October 27th, 2003


So I signed up for three word-of-the-day email services with the idea that I was going to make myself do some short story writing with one of the three words as a trigger, any day that I did it. So far that has failed to materialize, largely due to chaos related to trying to get everything to where it needs to be before we go to Thailand. The interesting thing about it, to me, though, is that of the 20ish words I've gotten mailed to me at this point, I know the definition of something like 2/3rds of them already and use them in every day conversation. Half of the remaining third, I've heard and can take a guess at a definition from context. I've known for a long time that many of my friends have had to ask what words I use mean, but I generally was able to attribute it to them having grown up on the wrong side of the track or some similar cause. It is occurring to me that if Merriam-Webster is only batting about a 33% success rate on stumping me or even making me think, perhaps it is really me that is the extreme outlier, rather than anything related to the person on the other end of the interaction. It's fascinating how being a geek in a particular genre just sort of sneaks up on a person until one day they realize by the glossy-eyed stare across the table, that they are neck deep in something that isn't even in the same language the person across the table speaks in any practical sense.

(no subject)

This weekend was sort of frustrating for a variety of reasons. I said at the outset that I would really like people to get their clothes put away that have been all over the bedroom or living room for about three weeks now, that we should probably work on more of the legal documents we need to get together with relation to wills and powers of attorney, etc. I said that I would appreciate if we picked up a little bit. Joel said he needed to do a bathroom cleaning run this weekend which I was excited to hear him just take responsibility for. We had some errands we needed to do and a few optional ones Joel wanted to do. Deb was going to plan meals. Joel wanted to stop by the mead festival that was going on in Boulder and we wanted to make an appearance at a pumpkin carving contest in Boulder after that. Joel had sort of complained earlier in the week that he was frustrated at never having time for email since he no longer had a job where he sits on his thumbs a lot of the time, but he had said it something like this “I’ve realized I just don’t have time for all my email with all the other things going on in our lives and work and such,” which lead me to the impression that this was resigning himself to that fact more than saying he was planning on changing it or something.

Friday night was spent on a friend who was in town from Virginia. Fun time, but nothing like productive in terms of stuff that wasn’t just entertainment. Deb talked about big impending changes just before dinner that sent me into a panic attack, which was no fun. But dinner was good and we came back to the house to hot tub and talk for a while.

So Saturday rolled around and we had a fair bit to do. The massage therapist called and she had cramps and desperately needed to put me off until Sunday, so I asked Joel to massage me some. He spent about a half an hour doing so while Deb went and bought cereal for everyone. People sat at their computers for something like a half hour to an hour and ate breakfast.

Then Joel decided that he couldn’t stand being patient about trying out his pellet riffle any longer and Deb decided to go down to the lake with him to play with her new be-be gun, too, having blown a few hours worth of time during the week trying to establish that it was in fact legal to do so since it was not real bullets. Fine, I was okay with this since I was in the middle of responding to someone who had reached out to me about frustrations about needing poly. So they went to the park for about an hour and got lots of sheriff’s guns pointed at them when someone called the police apparently not being able to tell the difference between the sounds or failing to understand that it was legal to do what they were doing as long as they were not threatening anyone or such.

When they finally came back from that, we had some running around we were trying to get to. They puttered around , Joel at his computer until I was dressed and ready to head out the door. We went up to Boulder to the Mead festival. That took the long drive up there and about two hours of a mead tasting in which I sort of stood about in a very loud room with people I didn’t know and patiently waited while they tasted things, mostly bored, having not thought to bring anything to do since I wasn’t drinking. I tried very hard not to be impatient or bitchy and I think I succeeded. Eventually I was nauseated enough that Deb and I went to the car and waited for Joel to finish up whatever bit of schmoozing he was trying to accomplish.

Once he joined us again, we went to the pumpkin carving party. We hung out there and chatted with people we hadn’t seen in a while. Then we headed back toward home because I was driving and was getting tired. It was about We went to Petsmart because Joel wanted to get new power heads or caps for the air intakes on the ones we had and buy some filter bags without carbon in them so he could mess with things in the tank he’s started. I stood around while they figured out what they were doing for about 45 minutes all told. By that point it was about 8:30 and that was late enough that I didn’t think trying for Deb cooking made sense. So we went to Denny’s and waited forever for the food to finally arrive. By the time we got home, I was beat and we all sat down at our computers for a few minutes, but quickly headed off for bed. Deb and I showered because I was going to perm Deb’s hair and I couldn’t stand the cigarette smoke I could smell in mine from the Denny’s. Then off to bed.
Sunday morning rolled around and I knew that I had a massage appointment at 1pm, so I’d mentioned to Deb the night before that we needed to get up early enough to give her a perm before that. It took about 4-5 hours all told to finish up her perm, some spent in prep time finding supplies, etc, some just in getting all of her hair on perm rods since it’s so long, etc, then the perm itself and shower after that. Deb and I had gotten up between 7 and 8 am. Joel followed us down by maybe 15 minutes. As he walked past his clothes he’d never finished folding from weeks earlier that was now all over the chair, the floor, two baskets that were in the way, etc, I asked if he would please finish folding his laundry and dealing with it.

