We May Be Okay Here

Well, I have good news when I did not expect to.

I found out that after nearly losing my sister on the operating table a week ago today, the doctors did NOT close the surgical incision – they put her on life support, sedated her heavily, restrained her and sent her to the ICU.  They forced fluids in her to keep her blood pressure up and waited.  Thursday morning, they felt she had stabilized enough that they could risk another attempt at removing the blockage.  They did so successfully, along with nearly half of her intestines and a portion of her colon, all of which had been damaged beyond repair due to lack of blood.

The nerve-wracking part of all this is it took her until this morning to regain consciousness.  We’ve all been on pins and needles, asking why it was taking so long – the only explanation the doctors could give is that everyone is different, and they had her so heavily sedated, then she went back under anesthesia for the second surgery, that it just took longer than anyone expected for the drugs to work their way out of her system.

Scary, scary shit.

When I asked if she was going to be able to function normally with so much of her gut gone, I was told the doctors said she will have to take medications and adhere to a special diet for the rest of her life, and she’ll still probably suffer from chronic diarrhea.  If, for some reason, the drugs and diet don’t work (or she doesn’t follow the diet which, knowing my headstrong sister, is more likely), she’ll be looking at a colostomy bag.

All better than being dead, if you ask me.

While my youngest sister is facing a challenging recovery, my other sister went home to find her husband in the hospital.  When he’d arrived at his dialysis appointment that morning, he was complaining of chest and back pain, and his blood pressure was on the low side, so they shipped him off to the hospital for tests.  Turns out it was pancreatitis which, while painful, is not life-threatening (at this point, anyway – it’s always hard to tell with end-stage alcoholics).

Since I didn’t have to go to Oklahoma or Texas and have been here to play hostess to the visiting clients this week attending our bi-annual business conference, my husband is in a good mood – something I’ll take any day of the week.  If history repeats itself, this will last until somewhere around mid-January, when he’ll do a complete 180 and make everyone miserable until late summer/early fall of next year.

I don’t plan to be here for that, if I can help it.  There is, of course, more family drama associated with my husband’s alcoholism that I simply cannot ignore and does nothing but make me more determined to get out by my self-imposed deadline of next March.

More on that later.

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I’m Okay and Divorce Update, Part 2

I finally checked back in here and saw a concerned comment from a reader – thank you so much!  It does me good to know someone out there is concerned for my well-being.

I’m okay, just busy.  I’ve been more than a little wrapped up in helping my sister sister deal with her husband who is end-stage and dying (albeit slowly).  I’ve invited her to Ohio for Thanksgiving; she was so unbelievably grateful that I feel a little ashamed for not doing so sooner.

I’ve spent a great deal of time being stressed and depressed, but at the advice of my sister-in-law (who dealt with a former spouse that was an addict), I’ve given myself some time and a deadline.  I’m giving myself the next six months to find a job and save some money; if, by March, I haven’t found a decent-paying job I’ll just bite the bullet and take two jobs so I can move out and continue looking for the “right” job.  That has done a LOT to alleviate the stress and depression.

I’m also gearing myself up to start attending Al-Anon meetings – surely that can only help, as well.  I’ve talked to enough people who tell me it’s a life-saver when given an opportunity, so I guess I’ll give it one.

As for the situation with my husband, we’re still distant (which is a huge relief, for me at least) and he’s ignoring my declaration that I intend to divorce.  I do know he’s talking to someone online (long story) and realized that I just don’t care.  He’s done a couple of things lately while drinking that would have been cause for a great deal of anger/frustration/depression in the past, but I’ve just been brushing it aside and moving on.  It’s what my therapist would have called “healing,” I think.

On that note, I had to drive him home from the office today; his stomach is upset and he has a pain in his side.  He keeps clutching the right side of his abdomen right about where his liver and pancreas are.  I’ve not said anything (to point that out would serve no purpose except to piss him off), although I did offer to take him to stat care, which he declined.

Thoughts of liver and pancreatic cancer, which is what my own alcoholic father died of, keep dancing through my head.  All that does is make me sad; what a waste of what could have been a good life it would be.

Soldiering on

Well, I’m still being “punished” but I’ve gotten used to it, including his ostentatious running about to do chores before I can get to them.  Seriously – I woke up yesterday morning and went to the bathroom; he heard me get up and rushed into the bedroom and made the bed before I could even finish urinating.  He also waits until I’m someplace where I can observe him doing whatever chore he’s rubbing in my face at the moment – again, yesterday after I came out of the bathroom to find him finishing making the bed, I decided to take a quick shower and get dressed.  The minute I came out of the bedroom, he ran into the kitchen and began unloading the dishwasher. I could give a thousand other examples of this kind of behavior, but you get the idea.

