Friday, August 30, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #35

Guten morgen and Happy Friday to you all!  It's been a semi-productive week around here.  I enjoyed some girl time last night with my friend which was much needed.  Lots of hugs to catch up on between one for her mom's health, the loss of her grandpa and cancelling her wedding.  I asked if it could be just her since it'll basically be the last time in 32 years of friendship that I'll have her to myself and I'm glad I did.  I'll have the next 32 years to have him around. 

Let's jump into...

10 Most Common Weight Loss Mistakes in 2019, And How to Fix Them  (Changing the routine, coming up)

7 Expert-Approved Ways to Write a Better To-Do List  (Get to it!)

6 Reasons Why Exercise Makes You Happy  (I know we sure can't live without it!)

Does Our Primitive Survival Instinct Still Work in the 21st Century?  (Easy to say, hard to implement millions of years of instinct.)

The Key to Turning Your Daily Walk into a Legit Workout  (Word to yer mutha)

17 Signs You’re a “High-Maintenance” Partner  (Sorry Mr, your brother tried to tell you!)

Six Brain Hacks To Learn Anything Faster  (For the Mr.)

Do Stink Bugs Bite? How to Identify the Home-Invading Insect  (The season is almost upon us.)

Why It Was Easier to Be Skinny in the 1980s  (I don't know that it ever truly answers why, more of a commentary on how effed we are!)

This Is Why Kohl’s Is Now Accepting Amazon Returns  (Don't care why- here...take this broken, unwieldy kayak sail.)

These Adorable Pet Comics Are Too Relatable For Animal Lovers  (Cute but mute if you click due to loud ad.)

Today I'll be knee-deep in ricotta cookie dough and pineapple favors for tomorrow's shower.  Looking forward to being done with those and I'll get the car loaded up with the stuff we'll need to drop off.  Then the shower tomorrow and my birthday dinner in the evening.  Sunday will probably be in the basement and Monday cleaning up crap for the window guys to come on Tuesday. 

Is it Wednesday yet?

What are you guys getting into this Labor Day weekend?

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Thursday, August 29, 2019

I Like to Move It, Move It

(In case you want to listen to the song.)

Is it the weekend yet?  Oh yeah, I don't get one of those this time around, wake me when it's the 6th.

I've been working in the basement and it is in an unfortunate state of "this needs to get done over here before I can move what's over there, over here and before we can get that delivered."  It makes it quite slow moving because I can't take stuff off of a shelf until I have room to move that stuff too.  It's maddening.  I did get some of the artwork on the walls which felt good because I always envisioned that as one of the last things I'd do before it was ready to be done.  #foolsparadise

(This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a nominal commission, at no cost to you, should you make a purchase.)

We had this huge spinning DVD rack packed full of DVD's and while it served us well for close to 10 years, it just came out too far for me to be able to deal with it anymore.  I looked high and low for a DVD rack that would fit against the wall and not be some monster piece of furniture to deal with.  I know we could digitize but we have better things to do with our time and we both like the feel of a DVD when it's time to watch a movie.  By some miracle, I found this tall but small rack that would fit almost all of our DVD's!  It arrives today so that meant I needed to just dig the heck in...

That was after I purged almost a whole shelf of The L Word series and 40 other DVD's.  The Mr hasn't gone through them yet so he'll thin out as we reload.  We said there were a few that we would like to digitize and donate because we don't need a physical copy.  I'm going to put some studs under the unit to jack it all the way to the joists then strap it so it doesn't tip and hopefully, we can put any box sets in a plastic bin under it.  Then I got the screwdriver and hammer and beat the hell out of that thing until it was dismantled.  I should've worn my HRM because I'm sure I got about 200 calories in on that alone.

Right now, I'm all about that space, 'bout that space, no treble. 

My friend is coming over tonight so we can exchange birthday gifts and we can have a little alone time since she had to cancel the last time she was here.  It'll be nice to get a little time before we're thrown into bridal shower mode.  There was an "impromptu" bachelorette party thrown together 6 days prior and I declined.  The person has had 4 months to plan all of this and you give people 6 days notice?!  I'm sorry, it's my birthday weekend, I have plans and I'm not cancelling.  People can be...frustrating.  Then I was told her mom had some issues and had to go to the hospital the other night but is apparently better now.  I'll be able to see for myself the day after tomorrow.  At this point, I'm just praying if her health takes a turn for the worst that my friend can at least get her wedding and honeymoon in peace.  I think it will break her if she has to cancel/postpone her wedding again.

We got the house all cleaned up last night so I'll get in my early workout today assuming I can walk.  The workouts this week have been BRUTAL!  A lot of Hard Corps, the Transform 20 Shaun-a-Thon and Joel just being...Joel.  (I promise, BOD review coming in the next few weeks.  I just have to get over this hump!)

Do you still have DVD's or did you purge those eons ago?

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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

His Side of the Story

One of My Turns

As many of you have read through the posts that the Mrs. has shared about the rough patch we’ve been going through I started to reflect on what my own personal changes were in this past year and thought it might be helpful to share as well. But before I can get to where I am now, I’m going to have to really flex my discomfort muscle (a term I will have to describe in more detail in a bit) and share some of my personality traits that honestly would have caused me to have a panic attack about admitting to in the past.

The Happiest Days of our Lives

I once thought that my childhood was about as idyllic as a kid could ask for – but I realize now how much it actually screwed me up in a lot of ways too. I had two loving parents and two older brothers - one of which I idolized and the other, I well, tolerated up to a certain point.   (He later bullied me because of my weight so we never really got along.)  My Dad worked a lot being a business owner, and he had an amazing work ethic. Sometimes this meant he’d have to leave the dinner table to take a call and he’d be on the phone with a rather needy client until way past my own bedtime, but I knew it was so we could have the things we wanted. I was spoiled with toys and video games as a result. I guess in a lot of ways I made up for that lack of time with Dad by filling up the voids with stuff. Stuff being anything from Star Wars figures and GI Joes to food.  I definitely got my work ethic and a lot of the nice guy syndrome from him.

The Mrs. kind of touched on the fact that my Mom had it very ingrained in her that perception mattered more than reality when it came to the family reputation. Being that I was the baby in the family, I ended up getting the most attention from Mom as a toddler than my older brothers had since they were 5 and 6 years older than me and essentially grew up together, sharing her attention in the process. So I think I learned a lot of the people-pleasing and art of subtle manipulation early on in life from her.

However, I honed those skills while navigating 12 years of catholic school where I had to always be on my best behavior, or at least try to. My first year of school was wrought with “bad behavior” from me. My homeroom teacher threatened to tie me up and actually did tape my mouth shut and made me wear that tape even on the bus home. Thankfully a nice bus driver told me to yank it off as soon as we left the school parking lot. I think that was my first big lesson in what happens when you try to be yourself and to this day I truly believe that my personality changed as a result of the behavior of certain teachers in that first year of school. I’m not claiming any kind of abuse - although I did get slapped across the face by a nun at one point as well as a recurring punishment by a priest.  He would squeeze the life out of the back of your neck if you so much as placed the water and wine on the wrong side of his dish during mass (he'd wait til after mass when nobody but God was watching of course)- but let’s just say that none of this would be considered appropriate in today’s society – this was 1978.

