Tag: marriage

Secret Post of Marital Frustration

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Oh my gosh, Mr. Brickie is going to be the death of me!

We play this video game, right? No problem. It’s something we both do and enjoy. This should not be a problem.

Except it is.

Working 58 hours a week and an hour-ish commute each way means he can only really commit to a “relaxing, fun” game experience. He doesn’t have enough time to dedicate to being competitive. I’m not particularly competitive, either, but I am able to access my computer on and off all day so I am able to get more accomplished.

To compensate, he stays up too late playing the game to get to a point where he’s happy with it.

He’s now gotten to work late TWICE this week. I stop playing and tell him we need to go to bed about an hour before he even thinks about logging off. Then he misses his alarm at 4am, gets up when my alarm goes off and I wake him up at 4:30am, and still somehow, SOMEHOW gets back in bed and falls back to sleep. This morning he was lucky he was only 15 minutes late to work because I woke up with a start at 5:15am and realized it was light outside and he was still in bed.

This transition period of me having to be this grown man’s mother is either going to stop, or I’m going to smother him with a pillow.

If it was just the game, I would consider quitting but I seriously am kind of over the whole, “I’m going to ignore everything in my view that would take two seconds to fix and create 20 more two second problems for you, babe.” attitude that’s been pervasive since he went back to work.

I’m pretty sure all this would be alleviated if he just got more sleep. How do you get a grown man to agree to – and stick to – an appropriate bedtime? 

Any suggestions? (Preferably suggestions that don’t involve the terms “a real man” or “you tell him” because he’s not always like this and is normally a rock star so I don’t plan to go all hair-flipping, finger-snapping, road rage on him. I’m looking for something more subtle/funny/effective/cunning rather than using the brute force of sheer personality to make him hateful-angry enough to wake up on time just to spite me. (Although, let’s be honest, we all know that’s available as a last resort.)

Thank you in advance!

Acceptance In Marriage and Human Nature In Remodeling

Having a partner that is great around the house is amazing.

The one thing about my partner is he works best when he has a project manager. Usually (okay, always) that task falls to me. The problem we are having is that parties make me extremely anxious and when I am freaking out I become a really awful project manager and leave him to his own devices.

Which means we end up with a few issues in the product.

The party is Saturday. We are totally pretending right now that Mr. Brickie isn’t going to have to work on Saturday because having to deal with one more thing in between now and Saturday will find me giving up on life and you won’t find me unless you look under my bed, where you’ll see me in a fetal position sobbing gently.

Yes, I may be exaggerating just a bit. I would have to sweep and mop under my bed before crawling into that dust-bunny jungle.

June-2014-Bathroom-CollageLast night, I reminded Mr. Brickie I needed a toilet paper holder because keeping it on the back of a toilet was pretty much one step above just throwing a Sears Catalog at you before you trekked out to the outhouse in back. I didn’t like it and it just feels unsanitary, you know? I had these freestanding toilet paper holders for a long time but they’re not as practical as you might think. Also, with a four year old in the house, being able to reach the toilet paper easily is kind of mission critical from her perspective.

His first go at the toilet paper roll was with one we “happened to have in the garage” and it was an in-the-wall model. We both forgot that we removed this exact one ten years ago because it was awful and badly placed. We also forgot it was badly placed because of a 2×4 that lives in that wall for some reason that makes it important not to demolish it to make room for the new toilet paper holder.

I do not have pictures of the hot mess that project became but I gotta tell you … I snapped.

I’ve been forgiving of my husband not texting me from when he says goodbye at 5:30 am to when he lets me know he’s on his way home from the union meeting at 8:45pm. I was fine with him dumping off gross dishes he didn’t rinse off. I smiled when I realized he didn’t pick up the right ingredients for the dinner recipes we planned together. But when I saw the toilet paper holder in the wall surrounded by these ugly wooden boards screwed in with these big, ugly screws?

I snapped like a Lifetime Movie.

