Divorce Gets Uglier…How Is That Even Possible?

Well, as this divorce drags on my Fibromyalgia grows more painful too. I guess this is a direct manifestation of stress.

Recently B stated he would be coming to CA with our 18 yo son Paul. He wanted to see Gracie and take her with him. Problem: he refused to sign a short two paragraph document stating that we both had joint physical custody and she lived with me. That she would be with him from x to x and that he was not allowed to leave the state with her without my permission. He refused to sign. Our eldest daughter and friends who know B said do not allow him to take her. He will take her back to Texas and if she is back there getting her home will be difficult if not impossible. We all believed he might not bring her home because he stated he was going for full custody of her and that she left the state without a good discussion.

He bought the tickets last week. He still wouldn’t sign and I had no idea what I was going to do. After thinking about it I realized that he had left no time for Paul and I to see each other except during the time we would exchange Gracie. This was unacceptable since both Paul and I had told him many times that we wanted to spend extra time together. I called Paul. He told me that his father had told him he would have to spend time with me another time.  I asked him if he wanted to spend more time here after his father’s visit ended and he said yes  and immediately sent me a message that read:

Hi mom! I would like to spend 10 days with you. That would mean alot to me!!

Love you.
I sent the message stating I would buy Paul’s ticket and that he was now an adult and I urged him to talk with his sister, his Dad and watch the news and make a decision that was best for him. B who responded with:
I have his ticket already purchased.
Long story short within a few hours B canceled their trip “due to the Corona Virus.”
A few hours later he sent this:

I told him we would take the trip when things calm down. You and Gracie are welcome to come here and visit, I will pay forGracie’s flight. Give it a thought, it might be a better solution.

So yeah, you already bought tickets won’t come and then offer to have us visit you….that makes sense.

I called Paul the next morning. B had not even told him the news that they would not be going. Paul started crying. Paul was upset stating his father had already told him they would come no matter what the status of Corona was .
I wrote Paul the following :
I know today you said you were very upset about not coming out to visit. I found some direct fights from Austin to San Francisco and there is also the possibility of a flight from Austin to Sacramento. As an adult you are able to make your own decisions but I would urge you to talk to Dad, your sister and listen to various news outlets so you make a decision that is right for you. I know that you are going out to eat and last week were at the Pearl. Here they may be shutting down some restaurants tomorrow so if you were to come know that there would be limited opportunities but there would be plenty of time for us to spend together. I am not going to urge you one way or another because I think that this needs to be your own decision. So if you decide to come, I would love to have you. If you decide to stay in Texas, know I love you and we will get together another time.
Love
Mom
Long story short:
  • 1. B refused to sign the temporary custody visitation agreement regarding his trip to California.
  • 2.B bought tickets for himself and our son Paul July 8, 2020 knowing that the COVID situation was getting worse but is still taking the boys out to dinner and in public in San Antonio which has a high rate of COVID infection. I have pictures of these outings.
  • 3. A week later on July 15, 2020 when B realized that I offered to let Paul stay out with myself and Gracie for an extra 10 days he canceled the trip to California without informing Paul. He was away in Oklahoma at that time and has no problem traveling.
  • 4. The next day B sent an email stating he would pay for Gracie to come to Texas instead and I could go too. This makes no sense as:
  • A) B had already bought tickets for himself and Paul to come to California and told Paul he was not concerned about COVID
  • B) If Bis really concerned about COVID why would he ask Gracie to come to Texas which is another COVID hot spot. Why should she travel when he already had tickets purchased for himself and Paul?
  • C) The real issue is that Mr. Dieter wants to deny Paul and I access to one another and is afraid to have him stay in my home for 10 days in case he chose not to come home to him or COVID shut things down. Paul is not enrolled in college at this moment and is doing nothing that should prevent his traveling to see his family in California.
  • D) Paul is an adult. He should be able to make his own decisions without having to worry that his father will be mad at him for choosing to come and see his sister and I. This was one of Paul’s concerns that he expressed to me.

Don’t Tread On Me

When we moved I took money from my private account and bought several Persian rugs for pennies on the dollar at an auction held at a rug store that was going out of business. I love those rugs… all hand woven and hand dyed from far away lands. I love to imagine the weavers and where they were weaving. I love to imagine their happiness when they sold one after all their hard work. I like to imagine the smells and the scenery that these rugs saw and all the people who have walked across these rugs and found them as remarkable as I. I also wanted something of value to pass on to my kids that they could remember and then enjoy in their homes someday.