Couple all of that with the bullying that goes along with being a fat kid and mix in the, prior to school, mentality that the baby in the family could do no wrong, and I know now that what I lacked in real self-esteem was compensated for by adjusting my personality to fit situations and using manipulative tactics in my attempts to get what I wanted. I figured out how to mind-read and tell people what I knew they wanted to hear so that they would always like me and think the world of me and then I would be able to work my way in and eventually get what I wanted as well.  What I didn’t know then, and what I finally realized, is that I was fooling only myself in all of this. Ultimately, it cost me my integrity. I was not a genuine person. I didn’t even know what being a genuine person was.

Another Brick in the Wall

When I was a kid, I absolutely loved Pink Floyd – The Wall. I didn’t understand a damn thing that was happening, but I could listen to that double album back to back without stopping and feel every moment of it. I think I realize what it all means now, for me at least. And I came to this realization at the point where, in the Mrs.’ story, she informed you that she had seen me in a very sad mood during our first retreat. I told her I was saying goodbye to my childhood, but the reality is it’s a bit deeper than just that. I was actually coming to terms with the idea that I had built a wall of my own that kept me from ever putting myself out there and being truly vulnerable. I became so good at people-pleasing that I believed my own hype.  I had built a personality that was actually my wall that protected me from all the bad stuff that I thought comes from actually letting people in, or letting them know your business. All the fears, anxiety and “what will people think” situations my Mom had instilled in me could never come true if I just kept people at arms’ length and never actually let my true personality show through the veneer.

But last year, in that moment of clarity, I truly realized that living that way means you are not a genuine person at all. Worse, you lose so much of yourself in all of that pretending that suddenly you don’t even realize or remember who you really are, or what you really like or dislike in this life. It makes it very hard to form our own opinions, have your own genuine beliefs – or even make simple choices sometimes.

The Mrs. mentioned how her family just loves me, and I could do no wrong and how this bothered her. I think she’s right to think that I was partially aware of this fa├žade that I was perpetuating. I lived for that. It was my main goal in life to make people think I was that perfect guy and anything that would threaten that was a threat to my personal wellbeing, so I would “burn it all down” if cornered. I believe this is where a lot of my honestly poor ability to fight fair came from. I went straight for the jugular, knowing what her deepest fear was and using it to manipulate so that she would stop the threat of exposing the real me.

I know this all sounds very harsh, but it was time for me to get harsh with myself. Actually, another Pink Floyd – The Wall reference comes to mind here too (Floyd fans will notice other things in this post, I had to have some fun). The Trial is a song that comes near the end of the album (and movie) where Pink finally has to come to the realization that he built this wall around his heart and it was really all a way to avoid having to take responsibility for his own actions and his own parts of his life that led him down the path that got him in the mess in the first place. Welp, that’s me in this story too. I had to accept that even though I may have learned some behaviors that didn’t do me any favors as a kid, at some point in time I was well aware of some of the things I was doing and it was never going to change if I wasn’t willing to face up and take responsibility for my own part in all of that. I had lived life building the wall and avoiding responsibility for far too long, and it was time to tear down the wall. It’s no secret that even in the song “The Trial,” Pink’s sentence is “to be exposed before your peers.” Does a blog post count?

Outside the Wall

I have read quite a few books on how to get myself to a better place. One of those books the Mrs. mentioned was No More Mr. Nice Guy. It actually did help a lot, but I’m not going to lie, it starts out with a brutal chapter about what being a nice guy really means that was extremely hard to accept but also impossible for me to deny. Basically, it reinforced the realization I had come to on my own – that being a nice guy means you lack integrity and are not really genuine. Harsh… but true.

I also read a book called Not Nice: Stop People Pleasing, Staying Silent, & Feeling Guilty... And Start Speaking Up, Saying No, Asking Boldly, And Unapologetically Being Yourself. That is the book that has taught me to practice by “flexing my discomfort muscle,” which is slowly helping me to be more assertive. I don’t agree with all of the things that particular book offers up in terms of how to practice (for example, messing with people’s heads for the sake of flexing your discomfort is not something I can get on board with) but I have to give it the credit for the idea of practice makes perfect when it comes to learning to be more assertive and genuine.

Comfortably Numb

I need to stress something very important too that I realized while going through all of this. The biggest problem with always people-pleasing or just being too nice is that in the end you just start to resent everyone. You always feel like you’re losing even if in the moment you might win by avoiding the conflict which is typically that biggest fear for someone like me. Resentment is essentially the “brick in the wall” that undermined our relationship the most, and it also lead to me being an angry person behind the wheel. I would also resent people at work because I would see them clearly taking advantage of me and all I could do was stew about it or tell my wife about it only to disappoint her because she’d tell me how to deal with it (her natural assertiveness makes me jealous by the way) and I would inevitably cave and never really do anything aside from piling on more resentment – for her, for them, everyone but myself because, well, I was the victim! I became comfortable in being resentful, but numb to any real passion or feelings – with the exception of those explosive angry moments of course where it would all just release at once.

Resentment is the enemy in any relationship. Not just marriage. Family, friends, co-workers, you name it. Resentment will ruin it all and leave you by yourself in the end. So I’m thankful for finally getting to the root of some of my personality traits that have just not worked for me. It was time for me to accept my faults, embrace what was left and rebuild from there with the idea that I could be a person with integrity who is not afraid to stand up for himself or what he believes in and who can live a life that is happier because it is no longer burdened with resentment.
Now, I’m still human, of course. I have not been 100% better on all fronts, but I’m practicing, and while I know it takes time, I am relentless in pursuing my goal of getting to be that better version of myself all around. I also find that it ties quite remarkably into the weight loss journey. In some ways, I feel like I finally cracked the code on what was making me so unhappy on that underlying level all these years. Even long before I met the Mrs.

Much as she said, we brought a lot of our crap to the table when we met. We were far too young to realize what kind of baggage we even had. But thankfully we’re still here together, and we truly do have each other’s backs. I thrive on the encouragement I get from her when I tell her how I’ve dealt with someone at work who tried to drop extra work on me. It helps a lot because even as I still hear that little voice in my head telling me to just cave in and avoid conflict, her words of encouragement are far more valuable to me and it makes each time easier and easier.

Whew! This was tough to write. Even tougher to share. But I hope it helps! I will say the comments people have been leaving have been wonderful to read. It makes sharing like this worth it. The internet can be such a negative place, but I’m glad our little corner of it has been positive. But rest assured, if the need should arise, I’m ready to flex my discomfort muscles!

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Monday, August 26, 2019

Reschedules, Binges and Showered Up

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope you got into some mischief over the weekend!

We kicked off our weekend by dealing with HOA incompetency.  We're scheduled to get our driveway sealed while we were out of town the weekend before last which was awesome because it never works out that way for us.  Well, it didn't and they bumped someone ahead of us so we were switched to almost a week later.  We got the car moved and ready and...rain.  Reschedule date?  The day before our windows were scheduled to be installed so they couldn't park right in front of the house.  (Now THAT'S how it always works for us.  Welcome back!)  The Mr called to see if that was going to be an issue to walk it an extra 25 ft, it shouldn't be.  It was.  So we had to reschedule and of course, it's the day after my birthday so there's no rest for the wicked.  Not that birthdays mean much these days anyway but still.  Just one more thing we had to deal with that we shouldn't have if the HOA stuck to their own friggin' rules.