He got mad and left to go shopping for a better solution. He promised he would fix everything. (That’s what he does. It’s sweet.) When he came back from the store I just went to bed because I didn’t want to deal with the middle parts and figured if I had to deal with any more big surprises it would be best to confront those on a good night’s sleep.

The picture above are the product of last night’s finishing touches and fixes.

Overall, I’m super pleased. I mean sure, I have no idea why there is a towel holder not lined up with anything and have to wonder where the other one is because we bought two of those back when we originally purchased them. But it’s up and functional, so that’s cool. The toilet paper roll is nice and the huge hole above it is all drywalled back up and repainted so it’s not obvious it was there last night.

The spots all over the wall are waiting to be sanded and painted when he gets home from training tonight.

Of course, the underlying problem with all of these problems that had to be fixed was my refusal to be project manager on the job. I made him do it all himself. He didn’t have a team, no one to bounce ideas off of, no one cheering him on and giving suggestions. I was unhelpful.

So the fact that it looks passable and by the end of tonight will look good? It’s kind of amazing.

I know I’m not the only woman in the world who changes the way things are normally done in my relationship and then says, “But he should just be able to do this for me. I mean, it’s not that hard.” when, in reality, changing something like that for a guy who is a creature of habit really does make it that difficult. I not only wanted him to do everything from soup to nuts, I wanted him to do it without support. You know, so I would feel supported and taken care of.

Taking away support to feel supported is probably one of the dumbest ideas I have ever had.

The reason I love my marriage is that the teamwork we have works. Taking it away, watching him fail, and then blaming him? It’s a dick move.

One I will try not to make in the future.

On the bright side when the party happens everyone will be able to use the infinitely awesome toilet paper holder when they use the bathroom. They will have a towel to dry their hands on when the wash them (hopefully) after using the bathroom. They won’t see the polka dots all over my wall.

Best of all? They wouldn’t have cared if I didn’t provide those things. These are just nice touches I want for them because they are awesome. Self-created drama. So silly. But at least now my girls will have a better bathroom experience every day and that’s wonderful, too.

So, in closing, this is another post about how I need to step it up as a wife. I’m so trapped in my own head still, even though I’m not straight up depressed anymore (though I am worried because Mr. Brickie should be getting the address of his job site today so he can start tomorrow) there is still a few more steps before I’m in a comfortable place.

In the meantime, I’m slogging through this swamp the best I can.

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My Husband. My Love. My Bricklayer.

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Let me warn you right off the bat, this one gets sappy.

The main point I’m trying to get across is that if someone does not feel fulfilled (male or female, it just happens to be my husband in this post) thinking outside the box can mean many things. Some people are wonderful entrepreneurs, but when you have people telling you the only way to be fulfilled is to become an entrepreneur….they’re lying. There is no “ONE TRUE WAY” to happiness. I’ll be the first one to tell you most everything bright and beautiful in my life came from tragedy and luck. Enough of my esoteric messages….

On To Our Post!

The soundtrack for today’s post.

I am pretty sure about a million couples feel this way. So do we. I’m not trying to have the most original marriage, I just never want it to end. (If you’re reading this and you had a marriage end, I’m not judging you. What I say about what I want doesn’t mean I think anyone else in the world should want the same thing. This is just where I am at. Everyone else’s mileage will surely vary.) 

Mr. Brickie is at training today. It’s his last day of Year 1 training and I’m really happy for him. Every step is one step closer to journeyman and he’s gotten some very positive feedback from the trainers about how he’s been doing in the field and they agree he should not go looking for other pastures to graze in because if his company is working, he will be working. The new estimated job start date is 2-3 weeks.

In the meantime he has a painting side job he is very excited about. I love when he gets to paint because he’s really good at it and he loves the big reveal of a painted room that looks like it just magically changed color because you can’t tell someone painted the damn thing. He’s good.

New/Old iPhones Are A Go!!

He called last night and got our phones changed over. Unfortunately, they closed before we could call back and port the phone numbers over, so that’s happening tonight.