When I bought these rugs I asked B to go with me to the auction but he wouldn’t. I asked him to go so we could spend time together and to keep my spending in check because I knew that if cheap enough I might bring home too many. Well that day I came home with four rugs and I have been hearing about it in anger from B. That I went and spent MY money even though he didn’t want me to. Frankly, his carping about it these 4 or 5 times in 6 weeks started to ruin my enjoyment of these beautiful treasures. Finally, I had had it. I told him if he ever said another word about it I would burn them…after all they are only things.

So Tuesday once again the words came tumbling out of his mouth. Imagine his surprise when he walked in the door last night with our son and saw the rugs in a pile at the front door.,

“What’s going on with the rugs?”

‘I’m getting rid of them, ” I said sweetly without an ounce of anger in my voice. “I haven’t decided if I will give them to Good Will or just put them in storage somewhere until I die and they can be distributed to the kids.”

Paul was confused, “Mom, I really like those rugs. The house looks bare without them and it is noisy.”

B chimed in, “Put them back. They look good. I like them.”

Paul, “Mom, why are you doing this?”

B, “Why are you doing this?”

Me. “B, do you really want me to discuss this in front of Paul? Is now the right time for this?”

He nods okay.,

“Okay, Paul, here is the story. Your dad has been upset that I bought these rugs out of my own money. I am tired of hearing about it as it spoils the beauty of them for me. So rather than your Dad getting distressed when he sees them I think it is better that he doesn’t see them which is why I am getting rid of them. Relationships are what is important in life, not rugs. I love your Dad more than a rug. Rugs are replaceable but love has no price. If something like a rug if making your Dad so upset then I don’t need it and it is time for it to go.”

B says, “Look I will buy them from you if that means they can stay.”

“Not interested,” I replied.

“Except for the big one. You can have that one for a half million dollars,” I joked.

Later, I went to pick up daughter from dive team.

When I got home the rugs were back on the floor where they belonged.

“They look good there,” said B with a look of embarrassment and a pleading look in his eyes. “I am sorry. I will never bring up the rugs again if you will just keep them here and let our family enjoy them. Deal?”

“Deal”

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Betrayal II-Liar, Liar Your Dicks On Fire

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So the saga of my thirty+ year marriage continues.

After being assured by my husband that he loves me and will do anything for his family I told him I needed to have completed access to his phone which he agreed to. I asked many questions including wether he had seen her or not. He assured me that he had not and that she would not have sex with him if he was with his wife…how noble of her!

Later my oldest daughter Nicole called me. She said, ” I am sending you a picture that you need to see. It is dad with her in Singapore. She put the picture up after you emailed her.” (In that email I told her she was a fool and told her that she was not the only one he was doing this with. Did she really think that she was the only one?)

B and I were taking a walk with me asking questions. I opened the photo and saw him with the Chickie. He spent four days in Singapore fucking her last January. I asked him again, “Did you see her in Singapore?”

“No”

“Really, so what is this?” I asked showing him the picture.

“I don’t know who that is”

“It is you with her in Singapore, you dick. Recognize it now?”

He went white.

“I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want to lose you or my family.”

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Soon another text from my daughter. Worse still…seems my husband’s sister Jo is Friends with Chickkie on Facebook. I saved her daughter’s life and that is the thanks that I get. WOW! To me, for whatever reason, that is the biggest betrayal of them all. You love her so much you are already having your sister welcome her to the family!

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More texts from my daughter. The woman has four Facebook pages all with different names. My daughter then sends her a message that says “If you keep in touch with my Dad I will send your naked picture all over the internet including on your tour company site.” (Honey, I don’t think you should do that!)

The very unfortunate thing about all this is our children found out. I was packing to leave and told my son “Dad has hurt me deeply and I need a few days to clear my head. This has nothing to do with your you, your brother or sister. Sometimes adults disappoint each other and just like you need time away from your brother I need a little time away from your father, not you.”

He turned away from me angry and wouldn’t let me touch him.

“Honey, this is not my fault. This is due to a hurt that your Dad has done.”