Friday I finished some nook and cranny stuff in the "cave."  The area under our stairs that went from light and open with no wall to dark, cave-like and feeling incredibly smooshed even though no space was lost other than walling it up.  Season three of 13 Reasons Why came out so we got our Netflix card for the next two months and fired it up.  I think we got four or five episodes in before calling it a night.

Saturday we got ready after the Mr did some studying and grabbed lunch.  We were close to a Hobby Lobby so we went in there and grabbed a few things before heading to Home Depot. 

How do I know we're meant to be?  The Mr picked this up and said "what do you think of when you see this?"
I responded in a nanosecond "Brady Bunch, Kings Island, the switched plans!"

We paid Grandma a visit and brushed off her stone and her neighbor since they don't bother.   We started in on a few more episodes, took a break to get some trash from the basement out of there, recycling out of the house, make dinner and then get back to who killed Bryce Walker.  We both agreed it was a pleasure watching Justin Prentice deliver as Bryce but the new character was friggin' annoying and was of course, in every episode.  We didn't feel the finale was a good pay off and I won't be in a hurry to watch next year if there's a season four since I can't really take these characters anymore.  Pfft.

Sunday we had our baby shower so that meant an early workout.  (Who has a baby shower at 5:30pm on a Sunday??)   It didn't end up being that early though.  We got Mt. Laundry folded and put away before the new batch was ready to make its way up.  We did Hard Corps Cardio 1 and LIIFT 4 week 8 Chest and Back.  That was a killer.  The Mr got to making his turkey for the week then I got in there to make brunch and we didn't end up eating until 2pm so I didn't have to worry about us being tempted by any food at the shower.   I grabbed a shower of my own and we got on our way to flex our discomfort muscles going into a house full of strangers except for the expectant mother.  Discomfort it was.  It was good to see her and we chatted for a few minutes with others but it was 3. HOURS. before we were told they weren't opening presents.  Um, that's what a shower is for!!  That's the pay off!  We were only planning on staying 90 minutes or so but kept sticking around for the promise of present opening.  Finally, when we said we were going to leave (we were one of the last ones there) the Mr mentioned something about not getting to see what people got them and she asked if we wanted her to open ours and we're like "YES!!!!"  Since it was a couples shower, I used that excuse to get a present from each of us.  A pack and play from me and a swing from him.  She was happy and said we spoil her but I was just glad to see her open it.  Is this a thing now?  Going to a shower and not opening presents?   I was glad to get time with her but I left with a blazing headache.

We did a small grocery run afterward and were more than thankful our workout was done, his lunch was made and we could kick back on what was left of the rest of the night.  I was glad to get some chill time this weekend because I know this week is going to be a cluster.  My friend's bridal shower is Saturday and she informs me casually the shower is NOT at the place on the invites but next door.  Um, you put one address on the invite, that is where your SIL's shower was and everyone will take your word for it so you're going to do what?  Put up a sign?  (Which is what I suggested she tell the people throwing it to do.)  I told her, I was going to show up with everything I'm supposed to bring and would've freaked out if I'd been told they didn't know what I was talking about.  So yeah, thank God she said something or I'd be standing there with 100 cookies and 50 pineapple favors and a huge gift and people looking at me like I was insane.  I just have to shake my head even though I think "this wouldn't have happened if IIIIIIIIIIIII was throwing your shower!" but hey, not my circus, not my monkeys.  I just have to keep my eye on the prize which is to have both showers done and over with.  I don't mean that in a mean way, there's just been a lot of anxiety over both of them and it comes at a time that's already crammed full of stuff and it's two showers in less than a week so yeah.

What did you do this weekend?

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Friday, August 23, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #34

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope everyone has had a great week.  It's been a good one here because of the outpouring of love and support from all of you here and on Facebook.  We're truly touched at the support and the sharing of your own stories as well.  We'll be sharing just a touch more next week then back to regularly scheduled programming.  (aka- boring crap.)

But for now, let's bore into...

Here's Exactly How To Stop Yourself From Self-Sabotaging In The Moment  (Cut dat chit out!)

All Nuts Are Good for You, But These 8 Are the Healthiest  (We're all about the nuts here.)

Graphic helps identify what triggers you emotionally in relationships   (Great graphic to help you go deeper)

15 'habits' of people who grew up with an 'emotionally fragile' parent  (When getting 13 of 15 is a bad thing.  LOL)

This Is Exactly How To Deal With Someone Else's Negative Energy  (Because I'm a 9 year old boy at heart, I couldn't stop thinking I'd change my last name if I was that author.  Grow old, not up.)

33 home upgrades that cost less than $100  (A nice mix of good suggestions and eye rollers.)

This Is Exactly How Long Meal-Prepped Food Stays Good, According to a Food Safety Expert  (Definitely good info to know if you're thinking of meal prepping)

This Is The Toxic Habit That Can Slowly Ruin Your Relationship   (Truth)

Apathy: Alzheimer's oft-neglected symptom   (Good to know especially if you see a change in yourself or a loved one.)

Metallica Donates a Quarter-Million Dollars to Help Build First Children’s Hospital of Its Kind in Romania  (First, scaring off a cougar, now donating for children's hospital.)

‘Best Boyfriend Ever’ Fills Anniversary Gift – a Prescription of ‘Love Pills’– With Tiny Notes  (Aww, so sweet!)

Stranger’s Kindness Towards Anxious Senior on Airplane Leaves Witnesses Wiping Away ‘Happy Tears’  (I'm not crying, you're crying!  FYI- the woman referred to is not the woman by the window, she's a little shadowed by backlighting.  Look toward the middle of the pic.)

We've got a baby shower this weekend for a dear friend.  It's a couples thing, the Mr is going and I didn't even have to ask.  (I actually wasn't going to.  LOL)  I think this girl is literally the only person he'd do that for so he's going to be my anchor in a room full of strangers.  We went overboard but she's worth it and it'll be fun to see how they do showers now.  The baby of the last one I went to is 27 if that tells you anything.  NONE of my friends had kids so I definitely know how to pick like minded people!

What do you guys have on tap?

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Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Marriage Retreat

If you haven't read parts one and two of this story, start there and come on back.

As many of you know, the Mr has been going through health issues, and it was a very frightening 4 months for us trying to get answers and coming up relatively empty.  (We just saw a new doc this week and are much better doc wise.)  Needless to say between that, driving cross country to Yellowstone and Grand Teton for vacation, coming back to the Mr getting ridiculously hammered by his work ever since, the Mr having an important test to study for and me being all "hey we should reno the basement ourselves", we did not put our relationship agreement first.  It used to be up on the mantel, but then we started some work on ourselves last year, and when that work was somewhat stable, it never got moved back.  We saw improvements for the most part, so that was enough, right?  We even had a potential issue with a family dinner last month where I saw us going back into old patterns.  After a 7-hour panic attack that I could've avoided if I'd just opened my mouth like our agreement said, I finally did talk to him and felt like we were good, and all of the catastrophizing I did was for nothing.  I thought that was a sure sign we made progress.

