Boxing Day

Well, so much for the fight being drained out of me. Mister Stoic Face read mine. I can’t help it. Whatever I’m feeling shows on my face. I kept it together while the girls were here, determined not to say anything with it being Christmas and all, but the audacity of the situation flashed on my face when he went to kiss me on his way out the door.

“That look,” he said. “That’s why I’m leaving. You gave me that same look earlier.”

He kept talking as he walked off the porch, mumbling something about what the hell’s got into you. So, I opened the door and yelled, “Congratulations on your relationship with [Her Full Name]!”

You saw that? YES… someone screen shot her page and sent it to me. HE didn’t do it, HE didn’t respond. That’s what this is about? YES! Rawr-rawr back and forth, slammed doors and peeled tires, and I had my Facebook relationship status changed to “Single” before he could hit the first red light. He’s not in a relationship with anyone? Neither am I.

Yeah, frikkin Facebook.

A couple days ago, I noticed that he had changed his privacy level, just the privacy level, so no one else could see that he was in a relationship with me… so, I hid mine, too. Within 24 hours, that woman posted her own “in a new relationship” post AND at the same time, replaced the background photo on her page with a photo of MY boyfriend and his grandchildren snapped at a family function that he had either sent to her OR she had swiped off his page. A friend of hers who is a mutual friend of one of my friends saw it, did a screen shot, and it landed in my inbox on Christmas Day.  Her new relationship post did not say with whom as he had yet to confirm it… but that photo, along with the comments, made it frikkin obvious.

I forwarded the screen shot to his daughter knowing full well it would tick her off to see a photo of HER children on that woman’s page. Oh, she was livid. That woman has never met her OR her children. How dare she post that as her page header photo? I told her that he doesn’t know that I know yet… she must not have mentioned it before they came over, because he was acting like everything is just fine and dandy. I held it together until after everyone else had left. Then I just couldn’t hide it anymore.

A couple hours later, I get a text. Can we talk?

We had a long talk… he can’t help that woman has had a crush on him since grade school and he cannot control what she puts on her page. He’s not messing with her… they’re just old friends, dated for about 3 months in High School, he knows her family, knew her husband, blah blah blah… they lost contact off and on over the years. She sent him a Facebook friend request ye about a year ago… yes, he’s stopped by to see her a few times, but he’s not messing with her… they’re just old friends catching up over drinks.

So, she’s delusional? This is all her fantasy? Completely one sided? Why hasn’t he checked her? Set her straight? Is she some kind of psycho bitch? Or, does she have reason to believe that there is more to it than what he thinks there is?

I didn’t ask those questions out loud. I know him… he hugs his female friends. Maybe she falsely interpreted an innocent hug. Maybe she takes all those “love you” memes and pass-along messenger share things a bit too personally. Maybe he’s being straight up and honest with me. Maybe he’s not.

Does it matter? NO

Our long talk was mostly about us… where we are, where we were, where we screwed up, and where we go from here. We talked about us as individual people, what we need, what we want, how we are. Time for a new chapter. Life goes on, turn the page.

As for that frikkin Facebook, it causes more problems than it’s worth… we are still friends, but I don’t think I’m going to click any likes or comment on his shit just in case she is some kind of psycho bitch who might want to eliminate me in real life, too.

Thanks for reading. I’m so looking forward to 2019… this year, I’m going to start it right.

Perspective 12-25-18

I’ve been quiet about personal things instead of thinking out loud on this virtual paper for awhile, opting to post recipes and such. Kept pretty much to myself in real life, too.  Those who follow this blog know about my relationship with the vet, a man who is my polar opposite on everything.

From the get-go, I didn’t think it would work. I put him off for an entire year, said no every time he said something about wanting to hang out together, that he’d like to get to know me. Truth is, he kind of scared me. He can look mean as hell with that military persona, stoic face and all. I had to see him with his granddaughter, watch him met into a puddle of love, to know he wasn’t dangerous. When I finally said okay, let’s go get a cup of coffee, I was thinking maybe it will help him see our differences, that his interest in me would quickly fade once he, too, realized that we have absolutely nothing in common. It didn’t. A week later, he stood with his hat in his hands and humbly said, “God willing, I would like to get to know you.”  It took an open mind and open heart. We had to learn each other, explain what words and phrases meant, as well as the what and why and how we do things. Still, I did not keep a journal like a school girl, didn’t note first anything on a calendar. Didn’t think it mattered. And, to be brutally honest, the first time I banged him was when I needed to feel alive again. I was feeling cold and empty inside after my aunt died, as if a part of me had died, too. It was a “what would Betty do?”