By morning, we will have iPhones again!! Carrying around two phones has been inconvenient and embarrassing. Oh this phone? This is the one I call people on. It’s unreliable and eats calls and texts on the regular. It also holds three apps because I don’t know why. This iPhone? Oh, I tether the Internet from the bad phone to this so I can actually use the Internet at a speed faster than “should have just walked to the library and looked it up.”

$85/mo. for both phones. Unlimited text/talk/data (Up to 2.5g data before throttling sets in but have not heard of anyone actually being throttled yet. It’s more of a “we reserve the right” thing at this point.) The best part? It uses AT&T towers!! AT&T worked great where I live. I’m so happy to be on their towers for a QUARTER of the price!! I heart Net10 so much!! (Not sponsored. LOL)

EDITED BECAUSE OMG PROBLEMS! The Net10 rep should not have billed our card last night. You have to activate with an activation card from a store if you want to port numbers. So you buy the SIM cards, make sure the phones are unlocked, buy a card for what you want (we bought a $90 two-phone card and it had two PIN numbers on the back for activation) put the SIM cards into the phones and THEN call and get your numbers ported over while they activate the phones on the family plan.

They should be ported in the next couple of hours. Tomorrow I’ll be using one phone. Finally.

The Other Reason I Love Mr. Brickie Training

It’s great that Mr. Brickie is learning about grout. It’s wonderful he gets to hang out at the Laborer’s Union Hall and help them learn how to be a great laborer for a bricklayer. I love that he goes in and knows laborers already (Don’t let the name fool you, it’s more difficult to get into the Laborer’s Union than it is any other union. I don’t know if it’s the same everywhere but here you have to be sponsored by a company AND brought into the Union by someone already in the Union. It’s some secret squirrel stuff, man.) These are the things that happen at training. Building walls, taking classes, and going to the Laborer’s Hall.

The secret benefit to him going to training has become crazy-obvious when he gets home. He has the same amazing attitude that he has when he’s working on the regular. I always love my husband, don’t get me wrong, but when he’s working he beams with fulfilled potential for awesomeness. He feels worthy of the devotion and love his family give him. His solid self-worth manifests in so many ways.

He is not defensive at all. If he makes a mistake he just fixes it. He reaches out and wraps his arm around my waist and pulls me in to hug him when I’m walking by. He takes charge in a million little ways.

It’s like if I squint I can see the 1950’s.

Except he helps with dishes. Helps with dinner. Helps the girls set the table. He talks to his daughters about video games (or whatever they want to talk about).

He winks at me from across the room.

He is everything I love about him and nothing I don’t. His pessimism is gone because he feels fulfilled. His mopey defensiveness is replaced by an air of authority that demands respect. Not some macho bullshit, either. Just a quiet power that everyone responds to in a loving, positive way.

He makes me feel safe. Protected. Cared for. Adored.

I have referred to this job as our Second Honeymoon. He just laughs and pulls me down on his lap to tell me some cheesy line about the first one having never ended. (I know, I told you he’s bold when he feels happy. I’m always worried I’m going to snap his thin little legs right in half but know better than to argue. He has eyes and knows how big I am!)  

Why This Is Important

We are THE SAME COUPLE who participated in The Taco Incident less than a month ago. I shrieked like a harpy on fire and he showed me his belly like a submissive dog. It was not good. I felt out of control and unsafe. He felt unsure if he could really provide. We were our not-best selves that day. We have been our not-best selves many days when I felt scared and he felt powerless. I wrote the article last month with an eye to my problems and what I did wrong because this is my blog and it’s not really my place to muse on another human being no matter how close to me they are. Also, I’m generally not into trash-talking my husband because when does that ever end well?

The only thing different from me having to give him the benefit of the doubt and so many extra hugs because he’s going to act all mopey that I yelled at him is WORKING. That’s the only difference. (Training consists of building walls and doin’ stuff so it’s the same as working. He also gets a small stipend at the end of the week so he’s being paid for the work.) Having a job fulfills him in some special secret way I do not personally understand but it is so obvious that’s the change I’d be an idiot not to see it.

