Monday, 11 July 2016

What Am I Doing?

With every day that passes, I am growing more and more aware of something, and I fear it is so horrifying to even think about, I'm actually scared to admit it.

I don't love my husband any more.

The ramifications of just this one sentence are immense, and so far I have been carrying this sentiment around, feeling its weight on my shoulders, crushing my head and spine until the other day I actually stopped what I was doing and screamed my head off. I could no longer stand to hear Him and Daughter yelling at each other for something so trivial and pointless that I can't even remember what it was. Just the sound of his voice, winding Daughter up, constantly pick, pick, picking at her until she was sobbing made me want to punch him or a wall or anything.

These days, it seems the instant you get a whiff of displeasure in a marriage, it's off to counselling or to the divorce courts to get rid or upgrade to Spouse 2.0. But not so long ago, not loving your husband was not something you whined about. I'm pretty sure couples used to just get on with it and possibly learn to tolerate each other, but secretly be a bit relieved when your spouse kicked the bucket.

I feel like that when he leaves the house. It's relief and release and freedom that I can be myself for a few hours while he is out at work. But then the dread kicks in when he's due back, and when he's home I find myself tiptoeing around, being a lesser, muted version of me; not saying what I really think, not watching what I really want to watch on the TV, and generally behaving a bit like a Stepford Wife, albeit with a fatter arse, saggier tits and terrible hair.

My parents divorced when I was about ten so my idea of marriage may be skewed, but I honestly thought that a marriage was not about subduing yourself, but about being championed by your spouse for being who you are. After all, they married you, yes? You know what your spouse is like; that's why you married them after all.

I am wondering whether so many marriages fail these days because people are getting married with a hope that they can change all the things they dislike about their spouse once the confetti settles. I walked into my marriage knowing my husband had problems with alcohol, knowing he was a lazy slob who'd happily leave clothes, pots, food cartons and empty bottles strewn all over the house like he was still a student and knowing he couldn't maintain an erection. He knew I suffered from manic depression, knew I favoured writing over hoovering and knew I had trouble with my sex drive. So these things weren't a surprise, as we'd lived together for five years before getting hitched. So, unlike marriages decades ago when the couples lived apart until after marriage, we didn't go into this blind.

So why did we get hitched? I'd say several of our issues would be deal breakers for many. I find myself thinking this several times a day.

Firstly - and this is a selfish one on my part - I wanted The Day. I wanted the dress, the party, the venue the dancing, the food and the family and friends all there. I know a marriage is more than just the day, but I haven't been married before (close, but no cigar).

But apart from that, I suppose the usual things apply - I wanted security for myself and Daughter. It seemed the logical next step after living together and that old adage that "you either get married or split up" wasn't far from the truth. Did we marry because we were too lazy and scared to go our separate ways? I worked it out, you know. About a year before we got engaged, I sat down and costed it out - were we financial better off together or apart?

As it turns out, the latter was true in my case. I could have cut my losses and moved out with my daughter, and we'd have been financially richer (the Tax Credits would have shot up and household bills and rent would have been much smaller).

I find myself wondering now why I didn't take that more courageous of options and split up. And I think the crux of the argument is I thought that Daughter would be better off with a "normal" family unit. She's surrounded by friends who have "Normal" too and I've fought for so long to make her life as stable and happy as I can, carrying around with me the stigma of "single parent" for so long, perhaps I've forgotten that one happy single parent might actually be better than two miserable ones.

So: what now?

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Number 39 - "You Did WHAT?"

Because sticking one of these in your mouth is so cool.
If there is one thing guaranteed to get my blood boiling and cause the Red Mist to descend, it's smoking. I'm quite evangelical about it and I'm not ashamed to say so. I HATE smoking. I hate everything about it, from the smell to how people look whilst doing it. (Clue: you look absolutely ridiculous.)

I have NEVER smoked, not even a sneaky couple of puffs on a Silk Cut as a curious teenager.

Mother is a smoker. (Quit at Christmas. Started with an eCig. Quit the eCig. Started smoking again 2 months ago.)
Sister is a smoker. (Quit a year ago. On an eCig.)
Husband is a smoker. (Quit 3 months ago. On an eCig.)
Father was a smoker. Has been smoke-free for 7 years.

As you can see, I'm from a smoking family. For years and years my parents would happily chain-smoke John Player Specials in our living room, a room which needed to be decorated every year to get rid of the yellow nicotine-stained white paint. I am surprised my lungs were not shot to hell as a child.

When I met Husband, he was smoking roll-ups but was in the process of "stopping". Which he didn't, until very recently, but I was willing to accept it as I understand that smoking is an addiction and cannot just be "stopped" unless you really, REALLY want to.

And I do not see a distinction between real cigarettes and these ridiculous eCigs. You look just as stupid puffing on something that looks like a biro, and whilst the damage to passive smokers might be drastically less, I still can't see how these things are that much safer. And surely you are just replacing one addiction for another? If you actually WANTED to STOP completely? Well, you just would, wouldn't you?