Told my ex-husband after he met the vet and asked how I hooked up with that guy. His reaction was, “Oh My God! You’re aunt was wild, you can’t make life decisions based on what she’d do!”

Yeah, I wanted to feel alive. What would Betty do?

His kisses quieted my mind. That totally amazed me. I didn’t have to think… I could just be. As I got to know him, I discovered a whole new side of me. Part of it might have been that I still didn’t see any possibility of a future with this man… all we had was right here, right now, totally in the moment.

Time passed. Love blossomed and grew as we settled into a routine of being friends and lovers. When I bought this house, he damn near moved in with me even though he kept his own apartment downtown like a security blanket, only stayed there maybe a couple nights a month in that first year. Things started going south near the end of 2017, when behavior patterns coincided with rumors highly suggesting that he was seriously trying to hide an addiction. It was his own private war, one his daughter had told me that he had overcome before, something he finally acknowledged but never could open up enough to talk to me about it. That’s the thing… another one of our opposites. My life is an open book, live out loud, be out loud… his book is so closed that “The Secret Life of [His Name]” would be a fitting title.

It’s always been his world, my world, and a wee little overlap of those two circles, the intersection labeled “US” printed up above with an arrow pointing down to it. His world is closely guarded, very private. I’m not allowed in it. For my own good, so says the man who acts like going to the store for a loaf of bread is a covert mission. That might be a leftover military thing. My world has open borders, come on in, I’ll pour you a cup of coffee, let’s talk about anything. As he started spending more and more time away, coming back with a don’t ask and don’t tell, just kiss me I’m home kind of way about himself, all those secrets got me to thinking that he was seeing someone else… we broke up on the 4th of July because I noticed a brand new freshly cut house key next to the key to my house on his key chain. He couldn’t tell me whose door it opened so I took my key off… hell, he couldn’t even tell me who cooked the ribs and chicken than he brought in and asked me to warm up.

A couple days later, he came to visit and told me that we just needed a break… that I needed time to get back to being me again. He thought I was losing my me by trying to blend into his world. (Wrong! I couldn’t blend into his world if I wanted to… he always kept me locked me out.) So, for darn near 6 months now, he’s been popping by to see me whenever he feels like it and in the meanwhile, I’ll work on me, you work on you.

I still think he’s been seeing someone else; she’s been trying to make herself known… after her last little stunt, I flat out asked him if he was banging her. He gave me a non-answer. So okay, like the lyrics Stevie Nicks sang, I took it as, “the truth has finally come down.”

Surprisingly, I wasn’t hurt or even mad about it. He totally sucks at trying to juggle two women, to the point of being amusing at times. I believe him when he says he loves me… but, I also know it’s possible to love more than one person. I still love every man I ever loved. It’s not the same as every love is different, but if you really love someone, you can’t turn it on and off like a faucet. Whether you act on it, nurture it, or just tuck in away into a crevice in your heart, that’s a choice.

I haven’t quite decided what to do about it… right now I can see us as slowing fading into just being friends. It’s like I told his daughter on cookie day (she’s been reading this woman’s comments on his Facebook posts): if you ever meet her, give her a chance, she might be okay. You know? Maybe she’s easy… easy for him to understand, easy for him to be with… maybe she’s from his world, so he doesn’t feel the need to hide or protect her from what he’s doing, maybe she does it, too.

Me and the vet, we don’t come easy, we’re polar opposites, don’t fully understand each other, have difficulties communicating, we never run out of stuff we have to explain. Like when I told the vet that I had just ordered a little 3 jaw chuck with an M-1 taper for my dad’s little lathe, he looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language and said, “What’s a lathe?”

Yeah… those who know me understand the impact that simple little question had on me. I grew up around machinery. I got paid a quarter to clean my daddy’s lathe. I’m a retired Tool & Die Maker. What’s a lathe? Okay, he’s street… got street smarts. He doesn’t make anything. I’m always tinkering. Just another polar opposite.