Which is why I’m more likely to blame myself when we argue, because I know he’s only being the way he is because of not working. I’m the big picture person in the relationship so it’s my responsibility to know the annoying parts of my husband are going to disappear as soon as he gets a hard hat on his head.

It’s taken me kind of a long time to figure all this out about us being the same couple when everything changes and becomes like a friggin’ fairy tale around here. Want to know why?

  • He wasn’t secure and fulfilled when he owned his own business.
  • He wasn’t secure and fulfilled when he worked as a marketer.
  • He wasn’t secure and fulfilled when he managed the coffee shop.
  • He wasn’t secure and fulfilled when he was a financial advisor.
  • He wasn’t secure and fulfilled with any other job he’s had since I’ve known him.

So I’m willing to forgive myself for not connecting him being all old-school manly but modern-day awesome with becoming a bricklayer.

How could I have ever guessed my gentle husband that loves to talk and laugh and watch romantic comedies needed to be a tradesman to feel fulfilled? That he would excel at every task he was given? That he would be made for this journey?

How could I have known?

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Just Another Sappy Date Night Story

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In case you haven’t picked it up from the title up there, this is kind of a sappy story. It is also a perfect representation of how random things happen in our lives. Not just in bad ways that lead to disappointment. This is the positive side of how things work out for us in ways I can never predict.

We Had A Date Night!

Here is how date nights happen in the Brickie household.

We find out a friend is having a birthday party. We both want to go. After sacrificing a small animal to a pagan god (KIDDING) we make phone calls and pray someone will watch the kids. Thanks to the not-really-sacrificed animal my in-laws are free and able to watch the girls for a solid five hours on the night in question! We are going to a birthday party!

We find out Thursday the party has been cancelled for reasons beyond the birthday girl’s control. Boo, hiss.

We have a sitter and five hours on a Saturday Night… DATE NIGHT!

Now we panic because instead of the cost of a bottle of tasty vodka we have to figure out if we have it in the budget for both of us to eat food. We have a TGIFriday’s coupon but we really want to kick it up a notch. We decide we just aren’t in a place where we can kick it up a notch and are resigned to going to a chain and really we aren’t resigned we are happy because we haven’t been out together without the kids since New Year’s Eve.

Saturday morning we are happy and getting excited about being grownups out together being in love. We get two emails and manage to sell two pretty large things on Craigslist Saturday afternoon and take it as a sign we are supposed to go someplace a notch above a regular chain restaurant we had been perfectly happy with and almost convinced ourselves we really wanted.

I let Mr. Brickie pick the restaurant because I normally pick and I was feeling all nice so I was like, “Where you want to go, boo?” and he was all, “Mmmmm beer.” So we went to Rock Bottom Brewery. We shared a beer flight (shown in that pic above) and shared one big beer and he had shrimp and lobster enchiladas and I had fish and chips and we laughed and talked and had the best time just reconnecting and being two people remembering how awesome the other one is. The whole time not worrying because those two things we sold on Craigslist that paid for dinner were things we thought would never sell, so we celebrated that stuff being out of our house as much as we were celebrating each other.

Really, it was bliss.

Moments like that, the ones that happen so randomly, are the ones that keep us fueled for the day after day worry and disappointment. The nights where we smile and laugh and remember what an amazing team we are? Those are the ones I remember when I’m frustrated and tired and don’t want to do one more article/survey/story. He keeps me going with our inside jokes and overdone footsie-playing under the table ending in both of us laughing so hard our sides hurt.

He picked up the kids on time and they were happy and the 4yo ended up falling asleep on the couch while fighting not to leave because she wanted to play, “Just one more game…” He came home and told me everything that happened and how happy they were and what a great time they had. Icing on the date night cake, right?

My mom used to say, “It’s just as easy to love a rich man as a poor man.”

Mr. Brickie is still worth the “richer and poorer” I promised eleven years ago. I have no idea how that’s possible, but there it is.

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