Digging out of the Snowzilla ’16 took a week. A week without work, without school, without anywhere to go and no desire to go anywhere. I spent my time pleasantly reading, knitting, watching tv and ventured out only to walk my dog. I halfheartedly uncovered my car but didn’t get any form of cabin fever at all. I need the downtime replenish my soul.
I am the unusual being known as a social introvert. I am gregarious, the life of the party and love to mingle and engage with people. But I gain my energy and nourishment of my soul from being alone and introspective and solo. My kind of downtime is a week of snow days………the weather precluded any pretense at meeting up with anyone and left me to my own devices and that was grand.
By Thursday two things had happened. I developed bacterial bronchitis and wanted to see my boyfriend. We spent Thursday night and some of Friday together mostly on the couch doing nothing. Marvelous. Yesterday I felt slammed by the bronchitis and today I’m just exhausted and have to go back to work tomorrow. Still I’ll take a week of snow days any day!
The dog and I are snowed in and the snow is unrelenting. Well over 2 feet. Probably more.
And lots of blowing and drifting. So far I’m snug as a bug. Electricity has stayed on. I’ve binged watched Hallmark movies and other trash, finished and started a new scarf, started another book and have lazed about. It is great. My only sadness is that I’m not snowed in with my boyfriend who is stuck plowing for the duration. He is trying to take naps and stay fresh but the snow has just not stopped. He is pushing a plow on a pick up truck and has lost traction and got stuck a few times. The amount of snowfall is historic. My apartment is garden style so the breezeway has been filled with snow……
I took my dog out several times and let him do what he needed but yikes the snow is incredibly deep and drifting.
While I have met an amazing man and we are spending a lot of time together I have not stopped living my own peculiar and amazing life. I wasn’t waiting around for him to appear to rejoin the living. I was living with purpose ever since I left my husband. And it has been a good ride thus far…..bumpy at times but it is my one and only life.
So in that spirit today is a fun day getting garbed up in medieval clothes and driving (hey it is called the Society for Creative Anachronism for a reason) to Silver Spring for a banquet and night of merriment called Feast of Fools. It is to celebrate 12th Night and banish the winter doldrums. I am acting as troll for the first time which means I am the first person to greet you and sign you in and double check membership status etc. We have 55 gentles registered with no seats available at the door which is so gratifying for our humble little shire.
The Feast of Fools (also called the Feast of Misrule) is a traditional festival celebrated at Twelfth Night. At the Feast of Fools, the world is turned upside down. The powerless have power and the powerful become common. Join us for a night of raucous revelry and feasting.
King Bean and Queen Pea (The Lord and Lady of Misrule) will be selected in the traditional manner to preside over the feast.
There will be audience participation. It will not be required, but may be difficult to avoid.
It really was a marvelous Christmas except for one thing…….his gift-giving skills are horrible, under-developed and hurtful. I outspent him and out thought him. He wasn’t exactly thoughtless but so totally clueless and didn’t think things through. Or he thought something would be amusing and it was horrible. I’m crushed and while we have talked; I have a terrible urge to hurt him back to make him realize that simply saying “I’m not good at giving gifts” isn’t going to work. I am embarrassed and hurt and as the magic of the four days fade the hurt is rising to the surface.
- A stuffed Hanukkah Bear-yes really! to me, on Christmas! I’m Methodist and go to church most Sundays. I pledge, volunteer at my church’s fair booth and have bought baked goods at church that we later took to a party together. I’m Christian! His reasoning for the bear? He thought it would be funny and wanted to acknowledge that I know a lot about Judaism. Okay I do. I grew up in New York and many of my friends are Jewish. I know a lot of things about a lot of things…….but a Hanukkah Bear?
- A gift certificate to his favorite coffee place. I drink tea. The coffee place is near his house, and for fun he had the amount customized to remind me how old I am. Then he tells me he gave another gift certificate to his other girlfriend as well. Customized for her age to remind me she is younger. Little tip- don’t give your girlfriends the same gift-especially if one doesn’t even drink coffee!!
- A gift certificate for car washes. Yes, the romance on that gift was huge. He says it was to allow me to have my car detailed and washed. Never mind that the gift was late, not even in a box or wrapped; did I mention it was given after Christmas? And for those playing along that makes two gifts that were essentially money. No thought at all.
- Two videos. I am a book lover and love to read. I didn’t even have a DVD player or a big tv so the videos will have to be watched on my laptop and while they are fun movies (children’s movies that I did enjoy watching the first time) neither screams I love you or I know you or even I thought about it much.
- Two bags of candy. I confess I do have a penchant for dark chocolate peppermint pretzels, which is a seasonal treat. But he didn’t even bother to get the right kind. How many stores did he check? Did he think it wouldn’t matter? Oh, and the fat girlfriend gets movies and candy to sit on the couch and get fatter. The other gal? An exercise tracker for her wrist that will serve as a constant reminder of his thoughtfulness. Refurbished true, but still.
To his credit he was a bit abashed by my response but as the days have gone by and he has gone back to work I find my hurt and disappointment growing instead of lessening. I am really worried about this colossal fail and am struggling to regain my equilibrium. And dread the thought of Valentine’s Day in six weeks.
So what did I want? I’ve thought about it and I know now that never in a million billion years could he have guessed. I wanted a ring. Not just any ring. A ring that would reflect that we were two separate people and yet together. A sailor’s ring. In silver. Less than the price of the coffee certificate and full of meaning. I better start letting this hurt go. I’ve got a lot of work to do.
I don’t know why I didn’t figure this out before tonight but the knowledge has me reeling. When I left my Hex-husband five years ago, the divorce process exacerbated and hastened his mental health decline. It honestly never occurred to me that by leaving him his care would fall and fall heavily on my children. I had to get out to save myself and keep my sanity. I have struggled but mostly I have conquered my fears and thrived.
My son lives with him and has been estranged from me since I left. But now I am reframing his dropping out of college and not getting a job as being the primary caregiver for his mentally ill father. My daughter has had to shoulder a lot of the care and worries constantly about her father. She is less worried about me and knows I have a strong support system of friends, co-workers and most importantly, my family. It sounds like his family has not been involved and the kids are on their own trying to keep him safe. So damn painful to hear. And this just never occurred to me. My babies are taking care of their father and he is so ill that he doesn’t see the damage he is causing. Stifling my son’s growth and burdening my daughter. He isn’t being helped by his current therapist and obviously he is in much worse shape than I imagined. I am just so sad. And there is nothing I can do to help.