? I ask because you seem to be completely incapable of doing it.

You are normally very good with rubbish. Ok, so maybe very good is a stretch. Your floordrobe is littered with old receipts and there is a multitude of unsorted letters and papers about the place but you are usually right on top of anything that might have touched a consumable product and therefore the whole bottle cap thing confounds me. I find them everywhere.

I find them on your dressing table, on the floor beside your bed, in your pockets, on the bathroom counter, on the coffee table, on the kitchen counter…I even find them on the couple of inches of counter in front of the kitchen sink which is incidentally DIRECTLY ON TOP OF THE BIN. And yet the process whereby you actually exert that little bit of extra effort to open the door and drop that bottle cap right in there just doesn’t happen.

Its not as though you are keeping them for a kids craft project either. You just don’t throw them away. Fortunately, you don’t drink that much beer that we are swimming in the damn things. My finding them everywhere is a process over time but is has struck me recently that this has almost turned into a thing.

Something that I hope has not turned into a thing though is the sickness that has hit again. As we get into the cooler weather and you continue to burn the candle at both ends, you spent a lot of time being sick again this month. Genevieve had an off week and Elliot was a bit congested too but you were just wiped out for a bit there. Fortunately you were not hit with influenza again, it definitely wasn’t that bad but it sort of seemed a bit more severe than the man flu. I think you were somewhere in the middle. At least you weren’t really suffering on your birthday.

Your birthday was a kind of quiet affair this month. We had discussed having house guests and getting a bunch of people to all go out for brunch on the weekend but that was probably more for me than it was for you. I like the idea of parties and celebrations and gatherings but when it comes to people en masse, particularly when you could be seen to be “hosting”, it just makes you tired. And uncomfortable. I had these plans of a big birthday (for me) cum housewarming last year but in the end that seemed more pain than pleasure and I had dreams of a Christmas in July this year but when I tried to talk to you about it, we just ended up in a fight. So when it came to your birthday, we agreed to babysit a girl slightly younger than Genevieve and ended up taking the three small kids to Questacon. Then, at the last minute on the way home, we asked some friends out to dinner at the pub. It was a fun, spontaneous night and much more your pace though so I hope it was a good birthday this year.

Well wishingly yours,
Your Loving Wife

Month Sixty-Six

SculptureDear Husband,

Sometimes I wonder if you could possibly go 48 hours without spending money. I mean there’s always something that you’ve found or you want to do, or that you need or that would be great for something else. I swear you con me into things by giving me the impression that the initial cost will be the final one or that the better version of the first option will be the best decision in the long run.

I think this is why we just dropped almost a grand on six Bluetooth speakers that we don’t need. I know that they were mispriced by Hardly Normal so they were kind of a steal anyway. I also know that the sales guy told you that he’d be buying them and flogging them on ebay if he had the time which was precisely the reason you wanted to buy them in the first place but still…for a while you have wanted to replace the one Bluetooth speaker that Genibean busted. And we started looking at things closer to the $100 mark (which it is now obvious you had no intention of buying) and this month we have six speakers that retail at over $300 each. You better be right that you can flog them on ebay for a profit.

It will probably endear me to you a little more after the advent of my new phone. I finally got one! Yay. After practically throwing my last one in the toilet 6 months into a 24 month contract, I have been patiently waiting and paying off my debt before finally getting something new. As soon as I was just about to purchase one though, you suddenly wanted one too! The negotiation for my setup became what about if we got two? The new phone is way better than your current one apparently and we’d be saving money in the long run by buying it now and your life would obviously be so much better if we replaced something that worked perfectly.

Now I get that you’d like a shiny new toy. I do. But I could have done without the pouting and the pissedness you exhibited when I said I didn’t want us to buy you one; when I pointed out that when you broke your previous phone beyond use, we bought you a current model as a replacement. We didn’t repair an existing phone or make use of a handset we already possessed. We got you one that was practically new. Granted, it wasn’t brand new in box and it wasn’t equal in value to the one we purchased outright for me but it wasn’t like we bought you a cheap arse burner phone to tide you over either. You got a phone you enjoyed using. I had been waiting 18 months to finally get that chance to have a phone that I wanted and it really felt like you were trying to steal my thunder dude. Not cool.

The other thing that is hard is that I am trying to get back into exercise again and it doesn’t really feel like you’re that supportive. I mean I don’t think you are against it or that you are being specifically unsupportive but it feels like I’m inconveniencing you by going out walking at night. When dinner is done and Genibean is snuggled up in bed, it is still somehow a notable irritation that I am not physically going to be in the house sitting on my arse watching TV. Which is probably what I would be doing if I wasn’t walking.