I was very aware that reno's/home improvement projects can bring out frustrations in both of us.  I was cognizant of how I spoke to him, and he was calm when he didn't understand what I meant.  That lasted for 6 weeks which is way better than last year.  It was the week before our retreat that I was over the project, so was he and we were both getting frustrated.  I snapped at him a few times, and he didn't say anything in the moment, so I assumed he was letting it roll.  Until he didn't.  He blew up at me, and when I thought he was done and was sitting down to dinner to decompress after a crappy day, he gave me a bit of a verbal beat down, I returned the favor, and we stewed for a little bit.  Thankfully, because of all of the work we've been doing, we recovered much quicker and as far as I know, no apartment websites were searched.  The irony was not lost on either of us that it happened two days before our retreat.

When we went on our first marriage retreat last year and had such success with it, we decided that it was going to be an annual thing.  We got a new credit card with the higher cashback rate than we already had and it would be used to fund it yearly, so we weren't even paying anything out of pocket for it.  It would be easier to put off if it was coming out of savings or something, but we view it as marriage money, and it's to be used for nothing else.  If we have any leftover, we roll it into the next year.

One of the things listed to do in the time away according to the book is to take at least an hour to yourself.  Whether you're getting a massage, reading a book, reconnecting with nature, it's your time to not have any expectations or demands on your time.  It should go without saying that you should be unplugged the entire weekend/night so checking email and scrolling Insta are no-nos.  The first time we did this, the place we rented didn't have many spots to escape to.  I curled up on the couch to read, and he went on the back porch.  I remember when I was done, I peeked out at him and was going to either press my face or boobs against the glass.  But when I saw his face as he was listening to music from his youth, he looked so sad.  My heart broke wondering what he was thinking.  I told him later of my plans, and he said he was kind of saying goodbye to a childhood he tended to look at through rose-colored glasses.  It was something he would put on such a high pedestal at times, I felt like our current life could never live up to it.   I was sad for him but hoped that realizing it wasn't always what it was built up to in his mind meant there was more hope for our future.

This year, I booked a place that appeared to have some room.  It had more room than the previous place but not as much room as we would've liked.  A different aspect of this place was we wouldn't be alone, we had a band of misfits to keep us company.

Half of these animals were like "feed me only, do not try to pet me" and the cats were like "I'm going to bite you and scratch you when offered food and twirl your legs for the one that's allergic and head-butt you for ownership."  Why couldn't there have been dogs?  Anyhoo.

For us, bonding over building a campfire and keeping it lit should be a must-do for any marriage retreat.  You have to work together, be patient, be creative when you need kindling, and have a built-in stress reliever when it finally catches.

Oh, did I mention s'mores?  (Hershey Gold s'mores are the shizz yo.  Calories don't count on a marriage retreat.)

It's also the perfect setting for long conversations under the stars and gives you time to reconnect.

The next day my alone time was spent reading.

You can see, I wasn't alone, but they left after they saw food wasn't involved.  It was so nice to finally dig into Driving Miss Norma that the Mr got me for Christmas.  That's 8 months I didn't make the time to sit down and read it.  When I got up to go check on the Mr, this was my view.

(Cat Life)

We did go out for a few hours, and had lunch at a favorite spot, held a puppy at a store, and got some stuff for breakfast the next day.  The rest of the time was spent there.  I got a new book about 5 months ago called Hold Me Tight:  Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love.  (Just ONCE I want a short title.  "You Broke, I Fix.")  We didn't read all of it but got into a few of the scenarios and talked about how they related to us.  We had talked about how we'd improved solo and that the fighting was definitely way better than the previous year's growing pains.

I pulled out the relationship agreement we made the previous year and said there was one problem, we didn't do any of it.  We might have the first month or two we got back, but it got put away, and that was that.  We'd already done a lot of work on ourselves at that point, so that wasn't even a good excuse.  We became prolific note writers when the Mr was heading off for work.  I'd leave a note in his lunchbox or the table for his breakfast, and he'd leave one on my laptop.  There were occasional cards and flowers, which is nice, but the meat and potatoes of the agreement were still sitting on the plate, like Christina waiting for Joan to cave on the raw steak.  (Points if you got the reference)   He looked at it and agreed we screwed the pooch on that which is kind of sad.  Yes, we've had a lot going on this year and we actually have been so much happier this year relationship-wise even though it's been in the running for worst year ever, part two from last year.  That is when you need to connect and be the best version of yourselves the most.  We agreed to put it back on the mantel and make a point to do the things on the list.  One of which we've already failed at today which was taking 10 minutes to clean a little but the Mr put together the second half of some furniture for the workout space. So that's getting something cleaned...kinda.

Oh, didn't I tell you?  We thought the best way to celebrate a successful marriage retreat was to put together IKEA furniture!  We're rebels like that.

Are we 100%?  No, and we never were, if I'm being honest just because of all of the issues we brought with our young selves.  I think it should be mandatory that during your senior year in high school that you go through therapy before going out into the world.  We all are just so ill-equipped in one way or another and that is such a transitional period.  My parents had me at 17 and 18 and you saw how that ended.  I didn't want the Mr and I to go out like that but I also wasn't willing to pretend we were both happy when we weren't.  We both deserved more and thankfully want to have more...together.  You can walk the walk, but if you can't talk the talk when it matters to make sure both people are being heard, feelings are taken into consideration and to learn to fight fair, then you're doing your marriage/relationship a disservice.  Both parties have to be willing to own their part of the failure to communicate.  It's not one person changing so the other person is finally happy with them.   I liken it to Atreyu going through the second gate in the Neverending Story explained here.  It's both of you putting in the work and acknowledging some not so great things about yourself and making an effort to actually change it which is hard and needs consistent tending to.  That's what the first year has taught us, and now we have to take the relationship agreement seriously, and my goal is to say "yeah, we totally nailed most of that this year!"

We are very happy with our results and our choice to do "self-therapy" if you will.  We've both been to therapists and know their value but we also know what works for us.  We were open to various methods and thankfully this has produced results that we're still seeing every day.  I know not everyone has the self-discipline to go that route.  You have to decide for yourself what plan of action will most benefit you both.


We want to thank you all for the amazing comments and messages of support and empathy you showed us over the past few days.  You have no idea how much it means to us.  There is nothing scarier than sharing something so personal but this community has always had some good eggs which is why we felt safe doing so.  There are too many people ashamed of going through the same thing we were/are because our society is more focused on appearances than being real.  So many of us are suffering in silence because we think people will judge us, be disappointed in us, try to tell us what to do or we'll shatter their image of us.  We all need to spend more time trusting that other people need to hear our stories because maybe they will learn from us.  If any of you need to vent or confide in one person who isn't too close to a marital situation you may be going through, feel free to comment or message me.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The D Word

If you haven't read the first part of the story, read here, then come back.

I know that he never expected to get "caught" on the subject about wondering if my meds were making me a super-bitch or not, but I'm glad I saw it because it was a catalyst for both of us.

The look on his face after I said that was one of sad realization that I was right.  We weren't happy.  We loved each other.  We knew under any circumstances that we had each other's backs, would fight to the death for one another, were each other's ride or die, but that doesn't mean you're necessarily happy with the state of things.  You know you're capable of more and are just too lazy to put in the work.  I told him I thought we should see a marriage therapist and he said he wanted to try to fix it on our own.  I wasn't super happy with that answer but told him I was willing to work at it, but if I didn't feel it was working, I would insist we go, and he agreed.

