Today I came home from work; Bryan had picked up Katherine at school at my request, from her after school activity, so they'd been together less than two hours when I got home. (Remember, he's on the bench, getting paid to do nothing but sleep and play video games all day, which is all he does.) I arrived home full of determination to be sunny and kind, and since the weather was still sunny I said, "Hey! I was thinking we should get take-out and head to the beach for a picnic; would you like to come with Katherine and I?" This is much more polite and kind than I feel, but I'm working on a fake-it-til-I-make-it attitude. He said, "No, you go." Phew, relief. So I got the girl, said, "Grab some flip flops and let's go!" She said, "I'll put on a swimsuit," and I laughed and said, "No, no swimming...." and before I could continue, Bryan said, "Aw, come on, let her swim," and I said, "It's APRIL. In the NW. It's not that warm, it's just sunny, and I think swimming isn't reasonable." Katherine joined Bryan, "Mom, can't I? Please?" I repeated, "No, it'll just be a quick picnic, it'll be nice to be outside, but it's not warm enough to swim." Bryan went on, "Come on, let the kid swim!" As a matter of fact, he went on, and on ,and on, in front of Katherine. I finally got Katherine in another room and said, "Bryan, right now this is my call, and I say it's too cold for swimming and I'm not up for a freezing kid, I just want a quick dinner. I would appreciate it if you would not contradict me and argue with me right in front of Katherine, especially because it's my night with her and you're not even coming." He said, "I don't see what the big deal is." I said, "I don't believe it's good parenting to have conflict in front of her, and as you're not coming or at all involved with this situation, can you please stop arguing with me, especially in front of her?" to which he said, "Why don't you just let her go swimming?" ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Not sure if this represents cold beach Katherine, or me. You pick.
It was 64 degrees out and breezy, the sun was setting, we hadn't had dinner yet, and the ocean here is COLD. He wasn't coming, he wasn't going to get her through the bath when she got home all sandy and salty and seaweedy, and he wasn't going to deal with chattering teeth or cut feet from barnacles. My nice little spontaneous picnic - me in my work clothes, high heels and trenchcoat off, replaced with a jean jacket and flip flops over my work dress because I didn't have time to change - felt tarnished. Now, why did he have to do that?! Katherine and I had a great picnic anyway, with her running around in the grass, the dog getting picnic scraps, the sun setting over the water. So there. (insert head toss here)
And the other example, this one really gets me steamed. But not in a steamy hot way, in a fuming way. You know what I mean.
Katherine was in my room watching a funny cats video on my laptop (oh good grief, but it was only three minutes), and I was putting on my pajamas. Bryan walked directly into my bedroom, to which I said, "WHOA! I'm changing!" as I literally backed into my closet. He came in anyway! I said, "Hey, a little privacy!" and he snapped, "I just want to kiss MY daughter goodnight." I had to send him a terse little email called "boundaries" in which I reminded him that it was inappropriate for him to enter my bedroom, and UTTERLY inappropriate for him to do so when I was undressing. He wrote back "Understood," to which I refrained from saying "Then why are we having this conversation AGAIN?!"
I'm sure that both of these little exercises are him proving to me that I'm not the boss of him. I can not tell you how relieved I am that I am *not* the boss of him, but these little outbursts of his test my patience.
And since I'm on a roll, I'll share one more little passive aggressive piece of nastiness.
We got our tax refund - nicer than we expected - and so this weekend I said, "Our vacuum really isn't picking up the pet hair; I just vacuumed and look, the carpet looks terrible. Since we got our tax refund, and since we're going to need a second vacuum when you move out so that we each have one, I thought I'd got to Costco and pick one up. What do you think of that idea?" To which he replied, "It doesn't matter what I think, you'll just do it anyway." I said, "No, that's why I'm mentioning it, do you think it's a good idea?" to which he replied, "You don't care, you'll just do what you want," to which I replied, "I'm trying to understand what YOU want, are you saying you think it's a bad idea?" to which he replied "I didn't say that, but it doesn't matter what I think....." and that conversation could have gone on for another hour, I think, if at that point I didn't realize its futility and walk away. (I didn't go to Costco, or buy the vacuum. Still not sure what I should do on that count.)
In my sweet fantasies, the less steamy ones, The Guy would either say, "I think that's a great idea, go for it!" or "I don't think we should shell out the money right now," but either way I'd get a direct response.
So here's the deal, to sum it all up: I am fully aware that he is not going to change, and that unless I walk away from these weird exchanges, they would just continue like that until the end of time. It doesn't matter if I set boundaries, or try to agree upon a parenting style, or hold reasonable discussions about household expenditures, he will find a way to undermine me and blame it on me. I am walking away, because I don't want that in my life, and because I don't think it's healthy, and I don't even think it serves him, and I know it doesn't serve me. But living together, I just don't know how to get around these exchanges, and it sucks the bliss straight out of me.
All day, I thought, "I'm so glad I like my job!" and "I'm proud of the work I'm doing," and "It'll be so nice to picnic with Katherine," and "I love the sunshine," and "The salad I made for myself for lunch is delicious and healthy" and "My boss is a lovely woman"...and I was a right proper PollyAnna. I came home prepared to do chores, manage homework, clean up after Bryan without complaint or thought (because it's easier to do that than to have a repetitive argument about it).....but these little things just throw me over the edge.
I'm working on my good attitude, I swear I am. Maybe tomorrow I'll do better.