It’s not even as if the old deal is still in place where if I walk the dog, you do the dishes. No, I’m still doing those too. I don’t actually mind. This is not a woe is me, I think you should be doing the dishes cause I have too much to do around the house. I think it would be nice though if there was a little more encouragement cause its hard to get going again, you know? Or maybe just a little less oh, are you going to walk Reuben again tonight? Which tends to make me think you meant why do you need to walk him again, you did that yesterday? Just to clarify, I know that this is not what you mean or what you are thinking but…impressions, yeah?

So maybe this month will be the beginning of me getting back to pre-wedding which is even better than pre-baby. I’m sceptical of course but hey, I’ll give it a go. Maybe this month could also be the beginning of the next period of study for you though. You applied for uni this month as a mature age student. You will have to wait and see if you get in of course but I think it is a practical step towards changing the direction of your career. You have not been enjoying that part of your life at all for a while now but its familiar and routine which sometimes dulls the desire for something else. If you’re ready to try and make some things happen though, that’s great. Making family work with everything else may be a challenge but if it’s important, we’ll figure it out.

Semi-athletically yours,

Your Loving Wife

* Photo taken at last years Sculptures By The Sea

Month Sixty-Five

December

Dear Husband,

You broke again this month. You are really not having a good year are you? It’s not quite as bad as the time you spent three weeks in hospital for a headache, especially since the hospital was not actually involved in this one but yet again, you’re just sort of…broken.

What started out as you complaining of neck and back ache became a trip to the chiropractor and the diagnosis of a compacted disc in your neck…and by the way, your lower vertebrae appears fractured! The first one is of course causing you all sorts of pain now and the latter, well, one day that could have you lying and weeping in a heap on the ground if it gets any worse and bone starts rubbing on bone according to one professional. Not a particularly cheerful thought.

Not really a cheerful thought either was the recommendation for treatment by both the chiro and the physio. You have of course had several appointments this month for they are treating you as an acute pain patient but ongoing, they have recommended corrective treatment. Three times a week. For three months. Holy heck, that’s a lot. I have actually seen your preliminary X-ray though and your spine is not straight and it is definitely doing a number of unideal spiny things. If corrective treatment is what you need then I think you should do it.

I actually wonder whether this has either caused or contributed to the number of sickness type of illnesses you have had recently. I mean, I don’t think it’s the reason you caught influenza or anything but so often you have headaches or feel queasy or are just “not well”. I wonder whether that is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong and fixing this will fix a whole lot of other things. It is kind of concerning that at some indeterminate time in the future, your back could get that painful because your tail bone isn’t where it should be. That could be really serious. And really expensive. I would never begrudge you the cost of getting well of course but if we can spend less now instead of more later, I am totally up for that.

In fact, I think I am up to more than you give me credit for sometimes. Like camping. This year we decided to accept the invitation from friends to camp with them over New Years. Now I admit, I am not an experienced camper. The first time I went camping, I was a teenager in Sea Scouts. The next time, I was in year 10 with a school group. That was it. Those were the two times that I have slept in a tent. I was never anxious about the idea though. I was never worried that I might not get a “glamping” experience. I wasn’t even fussed with having a huge tent. I would have slept in a little 3 person dome happily. My lack of experience became a discussion point though.

You have spent the last couple of months stressing about what we should acquire, what we will need to bring and how it should all be. You also spent the time just before we left sniping at me because…I’m not really sure. Part of it was because I left things to you since you seemed to want to control everything. I’m guessing you didn’t? Part of it was (as you eventually confided), you are not an experienced holiday camper either – you know hiking and bare bones camping or whatever you call it. And part of it was because, in the lead up to Christmas, we were both stressed and tired, you were in pain, and sometimes we really just don’t communicate on the same page. But we survived.

The drive to the campsite was bloody awful and traffic was a nightmare. Five hours became eight. We arrived at night in the rain and you and a mate pitched the tent in the wet while the mums wrangled the littles and made dinner. Amen for powered camp sites and sandwich presses! The tents were stifling in the day as there was minimal breeze in the valley. It continued to rain for half the time and we left early in favour of packing up in the dry and spending some time at your mum’s. Oh yeah, and of the 14 people that we camped with, I was the only one that escaped vomiting…I did nearly break my toe on a chair right before we left though which was bloody painful even if the hospital says it may just be bruised…So it wasn’t an auspicious way to start a camping tradition. We are planning on doing it again next year though so I think my lack of experience should have been the least of your worries. It was certainly the least of mine.

Happy New Year though and may the next year bring positive changes for both of us, careerwise at least, or at a bare minimum, not more of the same. You went for an internal (EA) role at work and were passed over again which really got you down and I had my stunning belly-flop of a role negotiation which I’d rather not remember. I hope for both of us that this year is bigger and better and the whole one-step-forwards-two-steps-back is the exception rather than the rule. And I hope we win lotto. Cause I like to keep it real.