Have I mentioned that when I do manage to accomplish something (usually a task he does poorly, like cooking, or really dislikes, like scrubbing toilets), he hangs over my shoulder and asks me over and over and over again if there’s anything he can do to help?  Or if it’s something he hasn’t managed to rush to first, he’ll scold me for not letting him do it (this includes removing/putting away things in the pantry or cabinets, utilizing the step-stool he bought for me for this exact purpose because I’m so short).

This seems to be his extraordinarily passive-aggressive way of “proving” to me that he cares about me and our relationship.  Of course, the minute we have an argument it will become ammunition, because he has to do everything and I’m just lazy.  (There is no mention, of course, of all the housework I do every afternoon; neither of us can remember the last time he’s done something like run the vacuum or dust the furniture or scrub the kitchen counters.)

I gave up a long time ago rushing around trying to anticipate what he wants done and when. It did nothing but drive me crazy, because no matter what I do, he only notices – and complains bitterly about – the things I don’t do.  He can walk into a room that is 99.9% perfect, and will find and focus on the .1% that isn’t and bitch and bitch and bitch about it.  So I do what I can do and if he wants to run around and break his neck to get to everything else before I can, that’s his choice.

Then there’s the dog.  He’s jealous of her because she is the only source of non-stressful affection in my life these days and he knows it.  He’s not mean to her – in fact, he is quite affectionate towards her himself most of the time – but he complains about her, in terms of the time and money she costs, all the time.  The poor thing ran through a yellow jacket nest of which we were unaware in the back yard last week, and was stung at least six times – once on her ear and five times on her back.  I insisted we take her to the vet, and while he went willingly, he pissed and moaned about it all the way there and back.

Dixie is fine; she received shots and prescriptions for allergy medication, steroids and painkillers.  I’m happy to announce that while she is required to do the entire course of steroids, she only needed the other medication the evening she was stung.  By the next morning, the welts were gone and she was her usual happy, energetic self, and seems to have suffered no serious harm from her experience.  The yellow jacket nest was also destroyed, so there’s little chance she’ll be harmed again, at least from that particular pest.

On a more positive note, I sent my resume to an employment agency Friday and have already received an email from them expressing interest.  I’ve got an initial telephone interview with them this afternoon; hopefully, this is a step in the right direction and I’ll find the kind of employment I need and want.  I no longer care about starting over at my age; I’d like to be on my own as soon as possible after my youngest returns to school.

Wish me luck!

 

Drama

On my last post, where I mentioned in passing my alcoholic husband’s latest escapade, I got a comment accusing me of never leaving “this man” because I “seem to enjoy the drama.”

Well, fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

I do NOT enjoy the drama.  I have NEVER enjoyed drama.  I have barely spoken to one of my sisters in years because she is THE Drama Queen.  I would love nothing more than to live a drama-free life.

But do you know what I do enjoy?

  • My home, which is in a very nice neighborhood
  • Being able to afford a car
  • Being able to pay all of my bills on time, every month
  • Having a savings account
  • Being able to pay my son’s college tuition
  • Being able to adopt a dog and drive her to Ohio from Alabama
  • Being able to shell out $200 for a training course at Petsmart (we started last night and Dixie did marvelously)
  • Being able to help my children financially if they need it
  • Being able to buy a side of grass-fed beef every year
  • Being able to buy a pastured hog every year
  • Being able to buy as many pastured chickens and eggs as we need every year
  • Having the freezers to store all of this meat
  • Being able to drop everything to babysit my grandchildren if I need to
  • Being semi-retired

I could go on, but I’m sure you get the gist.  We’ll ignore, for the moment, the fact I love the man I married and desperately want that man back, and concentrate on these tangible things, okay?

Because if I leave him, they will ALL. BE. GONE.

He has a job; if I leave, I will not.  He has a house; if I leave, I will not.  He has a car (we only have the one); if I leave, I will not.

Let me reiterate that:  the business, the house, and the car are all in HIS name.  I’ll get to the whole community property mess in a minute.

I have been preparing for what is becoming more and more apparent is the inevitable:  our marriage is going to end.  I have been looking for a job – I am well qualified to do many things.  I am also a 53-year-old woman who, for the last 12 years, has worked for her husband’s company.  You, dear reader who accused me of enjoying the drama, are a man.  Don’t tell me that you even remotely understand the difficulties a middle-aged woman who hasn’t had what potential employers consider a “real” job in over a decade is going to face in the job market, especially in a state with a depressed economy.  Because I’m here to tell you it has been HELL.

