Thursday, December 31, 2009

Moving into the New Year

So, here we all are, perched on the precipice of a new year. A brand new year, full of promise and possibilities, that's just itching to get started - a blank calendar ready to be filled with appointments, memories, dates, and events.

The WCM and I had an epic argument about a week ago. It was the most powerful argument of our entire marriage, indeed, because the marriage itself hinged on that argument. It lasted two days. Those were tense, miserable days indeed. I am not a confrontational person by nature. I tend to pull back and wait things out - not the best strategy when dealing with my bullish spouse, who will make a big noise, pawing and stamping, charging to get his way. This time, though, I stood my ground and got what I needed. I said my piece - reiterated it, restated it, rephrased it until it was completely understood - and finally won my concessions.

We will be starting therapy this year. We need it. I will no longer accept coming in last in my husband's attention. He will endeavor to remember that intimacy in marriage is as important as companionship. Without the former, one might as well have a roommate.

Peevish Place will be starting out 2010 at the bottom of the hill. It's a good place to start, in my opinion, as one can only climb up.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Choices and Changes

I've made no secret that I've been having troubles with the WCM lately - mostly because I refuse to accept that what I've currently got is going to suffice for the rest of my life. There are choices to be made, and changes that come with them.

One of the things that I've always believed is that people don't change who they are. You must accept them for who they are and not think that you can change their personalities, their appearance, or any of their less-than-perfect aspects. Sure, they can try to change what you don't like, but when they do, you run the risk of them resenting you for it. The WCM and I have embroiled ourselves in a bit of a power struggle, where I think I've been the one doing all the changing and accommodating, and I find myself resenting him for it. I also resent that after all the things I've changed for him, there is always something else he wants me to change, something else that's wrong with me and I need to fix, before I'll become acceptable. And lastly, I resent that he expects me to do all the changing, and won't honor the one simple request that I've made at least once a year for the last 18 years. It's a request that most men wouldn't mind in the least. I dare say, most men that have been married 20 years would be thrilled that their wife was making this request. But then, the WCM is not most men.

I played a very dangerous game last month. I went out to a bar with a friend and flirted. A lot. I collected phone numbers from very interested men. I heard all kinds of ridiculous flattery, drank lovely coctails that I didn't have to pay for, and had a lot of fun.

At the end of the night, when I was throwing the phone numbers away - because at the heart of it all, I wouldn't do that to the WCM, even though some of them were REALLY tempting... - I couldn't help but hear that cynical bitch that lives in the back of my mind as she snarked "well hell, honey, there were at least seven men that you wouldn't have to change shit for."

I honestly believe I've reached my breaking point. There are choices and changes in store for me in 2010. I just hope that I can live with them.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Heart Dog

I was never a dog person, much preferring cats. Who wouldn't prefer sleek feline independence to slavish canine slobbering? Cats are much neater and far less demanding than dogs. A cat is never going to wake you up at 3:30 in the morning because it has to pee. A cat won't bug you for a game of fetch, barking at you endlessly to throw the frisbee, Throw the Frisbee, THROWTHEFRISBEE!!!!!!!!! No, indeed. A cat has way too much dignity to lower itself to ask you for anything. Cats are cool.

Imagine the surprise felt by my family when the WCM and I went and got ourselves a puppy. It was September 1996, shortly after a shocking and emotionally traumatic miscarriage. I needed desperately to mother something, anything, to help heal the huge hole left in my heart from losing a baby I'd barely known existed but had wanted with every fiber of my being. The WCM suggested a puppy.

I'd long loved the look of the big-eared, short-legged Welsh Corgi. Having found a breeder, I learned that she had only one puppy available: a little black-headed tricolor boy. We went to visit him that night, and I fell instantly in love. He was a charmer - playful, affectionate, loved to cuddle. The WCM wasn't exactly convinced, as he wanted a larger dog - a Lab or a Shepherd - but he caved instantly when I found out that this puppy and I shared a birthday.

We had to name him after a dance, according to the breeder, so we named him Electric Slide and called him Slider. He became my firstborn, my furry son, my heart dog. I taught him to catch treats out of the air, to play fetch with a frisbee, and to sit on command. He used to snuggle up on my lap and fall asleep as a puppy, and would always come over if I sat on the floor, giving me his belly to scratch. He used to love riding in the front seat of the car. Too short to get his head out the window, he'd press his nose up against one of the air vents instead.

As he got older, we got him a pet - another corgi that we named Zippy - so he wouldn't be lonely while we weren't home. Zippy's a trip. Where Slider thinks he's a furry human, Zippy knows he's a dog. Make no mistake, Zippy's an animal, and he's happy to be one. For ten years, they have run the house together, and I have loved every minute of it. I, who was never a dog person.