At first, I thought maybe it was just a sex thing.  Not to give TMI but it wasn't happening often, so I got Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life and Love Worth Making: How to Have Ridiculously Great Sex in a Long-Lasting Relationship.  I have to say, regardless of how much sex you are or aren't having, these are amazing reads particularly the first one.  I think it should be required reading for every human on the planet.  A lot of things were clicking for me including how we both assumed that when the other gave "that look" or played grab-ass walking past the other that it put a pressure to have sex on the moment.  Sometimes it's the closeness that you need more than the sexual act.  Sure, it can lead to that, but putting that pressure on ourselves when we had so much else going on made it feel like one more thing on a never-ending list.

I was feeling emotionally smaller and smaller for a lot of reasons.  When Grandma was diagnosed with dementia, we all read The 36 Hour Day, which we all agreed should basically be our Bible in how her health care should go as it all made a lot of sense.  There came a point where the Mr and I were the only ones who still agreed with that, and everyone else was making decisions we didn't feel were in her best interest.  They came from a good place but not what she would've wanted knowing what kind of woman she was and how modest she was.  My opinion was asked, then discarded when it didn't line up with theirs.  Eventually, I had to not even discuss her care with them because I would get so angry, so I shut down.  In 2016, there was an attempt at reconciliation with my dad.  I never considered us in a feud, but he had no problem telling his family we were.  I guess with Grandma's situation, I told myself if anything happened to him, I would want to have a totally clear conscience.  (I already do because I attempted it before.)  Things looked like they were on the right track, but nothing changed, which is what I expected, but I took another emotional hit from it.  The only reliable person in my life was beginning to feel like a roommate and we both deserved more than that.

I got Relationship Agreements: A Simple and Effective Guide for Strengthening Communication, Reducing Conflict, and Increasing Intimacy to Design Your Ideal Relationship.   At first, I didn't care for the book because I didn't like the authors writing style even if they had some valid points.  I thought the Mr wouldn't like it either because it talked about renting a place and just hashing everything out in a setting different from your own home and make a physical agreement that we would follow.  To my surprise, he loved the idea and was very excited about many aspects of the book.  He can still surprise me.

On his own, he ordered several books to begin working on what would send him to that place or why it was so important that he "wins" on the road.  The first one was Anger Management Workbook for Men: Take Control of Your Anger and Master Your Emotions.  He also got one called No More Mr. Nice Guy which, I'm not gonna lie, made me cry when he told me he got it.  He said his goal in life was not to turn into some colossal a-hole, but he needed to learn to assert himself in all aspects of life.  At work, he gets dumped a lot of work on him because he does it well, and rarely said no or made people carry their weight. 

When Grandma died, the Mr and I took a break from the heavy talks of our discontent, vowed to do better, and he was there for me completely during all of it just as I knew he would be.  We went on vacation, and things seemed a little better.  We were reconnecting, but in the end, it was without digging as deep as we needed to go into ourselves.  It's hard to fix what's wrong with a relationship before doing work on yourself.   It's like putting two beat up tires on a car.  It'll get you down the road, but eventually, they're going to blow out.  When we got back, the patio remodel started almost immediately, and anyone who remembers that cluster knows just how bad that was and it lasted for months.  It was maddening calls and texts back and forth with the owner who subcontracted us out, and they messed up everything from the beginning to the end.  My frustration was at a fever pitch with it all, and even though I would go off, I tried to make it very clear I was not mad at the Mr which he assured me he understood.

When it seemed to be done, we ordered a monster grill to be delivered because I wanted to give the Mr a break and let someone else do the heavy lifting for once.  I told him twice the night before that if they came while I was working on something I needed to get done to not sign anything until after all the lids were lifted and the propane hooked up and checked to make sure it worked.  It's like when you sign for cabinets delivered to you, and if you don't make sure all cabinets are there and undamaged, it then becomes a HUGE issue to rectify afterward.  I was doing my work and thought I heard a truck but didn't pay much attention because I assumed he'd come in to get me when they were out back.  Then the Mr comes in, and the grill has been delivered, and they're gone.  I asked if he checked it over like we discussed and he said no, he signed, and they left.  I nervously went out to check on it, and sure enough, the side burner lid was sitting on top with no screws to hold it in.  I told him they needed to deliver the screws and come back and he said he could run across the street to get them, and we'd have a working grill.  Yeah, you could, but then we have to pay money for something we already paid for, and I want what we already paid for.  I'm sorry, but it's about the principle.  I paid extra for assembly and a working grill, that's not what you gave us.  The Mr drove to Lowes tells the dude what happened and that he's taking screws for the grill from the hardware section.  The guy agreed even though he said the Mr could open a new grill and take the screws from that.  Oh okay, so now I know what happened with ours!  It was fixed, but we were both still pissed at the situation and each other.  Me at him for not doing what we discussed twice the night before and him at me for not just letting him go across the street and I was being stubborn over $3.

That night, I ordered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple: 10 Strategies for Managing Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Panic, and Worry.  I knew this was not about a screw for either of us.  It was about how we react when we both feel screwed.  I felt we could both benefit from this book, and I didn't know just how much based on something he revealed to me later that happened the same day I ordered it.

The next day, he was installing something in his car and asked for my help when he was ready, and I said yes because it's something I know a bit about.  I was finishing up some work, and 20 minutes later he came in and said he tried to do it, cut a slit in the dashboard on our 3-week old car and is now out of the material he ordered to complete it.

Obviously, there was an argument over why he did it without me when he'd just asked for my help, and he said I was busy so he didn't want to bother me and I basically cried the rest of the night.  At this point, I really did not see how we were going to do this.  Apparently, he didn't either because I found out 10 days later that night he went incognito and looked up apartments in the area and was going to ask for a separation so we could get our heads together.  He told me this after we'd had a good stretch of communication days as a way, to be honest with me about how bad that time was.

"So wait, you were mad about screws, stomped away not speaking to me and started looking at apartments instead of talking to me about it?"

"But I didn't!  It's too expensive for another place!" {laughing}

At that moment, while I appreciated his honesty and knowing he knew he was taking a risk telling me, this solidified every fear I ever had about him leaving me.  I sobbed uncontrollably in a way I hadn't in front of him for a long time.  I almost fainted and had to put my head down.  My head wouldn't stop spinning.  He swore this was the first time he did it, he knew it was stupid and how he should've handled it differently.  I looked him dead in the eye and said "if you want a divorce, just f*cking do it, but you will NOT hold it over my head ever again.  I understand that's not what you're doing right now, but I'm done being threatened with it, and if you loved me at all, a screw would not be all it took for you to leave me."

He understood the seriousness of what his reveal did to me and that indeed, what that screw symbolized should not have been all it took to go to "burn it down" mode.   That night I began looking up where you could sleep in your car on public land.  I knew I would not move back in with my mother.  I thought I could sleep in my car on my friend's driveway then start looking for a "real" job and hope I could find someplace in a neighborhood that wasn't too crappy for what I'd be making.   I just had to hope I wouldn't get sick because I wouldn't be able to afford health insurance, so I was glad I already had my doc appts for the year.  I now felt I needed an "escape plan" because I guess the rug could now be pulled out from under me over something like a missing screw.

