Friday, April 04, 2008

The sound of ultimate suffering (facetiously) plus a dedication to my Spring deprived friends

If you're feeling a bit skeptical about the promise of Spring, please know it is here, and will arrive there soon. :) In fact, it must be nearly there since it's practically summer here, already: "The air's so heavy, It could drown a butterfly." (Grace Potter, Falling or Flying) The Southern winds are prevailing, pushing back any north wind attempts to get through here, and cool and dry off the air. It's the hot and wet season, now.

Just a quick raw photo, then, in case your weather isn't the same:

Marriage and parenthood: are we all insane?

The Impressive Clergyman: Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam...
[cut to Westley, Inigo, and Fezzik]
The Impressive Clergyman: And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva...
[cut to the trio again]
The Impressive Clergyman: So tweasure your wuv.
Prince Humperdinck: Skip to the end.
The Impressive Clergyman: Have you the wing?
[cut to the trio once more]
The Impressive Clergyman: ...and do you,Pwincess Buwwercup...
Prince Humperdinck: Man and wife. Say man and wife.
The Impressive Clergyman: Man an' wife.

(Sorry, any chance to cite Princess Bride and quote it and I'll take it.)

So yesterday was one of those days. The three year old woke with a whine in her heart and drag to her step, and she miraculously managed to maintain that all day long.

It was all the joy and then some.

Yesterday was the day that's been hovering on the horizon for a while, now.

Both Patience and Persistence began this week exceedingly edgy, or so it seemed, although I ran through the usual "how this could be my fault or flawed perception" gamut as usual.

I had that conversation internally because---despite going in to work somewhere between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. daily so he can be home to say goodnight to the girls---my husband has not been here to share in that joy or conversation, much less run that gamut.

I have been hoping that his coworkers love him as much as I do because lately his workplace gets a lot more of him than we do. And by lately I mean the last month or more---excepting a slight respite on Spring Break.

That's why I was so irritated that he came home annoyed the other day because a coworker made a public snotty comment about the vacation time my husband recently took.

I had to sit down by myself and work really, really hard to not plot a trip up to the office the next day and whup some hiney.

I mean, really. I know violence is never the answer, but WTF? That guy never takes time off? Not to mention who does he think he is and why does he think any plane of existence thinks it's okay for him to make that comment? It just added to my husband's anxiety about taking time off.

And wow, that's just what we need, so I'd like to strongly thank my husband's coworker whose ass I'd really, really like to kick.

I don't get some people some time. I honestly don't. I try really hard to stay on the high road, but as someone with a Madam Justice complex (or is it a trait since I was born with it?) sometimes that is a True Struggle.

My husband often gets little jabby comments like that, and will just laugh it off because the man is so much nicer than me (which I realize is not that hard to do and it takes me about ten seconds to say Eff You while it might take him ten years).


But this is not an 8 hour work day. Oh no, he'd already logged THIRTEEN HOURS of work that day.

And some numbnut makes a snotty comment to him about taking off EARLY.

Again, deep breathing and yoga stretching.

My anger is because my family is sacrificing. My husband is sacrificing.

All for a job that pays what ought to be enough to live on, but these days, is not.

And so I must hunt daily to scrounge up work, which I am willing to do. I am fine with it. It's 90% "we've got nothing or people are willing to give away the cow for free these days" and 10% "thank you Dear God in Heaven above you don't hate me totally." Which is kind of a hard way to live, and I guess I'm not good at getting calluses because each time one of my articles or stories is rejected it hurts and stresses me.

I think most of us are like that, though, and writers who say rejection is no big deal are either lying or sociopaths (sorry friends, you know, if you're something else).

So I'm a little wired, the husband is about five steps past exhausted, and the kids decided to re-enter the "let's see if we can kick the parents' asses a wee bit with a boundary testing and defiance stage."

Woot woot!

That goes together like an ice cold glass of milk and an Oreo cookie: it's the classic combination.

Yeah, classic combination for the road to hell in a handbasket (if I may mix slogans and metaphors).

Mmmmm Oreos. That sounds good. hang on...

Yeah right, am too old to keep sweet snacks in house. Choices: apples, radishes, and beets. <--- Secret to successful dieting: make eating so unpleasant you don't want to do it (KIDDING!)

Okay so sacrificing.

It just makes me angry, that lack of well, any couth, among some of his coworkers.

Here's something I decided about the workplace a very long time ago: it's NOT FAIR. That mimicked exactly what I had already learned about life! Incredible! Fair is not a state of being because life isn't perfect; a fair is a place where you can eat cotton candy and ride a Ferris wheel and forget for a while that life isn't fair.