On the other hand, this year with Genibean has been awesome and I have been able to share that with you which is pretty darned cool.

Campingly yours,

Your Loving Wife

* Photo was of me dressed as Mary Poppins for my Christmas party – because who doesn’t want to see Mary Poppins bowling…she probably shouldn’t have been still drinking at this point though cause her game got shocking!

Month Sixty-Four

November-2

Dear Husband,

You got the flu this month. Not the man-flu or a bit of a cold but the honest to God, influenza B, flu. You were feverish and sore and weak and feeling sufficiently crappy that you actually called up to get taken to hospital in an ambulance! You don’t do things by halves do you? Although it was a trifle anticlimactic in the end because there were no sirens and they walked you into the back rather than carting you in via stretcher. Oh well…

And then, you weren’t actually in there for very long, preferring to come home as soon as possible. They did pump you full of IV fluids while you were there though. And give you a number of drugs to make you feel better. And possibly to help correct some of the damage that you had inadvertently done to yourself. Because who wouldn’t think that drinking heaps of water and staying hydrated was one of the right things to do when you get sick? Apparently too much of a good thing is a bad thing though and all you really achieved was flushing out the vitamins and minerals that might have helped you fight the illness.

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So you were in hospital for a couple of days which was great because Genevieve got to steal your custard dessert and absolutely terrible because we needed to leave you in the hospital to come home. It was also logistically inconvenient managing work, daycare and visits and not wanting to drive my head into a wall or rather curl up in a ball and hibernate for a while. I am glad you are feeling better now though and I’m glad you got expert care. I am also rethinking the level of our private health cover which calls for an excess. That plus the pharmacy bills stung a little.

What also had me taking a bit of umbrage this month was the fact that you are now getting suspicious when I am nice. Am I really that much of a curmudgeon or tyrant normally that any “nice” behaviour is to be questioned!?! Perhaps you shouldn’t answer that. But can I not genuinely want to do something really nice for you? I mean I have known that you really miss having a Bluetooth speaker since yours got busted. I know that you’d really like to buy one. It’s not the first thing on the shopping list when we go out however and I haven’t felt that a purchase such as this could really be justified recently. Enter some forgotten birthday money and a market research gig though and there were some discretionary funds – and I gave them to you. When cash in hand is essentially outside the budget, I have no problem being frivolous with it.

You thought I had some ulterior motive though. You thought I was trying to butter you up so I could drop something on you later that you would be obliged to put up with because I had been nice first. That is kinda wrong….Although I can also kinda see why you went there…I honestly did just want to do something nice for you though!

Nicely yours,

Your Loving Wife

Month Sixty-Three

Anniversary

Dear Husband,

Earlier this year, I glossed over our anniversary. I wrote about ovens and rain and mundane things that were I guess uppermost in my mind at the end of the month. I wasn’t remembering that towards the beginning of August was the day that marked five years of us being married to each other.

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But I have been thinking about it recently. Especially as several couples of our acquaintance have been having marital difficulties. Both ones that have been married but a few years and also ones that have been married for many. Each marriage is unique of course, with its own set of challenges and obstacles, but from the outside, some of the language sounds the same.

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The words “divorce” and “leave” and “go” and “can’t” have all been spoken or at least considered. And impressions of enough and over and empty and gone start to exist where satisfaction and happiness and love once reigned. What occurred to me though, and what I wanted to tell you, was that those things haven’t occurred to me.

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We have had our share of ups and downs in the last five years. We have been through some stressful times together. We have also been through some big changes. You may have irritated the crap out of me on occasion just as I have frustrated you but not having you there as my husband has never been a potential solution to any problem. There are times that I need my space, sure, but I have never wished you gone permanently. I have never thought my life would be better or fuller or easier if you were not in it on a full-time basis and I wanted you to know that.

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As we have both agreed on several occasions, we balance each other out. Your intuition to my sense, your feeling to my thinking. We can both be independent people and fortunately, we are not so bound up in each other that we cease to function effectively when we’re apart. However, I do find that I have better balance when you are there and sometimes by just knowing you will be.

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It can take me a while to get comfortable arriving some place new. I don’t like not knowing what my path ahead looks like and I can be disconcerted by feeling exposed on the way when I must actively participate in my route. I can be a creature of habit, I know, and asking me to change the plan in my head on the spur of the moment doesn’t always work. I am not sure exactly where I am going with this except to say that despite the fact that you may think I constantly shut you down, I do listen to you, I do heed your advice and I do trust you. It may just look a little different through my eyes…What looks the same for both of us though are these pictures across the years that we have been together.

Happy (belated) anniversary Dear Husband, here endeth the schmaltz, I’m yours,

Your Loving Wife