B jumped in. “It is all my fault. Don’t blame your mother. I did something that hurt her very much and she didn’t deserve it. I am hoping she can forgive me (yeah thanks for putting that part in…making it my fault if I don’t forgive him…that is slick!)

Remember the telephone at the beginning of all of this…this is where it gets ugly.

Before I left I went and asked to see B’s phone. He said no.

“You promised,” I replied.

He handed it over nervously. I went to messenger and saw Chickie’s sister’s Face Time at the very top so I pressed the button. He went ballistic and tried to grab the phone. I tried to keep it away from  him. He grabbed me by the arm that just got out of the sling. One thing led to another and because he was hurting me…I bit him. Over thirty years of marriage and we have never had a physical altercation in our entire lives…until now. At this point our kids walked in the front door and her us yelling about HER (they have never heard us yelling like that at each other EVER). I got the phone and went into the bathroom. My hands were shaking so hard, well, that darn IPhone jumped out of my hand and into the toilet. Now neither of us could talk to her.

“I guess if she doesn’t matter to you like you have said, you wouldn’t have cared if I called her but obviously she means more to you than I do. Tell you what your fears have all come true. Everyone knows and you have imploded our family. Now go to her. You are free.”

My son went outside and lost it and started hyperventilating and saying he couldn’t feel his legs and it went down from there into a full collapse. I spent time trying to calm him…it was the worst thing I have ever felt in my heart, ever.  Gracie wouldn’t come out from under her covers. We have a totally traumatized family.

I am sleeping at a friends house. My life is a shambles. My kids are traumatized. My husband is without a job.

Life is good…and then it is not.

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IEP Services From The School District

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For years we have been fighting our local school district to get our son what he needs in order to learn. Comprehension is sometimes difficult and math often impossible. We have watched him struggle to learn things that others grasp without effort while the school district ignored our concerns. Yet, if he is taught using particular methods he is often able to do the work that is required. Unfortunately, we do not yet know some of the methods that he would benefit most from.

We first realized he was having difficulty with math in first grade. We brought it to the attention of the IEP team. Our concerns were dismissed. In second grade, “It just takes some kids longer.” In third grade, “So he won’t be at the top of his class in math. (Yeah, duh!)” We then paid for him to go to an after school program at the cost of over $400 per month to learn his multiplication tables which the district could not manage to teach him. In fourth grade, he really started slipping but it was “Well, we can’t do anything now because he isn’t failing.” The rage I felt was immense. We were trying to be proactive but the district wouldn’t take our son’s lack of being able to understand and apply concepts seriously. By fifth grade they couldn’t quite ignore it anymore but their solutions and IEP goals were meaningless. He is now in 8th grade and doing math at a 4th/5th grade level. SIGH. I can also say the pathway has been similar for reading and comprehension but not as difficult or severe. In retrospect, the things we would do differently are numerous including taking the school district to Due Process. But the end result is that we have refused to sign his IEP for more than two years and continue to work with an outdated one.This, of course, is beginning to make the district nervous for what it means for them should we instigate legal action.

One of the things we have been fighting for is a GOOD educational/cognitive/psychosocial assessment of our son as we have disagreed with the district’s findings. We feel this is the best way to discover the issues that are effecting his learning and how he needs to be taught to reach his full potential. We have had a well-known and respected doctor in mind to do this assessment who specializes in kids with multiple “things” going on and have been fighting for the district to get him seen by him. Thus far the school district has refused citing their policy (which is illegal, BTW) that IEE’s must be performed within 60 miles of our home. If you understood where we are located you would also know that these types of services are not available here.

It has been a long, hard road with often disappointing results and constant stonewalling from our school district. But after all this time we were just notified that they have agreed to this testing and with it comes a very belated victory for our child which has cost him dearly due to these very purposeful tactics and delays.

Unfortunately, no family should have to go through this. Yes, we have at times hired a lawyer to push our case but the cost is immense and we see very little action for the money spent. School districts often stonewall because most parents cannot afford legal services, they don’t understand the law and districts know that most parents get weary of fighting “the machine” and give up. It’s hard not too. When you are already struggling at home because of the way your children’s disabilities impact your home life taking on a huge school district seems impossible and the educational system counts on that. Yet, by not doing right by our children it puts a future drain on our economy because these kids get discouraged by their lack of understanding/comprehension/accomplishment and drop out of school. They then face a life-time of unemployment or underemployment and the use of social services that could have most likely been avoided had they had some measure of success in school. Prison and gang activity is also a direct measure of the failure of the educational system.