Sure, I can get a job if I want to make $10 an hour, tops – I can get one tomorrow.  And I might be able to afford an apartment on that salary, but it won’t be a nice one and I won’t be able to afford to buy a car.  And I can just kiss everything else on that list goodbye.

Can I move to Texas, where my chances for finding suitable employment would be much better?  Not for 18 months, when my son graduates from college, simply because he must maintain residency in Ohio in order to qualify for the “cheaper” state resident tuition rate.  His legal address is my legal address.  Nor do I particularly want to move 1200 miles away from my daughter and grandson.

Would I get alimony were we to divorce?  Would I get half of our assets?  I don’t know – if he decides to dig in his heels, and he probably would, the answer to that would be “no.”  This is a second marriage for both of us and we have no children together.  His ownership of the business and house, if not the car (which is 8 years old), predate our marriage.  Alimony, even if I did get it, would not be much since it’s based on the length of the marriage, the disparity of income between the soon-to-be former spouses, and their earning potential.  It matters little that I cannot find a job making anywhere close to the salary I have earned in my husband’s business – I have the potential to, and that’s what the court is going to take into consideration.

Can you see I’ve spent months researching this?  To say nothing of the fact that all of this research and job hunting has been done on the sly because if he knew what I was doing, all hell would break loose.  Yes, things could – and would – actually get worse.

A lawyer, you say?  Well, when I leave I might be able to get away with half of our checking and savings account, which will certainly pay for a lawyer.  But it’s not going to be enough to pay for me to move, too, and it certainly won’t be enough for a car on top of it all.  So…move out and get nothing, or get a lawyer and what?  Sleep on my daughter’s couch for months?  As someone who is severely allergic to cats, and she has two, that prospect is not very inviting.

So, let me make this clear:  If I leave, I will be starting completely over.  AGAIN.  At the age of 53.  Just because he’s a FUCKING DRUNK.

*calming down*

I have some difficult choices to make.  Those choices are not made any easier by snide and shitty comments like yours.  This is my blog; it is the wall I wail to.  If you cannot be constructive, to say nothing of supportive, kindly do not comment at all.

A Chance To Rest

Thank goodness.

Well, the week of “vacation” is over with.  It went well, especially if you consider the fact that my eldest and husband had a good time together.  They don’t dislike each other, but they’ve never been particularly close.  Of course, their “good time” centered around booze, but since no one was driving anywhere or shooting at a neighbor’s house, who am I to complain?

(My youngest told me afterwards, “I came home from work Friday night and they were both shitfaced.”  “Were they having a good time?” I asked, to which he replied, “Oh yeah.”  I can tell you now that the next morning was less than pleasant for both of them, but that’s not my problem.)

At any rate, I put them both on a plane Sunday morning – my son going home, my husband heading to Mississippi on a business trip – and took the baby, who stayed Saturday night with us, home.  Then I went home and did a whole lot of nothing all day.

When my husband is out of town, I usually work my entire week in 2 1/2 days so I can take Wednesday afternoon, Thursday and Friday off from the stresses of my life; this time there’s the boon of having Monday off for the Fourth of July.  We have cucumbers ready to harvest, as well as sweet peas, so part of the time will be spent making lacto-fermented dill pickles and shelling and freezing the peas.  I’ll have my 10-month-old grandson this afternoon and evening, and will probably spend the rest of my time doing housework as well as making and canning a large batch of beef broth.

It’s a bit of a shame that my time at work and with my husband is so stressful that all of this can be considered restful, but there you have it.

The job search has begun, but it’s too early to tell how that’s all going.  I’m apprehensive, but am trying not to worry about it too much.

Have a great holiday weekend to all of you who reside in the good ol’ U S of A, and a simply great weekend for everyone else.

Vacation…But Not Mine

I can’t remember the last time we took a vacation, just the two of us.  Actually, I do – it was the last week of December 2007/first week of January 2008, when we went to Hawaii to elope after an exclusive 9 year relationship.  Nowadays, when we take time off, it’s to do something with/for the kids/grandkids.  Not that I mind so much – I love my kids and grandkids – but it is literally where all of our spare time and what little extra money we have (after the drugs and alcohol, of course) goes.

(I don’t count the brief side trips we take as a result of business trips, like New Orleans last year, as a real vacation; a real vacation is just that: a vacation from work and other responsibilities.)

At any rate, my older son is in town for the week.  It is, as usual, his vacation, but the kids (for the most part) are pretty good about helping around the house when they’re here, so it’s not too much of an imposition, aside from the massive amount of cooking that goes on.  Because since both of her brothers are here, my daughter is here, and brings her crew, too.  So far it’s been nice; it’s been a ton of fun just watching my son fawn over his nephew, something that has taken us all by surprise.