He snarled back at me that this was the first chance he’d had to do it (not actually true since he’d chosen to spend time on a variety of other things that were not mandatory, such as researching Jeffco gun laws during the week, but hey, I kept that thought to myself figuring that it matter less than that he just do it now, damnit) and that he would in a tone that made it clear that the real message was “don’t nag me bitch, I’ll get to it without your help.” I pointed out that he did not need you yell at me. He retreated to his computer for the remainder of the morning while Deb and I messed with Deb’s hair.

By the time we were done with her hair, we were about a half hour from meeting my massage therapist for lunch before my appointment, so everyone sat at their computers and piddled around in don’t get too engaged, wait… mode.

We went to lunch because I was starving and the kitchen smelled like perm chemicals at home and I needed to get away from the smell and TamTam had invited us out for Indian. Good food, good conversation. Didn’t leave the restaurant till almost 2pm. At that point we went back to TamTam’s house so I could get my massage. They dropped me off and went on a quest for the sort of siphon Joel wanted and apparently for yet another trip to the pet store, though I’m not entirely clear on what that one was for other than perhaps Joel’s whim or something no one talked about. During that time Tam had eaten too much and so she waited another half hour or so before she started massage stuff so she could let food digest. Joel came to get me, but she wasn’t done because she’d taken time for food to settle, so he hung out on the couch for that time.

Then he REALLY wanted to go to a pet store again to get more fish this time. So I suggested we try the little aquarium store we hadn’t really been in since they’d moved to see what they had since the stock at the petsmart we usually go to was pretty sickly looking. They didn’t have much. Petco was closest from there, so I then drove him to Petco to see what they had. He really wanted more corys which they didn’t have and the staff was just totally MIA in the 20 minutes or so that we stood around hoping one would materialize somewhere on that half of the store. So then I drove him down to the other petsmart where we bought fish. We headed home, spent an hour+ screwing with the fish tank, Joel doing a water change, adapting the new fish, etc. Deb went and bought cheese and bread for dinner while this was going on.

I wanted to work on wills, but everyone seemed cranky and tired, so I just sat down to eat and went along with Deb’s suggestion that we watch something. Then she was absorbed and didn’t want to stop, so we watched 5 episodes of anime to close out the run of whatever it was that we were watching at Deb’s continued encouragement.

Then people stood up and said they were going to bed and Joel said he was going to shower and go to bed. I was frustrated and upset that we sat through 5 episodes of anime Joel has already seen in the room with the laundry that he’d taken my head off for suggesting he might not remember he needed to fold that morning, and he hadn’t even touched it. It had been over two weeks at that point since I’d first tried to get him to accomplish this and he continued to justify his actions loudly at every prompting, devolving to snapping at me Sunday morning. But if I had said nothing whatsoever, he would never have even thought to do anything but sit at his computer, go drink mead and otherwise piddle around with his own projects all weekend.

He noticed that I seemed upset about something and asked, so I told him that I was frustrated that he’d bit my head off that morning for reminding him and yet the laundry was still there, untouched and he was going to bed.

He seemed pissed off, sad down, said “fine” in that things-are-clearly-not-fine sort of way, and he started folding. I went and took my night time drugs and then on walking through the room, I said that I wasn’t just trying to piss him off. He said he wanted a better answer to “Amy time” and the chores he needed to get to. I told him I didn’t feel like that was fair and that it hurt my feelings to say it had anything to do with me when he’d made a variety of choices all weekend long about other things and he was attributing to “Amy time” what had actually been Deb asking to watch things and me just going along with it not feeling up to dragging myself and everyone else to the things we still needed to do. He asked multiple times, petulantly, if he should just assume he has no time to himself once I’d pointed out that he’d had other time to decide to do it in anyway. I finally pointed out that that wasn’t what I’d said at all, that I had a problem with telling me you would do something, yelling at me in the process as though I were an unreasonable ogre for even reminding him, and then not doing what he said he would do and then blaming it on me, and that what I was asking for was that he be a lot more careful about the things he says and the way he says them first and foremost.

I said that telling me “I have too much to do, I don’t think I can get to it” is different than saying “I’ll do it, get off my back” and then not doing it, and then attributing to me stealing time that which I didn’t ask for and was not even remotely among my priorities, was pretty uncool.

He stayed pissy for a while. Deb eventually said that it was also her perception that he had spent very little “Amy time” all weekend of any sort. The only time she could come up with was the half hour he waited for my massage to be over which, while it might be called “Amy time” because there was no other reason to be there, was hardly quality time since he spent it lost in a palm pilot game.