I wish I could say it has been easy but I can’t. In fact, fighting this battle against the local school district has contributed to our ‘almost divorce.’ But I do urge all parents out there to continue to fight for their children’s place in the educational system. I have to believe that eventually we will make a difference.

 

 

YOU ARE THE JUDGE, JURY AND EXECUTIONER

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This weekend I was on trial. YOU KNEW I have been having severe pain for weeks and was having it when the “incident” happened. You knew my cousin was visiting but you would not step in and control the boys when they were so out of control.  You did not step in to help but instead chose to sit in judgement me when I finally lost it. And I didn’t even yell. NOT ONCE. How dare you!

You say,” I don’t know if I can live with you because you yell too much”, so I quit.Now its, “I don’t know if I can live with you because you sound stern and mad and point your finger.” How would you like me to handle discipline in our home so our kids know that things are a serious matter? Smile sweetly and in a chirpy voice say, “Oh please, sweet boys stop what you are doing. I beg of you?” UGH.

I am NOT your mother. You are NOT my son. I am who I am. A person trying their best. Changing. Me Changing. Yet somehow it always seems as though I am the person in this relationship needing to be the one to change…what about you? Are you putting as much effort into those things I told you I would like to see you change? Let me answer that for you. NO you are not.

So let me in on a little secret. People get upset. Yeah I know you don’t like to because you want everyone to like you especially our kids. Our kids who know this is your weakness and exploit it. Our adult daughter who admits this and says it sucks for the adult but is grand for the child. Guess what, I have emotions that I show which make you uncomfortable because you don’t or won’t show yours because your mother punished you for it and you are afraid that will happen with me. No insist that it will/does so you use it as your excuse not to figure out who you are as an emotional being.  And yet you stand in judgement of me. And if I don’t do what you want, what you need, then you will leave. But surprise it might be me whose ass is hit by the door on the way out because I have to be who I am and frankly it ain’t so bad. Sure there are things that need refining. But at least I feel. At least I can say what it is I know as my truth, my faults, my goods and my bads.  I show those sides of me and no one has to spend their energy trying to guess what it is going on inside my head.

And surprise, here is one for you…often I can even understand why you feel the way you do. But just because I speak my truth in the way I do and you get flooded…that has nothing to do with me but with your relationship with your mother and I cannot deal with that because it is your issue that you do not want to have to look hard at.

And so I go to my therapist and we go to joint counseling but when are you going to go down deep and work on you? I’m trying to change for me, for us and for our family and to do so I am having to go to places I don’t want to examine but I do it because it needs to be done. When are you going to get brave and do that too? When are you going to really look at how your past is effecting our lives now and in the future?

 

Teens & Alarm Clock Hell…266 Days To Fix This

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Somehow, I have become everyone’s personal alarm clock and I don’t like it one bit. Waking up my children has suddenly become a major chore. I don’t know what it is about teenage-hood but the fact is that everything moves slower on them, their ears stop picking up the decibels emitted from my vocal cords and their bones seem to collapse in upon themselves rendering them unable to hoist their bodies out of bed.

It used to be that I could bellow up the stairs and it would work.

“Kids, it’s a lovely day. Time to get up!”

Three minutes later their shiny smiling faces would be standing next to me, sweet sleep still filling their eyes. Now, I have to climb the stairs to hell to bring them down myself. In short, the trip up the stairs feels like being led to the gallows.

With Paul the first exchange of the morning usually goes something like this:

“Honey, time to get up!”

Nothing moves, nothing stirs. Mom walks over to teens bed and shakes him where he kicks his foot striking me somewhere in the thigh. I am still unable to determine if this is a voluntary or involuntary act.

“Paul, time to get up. Come on baby. Let’s go. Move out!”

GROAN. Slight twitch of left toe.

Shake again.

LOUDER GROAN. Slight twitch of right toe and so it goes until each part of his body has twitched but not yet moved.

“Come on baby. Rise and shine!”

“OKAY I AM GETTING UP NOW LEAVE ME ALONE!”

Fifteen minutes later I am still the only one down in the kitchen, the countdown to the bus has begun and I’m starting to burn like the bagel I put in the toaster 5 minutes ago.