My husband, true to form, is “behaving” himself in the wake of our last really big fight; he doesn’t want a divorce any more than I do.  There’s no expectations on my part this time, however, that it will continue.  I’m tired of the inevitable disappointment that comes once I’ve gotten my hopes up; I know that he truly does not want to quit drinking. He may be able to “maintain” for some time, but sooner or later it will eventually get out of hand again.

My sister-in-law, who has had her own experience with an addict spouse, has talked me out of going to his board of directors to stage an intervention – she says it’s a bad idea and once I’ve had a chance to think about it, I know she’s right.  So, I guess I’m just going to have to decide what I want to do to support myself and start making plans to get the hell out of Dodge.

(I had a comment on my last post that perhaps a separation would be a good place to start, but my husband is very much an all-or-nothing kind of person – I doubt he’d agree to it.)

We’ve got a busy summer ahead of us, but he’s going on at least two week-long business trips, and my youngest heads back to the hallowed halls of academia in late August, so there should be plenty of opportunity to do what needs to be done.

And this 53-year-old woman will be starting all over.  Again.  Thank you, alcohol.

I HATE this.

Decisions, Decisions

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of weeks on an emotional roller coaster – I’m okay, I’m not okay, I’m okay, I’m not okay…and I hate it.  Part of my mind chides me when I’m “not okay,” reminding me that he’s not falling down drunk every evening, and that he gets shit done.  Then another part of my mind reminds me that alcoholism is a progressive disease, and the time when he is falling down drunk at the end of the day, no longer getting his shit done, is coming.  That’s if he doesn’t manage to kill himself in the meantime.

Then there’s a part of me that, I’m ashamed to admit, wishes he would – and get it over with soon.  It would solve a LOT of my problems.

I’m horrible, I know.

Part of my problem, one of the reasons I’m definitely not okay, is that while he may not be falling down drunk at the end of the day, and he still is getting shit done, his alcoholism is beginning to affect us financially.

Yes, I went part time in our company last summer, which means that my salary was cut in half, but trust me – we still make a more than comfortable income between the two of us.  However, finances are starting to get tight and since I’m the person who pays the bills, I have begun to put a check on our spending, mostly by cutting back on my spending.  My husband, however, spends money like it grows on trees, without ever asking me if we have the funds to cover it.

Some of it is the large amount of money he spends on the gardens, but that doesn’t bother me so much; my hobbies aren’t exactly cheap, either (although, like I said, I’ve cut back considerably on the amount of money I spend).  I’m glad he has something constructive to do that he enjoys so much, and keeps him busy.  Besides, what he spends on the gardens is a drop in the bucket to what really burns me – vodka and marijuana.

Assuming his vodka consumption hasn’t decreased since I stopped monitoring it (and it would be a fair assumption), he’s going through a750ml bottle every 2 1/2 to 3 days.  He also buys at least $100 worth of grass every month.  Assuming a new bottle every 3 days, and the grass every month, he’s spending in excess of $3,200 annually on drugs and alcohol.  CHEAP drugs and alcohol.

(Note:  that doesn’t even include the occasional purchases of the expensive gin, bourbon and single malt scotch he brings home as a “gift” for me, hoping he can entice me into drinking so he can drink openly and freely.  (It does not often work, and he eventually and gradually drinks the expensive stuff, too).)

As I see it, I have four choices in dealing with this current dilemma:

  1. I can do nothing, and wait for our finances to go to shit.
  2. I can get another job – either a full time job, leaving his company, or a part time job in the afternoon.
  3. I can simply divorce him.
  4. I can go to the man who helped him acquire this business.  He is an investor, on the board of directors and an officer of the company.  I can tell him what exactly is going on – that my husband is an alcoholic, that he drinks at the office and while on business trips and that he is slowly spiraling out of control.  I can ask this man to help me stage an intervention with my husband, with the other members of the board of directors present, telling him that he has two choices – he can go to rehab and get sober (which means no more grass, as well), or he can be removed from his job and his marriage will end.

The first option really isn’t an option.  The second option isn’t much of one either – I’ll be damned if I’m going to get another job just to make more money so he can comfortably throw it away on drugs and alcohol.  Fuck that.  Just…fuck that.

As time goes by, I’m more and more inclined to choose the last option; the third option just rubs me the wrong way – it’s too much like just giving up.  The risk is high, however, that my husband will choose to turn his back on both the business and me, and I have to be prepared for that.

But at least I’ll know I tried and can go forward with a clear conscience.