I also decided that what others are up to cannot be my business, in general, if it's not my business. Is Susie Q coworker in at 10 and out at 4? NOT MY BUSINESS. The only reason I should have a vested interest in that is if she reports me and those weren't our agreed upon working hours or she works with me and isn't getting her work done.

In which case, aggressive passive aggressive attacks in meetings? Not how it should be handled.

Folks, like I said, I've got the Madam Justice complex and also a bad case of Control Freak on top of that and if I can keep a handle on this concept surely others can too.

Plus, if anyone is going to make my husband feel guilty it's going to be me. Not his coworker.

But I feel badly about it because I know he's awfully good at guilt-tripping himself, and if I dish any out then he'll be getting it from both ends, which, as we all know, makes him feel squeezed, and, as the experts assure us, causes the Male of the species to go into a cave and that's just what we need: retreat after absence.

I want the world at large and all ten of my readers to know that the first 3-4 weeks of this I am fairly graceful about it, but then I have this limit, see, which got bypassed sometime around Wednesday of this week.

Then I start wanting to schlep to his office---which is in Houston and those who know me know how much I hate going into Houston---with a club, which I will use to threaten anyone who intervenes as I drag him home by his hair.

Whew. Yeah. Just a little stressed.

I tell you all of this to tell you the real story (and hang on, hang in there). I needed to set the stage, you see, for why it was that I said what I did in the car last night with the kids.

Like I said, it was one of those days yesterday. The kids only wanted what they could not have and tantrummed and sassed and sulked and stomped about.

The "it's good the kids feel safe enough and secure enough to be real with me, to let out whatever is eating at them here, at home, with me" can only take you so far.

The "go to your room until you can be kind or are ready to talk about it" can only take you so far.

So last night, when---after going to work at 3 a.m.---my husband thought he'd leave by 7 p.m. (which I mentally corrected/adjusted to "real clock time" of 10 p.m.), I decided to do the old "trap the kids in car seats and go to a drive-in fast food eatery and ply them with junk food" trick.

Except. Said eatery was unacceptable to the three year old for the following reasons: Great scott, cannot type them all out; suffice it to say everything was unacceptable, from the weather to the menu items.

When the carhop delivered our food, this is what he witnessed:

Sullen six year old in front passenger seat
White-faced mom with hair pulled messily into pony tail clutching steering wheel
Screaming red-faced three year old sitting on the car console in diaper and t-shirt

All of probably 16 years old, he gallantly and valiantly attempted to communicate with me above the din and convey his utmost sympathy for my situation and apparent insanity.

As I tried to hand out the food to sulky and screaming kids who found no joy or acceptance in anything, I felt something inside me snap, not like "went postal" snap, no, more like "hit the wall and decided, eh, can't climb over it, so I'll just lay down here in front of it and DIE" snap.

My head? It fell to the steering wheel.

This startled the children.

"What are you doing, Mommy?" they asked, wary, sure this was another one of my "trick you out of your nasty behavior" tactics.

"Quitting," I said.

"Quitting? What do you mean, quitting?"

"I mean, quitting. I have lost my mind. Lost. It. It's gone. So. Eat hearty me girls, this is the last meal we'll have together for a while."

"What? WHY!"

"Well, when people lose their minds they have to go to sanatoriums for a while to try to see if they can find them again. That's me. I'll have to go to a sanatorium. I'm sure, after a month or so, they'll let you visit."

"You lost your mind, mommy? Oh no, where do you think you lost it? We need to retrace your steps!"

"I think, I think I lost it right here and now."

"Then we can find it! It's in the car!"

"No, my friend, it's not lost, lost, it's...broken. Like...a dead battery."

"We need to go to store to get battery for you?" This from the three year old.

"No," I said, sadly, "I'm afraid it's not that easy for people."

Amazingly? The children bought this utterly. Somehow, they even got on some level that I was kidding. But it captured their fancies and thus ensued a more pleasant overall (because it was done without whining and crying) if completely bizarro discussion of how life would operate with mom in a sanatorium.

The kicker? Somehow, without any discussion? They had me in that insane asylum for the rest of my natural life. I even got to be buried there after I died. They promised to plant a memorial garden for me, and asked what's the bush with flowers I like called?

That? Is true love.

Buttercup: You can't hurt me. Westley and I are joined by the bonds of love. And you cannot track that, not with a thousand bloodhounds, and you cannot break it, not with a thousand swords. (I did warn you about The Princess Bride.)

