And The Beat Goes On

Life has been gloriously normal the past few days. We sort of glossed over our 11th anniversary last Thursday, but we’re going to Austin/IKEA tomorrow as Ron’s present to me. While I was somewhat disappointed that I didn’t get any flowers for Valentine’s Day or our anniversary, it’s substantially mitigated by the impending shopping trip.

The weather continues to be cool and breezy, perfect for being outside and working on furniture projects. Ron is super happy that I’m finally getting jiggy with the sewing cabinet that has been cluttering up the back patio for almost a year now. Today I got it completely sanded down, spackled, and sanded again. I had Ron flip it over so I could clean all the spider webs and eggs out from the bottom of it, then I had him bring it inside. I swear I scraped off about a hundred water roach eggs from the inside (also known as palmetto roaches, palmetto beetles, or just big fucking scary roaches that fly at you). The eggs are the size of coffee beans. I got all but one hinge off; one screw is stripped, so I need to check youtube for how to remove it. I plan to spray the hinges black, paint the cabinet a light chalked French grey, and replace the knobs with cute ones that I’m currently shopping for. I love that the top flips open to double the size, and it’s really compact when it’s closed. It has three deep drawers and one shallow drawer, which is quite a bit of storage space, considering. The best part is it was free! A friend found it on the side of the road and gave it to me when we first moved in this place.

The daybed that I hacked from a full size IKEA Fjellse is another project that has languished for over a year but is now getting done. I sliced up the mattress, but I still need to add batting, make covers for the two pieces, and add the middle piece of wood and the slats. It is also going to be painted the same French grey as the desk. I intend to paint an old IKEA buffet for use as a credenza for the printer, scanner, and router, and when I find a wood desk for Ron, that will get painted, too. Paint is a super cheap way to unify a bunch of different furniture; I’m just glad that garage sale chic is in style!

While last Wednesday’s cleaning frenzy landed me in a miserable flare, I’ve still managed to get some things done by working in very small bursts with lots of rest in between. The yarn is slowly making its way into the office, and I’m weeding out all the crap yarn (cough cough Red Heart cough). I’m trying to move stuff as quickly as I can because Aubrey is stuck sleeping on the sofa until I get enough crap out of the old office for her to have room to set up her bed. In anticipation, she bought new sheets and a new quilt set while we were out shopping for baskets at HomeGoods.

I’ve had the worst time finding tips on how to store a giant yarn stash. I laugh at the cute yarn storage buckets that hold less than my project bag. I’ve started piling skeins into my old dresser, some IKEA Kassett boxes, a few fabric bins, and a couple of enameled galvanized buckets. I bought some wicker baskets at Goodwill, and the rest is tucked into clear plastic Sterilite┬ábins until I can find more galvanized buckets. Seriously, I have my very own yarn store, which was really nice when I decided to start my latest project at midnight a week ago…I just went shopping in my stash!

The kissing experiment has been underway for almost a week now. I think it is going well; we’ve been snuggling on the sofa watching old episodes of The Simpsons, cooking together, talking and laughing, and there have been lots of random hugs and kisses. We have another week to go before we revisit our discussion, so more time for pair bonding to occur. I am trying to be positive but at the same time, not get caught up in thinking things are fine. It’s a tough rope to walk, but for the moment, I’ll take it. I think if we make it past this exercise, the next step will be going out to a movie.

The only stress in this week was when Ron’s dad called to say he is officially retired and that he might come down for a visit. AUGH! Believe me when I say that my house is nowhere near ready for company, especially not an in-law. I guess that’s the bee that I needed in my bonnet to get my ass moving! Nothing like impending doom to motive one to move!


The Bright Side of Life

Just when I think things are going well, it turns out they’re not. I hate this inconsistent roller coaster of emotions. Yesterday was one of those days where I just wanted to call it and be done. But I won’t. Marriage is about commitment, and I am committed. Or maybe I should be committed? Not sure.

Dinner has been ready every week night by the time Ron gets home. The dishes are done before bed. The dishwasher is unloaded every day. Our bed is made every morning. All the laundry gets done by Friday afternoons so Ron has the weekend free to do other stuff. In other words, he’s getting all he asked for. He’s definitely less stressed, but he’s still not happy.

Last night, we had a long talk about where our relationship is going, what are our boundaries, what we each want and don’t want. Ron spent his formative teenage years being raised by his dad in a somewhat emotionally bereft home. There were no hugs, no “I love you” as he walked out the door, and no example of what a good marriage is. While I certainly didn’t have a good example in my parents, I had plenty outside my home; as I’ve gotten older, I have friends with good marriages who have still had tough times but have seen it through. Best of all examples though, is having been married twice before. I realize what is good, what is bad, what stays, what goes, and above all else, I know that wherever I go, there I am. In other words, I recognize what is my issue vs. what is a marital issue.

But Ron doesn’t have that. He said that, “It was fun at first, but then that went away.” I laughed (I couldn’t help it) and explained that of course the fun went away; that the falling in love feeling only lasts for a while. He also said he loved me as a friend; I said I love him as a friend, too; that as marriage goes along, friendship is what we’re left with and what gets us through. I don’t think I’m just being stubborn. We have the same values, our politics are similar although I’m more passionate, we support each other, we respect each other, and most importantly, we make each other laugh. For me, that’s worth fighting for. We balance each other out in that he keeps me grounded and I keep him human.

My ex-husband used to tell me to stop focusing on making the right decision and focus instead on making my decision right. In other words, once you make your choice, learn to live with it. So I see the bright side of things. Goodness, if I didn’t see the positive, I would never have escaped my childhood. However, Ron sees the negative of everything. It’s all he ever thinks about. Things will NEVER work, things will NEVER change, he will NEVER get a new job, I will NEVER keep the house clean…so much NEVER and not enough MAYBE.

So I asked him to engage in a small experiment before we really call it quits. He said it seemed like too much, so I said we’d start with something really simple. He does enjoy kissing, so I asked him to kiss me goodnight and goodbye every day for the next two weeks, and that we wouldn’t talk about our relationship at all during these two weeks. He didn’t understand what I meant, so I kissed him the way I want to be kissed, just to make sure he had the idea.

Two kisses and a whole lot of under cover time later, he saw the possibilities in my request. Of course, I know the science behind it: kissing and cuddling releases oxytocin, which is a neuromodulator that is responsible for pair bonding. In other words, kissing someone makes you feel closer to that person. Touching also releases oxytocin, so this morning when I heard his alarm go off, I snuggled close and rubbed his back (under his shirt) for a good while. He ended up late to work, but I got one hell of a goodbye kiss. After twelve hours, I thought we were on to a successful start.

Can we kiss our way back to him being in love? No, it’s going to take more than that. But it’s a simple start, easy enough to do, and doesn’t cost anything, all requirements for an effort from Ron. We still have other things to work on, particularly communication, but other than communication, they are generally superficial things…the house, the laundry, the dishes, the bills, the debt. I can effect a change in him simply by doing my part in those areas.

Being in love is really just a decision made every day to be in love. Being married is just a decision made every day to stay married. Can he make that decision? I don’t know. But last night and this morning definitely give me a LOT of hope, and that’s better than not having any hope at all.

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