Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Evil stepmother


Based on my personal life experiences, it's no surprise that fairy tales employ the plot device of the evil stepmother.  I have a stepmother, and if she's not exactly evil, she is certainly unpleasant and toxic.

My father has been remarried to my stepmother for over 25 years, and she and I have never been close.  We are just two VERY different people, and truth be told, I think she has always felt threatened by me.  My father and I were very close when they married (though less so now), and I think she was jealous of that.  Plus I have a very strong personality (like my father's), while she is more passive-aggressive.

Honestly, I could write a number of blog posts about the many problems and conflicts I've had with her over the years--and the conflicts I've had with my father that were really due more to her than to any problem with him per se--but it's not worth the effort and energy to put the words down on paper.  Suffice it to say, I don't like her much, and I believe the feeling is mutual.  We act like we like one another for my father's sake. . . but actually, we don't like each other.

At the moment, my father is in the hospital.  Sadly, this has become a not-infrequent occurrence of late.  For this particular admission, my stepmother had to call an ambulance in the early morning hours of Sunday because my father was too weak to stand or walk and had a high fever (103).

Yet although he was taken to the hospital in the early morning hours of Sunday and admitted almost immediately, she did not call either my sister or me to let us know he was in the hospital until after 7:00 p.m. their time the following evening. He had been in the hospital for over 36 hours before she let us know.  She claimed that he told her not to call us because they "didn't know anything" about what was going on with him and decided to wait until they could talk to his doctors on Monday.

She called me again yesterday evening with a brief update saying he was improving.  We talked for less than 10 minutes, during which time she mentioned that she had left the hospital at noon and gone home at my father's urging and that she had called him a few times over the course of the afternoon to check up on him.

On my way to work this morning, I called my father on his cell phone.  I figured since my stepmother told me last night that she had spoken to him a few times yesterday afternoon that he (1) had his phone, and (2) was able to talk on the phone.  She answered the phone instead of him.  I was initially surprised, as one is when someone else answers someone's cell phone, because you expect to reach the person you are calling directly.

I said good morning to her and then said I had hoped to talk to my father.  She responded "I'll see if he wants to talk to you."  There was a brief exchange between them, and then he came on the phone.

He and I spoke for 3-4 minutes, and then I told him I loved him and goodbye.  The phone was not immediately hung up, and I could overhear some of their conversation in the background.  She was obviously angry that I had called.  The first exchange I only caught bits and pieces, and then I distinctly heard her say "I won’t call her again unless it’s a dire emergency because she will just call you directly anyway.”

Oh, and I should mention here. . . back in November when my father was in the hospital, I called him one afternoon around 2:30 p.m., and I overheard her telling my father "she [meaning me] hasn't even bothered to call" (apparently because it was afternoon and I was just calling).  So apparently last time I was a b1tch for not calling and now I'm a b1tch for calling?

It's clear to me that it really wouldn't matter what I did: it would not be right in my stepmother's eyes because she dislikes me.  I really don't care about that because I have little regard for her or for her opinion.

I do care about my father, though, and it puts me a difficult situation to have to deal with her as the go-between who provides me with information when he is sick and/or in a weakened state.  (Normally when he is home and doing well, I just call him directly and talk to him and bypass her entirely.)

There is no solution to this situation, and it is one I have been living with for a long time.  It just sucks.

Monday, March 23, 2015

#Microblog Mondays 30

Saturday was my birthday, and MM took me out to dinner to celebrate.  Just after we ordered our meal, he thoughtlessly made a comment touching on something that really upset me. . . to the point where I had to leave the table because I was about to burst into tears.  (This topic is something that we have previously agreed is to be a closed topic, and I am not posting about the details simply because (1) they don't really matter for the purposes of this post; (2) they are extremely personal and sensitive; and (3) explaining them would make this post WAY too long for a microblog post and take me too long to write.)

I am not generally a crier, so the fact that what he said made me cry is, in and of itself, noteworthy.  In short, his thoughtless, offhand comment ruined my meal and basically ruined the evening.

My husband is, in the main, a good person and a decent husband.  He is also an excellent father.  However, things like this make me wonder sometimes if being married is worth it.

After talking with him about it, I do believe that MM's comment at dinner was not intentionally made to hurt my feelings.  But it didn't make it any less hurtful.  And there are few other people in my life who would be allowed access to knowledge of my inner life that would allow them the ability to hurt me in that way.

And even if a friend or family member had that knowledge, at the end of the day, I could return to my own home and my own space, away from that loved one.  Not so with my husband.

I don't know that I really have a point, and this post is already too long and much too heavy for Microblog Mondays, so I will simply close by saying that marriage is one of several parts of adulthood that hasn't really been what I thought it would be.

Monday, March 16, 2015

#Microblog Mondays 29

We have taken our sons relatively few places out-of-town in their three years of life.  The reasons for this are primarily that I don't get much time off; my inlaws live locally, my mother is here for a few months each winter, and my father and stepmother have visited us more than vice versa historically, since they are retired and we both work full-time; and neither MM nor I would consider traveling to a vacation destination with two toddlers much of a vacation.

We spent this past weekend visiting my father for his birthday.  He lives a 6-hour car trip from us, so we spent a total of 12 hours in the car in less than 48 hours.  I had also traveled 3 1/2 hours away from home for business during the week, so I spent approx. 19 hours in the car over the past week.

MJ said "it's too far, Mom" about 10 times on the drive home yesterday.  I agree, buddy.  I could never be a long-haul trucker, that's for sure.

Yesterday's drive made MM actually bring up the possibility of flying to my father's in future.  (My father's health will no longer permit him to readily travel to us, but prior to yesterday, MM had been firmly set in the belief that he did not want to fly with the boys until they were "at least 5.")

Glad to be home.

Monday, March 2, 2015

#Microblog Mondays 27

Any suggestions on ways to boost one's immune system?  It's only March 2, and already I am dealing with my third cold of 2015.  I am also currently treating an infection in my right eye of "idiopathic origin" (fancy way of saying the eye doctor has no idea why my eye got infected; I haven't even worn contact lenses in over a month because I ran out of them).

I have had at least 8 or 9 viral infections (I've lost count) in the 7+ months since the boys started day care in late July, and I'm sick of it (no pun intended).  I simply don't have time for being sick this often!  I have difficulty enough keeping up with my daily life when I'm well.

I already do the obvious disinfecting, handwashing, etc., stuff--I was a nurse for seven years, after all, I do know basic infection control--so I figure that if I am getting sick so much more often, the problem must lie within me and not within my environment.

The Harvard Medical School website suggests regular exercise and eating more fruits and vegetables as two things I should do to boost my immunity, but let's be realistic: if I had time and energy to integrate those things into my life, I would be doing them already for other reasons, and I'd also be a lot thinner than I am.  :-)