As I lay on the floor covered in muddy monster puppy, half dead and trampled flowers (not even sure if they were mine or the neighbors at this point) I tried to remember the feeling of laying on a beach with a fruity alcoholic beverage listening to the waves. But that is hard to imagine, let alone keep in your head with a puppy licking your face and the water was now soaking through my clothes. I was just about to start moving when I heard the garage door open and heavy footsteps heading in my direction.. Oh perfect, lets just add an angry male to the combination too! Ugh.
Flash back several hours to Wednesday morning....
Alex: "We should go, it's our anniversary and it's important for us to have time alone."
Me: "We have been on and off the road now for weeks, we need to stay and catch up. Plus we can't just leave your Mom, she needs us around right now."
Alex: "Mom needs normal and us celebrating our anniversary an hour north away from teenagers is completely normal. She would feel bad if she knew you didn't feel she could be left with the kids for the weekend alone."
Me: "Hey, that is so not what I said or meant! I said we shouldn't leave her right now, not that I didn't think she could be left alone with our kids for the weekend. Thank you very much! I am late and don't think we need to figure this out right this very second, it's only the middle of the week."
Alex: "I already made reservations and have arranged everything, you only have to pack at this point and get off work early if possible on Friday."
Alex: "Fine as in you will pack and be home early Friday ready to have a great weekend with your husband?"
Me: "Fine as in I will pack and be here as early as I can manage on Friday."
With that I walked out of our bathroom, grabbed my bag and made a quick dash out the door. I made it to the office before my cell started to ring and it was "his" ring tone. Grrrrrr. Nope, not answering!! I am not ready to speak with you yet mister tell me we are going out of town man. With that I sacked his call and walked with purpose into the office and to my desk. I was there maybe two minutes when my secretary called in that Alex was on line 2 and he sounded grumpy. "Sorry Beth, can you tell him I am late for a meeting and will call him back later." There was a pause on her side, the lady knows my schedule, she guards it with her life and I didn't have a meeting for another hour... But she chimed back she would let him know. Two minutes later I had Beth and Carol (she sits across from Beth and right outside my door, so she hears all and knows all) in my office with coffee pushed into my hands and curious looks as to why I was avoiding Alex and growling. (I didn't realize I had been growling and tossing papers about since my entry.) Ugh.
So after a very unlady like humph I sat down, took a large swallow of coffee and spilled my guts.
Me:"The man doesn't even ask he just tells me we are going out of town for our anniversary. I mean hello shouldn't we both have a say on our anniversary? We have been world travelers this year and it's only April for crying out loud and after all the stress and sad we have dealt with we should settle a bit right? (not that I gave them a chance to answer me) But noooooo the man just ups and makes reservations and arrangements and all but tells me to be ready and home early on Friday. I have taken so much time off already this year, I need to catch up both here and at home. I mean we have been home for like five minutes and his Mom is with us and she is barely settled and he wants to run off and leave her with the kids. What is that? Shouldn't he be spending time with her and making sure she is working through losing her husband and watching her to make sure her health is being looked after? Why must I be the voice of common sense here? Grrrrrrrr. (Yes, I was growling again.)
Beth:"So just to make sure I am hearing this right. You are mad because your gorgeous husband wants to take you away for the weekend alone to celebrate your wedding anniversary and he took care of all the arrangements on his own and is only asking you take a day off work and what.. pack?"
Me:"Gorgeous has nothing to do with it and well.. yeah, he asked me to pack." I started to squirm a bit in my chair now. "He didn't really ask for an entire day off just if I could get home early on Friday so we could head out at a decent time. But that is not the problem... What about his Mom and the kids and our home and work... It all needs looking after now. He just needs to think it through some more and maybe you know ask his wife how she feels about everything!" (Yeah, there was my mad and it was coming back a bit now!)
Carol:"Or maybe he wants or needs to take you away and spend time with you to work through his feelings on everything that has happen and make sure you are doing well too? Maybe he needs the two of you alone to process everything and regroup and your anniversary is just a really good reason to go out of town and spend time together and work through all the feelings and things that need looking after now."