At that point, you could say I declared a state of emergency for our marriage.  It was the end of July, and I feared we would not make it to the end of August.  We would be fine for 7-10 days then fight more than we'd fought in the previous 20 years.  It was a constant one step forward, three steps back.  Per the Relationship Agreement book, I looked for a cabin to rent within 1-2 hours of home in an area we'd already been so as not to be tempted to be out all day and not working on our agreement.  I had a place booked for two weeks later.  He didn't understand why I was so adamant on that time frame and said it would be fine, but I told him it was booked for two weeks from now and without it, I didn't know if we'd be together in four.  I ordered Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage: America's Love Lab Experts Share Their Strategies for Strengthening Your Relationship because it gave specific examples of how some couples thought along with what the therapists saw happening and how to correct it which was incredibly helpful.  We could see a lot of ourselves in the way we dealt with conflict, which was getting us nowhere in being on the same team.

We got to the cabin, checked it out, and got to work on some of the exercises in the book.  We each had a notebook to journal in and write down our answers to exercises we did.  I found that he would hear me better when I journaled about an event we were arguing over and showed it to him when we calmed down.  If I tried to talk to him, my voice kind of turned in to Charlie Brown adult voices to his ears.  We made a relationship agreement outline based on the kind of weak examples given in the book.  We had five categories that were important to us, and I'll give you an example of a goal from each category.

Conflict Resolution- Verbalize emotions as you feel them, no withdrawing or retreating

Connection- 3x week of connection time- non-negotiable.

Personal Growth- Monthly check in's

Communication-No withdrawing, mind-reading, filling in the blanks.  Ask questions.

Household- 10-15 minutes per night to clean if you haven’t done it during the day.  Messy house= stressed mind.

Some may say, "big deal, you took a vacation."  No.  We have vacationed one to three times a year together since 1999, and we have never dug deep like that.  We can spend time together on vacation, but that time is to get away from all of the stresses.  No one wants to sit down on their vacation time and hash out what needs to be fixed with you.  We felt a renewal and a hope we hadn't felt before.

I ordered one final book after we got back called Wired for Love: How Understanding Your Partner's Brain and Attachment Style Can Help You Defuse Conflict and Build a Secure Relationship.   It was very insightful for showing what style you identify with and how to defuse potential fights.  With each book I got, the Mr read it when I was done in addition to the ones he got on his own.

His driving improved quite a bit, and I no longer felt unsafe riding with him.  He put his no more Mr. nice guy to work at work with excellent results.  He no longer has a problem calling people on their crap even if he's stuck doing the work sometimes.  His ability to tell people "no, there is a chain of command to follow, and I can't let you circumvent that" has actually made his team stronger.  It has given them the confidence to also say no to people who say "oh, well the Mr isn't going to do it for me so maybe Brian will," and then Brian says "follow the chain of command" because they know the Mr will back him up.  A few times, the Mr has even messaged the person and said, "what, I won't do it, so you go to my team member!?"  It's been awesome to see the confidence that has instilled in him.  He's also made strides choosing what he will and won't accept from his family crap wise which is a far cry from the boy I first met.

In turn, I also began to think about what I was going to say and if it had the potential to be misunderstood.  In times I would usually go off in frustration, I would take a beat and say "okay, I don't think I'm explaining this right" because I always think I'm doing a pretty good job of explaining and of course everyone else should "get it."  The first part of my life, I was like a bomb.  I felt like I moved to a defuser role because my mom's hormones post lady-bit surgery didn't sit well with anyone, and I didn't feel like spending all of my time arguing.  I feel even more like I bite my tongue in situations and the Mr says he sees that in me where he KNOWS I would've gone off before.  He said it makes him sad though because I then internalize it and feel like crap about myself.  I tried some CBT methods to deal with it but didn't find it too successful for me in some situations.  I got the book The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: A Guide to Breaking Free from Anxiety, Phobias, and Worry Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (why do these all have LONG ass names!?)  I haven't gotten through it yet but it kind of teaches you to not replace negative thoughts but more to be able to live with them in a way that doesn't overwhelm you.  I need to get back to that book because I'm tired of being a prisoner in my mind and my jaw in a constant state of clench.

So there!  We're fixed!  I'm kidding, we're not.

Because with every bit of hope, something is waiting around the corner to potentially set you back.  See ya tomorrow.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

"I love you too but you know we're not happy, right?"

Those were words I uttered to the Mr mid-March last year and you have no idea how scared but proud of myself I was to finally say them.  That may shock most of you, but we've decided it's time to open up about some personal stuff that we feel could benefit others.  I hope you'll be kind should you comment knowing what it's taking for us to share something so deeply personal.

The Mr and I got together at ages 17 and 19.  At that point in your life, you're basically what your parents and limited life experiences have shaped you into.  We each had our own baggage to bring to the relationship, but at that age, you don't care about that stuff.  All you care about is getting laid, living life, and making your way together.  This isn't just the tale of two kids bringing their own emotional baggage to a relationship.  We all do it.  In case you haven't noticed, we are ALL effed up and if you think you're not, you probably need help most of all!  LOL  You can have the best childhood ever with parents who showered you with affection.  But there are things you take forward with you, even in a seemingly perfect upbringing, that will make relationships with you challenging on some level to another person whether it's a spouse, parent, sibling, child or friend.  We all bring forward coping mechanisms we learned from our parents or those close to us.

I was a child of divorce, as you all know.  "Kids are resilient," everyone likes to say.  Bullshit.  Those are words spoken by lazy people who don't want to admit the damage they or someone they know has done to a kid and hopes life will somehow straighten them out on their own.  Kids are not resilient, they are sponges.  Kids will remember things you said to them that you would swear on your life you never said.  I very distinctly remember accidentally knocking a doll bassinet into the head of my 2-year-old cousin.  Why do I remember it?  Because when my cousin, who was not hurt, started to cry as I apologized to her, my dad said, "watch what you're doing, dumbass!"  His brother told him his daughter was fine and not to yell at me, but my feelings had been hurt, I burst into tears and ran upstairs to my mom who was with my aunts.  I told her what happened, and in a rare moment of bravery, she called my dad out for it in front of everyone and said we were leaving.  I heard them fighting later, and he said not to ever make a fool of him in front of his family again, and she said he was the one being a fool, she didn't have to say anything.  You have to know how incredibly rare this was for my mom to stand up to him.  She didn't do that.  I also don't want you to think my dad was some abusive man who hurled insults at us on the regular either.  He didn't, which is probably why it hurt so much.  (I suppose he did get some digs in veiled as jokes..." pick your ears instead of your ass" is one that stands out when I wasn't listening.  Or if I said something stupid, it was "your mouth got ahead of your brain again."  I thought it was funny then, but I recognize now that it had an impact.  I also recognize those are direct quotes from his own father.  I told you...sponges.)