Later that night, after I plied my husband with a chili cheese dog (the outside did not taste of freeze, and I know someday he's going to lose patience with me that I sing that question to him every time) we spent a romantic, marriage bonding moment hovering over our three year old who was tantrumming so violently that we had her in a car seat for her own safety and were applying cool cloths to her head while stroking her hair and crooning calming words to her.

It only took an hour, that.

But I think couples need to spend that sort of quality, bonding time together, you know, for the sake of the relationship.

(As I wrote this, it struck me how women do not blog about marriage, how often it has been discussed that women do not blog about marriage, and how often men do blog about marriage. I stopped myself and thought and yes, it seems that male bloggers mention marriage in at least every other post. Hmm. Curious.)

Bonus points to you if you got that the title is a quote from Princess Bride, too.

Copyright 2008 Julie Pippert
Also blogging at:
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annenahm said...

*hugs* Hope today is already better.

Andrea said...

Can I take credit for the Princess Bride references? At least a little?

Hope today's a better day. And sheesh, your husband's coworkers need a kick in the head.

Mayberry said...

Of course, the title is from the torture session!

I needed this today, as I had miserable night with the kids last night too, and no husband on the horizon (out of town).

Molly said...

Some days are just like that. Hope today is better.
I liked your comment about women not blogging about marriage. I have a post up right now about a marital issue that the wife did not feel comfortable
posting on her blog. It seems like we are always too afraid to reveal what might be happening in our marriage or admit we have problems.

Gwen said...

It's all Princess Bride around the blogging parts these days, what with Andrea using it the other day. Not that there's anything wrong with that. PB is an old favorite.

Okay, Julie? I'm sorry that your day/week/month has been sucking it hard. Sorry, sorry.

Kyla said...

Oh. God. I think they are pumping some sort of tantrum-inducing toxin into our city water or something. BubTar has been SOMETHING ELSE this week.

Sorry, Julie. I hope it passes. And I totally want to kick that co-worker's ass, too.

womaninawindow said...

HA! and HUH! on so many levels! It's hard to ignore passive-aggresives, isn't it? Worse than the aggressives! OH, the more I think about it the more I"M getting pissed off. Uh, thanks for the post, I think. I'm gonna go hunt my Oreos. frig it!
OH, and I wish I woulda gotten creative with my daughter last night - so insane - I'll try that next time!

Sober Briquette said...

I wish I were there and we could go to the fast food drive through together, and wash it down with a bottle of wine.

I sometimes forget that I am not the only person whose husband works all the children's waking hours, regularly gets calls on the weekend, and never takes a day off or a vacation without staying in touch with work. He actually said to me, "maybe I'm wrong, but there's time for that later," when I broached the subject of family time. (Never mind couples time or alone time - ha!).

And the kids? Maybe it's a reaction to pollen? (though we're not really having spring yet - thanks for the iris) Mine are fine apart, at each others throats the minute they're together.

cinnamon gurl said...

Yowza. I don't think I could last even a week with my husband working those hours. I am so not self-sufficient. I hope things get easier, very very soon.

Florinda said...

You reeled me in with all the Princess Bride quotes, of course - I'm a known sucker for them - but kept me around for the rest of the story.

Your husband's coworker needs to shut it, but you know that. Every workplace has at least one of those, and unless it's your direct supervisor, they need to be ignored (although they make it difficult).

I think a lot of us have been driven to quitting by our kids at one time or another...hang in there, and hope today is better!

Andrea said...

re: fate, not sure. I'm just curious to see what other people think about it, and you have this handy vehicle for it--whereas, when I try to solicit participation these days, I tend to be met with a resounding silence.

I remember you saying PB was (one of?) your favourite movie(s). :) It's just fun to watch these references travel around the blogosphere sometimes.

Karen said...

cool, bonus points - I sure could use them!
And yes, sometimes I think I will blog about marriage, but then I'm not sure what I would say, b/c sometimes it is funny and wonderful and sometimes not and it is hard to say that just right without bitterness, though I am not bitter.
As for mommy-melt down, well in my house that has become a regular strategy. I have to show signs of upset to LP before he will listen, fake tears, lying down on the floor, head on table - he has to know he has impacted me before he will allow me to impact him - it is some strange bargaining tool we are using, showing the other our weaknesses.

jennifer h said...

Well, yeah, I got it. But I've only seen the move 20 or so times. (Which reminds me, I need to let my kids watch it at some point.)

Stupid coworkers.

I love your speech about the sanatorium. I've had similar talks with my kids, only they didn't offer to plant nice flowers on my grave. I'm cracking up here.

No, seriously, cracking up. Losing my mind. I know you understand.

Family Adventure said...