In an attempt to remedy this hell of a routine I take taken many paths of desperation including LOUD alarm clocks that could wake the dead but somehow fail to wake my teens. I have cuddled with each child as they snore on. I have rung bells and I have banged drums. I have even resorted to ice cold water spray bottles which have resulted in nothing but an ugly attitude that manages to last into the wee hours of the next morning.

Is there no way out of this hell?

People tell me that I will miss all this when everyone is gone and out of the house but I doubt it. Because by the time the last one leaves the nest we will be retired and probably very weary of this lack of time management on the part of our teens.  Yet, I do hold out hope that the future will bring with it an uncomplicated way to start out my day. And, if it is true about what the experts say about the aging process, I suspect I will still hear, “OKAY! OKAY! I AM GETTING UP!” as I drift in and out of sleep. Only this time, those words will be uttered by a incredibly horny and somewhat naked 65-year-old man. And frankly this will be fine by me because instead of being the bell ringer it will be nice to once again have someone RING MY BELL to wake ME up in the morning.

The Passionate Journey

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Feeling your body under mine

As we ride to far away places

In that custom saddle we created so long ago

I am reminded that the first part of our odyssey

Made me feel warm, safe, and secure

Believing that passion and love would serve us well

For many years to come

Yet, as the journey continued through our ages

To different and strange unexplored lands

I found that as we rode together we

Struggled to stay insync to the pounding rhythm of life and each other

In this saddle we created and shined to perfection together

Oh so many years ago

Then slowly our bodies began to move to different beats

The spark no longer igniting when flesh richcheted against flesh

Our timing aberrant from what had come before

Akwardly and in silence we rode through valleys so deep and low

They threatened to pull us under

As we wrapped ourselves each in our own protective gear

Bracing ourselves and sitting deep in the saddle spooning

No longer astride one another

During this long exhausting ride

The passion for this particular pilgrimage waning

The heat that once kept us warm

Cooling to small embers and threatening

To extinguish themselves all together

As the light faded and disappeared behind the mountains before us

No longer straddling one atop the another on this migration

But one of us down… crawling on the ground

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By some silent force of nature

That was unwilling to give up or give in

But yet we pressed on

Scraping raw our knees

Scooping out our souls

Our sexual natures vanished somewhere within Mother Nature herself

We traveled wearily like this for so long

Lost, together… yet alone

Until in desperation we finally reached out for the reins to steady and guide us

The accidental brushing together of two souls

Once again serving to remind us of all we have endured

And all we have yet to discover

So now we join hands to do battle

Against all that has kept us apart from one another

And we fight Mother Nature to reclaim our sexuality

The passion igniting our bodies and sweeping us together

And once again we quiver deep within one another

Grinding deep within that saddle

As we climb to the pinnacle of our lives

Looking over the ridge to the future that awaits us

Hanging on for dear life together once again

Our devotion rekindled each for the other

In that saddle that was custom made the two of us

In which we fit together so well

No longer afraid

But curious about where we will end up

On this sojourn through married life

Mom Revenge

After I had children I began to understand why some animals eat their young. Those animals are smart creatures because they know that one day their offspring will grow up to become a mouthy, sulky, nasty, mean, cranky, selfish, thoughtless and reckless teenager; so they nip that problem in the bud.

Teenagers breed contempt. They make you question your sanity. And there is nothing worse on God’s green earth than a snotty-know-it-all sixteen-year-old.

Last Saturday evening, after a particularily difficult week with our collective teens, my girlfriends and I got together for a drink…or two. I am not sure where the idea came from nor the precise number of drinks that been downed but suddenly we were compiling a list which we have decided to use against our offspring to teach them a lesson should the need arise. We called it MOM REVENGE and does it ever feel sweet. And since we are all in this together I thought I would share.

    MOM REVENGE

  1. When you drop your kid off at school yell out the window “And if you don’t pee your bed again tonight I will give you another dollar.”
  2. Fill your son’s bed with stuffed animals just before his friends arrive
  3. Pack a sippy cup in your sweetie’s lunch box
  4. Post naked baby pictures on their Facebook page
  5. Yell out the car window “Remember the babysitter will be at the house waiting for you when you get home from school.”
  6. Text your teen “Honey, you forgot your blankie. Do you want me to bring it to school for you?”
  7. When your teen’s friends are over come downstairs with a box of head lice killer and tell your daughter that the salon called and wanted to let her know she has lice.
  8. Download ice cream truck music on your cell phone and blast it on your stereo as you pass their high school.
  9. Put a Barbie doll in your teens backpack.
  10. Buy a recordable card and record your own personalized message that awaits in their lunch box.