Slider is now thirteen and a half years old. He's got arthritis, has gone deaf, and is going blind. Today, we found out conclusively that he has lymphoma and hasn't got much longer to live. I do not know what I am going to do when I have to take him for that final ride in the car. I can't stop crying.

My heart hurts.


Tuesday, December 08, 2009


She was a small child, dark haired, with big eyes. More used to speaking to adults than to other children, her speech often surprised grown-ups, as she used words that to them, sometimes, were unfamiliar. The playground was a strange place for her, and negotiating those first friendships wasn't easy. She didn't speak the language that the other kids rattled off so fluently. School was a place that she went during the day, where she got to go to art and music classes, had to learn boring math, and was always sent to the library during reading and spelling time, as her own reading level was several grades above the rest of the class. There, she would pore endlessly over the stacks, losing herself in new and different worlds, inventing her own, authoring her childish fantasies in volumes bound with construction paper and yarn.

When things interested her, she was very involved in them - to the point of leading the group work, bullying the others into doing things her way. When she was not interested, however, you often found her ignoring the task at hand, staring out of the window daydreaming, or lost, once again, in a book. Her parents, feeling she needed structure, provided lessons of all sorts - ballet, piano, gymnastics, girl scouts. She did all with some degree of success, ultimately discontinuing all but piano. She was good at it, and it provided her with some degree of identity - The Girl Who's Good At Music.

Her parents, still unsatisfied with her inconsistency, had her tested psychologically. The tests revealed above-average intelligence and an eye for details, but no more. She had a very vivid imagination, and needed to be motivated to learn what didn't interest her. Learning for learning's sake was not something she thirsted for.

This little girl grew into a woman, married, and had a child who is almost a clone of herself. With a few differences, such as more ability and interest in math and art and less in reading, her child's elementary school experience is mirroring her own.


Today, I took Miss Peanut to a psychologist to be tested for Attention Deficit Disorder - something that they really didn't know about when I was a child. Her last three teachers have all suggested, some more gently than others, that she should be tested. I finally caved, knowing the kind of child I was, and knowing just how much she is like me. It's been very difficult for me to do this - nobody wants to think that there could be anything wrong with their precious perfect angel. In this, I am no exception. I was prepared, though, to hear the worst. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised.

The psychologist asked, after interviewing both me and Miss Peanut, then Peanut on her own, if I'd ever had her intelligence level tested, as she seemed to be off the charts (in a good way!). She said that without further testing, her diagnosis at this point would be inconclusive, but that it could be that Miss Peanut does indeed have some ADD. This, when combined with an overactive imagination and high intelligence, leads her to be distracted in class when she's bored. Having heard that countless times from parents of students (and having mentally rolled my eyes every. single. time.) I felt compelled to point out that even if the work is boring, she needs to do it and understand it without the distraction of ADD symptoms. The psychologist agreed, and we're going to explore further testing, to either rule it in or out.

It's an interesting nature versus nurture question for me, though. I've been raising Miss Peanut in a much more open and much less strict environment than the General raised me. Mr. Peevish and I are still married (for better or for worse, it seems), where my parents were divorced before I reached Miss Peanut's current age. She is an only child, where I had a pesky younger brother. I went to private school, and she does not. Yet, we are, it seems, still as alike as we look..

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009


I've never been so happy to see a month end. This past November was one of the worst months of my life, and I've lived a few doozies, let me tell you.

I missed a very important deadline in the academic world, thus ending my streak of always having my grades in on time to date. I was officially called upon the carpet for it and have officially apologized to parents and students alike. Safe to say, I will never make that mistake again.

Also ending this month was any free time that I ever had - now with another person hanging around the house, an adolescent person who needs a ride to and from work, swim practice, and school, I've found I've less time to indulge in my afternoon winding-down rituals.

Scarily, almost ending this month was my marriage. For nearly 20 years now, my union with the WCM has been stable - boring at times, irritating as sand in your swimsuit at others, but always stable. It was rocked hard this month, and the sad part about that is that he doesn't even know it. Suffice it to say that I should have a fucking Oscar on my mantelpiece for the acting that I can do. Believe me when I tell you that he knows what the problem is. He just doesn't know the magnitude to which it affects me. I've told him. Repeatedly. He just. doesn't. get. it.

Lastly, a few of the illusions I've had about myself have ended. I've had the chance to look clearly at myself in the mirror and examine the parts of me (physical and not) that have been giving me agita for a while. I've accepted that I'll never wear a bikini, but that I can look damned sexy with the right lingerie. I've accepted that I'll probably never find what I'm looking for within my marriage, but I don't know what I want to do about that at this point. I've accepted that I could and should work a little harder at my job, but am not sure what I'm going to have to give up in order to do that.

So many endings without subsequent beginnings. No wonder November was bleak.

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