It’s been quite a ride…  not easy, never boring, and no regrets. By changing my perspective, the fight has drained out of me, so has the hurt and anguish… I love him, but I can see myself walking away.

Old Screen Door

Fresh paint and a new wire screen spruced up the old screen door.

The vet stopped by for a visit and pretended not to notice.

I expected him to say something, not that I needed lavish praise or anything. I thought he might test the tension with a finger, maybe nod appreciation. Care and patience were required to dismantle and reassemble the screen section without breaking the old molding.

No, it doesn’t look brand new… it’s an old wooden door, vintage with scars and character, a bit of history in every layer of paint. I think the worn out screen was original.

He paid no attention to the door, not even after he opened it to exit. I was standing in the house, looking out that door while he standing out on the porch. He continued to ignore the door just like he ignored the photo I had posted on Facebook.

So I said, “Hey, I think I did a pretty good job on this door.”

Still nothing. Then he looks at me and says, “Why didn’t you paint the rails?”

Yeah, he’s talking about the vertical metal porch rails visible in this photo snapped from inside the house (love how “clear” the screen looks; it’s almost invisible).

What the hell?

I told him that I haven’t got to that yet.

It’s Fall. If you notice, it’s been raining. A lot. I’m also a disabled woman doing what I can as I can. It’s slow going. I do a little at a time. It took many hours and lots of breaks to get as much painted as I did.

He’s mad because I hired my son-in-law to finish painting the porch instead of asking him.

He’s mad because he thinks my son-in-law milked a 30 minute job into two hours and didn’t bother to paint the face boards up around the outside edge. I should have inspected the job better before I paid him. What exactly did he do?

The vet wanted me to show him, as he had already seen THIS photo (porch ceiling) of what I had done BEFORE hiring help to get where I couldn’t get by dabbing with rollers and brushes stuck up on sticks.

So, what now? He just noticed that my son-in-law painted only painted the wooden hand rail on top of the metal railing?

There is a reason for that… I assumed the white was all done when my son-in-law opened the can of “dark rum raisin” brown and started painting the wooden hand rail on top of the railing. I watched for a minute… then I decided to call the job done. He didn’t paint the metal railing because I told him to finish painting the wooden hand rail and we’ll call it done, that’s enough for today.

This is not my first rodeo. Anyone who has ever painted twisted metal porch railing knows that you have to paint those rails from all sides, that it is so much easier to lean over the hand rail to do it. Otherwise, you have to run around, up and down, on and off the porch multiple times, wiggling through bushes, and might even need a step stool in places to reach those rails. Unless you are a tall contortionist, you do not paint the wooden top rail first. I wasn’t going to pay $10 an hour to watch him try to do that.

I didn’t know that he skipped painting the outside around the top, as I had specifically told him, when I was outside showing him what needed done, to do that and finish the two wooden corner posts FIRST. (He was talking about going over what I had already painted and I didn’t think there was enough paint to re-do what I did AND paint where I couldn’t reach.) Yes, I should have looked. I should have walked off the porch, looked up, and inspected the work before I paid him. Oh well. Does it really matter? No… the whole house will be professionally painted next year, if I can save up enough cash to get it done. This painting was just to tide things over, prevent some wood rot this winter while making it look like someone actually does care about this place. At least enough to spruce up that old screen door.

 

FOUR DAYS LATER:  I got the rails done.

The vet said he’d paint those missed boards when we get some dry days again. This is Ohio so, never know when that might be. Snow could fly before then.

I realized something… painting that screen door was just another change. About every time the vet comes over, something is different. Every little change I make, inside or out, reminds him that everything is changing. Nothing will never be exactly the same as it was before. The house is different. The dynamics of our relationship is different. We are different. It has only been four months since we decided to take a break in our relationship to work on ourselves and here I am, making all these little changes.

I have to… otherwise, I’d feel like I was living in a shrine of what was. It would feel like I’m drowning in a stagnant pond of my own tears. Besides, some changes are just normal upkeep and all, things I would have done anyway.

We still love each other… that is the one constant in the flux of everything. Right now, there is no future and no past, just one day at a time, one text, one call, one visit. Can we roll with what comes?

Thanks for reading!