I saw a cycle of my dad letting anything that might upset my mom sit there with a glazed look while she "got it off of her chest" and then do nothing to improve it.  He didn't like conflict especially if he knew he was in the wrong.  I knew enough to know by the time he left by 4th grade that I didn't want a marriage like that.   I learned a lot of things from them as a kid.  My mom was emotional, kind, thoughtful of others, and a talker.  She was also a pushover, didn't stand up for herself much and turned to food for comfort.  My dad was a schmoozer on the job (in more ways than one), confident, and strong-willed.  He was also stubborn, desperately wanted to please his overbearing father (who cannot be pleased) and uncompromising.  I picked up all of those traits from them both and used them to my advantage and disadvantage.  After their divorce, my life was basically praying dad would pay child support on time, so our utilities weren't threatened.  This was when having deductions come out of your paycheck looked bad, and mom wasn't going to push it because she needed the money since she was making less than 10K per year back then.  He knew it and I think he liked the power.  This bred my intense need for security both emotionally and financially because what was left of my childhood was in constant limbo by a dad on a power trip and a mom too worried about him withholding and knowing she didn't have the money to fight him in court.

If you asked the Mr for the first 20 years of our relationship, he would and did tell you that he had a pretty idyllic childhood.  Small town boy, played in a band through most of high school including at prom for a song, had a bitchin' Camaro for his car, parents thought he hung the moon, and he idolized one of his cool, older brothers.  If you dug a little deeper, his mom was the only girl in a brood of boys that were kids of a prominent doctor in town and reputation was more important than happiness.  The boys got a free pass to act a fool, and she was burdened with the "what will people think!?" syndrome that she still deals with into her 70's.  They are "sweepers"...problems don't exist...sweep it under the rug and jump up and down on the lumps.  The idolized brother modeled less than exemplary behavior, which thankfully the Mr learned from instead of modeling himself, but it made it no less painful when the shine was taken off of him.   He spent most of his life, including into adulthood being relentlessly bullied by his other older brother.  His dad had a heart of gold and was a workaholic.  Owning his own business meant he was away or interrupted a lot during the Mr's childhood and to compensate, the Mr got a LOT of Star Wars toys!  (Which his brothers had no problem bringing up at the wake when his father passed.)  The Mr watched his mom subtly manipulate his dad to buy things to appear more wealthy than they were because of her issues passed down from her mom about reputation.  The Mr picked up on that and learned he could get things from his parents if he pushed the right buttons.  If it didn't work immediately, he'd bide his time.  The Mr's bully brother was a gangly bird of a teenager who was allowed to order two sandwiches, and despite being 7 years younger, in the spirit of not wanting to play favorites, they allowed the Mr to do the same.  This set up a pattern of fast eating and food hoarding for the Mr that he is still improving upon.

I went into our relationship, knowing I was broken because of my parent's divorce but also very black and white as to what I would and wouldn't accept.  I was strong-willed and was viewed as a leader when warranted.  I repeated some of the same patterns I saw from the good things like being thoughtful of others and a talker/schmoozer to the not so good like not standing up for myself when I felt like I didn't matter to being uncompromising.  I always said I was "tactfully blunt," and I still am.  The Mr came into it being a people pleaser who molded his personality to fit others to fit in and never liked to rock the boat.  Conflict is a four-letter word to him.  He doesn't like his reputation questioned, even when warranted.  He bottled his feelings until he'd get to an explosive moment where he'd want to "burn it all down" and would use his mother's art of manipulation, so he looked like the good guy never realizing he was doing it.  (Or at least not wanting to admit to it.)

You can see how this would eventually come to a head left unchecked, right?

It did just that last year but had been building in me for more than a year at that point.  The Mr has always had a bit of a road "entitlement" issue.  As our city has grown and is about on par with Atlanta and Chicago traffic, it's gotten worse and trust me, I get it!  It is absolutely maddening to drive anywhere here to the point we both desperately want to move, but his job has too good of benefits to make it feasible.  Unfortunately, it got to the point I sometimes felt unsafe riding with him.  I didn't bring it up unless it was a truly close call or an incident where surely he could see the way it unfolded wasn't called for.

He'd pretend he didn't know what I was talking about, which would piss me off because we both knew what had just happened.  I felt like my mother, who was allowed to vent her feelings but not have them considered on that particular subject.  He had grown more impatient with life in general, which I blamed myself for because I've always been so angry and passionate where injustice was concerned.  I would listen to him complain about people to the point I had to decide if I really wanted to go out and have someone tick him off or just stay home.  But who was I to complain about him?  He's nice!   He goes to Hobby Lobby with me!  He provides a good life for us, goes along with anything I suggest so I need to just shut it.   My feelings aren't that important because I've got a cushy life by all accounts.  I'M the broken one.   I've been saying it since day one of our relationship, so how could he not buy into that eventually?  I constantly feared he would leave me just like all of the important men in my life did, but he was always reassuring that wasn't who he was.  He didn't believe in that, and I believed him.  (Still do!)  But I began to feel like he didn't respect me enough to not get so upset when saying something about his driving issues even when I said I didn't feel safe.  We don't fight often, but when we'd get into a verbal "knockdown, drag-out" session once every few years, he'd imply divorce because he knew it was the quickest way to shut me up.  This isn't all of the time but in really bad ones, that I can probably count on both hands over a 27-year span, but it's the only way he knew how to shut down an argument he didn't want to have and then it would leave an unerasable scar in me.  It killed me to think after all I went through with his family in the beginning and how much I was his biggest supporter when others turned their backs that he could so easily turn his on me when the going got rough.  His parents didn't fight or discuss in front of them.  Everything was fine!  He had been given nothing to model on how to have fair fights with a spouse, and since we were each other's first significant other, we didn't have previous experience of what not to do.  All he knew from his experience was conflict = bad and shut it down asap.  If he went below the belt a little, so be it as long as it stopped.  I'd get over it.

The bone of contention wasn't necessarily about the driving (it was, but it wasn't) but the behaviors behind how we both dealt with it.  I carefully choose if what was done was enough to say something, I say it, he pretends he's not trying to beat the dude beside us to be "first", I tell him "I'm not blind, I see what you're doing", he doesn't acknowledge or says he's not doing anything.  I tell him I'm not stupid and stop insulting my intelligence.  The rest of the day is ruined for me because I feel he doesn't respect me or thinks I'm stupid.  I sulk.  He wants to get back to "normal" and tries to talk about everything but the issue.  We spend all day basically not speaking, and if the issue dug deep enough, it went into the next day until he would sense my mood and finally talk about it just to not have to deal with it anymore.  I would say it was fine, but inside, I was still hurt but again, who was I to say anything?  He's the golden child, and I'm the tough as nails uncompromising one to everyone else.  I always told him from early in our relationship that my family liked him more than me, and if we were both drowning, they'd throw him the life preserver.  I said it jokingly, but I was serious.  If I heard "poor Mr" one more time from them, I was going to scream.  He was nice, how could I not do X, she's so mean, I don't know how he puts up with her.  POOR HIM.  Of course, who doesn't want to be put up on that pedestal, so he wasn't going to agree with them, but he wasn't going to correct them either.  That gets in your head big time...on both accounts.

I felt myself disappearing.  After last years Valentines Day leg lock-up where the doctor said my heart rate was at stroke levels from the pain, I found a search the Mr did for "prednisone irritability."  I actually thought it was kind of funny and forgot to mention it to him until about 2 weeks later.