Oh great!! Now I lost my mad again and started feeling VERY guilty... Was Alex needing time alone to regroup and get his feelings processed? He always says time together alone helps him to center himself again. Oh man... Could I mess things up anymore?
Me:"Then why in the world didn't the man just come out and say he needs time alone? Why didn't he just say "honey I need us to be away to process all these feelings and regroup?" I mean the man just ups and says we are going away this weekend, get packed and be home early on Friday. Hello, it's call communication right? He isn't a cave man, he talks my ear off all the time I promise you he is fully capable of full on conversations. "
Beth:"But maybe he isn't quit himself at the moment, I mean he just lost his Dad and his Mom is sick right?"
Me:"I don't know.. I mean yes all that is true but he has been a rock through all of it. He took care of his Mom and the family, he grieved with everyone and he shared fun stories at the celebration. I mean it all happen so fast we had to scramble to get back east and pull everything together. But I took care of most of it so he could take care of his Mom and family. I packed up their house and arranged movers and talked with the neighbors who are helping with the move. I even got her medical records moved here and got her lined up with new doctors. In a few months I will take her back and we will close down the house and clean up loose details, but nothing is really a fire drill right at the moment. Her room is setup just as it basically was back east and I made sure she had all her favorite foods. The headstone for his Father was the only thing left and I just got confirmation yesterday it is going to be put into place by end of week and is exactly as we requested."
At this point my boss walked in and we got down to business and I tried to concentrate on work. By 1pm I was ready to talk and see where my man's head was in all this so I closed my door and made the call to his cell. He didn't answer, so I called his work line and got his admin Brit. She told me he was in a meeting and he had been trying to reach me all morning and he looked really tired today. I told her yes, we were playing phone tag and hopefully the weekend away would put some spring back in his step. She seemed to brighten at that comment and said she really hoped so and did I want to leave any message. I told her just to let him know I called and we will talk tonight at home.
I never really was able to concentrate past the morning chatter with Beth and Carol, so by 3pm I was closing everything down and getting ready to leave. (Yes, makes perfect sense since I was so worked up about missing more work on Friday. I am a women fully capable of changing my mind on a whim, come on you all know how it is..) Alex was going to come home to a home cooked meal and his favorite dessert to top it off. Then we could volunteer the kids to clean up and spend some time off on our own and try our morning chat all over again. But this time I want to look into his eyes and see if he is not showing all his cards right now. If he "needs" time away that is totally different and I am 100% ready to take him and run. But if it's just a following the motions because the calendar is saying we need to celebrate, we should talk through that together.
I stopped at the store, picked up the needed items and got on my way home. Only I didn't make it all the way before getting a flat tire and ended up on the side of the road about a mile from home. So I called Kyle and told him to come help me out and bring a cooler for the food to stay cold. Well in true teenage fashion he did show up about 15 minutes later but without a cooler. Sigh. So I left him with my car and to changing the tire and I took the food with me in his truck (took me a few minutes it is a stick which I haven't driven in ages) back home. After congratulating myself for getting home and hoping I didn't do any permanent damage to his gears, I got all the bags loaded onto my arms and headed for the front door. I really should have remembered to grab the garage door opener from my car. Ugh. I made it to the door and my MIL who had been pacing since I called opened it and started pulling bags from random parts of me in a hurry. I got an ear full on the way into the house about carrying too much at once and I really tried not to think about how much she sounded just like Alex. I swear their two speeches on carrying groceries are pretty dead on the same, I shouldn't be surprised they are so much alike. I plastered a smile on my face and of course agreed but was thinking I made it didn't I?
It was right after I put my groceries on the counter and turned to walk back to shut the front door that I ended up catching my monster puppy as he launched his self in greeting at me.. Only he had come from out side in through the door I was going over to shut and he was covered in mud and flower bits. He still hasn't gotten the clue that I am still my size and he has tripled in size so now when he jumps up to greet me I can't take his full weight let alone a full speed gallop and jump greeting. So we both ended up on the ground, with me breaking his fall and seeing stars to boot. So there I lay in happy puppy muddy mess and thinking how tired I was. Sigh....
Now you are all caught back up to the start of this post.