He then went off on a tantrum about not having time for his email as though this were somehow my fault when in fact it was his “fault” for getting a real job and choosing that he cared more about fish, toy guns, mushes, mead, books and generally having any sort of life outside his blinking box than he does about the email without being willing to acknowledge that those were all choices he made by himself without me holding him at gun point once. And instead of coming to terms with his decisions, he blamed them on me eating his time and resented me for being frustrated at him not sticking to his word that he would do something or allow me to remind him without getting mad at me.

Finally we all went to bed, but he still seemed petulant and cranky. I am frustrated that I never once got an apology for any of the misplaced blame, the implication that I was an unreasonable time sucking force he resents or for yelling at me for trying to help. Nor actually did I even get the laundry all picked up and out of the damn living room because he did some folding, left both baskets in the living room, socks all over the chair and enough items of clothing that I cannot even determine if they are clean or dirty lying about that I can’t even successfully follow along after him and clean up his lack of follow through. *sigh*

I feel like I get shit a lot around here for things that are ultimately consequences of other people’s choices at least as much as they have anything even remotely to do with me. Deb complains, nearly begging every time I ask her to help with laundry folding that we need to do it more often so there isn’t so much, but the clothes that are still in the baskets that prevent me from being able to put clean clothes in need of folding in them are Deb’s and Joel’s and we’re going on 3 weeks that neither of them have made the time to deal with it, for example. They have in the past tried to say this was because all their time went to me in some fashion and I never made that their priority, but I think this weekend is a stellar example of our difference in perceptions on the subject. I would have cheered had either of them said, “hey, I am going to go put my laundry away, give me a few.” Hell, I’d even have helped even though I did all mine by myself and all of the non-person-specific laundry already. But somehow that doesn’t happen, and I’m expected to designate a slot of time for it or something for them, only Joel will yell at me for trying to. But I know that I will hear about it when we have 4 weeks worth of clothes to sort because there are no baskets to carry it up in before that point, Joel will get pissy at the number of trips up and down the basement stairs and leave some of the laundry he’s to resentful of to finish carrying up and will whine until I give in at about the idea of finishing the job. And Deb will be emotionally exhausted at the intimidating pile, because I haven’t made them do it at some point before then. It’s really frustrating.

The only time that was quality Amy time this weekend was the half hour massage I asked Joel for on Saturday morning. There was some passive or socially obligated generally pleasant everyone time like the party in Boulder and time Friday night with Stasie, and there was a half hour or so of being ignored while my massage was completed on Sunday, but that’s it in terms of anything that can remotely even be attributed to me. All the trips to pet stores, time lost in books, at computers, time on tanks, mead festivals, anime, doing major hair projects for Deb, playing with guns to the alarm of the neighbors, staring at fish tanks, etc were most certainly not “Amy time” to me. And none of us got to much at all in the way of the things we really have to stop failing to do, but Joel gave me shit for asking for the one thing that was the most immediately irritating to me on the list of “have-tos.” That’s a really good way to make me resent you, Joel, and resent the toy guns, computers, fish, mead and what have you that I’m taking the blame for. Reality check, please? Maybe some energy on make it up to Amy or at the very least apologize that I made her out to be the monster for my choices? Maybe an admission to yourself that if you don’t have time for email it is because it is no where close to your top priority any more and you should do what the rest of us do which is to say live you life, do what you have to and what you most want to and let the rest go as a thing of a bygone era of you or re-evaluate your priorities on your own emotional time and figure out how to make it happen without making the evaluation a form of lashing out at your spouse because you’ve changed your mind and your life but you still miss a few things you decided to let go of for more important things.

(no subject)

As part of the frustration about last night and "Amy time" Joel admitted that the only thing he can figure out that works in terms of keeping something he has to do on his mental stack 100% of the time is to just drop whatever he's doing and do it right then. He expressed this with considerable and understandable frustration. We've all tried lists and other aides, believe me.

It occured to me that I think we've overthought the whole "initiating cleaning" problem. I complained to our counselor Debann that I hated always having to run the show and being expected to organize but being resented for it, etc. So we've jumped through a variety of hoops, tried lists, tried chore charts, various divisions of things, star charts, etc and the basic answer is that none of those have worked because our maintenance skills suck ass, and we all have a hard time pulling ourselves away from tasks, people, etc, to get to the not fun stuff at the end of the task switching, unless we're all doing it at the same time and can draw energy from working together and getting it over with so it isn't always looming.

So the one thing we never really tried was rotating whose job it is to initiate and run "cleaning night" and delegate and check things against original goals, etc. So I think I'm going to try to capture what I mean by "run cleaning night" in words in such a way that we can all try taking turns at running it instead of getting further and further from something that almost worked into things that really aren't working at all and are mostly pissing everyone off in one way or another. I suspect them getting to drag it out of everyone a few times will dramatically change their own willingness to try to have a good attitude about things.