11 June 2008
just bitchin' again

I’m writing this in a migraine-induced aura of pain, so forgive me if my thoughts aren’t coherent or even half-way understandable. I’m tired, my head is spitting itself open, and I’m alone, again, for three very long days…

…Not that being alone is such a bad thing, really. It’s actually how I am most of the time, with the exception of bath time and the occasional hour or three on the weekend when we do things as a family, where things means we go look at the next piece of farm equipment the Alpha-male is considering buying, with, of course, a trip to McDonalds tossed in to make it look respectable. I’ve often made the comment, even to Marc, that I feel so much like a single parent so much of the time that I wonder why I’m bothering with the rest of it. His response, in his typical sense of reasoning, is, “Maybe, but I’m paying for it!” Sometimes I really wonder if he realizes just how much more he could pay for my single-parenting skills—not that I’m at the point of making him discover.

I got through another weekend full of his friends, rather unscathed this time, and not as tired as I usually am. Last year when we did the big birthday weekend I was eight months pregnant. And huge. And Very Very Tired. And with the exception of the cakes, which were handled by the au pair who was better than yours, and a salad brought by the vivacious Vivi, I did all the prep work, most of the rest of the work, and a huge amount of the cooking, until I was tossed off the grill by a friend of Marc’s who proceeded to either over- or under-cook everything. This year was significantly different.

For starters, there were only 12 of us. We should have numbered one more than that, but he got stuck at work with something that needed immediate attention. (This made me sad, as he is a nice chunk of eye-candy.) For another, the menu was American—Carolina-style pulled pork barbecue, fried chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, chips and Coke, with beer and champagne tossed in to make the locals less afraid. It worked—there were only enough leftovers to pull off lunch Monday, by which time, of course, I was sick of all of it. I do have to admit that fried chicken goes pretty well with champagne. I feel so redneck chic now it’s crazy. Time in the kitchen was significantly less than other years, and I was treading on very familiar turf. You can take the girl out of the south… and all that.

Of course, the shopping still had to get done first. That was Friday’s big activity. I planned on doing it all in the morning so I’d have the afternoon to start cooking. I was also planning a visit to one of the AM’s hospitalized farmer friends (note: Don’t stand under a falling bale of hay—it’s going to fuck you up!), and that, combined with the shopping, would put me home long after Monkey’s bus arrival for lunch. This I’d planned with the AM, reminded him of daily until he finally told me to shut up, even pointed it out to him as he left that morning when he rolled his eyes at me and said he’d not forget. All I’ll say is it’s a damn good thing I know how that man’s head works, or else our son, the one on the school bus, that kid? Who knows what would have happened to him. I have nice neighbors, and fortunately they have grandchildren in school with monkey. Bless them! (I really would like to nominate them for some award because, after all my attempts to get Monkey to eat broccoli for the past three years, they managed to convince him that it’s good stuff. I love broccoli, and now he does too. This is very cool!) And he was taken in by his grandparents for lunch, where he was discovered by his father (only an hour later), with his belly full and ready to attack his afternoon studies.

I spent Friday afternoon trying, sometimes with success, sometimes with less, to suppress the anger I felt about that whole situation. Surely I can—and oddly enough DO—understand how it is that the boy’s father could forget him. If you’ve ever spent time on a farm when there’s work to be done, with a looming deadline, while staring the harvest right in the face and dealing with a plethora of other agri-related problems, you can imagine a world where things like bus schedules and lunches for small children could get spit out as extra baggage by the gray matter. (This is, of course, why Plan B had been put into place.) What I have a harder time accepting are the remarks that will be directed to me in the near future by certain members of the AM’s family who, in my opinion, have either forgotten what the reality of farm life is, or refuse to see that their son has responsibilities outside of anything dealing with that fucking farm, or that I could, just possibly, have things to do other than pretending to be the happy house wife, or want a life outside these four half-meter thick walls that feel like a prison too much of the time.

I need to get out of here, if for no other reason than to put enough distance between my family and theirs so that the two have a future of actually speaking to each other.

But it’s not only my absences that cause remarks. The things the kids do, or don’t do, even when not under my supervision are excellent fodder for their little digs. Saturday, while I was INSIDE cooking, while their son and his friends were OUTSIDE talking, Monkey made a few piles of rocks in the grass. Granted, this is not allowed behavior. He’s already been punished in the past for doing this very same thing. But he was under the supervision of his father, right? Certainly I cannot be expected to cook inside, while Monkey plays outside just meters away from his father, and keep my eye on him as well, can I?

Yes, I can. The remark came this morning, now that Marc is safely away certainly, that I need to pay better attention to what he does outside so their mower doesn’t get damaged.

These are, of course, the same people who refuse to allow their grandchildren to play with sidewalk chalk right outside our kitchen door—an activity that would allow me to cook and clean and keep an eye on them while they take advantage of the rare sunny days we’ve had of late. But no! Sidewalk chalk? Outside? No! If they want to play with the damnable sidewalk chalk I have to pull the car out of the garage, on the other side of the street, and let them play there. I don’t have time for that—not for loosing the time I’d have to spend over there with them while everything in the house piles up, not for the arguments that would surely follow because of the piles of unwashed dishes, laundry, and the all-stick floors. Nor do I have time for the comments that would come from the other side of the family about how that chalk would potentially ruin his wine. (This is purely conjecture on my part, but knowing the man as I do, I can certainly see this happening.)

I could probably wax poetic about all the other problems I have living here, about the cave-like qualities of this edifice they call a house (ha!), the myriad of difficulties I have with the in-laws, the lack of space, light, air, heating, cooling, and the general grunginess of my surroundings, but we’re going to be stuck here for a while longer, possibly another two years—and that’s if everything with the shit-heap-on-the-hill goes correctly from this point on, and I cannot allow myself to get stuck on this particular example of why I will probably spend more than a few days of my life medicated to the point that my head no longer sticks to my shoulders and I drool uncontrollably, because otherwise I will spend ALL of my days medicated exactly in that way. Come January, I will have spent more of my life under this particular roof than any other roof in my entire life. It felt like I was camping in the beginning, those eight long years ago. Now, three kids later, I am beginning to understand the meaning of the word Hell.

posted by Doc at 15:35 | Permalink |


  • At 16:19, Anonymous Alison

    I just want to hug you.

  • At 16:30, Blogger Linda

    My son and his wife just had their fourth son. Can you imagine? She doesn't do much housework that I can see but I do have to say the grandchildren are beautiful and they can use chalk on my driveway any time they want.

  • At 17:57, Blogger Ms Mac

    Hey, I love your kids, but if they ruin that wine.... *shakes fist*

    What is it with the in-laws and the chalk? Why ever not? Are they Swiss? I look enviously over the house across the way and their happy, smiley children chalking away outside knowing that would never go down in our town. Sad, sad, sad.

  • At 21:18, Blogger C.

    Ah geez, it sounds totally crap. And so familiar. I have no words of wisdom except hunker down and just keep looking at the kiddos. There are few things in life as uncomfortable/heinous/horrible then in-laws pissing you off, especially when it comes into to discussing the territory of why or why not you are happy.

  • At 00:38, Blogger Antipodeesse

    I wish I could say something helpful. We still have to get drunk together.