"Was I irritatable on prednisone?"
"You were snappy."
"Oh, I saw you searched it, and I just wasn't sure how bad it was, I don't remember being irritable."  "You said something, and I thought "wow, that was uncalled for!" so I searched it."
"What did I say?"
"I don't remember."
"So I said something so bad that you searched for drug side effects but don't remember what it was?"
"How am I supposed to improve what might set you off if you can't give me an example of what I said?"  (It should be noted this is a BIG bone of contention for us.  He tells me how mad I made him with something I said, I asked what I said and he can't tell me.)
"I don't know, but you were pretty snappy, and I didn't think it was fair."
"It also wasn't fair that I had just been rendered immobile for 3-4 days and was terrified to move for two weeks.  I'm sorry if I got snappy, but you never said anything, so how can I change if I don't know what I said?  I was scared shitless the lock-up could happen again.  Here I was writing you love notes and praising you online for taking care of me for those two weeks after and you were sitting there harboring resentment against me.  How could I have been so wrong?!"

That was really kind of the last straw for me mentally.  I couldn't win.  He gets mad at me for something I said, I want to improve but don't know what I said.  It's like failing a test and not being told which ones you got wrong, so you know what to study for.  I also got the news Grandma was declining.  It would be two weeks before she passed, but I was emotionally drained of everything.  I felt my only safe space that I had in him was now on shaky ground because he'd been feeling one way toward me (not good) while I felt another.  My mind reeled.  He apologized to me in the kitchen and said it wasn't fair he didn't say anything, and we stood at the stove and said he loved me.

My response was, "I love you too, but you know we're not happy, right?"


I'm sure I've burned your eyes enough for today, so we'll pick this up again tomorrow.  I want to leave you with this.  Please don't judge either of us yet based on what you read today.  We have decided to let you in on this path to healing we've been on over the past 18 months because I hate nothing more than presenting people with half the picture of a whole life.  A lot of you who read regularly have been on this journey with us for close to a decade, and we respect you enough to bring you along for the ugly.

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Friday, August 16, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #33

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope you're ready for the weekend and have something fun planned!  It's been a week around here and our frustrations got the better of us.   It's interesting that it happened given what we're doing this weekend but I'll get into that next week.

Thankfully, the boards we were crossing our fingers on seem to be working out and it signified the end of the most difficult parts of the refresh.  (I don't even know what to call this.  It's not really a full-blown reno, it's not really a RE-fresh because it's never been fresh to begin with.)  The rest of everything that needs to be done are tedious things and decorating that the Mr doesn't need to be involved in and I think that's just in time.

But enough of this DIY clusterf**k I've created and get to...

If a Doctor Only Tells You to Lose Weight, Consider a Second Opinion   (So infuriating.  She'd potentially be gone if she hadn't gotten it!)

How to Let Go of Fear of Failure  (Jump in!)

You Don't Have to Stop Running If You Get a Side Cramp! Try These Techniques Instead  (I always called it "pulling a fat roll" and I call BS on the way they suggest getting rid of it.)

100 Home Repairs You Don’t Need to Call a Pro For   (Some good tips and tricks in there!)

You Won't Be Able to Board a Plane Next Year if Your ID Doesn't Meet New Rules  (Even if you don't think you'll need to fly, death or an emergency could change that and you'll be grounded for real if you don't renew!  We're both renewing ours this week.  Mine needs it but he is 2 years early.  You also need a crap ton of identification now so check your local DMV before you go.)

4 Key Changes That Helped Reverse My Crippling Negative Body Image  (Put 'em into practice!)

Doing These 5 Things Can Lower Your Alzheimer’s Risk by 60 Percent   (Excellent info for those of us who are genetically predisposed.)

What It's Like To Grieve A Parent You Didn't Like  (Not everyone has a great relationship with those who gave them life.)

Family Sues After Video Shows Nursing Home Workers Taunting Elderly Dementia Patient  (I would be in jail if these b*tches did that to my grandma.)

The Week of Peak Disco  (God I miss disco...SO. MUCH.)

Bill Murray Explains Why He Created a Secret 1-800 Number to Be Reached About Roles  (I would do the exact same thing in his shoes.  OG move right there.)

I can't believe this place is still for sale  (This is my dream property,  and a business to sustain the mortgage!  I could see charging location fees for photographers to take perfect pics in the Fall.  Sigh...I'd give anything move there.)

We have an outing that has been planned for months.  It hit at a crappy time as far as getting things done downstairs but much needed for mental health and reconnecting in a way that doesn't involve rubber mallet raised over our heads at each other.

What do you have going on this weekend?

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Hump Day Poll: Slippery Slope

We did a little more work yesterday but it didn't go nearly as fast.  It was tedious stuff like caulking and trying to get these last two friggin boards to cooperate and gluing, etc.  Yesterday morning, Joel Freeman was doing an Instagram story about how he meant to get his workout done in the morning but his garage door broke.  He thought it would take 20 minutes but you know how that goes and it took all day, then he had commitments but did it at 6pm.  He said, "that's the LIIFT4 life baby, you can move things around and I've still got 4 days to lift this week so it's gonna be okay."  That really struck me because I was feeling bad about no formal workouts this week despite feeling pretty beat up but I know some of that was due to not rolling and stuff too.

The Mr motioned like he wanted to get into the garage when I thought we were going down since it was 6pm and I said "no, we're working out.  Two days is permissible, three days off is a slip."  I know we deal with a slippery slope when we're in this situation.  Sunday and Monday, yes, we did stuff that may have counted as calorie burners but yesterday we did not and it would've been very easy to group it together like it counted the same.  It didn't and I'm so glad we worked out.  I mean I was pretty immediately sore but I know how that goes if I go longer than 3 days (Saturday being our rest day) my body starts to get very rigid and goes back out of alignment.  I was glad I insisted on a formal workout especially this week because we get one less day before a weigh-in this week.

For my regular exercisers, what constitutes a slip in your world?

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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Adventure Continues...

Oh, my Lord.  Is it Friday?  What year is it?  Is there snow?  

Oh yeah, it's only Tuesday and despite no "formal" workout yesterday again, the Mr's watch said he burned almost 900 calories.  He went to orange hell and bought a 6' shelf that we could cut down to 5' then it was time to get down to business with the door frame.  We used a combination square that people in YT videos used to make our 1/4" reveal on the door jamb.  

After a buttload of shims due to a wonky wall situation that had nothing to do with us, we were finally able to get that friggin thing up. 

I won't even tell you how much caulk it will take to backfill the gaps, but I got started on that too.  The solution I'd envisioned for the bottom of the wood planks wasn't going to work, and I mentally waved the white flag.  The Mr suggested something, and we brainstormed, and it worked.   Unfortunately, we still needed to go to orange hell with fluorescent lighting again.

This time it was to get baseboards which as you know is a finishing touch on a wall.

I wanted something straightforward, no scribing or stacking because it's a basement, it didn't need to be fancy.  I painted all of the pieces we needed, and thankfully, it installed pretty quickly.

We're at the last two parts we've been dreading the most, but we called it a night because it was getting later and we were friggin' toast.  I really hope today we can get a good portion of those who shall not be named done and I can work on the shelf, and we can hopefully get the shelf back up soon.  It would be so nice to not do workouts from a tablet on a ladder. 

Have our DIY adventures inspired you to take on your own or reinforced why you hire out?

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