Your POOR POOR POOR husband does NOT deserve this kind of behaviour. The nerve of that person/those people. I am so offended, I might just hop a flight and come join you on your clubbing expedition.


As far as tantrummy three-year-olds go...all I can say is I'm sorry it had to happen the same week as THAT IDIOT COWORKER MADE YOUR HUSBAND FEEL BAD (sorry, here I go again. I'm MAD), but that, at least, will pass. It's just a phase and hopefully a short one.

BIG HUGS to you!

Heidi (PS enjoying all my ALL CAPS today? I'm still MAD)

Jeff said...

Whew, I'm exhausted just reading this! I hope these kinds of episodes aren't too frequent a thing.

Small consolation?... It gets easier as they get older. No really.

Kathryn said...

So glad to hear that spring is on its way. We are having some nicer weather now, and I'm hoping it sticks.
I think The Princess Bride is the most quotable movie ever. Love it!
"It feasible, you miserable vomitous mass!"
I'm so sorry you've been having such a crappy time of it. Hope things get better quickly!

Melissa said...

Wow. Rough (fill in desired time period here). Big cyber hug to you.

It sounds like an oreo just is not going to cut it. You need something a little stronger. You may have to go all the way to Haagen Daas for this one.

Hang in there. :)

Jenny said...

So many more quotes come to mind in light of your post:
"You mock my pain." "Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something."

"We'll never survive." "Nonsense. You're just saying that because no one ever has."

In high school my best friend and I could quote the entire movie. I'm sure we had more important things we should have been doing.

I hope things get better, and fast.

flutter said...

Dude. Have a good day already! ;p

liv said...

oh, baby. things will get better. see you soon!

jen said...

sometimes the fact that we go away all day to work somewhere absurd only to be able to pay the bills and buy food seems absolutely ridiculous and numbing.

i mean, doesn't it?

Beck said...

Most kids i know have been experiencing unusually high levels of twerpishness recently.

kim said...

"we spent a romantic, marriage bonding moment hovering over our three year old who was tantrumming so violently that we had her in a car seat for her own safety.."

This was my favorite part. That is true love, baby.

Robert said...

For the record, the theme song of Princess Bride was our wedding song. So you might say we like the movie. We like the book even more. It, like so many other things, is one of those things we've shared as a couple - one knowing of something the other would enjoy, and the other actually enjoying it (Ellie shared it with me, in this case.

I know it's rough when someone insensitively questions a spouse who has been giving it all in the hope of getting ahead. Maybe that guy will get fired. Karma can be a powerful force, after all.

Whatever the case, best of luck, finding your sanity. I'd ask you to say hello to mine if they're together, but who wants to be sane? It's so boring. :)

Emily said...

So sorry it sucks right now. I've come to think of life in seasons...changing, morphing unremarkably into one another, so that one day you look up over your latte and the snow has melted and tulips are blooming and spring has overthrown the tyranical winter...I hope this happens for you, soon. (Metaphorically, of course.)

Mary Alice said...

I just wanted to say hang on and I'm sending you a virtual hug of empathy. I have been there myself and this too shall pass.

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

People suck. That's why I'm becoming a platypus.

Big hugs, chica. You need a drink.

Angela said...

I have given you an award. Because? Your writing is incredible. Go see. And your husband should just up and quit his unreasonable job with no prospects for the future, like I have. Then, we can all share a bulk supply of cat food next year. Makes for economical eating.

le35 said...

My heart made that sound when my father died. The Man in Black makes it now

Jen M. said...

First, I do get the bonus points.

And after reading this post, I strongly urge you over to Mrs. G's blog ( and read her post from Friday. Picture yourself there. It is truly a tonic, that post, and should be read by you if you haven't already.

I would love to quit, too, sometimes. I believe in karma, so keep on keeping on.

Hope this week is better.

we_be_toys said...

"I'm sorry Inigo, I didn't mean to jog him so hard!"

Girl, you are having a time of it, aren't you? what is it with offices that refuse to allow a husband and father time to be just that? I remember these years well, when the kids were 6 and under, and the husband was nowhere to be seen. Its tough, even on a good day (though I DON'T need to tell you that, do I?). Will it help if I tell you that it does pass? A lot of the tantrumming at 3 and 6 is developmental, though it sure feels a lot like Hell! Hang in there honey...I feel you pain, and I promise: it DOES get better.

Now lets go kick some co-worker ass, shall we?

"I have no gift for strategy - I need tha man in black."

Christine said...

oh crap, julie. my kids are crazy, too, if it makes you feel better.

and that co-worker comment? would have sent me through the frickin's roof with annoyance and my husband would have let the annoyance pass after about 2 minutes.