Hollow Victory…311 Days to Fix This

We talk all day

We talk all night

Maybe that’s good

Maybe not right

Seems I am trying to force

An outcome

Instead of sitting in the silence of what isimages

And letting what happens…happen

On its own

Without my input

Or any artificial colors, preservatives or (l)dyes

But there is a major problem…

I don’t do limbo well

THEN

In the morning you come to me

Phone held tightly in your right hand

You show me your password

I turn my head

I don’t want to see

A hollow victory

For the sadness that lives in the lines around your eyes

The numbers mean nothing to me anymore

Why I ask? Why are you doing this?

It really doesn’t mean anything to me, he replies

But it means the world to you

It’s a small thing to do

When it is such a big hurt to you

And when he smiles

Some of the sorrow leaves the lines around his eyes

And I feel guilty for putting it there

For fighting for our marriage

Causing lines, scars, tears, misery

Refusing to give in to our marriage’s premature death

Refusing to pick out a casket

For today I see life and love

And I know we are okay for this moment

And that’s enough for me

Right now

Treat Me Like Your Next Wife…340 Days to Fix This

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It all started innocently enough. I had just put a load of laundry in the washer and wiped down the refrigerator while B was cleaning the counters in the kitchen. Then he moved to vacuuming the downstairs and I took the sheets he had folded into the upstairs closet. When I came downstairs I just casually mentioned that I would love to have another shelf in the linen closet because it would help keep things organized. This is something I have mentioned here and there for the past three years. And that is when the trouble began.

B immediately launched into an attack. “I already put in a new garbage disposal this weekend. You should be happy with that.”

“II am but you do have household responsibilities around here and you don’t just get to keep saying that you aren’t going to do them like you have been saying constantly for the past several years. You seem to have no trouble telling me what I need to do and I am still going to tell you what I would like to see done that I can’t do myself.”

Then B says that I needed to do home repairs like my BFF. “She does 90% of what needs to be done around the house. You should be able to do that too!”

OH NO….you really didn’t go THERE did you? Because if that is the way it goes…I lose…every time. You will always find someone more talented, competent, better with power tools, skinnier, funnier, prettier than me. There are millions of awesome women out there.

I then proceeded to say I shouldn’t have to do all those home repairs and that he has been neglecting this area including the bathroom light that he broke three years ago and has still not replaced.

“Well, you should have gotten the globe.”

“I did and it didn’t fit. Frankly, if you broke it it should be up to you to fix it not me!”

B then proceeded to tell me how he had vacuumed the downstairs this morning and did the dishes.

And then we went to church. And I seethed throughout the service and asked for clarity and forgiveness which just didn’t happen. Because here is the thing:

  1. Treat me like you would your new wife. If she asked you for a new shelf it would be done within the first hour. Treating me with all the love, kindness, respect and compassion you would show your new wife is the least you can and should do.
  2. Stop bringing up what you just did around the house. If you truly don’t resent it like you claim, then you would just do whatever it is you have chosen to do without me having to make a big deal about it. Stop making me feel like I have to bow down to you and be eternally grateful. Frankly, you chose to do our kid’s jobs and that was your choice so don’t be upset about it.
  3. Stop comparing me to other women. I have NEVER, EVER, NOT ONCE in our 29 years of marriage compared you to another man. Research shows that making comparisons like that help to kill a marriage. Please stop. It is a game I will NEVER be able to win.

Later B walked in the door with a new light. I cried because I was so happy that he actually listened to me and was thoughtful enough to do something that would make me happy.

ROUND TWO

And then he opened his mouth and said,”Well, I am doing this because you ordered me to.”

WHATTTTTTT?

No, I only mentioned that you had not replaced the light in three years. I didn’t order you do to anything.

Later when we could talk rationally, I was amazed at the truly different versions of this story each of us believed. How could two people in the same room have such dramatically opposed impressions of the same event? I have no clue. But I do know this…I love B and he loves me and somehow (I don’t know how) we will make it through this. We have 29 years behind us and 6 kids depending on it.