Alex grabbed Jack (yes he actually has a name other than monster or brat, but he comes to all three) up and off me and took him out back, while I got up with the help of my MIL. Alex came back and asked me as he started his physical pat down if I was hurt and after he was sure and I had confirmed I was fine. Picked me up like a sack of potatoes and headed off towards our bedroom and asked his Mom to see about the groceries we would be back down in a few minutes. I looked up long enough to see her with a grin and a wave go back to the kitchen. (Yes, she actually had a grin on her face!!!) Grrrrrr This is the only thing I have against Alex being so large... He can pick me up like it's nothing and he does it often.. frustrates me to no end we are in the 21st century and yet he often resorts to cave man ways of just picking me up and putting me right where he wants me. But I digress...
Once we were in the bedroom and the door locked he walked over to the bed and flopped down with me in tow. I was put on his right side and my head tucked under his chin and told to hush and listen to him very closely or our positions would rapidly change to one I wouldn't like very much. I don't know if everything just decided to catch up with me all at once or my frustration of the day itself started to make me cry.. Just some tears and sniffing at first but I couldn't stop it and when he started to comfort me I completely lost it and started into full on break down mode. I swear I cried on him for almost an hour and I couldn't get it all to stop, I would get enough air back to say I was sorry and then I would lose it all again. He held me, rocked me and told me to keep going and let it all go now and not to bottle any away for later. Just let it all go and he would hold me through it all and he did.. He actually had to take his shirt off by the end of it as it was wet and icky from me crying on him for so long. But it was the first time I let myself cry since we got the news about his mother or the phone call that his Father was gone. I never once let myself truly cry, I had tears that I shared with others but never let myself cry. I hate to cry and I hate to share true grief with anyone, it is very hard for me and I only ever really break down in front of Alex never anyone else. I don't even ever remember crying on my parent's shoulders growing up but going up to my closet or out to the pond with the ducks to do my crying.
When we had gotten the news of his Mother's health, I was the one to recover first and start passing out drinks and comforting kids. I answered the phone the night his Father passed and was the one to wake him and tell him the news. I packed everyone, got the arrangements started from here and continued on as we travelled east and then took over all the planning and organizing of it all. All these things that needed taking care of I did to help Alex and his Mother.. They all needed to be done. But in doing all this I didn't allow myself to feel or process, as I was only concerned about Alex and his Mom. I wanted my kids to get through all this and make sure that Grandpa G got the best of what we could give him for his goodbye. What I didn't know was that I had an entire family watching me and worrying about me and ultimately waiting for me to fall apart. Alex was only one of many who wanted to see me away for the weekend and given a chance to slow down enough to find my way of grieving and beyond that regroup from our year so far. I am sitting her blubbering as I type this now.. Ugh, it seems that is all I get done now is grabbing tissue and blowing my nose.
We are going away this evening for the weekend and Alex wants to talk about our current situation with work and family. (I am working from home this morning and really not working too hard if you can't tell.) He says he thinks we need a change and that he wants me to be very open minded because most of the change he wants to discuss would impact me. I am already super nervous about our conversation because he has been hinting at me either changing positions at work or not working outside the home anymore. I am not so nervous about him wanting those things, but nervous I might be ready to say he is right. But that would be the end of a very large part of my life and I have become really attached to the people I work with. I just don't know if I have the energy to keep everything going anymore, not if we don't catch a break any time soon. The last 7 months have been a real trial for us and I am just happy we have made it through, but something has got to give or we are going to hit a wall. I know it and I think Alex sees it coming and wants to head it off, plus it would solve a great deal of our power struggles too. I have a REALLY hard time switching modes when I leave work, as I run a group of 20 people here in the US and anther 30 or so Internationally. So I am really good now at shooting out directives and driving solutions being built in very limited amounts of time. But that gets me in the "I can take on the world, just watch" mode and he doesn't really like being given a directives from little old me. :0)
So wish us luck... That we have some fun celebrating and that our talking about everything else doesn't take the entire weekend over. I would love some time just shutting the world out and cuddling with my husband and thinking of the next 18 years as husband and wife and where they will take us...