But I always warned that if I ever found out that Daughter had even LOOKED closely at a cigarette I would kill her. (Not literally, but death by Social Media Withdrawal and Indefinite House Arrest may be a real thing in the eyes of a teenager.) And she always swore she wouldn't because she agreed it was vile and stupid. So, she did the next best thing. She stole my mother's eCig that Mum had left behind when she stayed here and puffed away at that until the battery went flat.


It is like having everything you've ever believed in whipped out from under you. My daughter, once this sweet, innocent little girl, had done something so reprehensible to me, so vile and stupid, I couldn't even look at her! I remember shaking with rage as she told me what she'd done and telling her quite coldly and calmly to get out of my sight. I couldn't speak to her for about 12 hours. She went to bed, got up for school the next morning without a word and by the time she got home, I'd had chance to process what she'd done. I'd researched the potential dangers of nicotine poisoning, possible addiction and everything else to do with these vile fake cigarettes and then I laid into her.

There was yelling.

She swears that she only had a few puffs as it was almost empty of the liquid that goes in the vial, and the battery was almost flat. There is no way to charge it here as it is not the same as Husband's and his is never out of his hand. (It's grasped permanently, like some sort of childhood comforter, and at night he lays it carefully on his bedside table.) And after a furious phone call to my Mother she is also adamant that it was almost completely flat and empty.

Daughter has shown no sign of poisoning and as yet, is not sweating, cold turkey, jonesing for another hit so there has been a slight bullet dodged there. She says she was just curious about it and what it tasted like and grudgingly I'll admit that it's marginally more preferable to try an eCig than the real thing. But this raises an issue of how these eCigs are seen by kids, and how they are marketed. For a while, there was an effective stigma against smokers. It was dangerous and smelly and disgusting. But these new things, with their slick, sexy ad campaigns are undoing all the work the anti-smoking campaigns did. Daughter was never curious about cigarettes. But with all the furore about how fantastic these fake ones are, well, she did the impossibly stupid and had a try. And I'm told that kids are buying them and starting up eSmoking; forgoing the Benson and Hedges and going straight to the technology.

And this disgusts me.

For the record, Daughter's privileges have all been stripped. She is on full House Arrest. Home > School > Home. That is all. Her Facebook has been deactivated, she is locked out of the internet for anything other than homework and that is supervised by me. She goes nowhere without an adult (usually me) present and she spends her evenings in the dining room studying or in the living room with me or Husband. The only time she is allowed in her bedroom is to get dressed/undressed and to sleep. Basically, she is being treated as a toddler who cannot be left alone until I feel she has learned a lesson.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Number 37 - In Which I'm Fed Up of "In Which"

Not sorry.
One of the perks of having my own business is that I don't have to be "in" the office for 9am. I don't need to wear a smart suit or have clean hair or even get dressed at all. I can work from my home office in a dreadful fleece hooded poncho with a snazzy South American print on it, that I bought from Asda before Christmas. It makes me look like a mad fat Mexican lady, but it is warm and this house is cold.

So, I'm at my desk typing up an invoice and doing worky things whilst listening to Whitesnake. I make no apologies for my choice in music; I've loved Whitesnake since I was 13. And "The Still of the Night" gets me all fired up. 

It did today too.

The opening chords do something to my blood and my special girly bits. I get tingly and just a little bit horny. 

I decided to hop in the bath; ostensibly to wash my hair and have a long soak, but really it was because it's the only room with a lock on the door and I fancied a bit of a fumble with my fanny.

So I'm there in a hot bath, reading erotica on my phone and my hand slowly worked its way down my body to my clit. And stayed there for HALF AN HOUR. With no success.


It never takes me half an hour. Ever. Am I broken? 

I got out of the bath and headed into the bedroom and got out my very quiet, very effective vibrator. Wrapped in nothing but a towel, I assumed the position and turned on my magic wand. Normally I just use the lowest setting as it's quite enough to get me gasping and breathless with blissful release.

Not today.

So I cranked it up to medium. 

I let my mind wander to those dark places that illicit the most heavenly of tingles.

Have you ever been almost there, almost there, oh God I'm almost there? The anticipation builds, all your nerves are at DEFCON 1 and you're ready for the bomb to go off. It's delicious.

Except I was at DEFCON 1 for another half hour. That's ONE HOUR at almost there, almost there, dear God I'm so CLOSE. 


I cranked it up to full speed. 

After another 10 minutes of writhing, panting and grimacing, sweat pouring off my brow, my entire body shaking, worried that I was going to vibrate the skin right off my super-sensitive clit and leave it red raw, I felt it coming.

I came with the loudest "rrrarrgh" ever and couldn't move for about five minutes afterwards. Eternally glad that there was nobody in the house, I rolled over and tried to stand up.

Wobbly legs.
                              Wobbly arms.

I got dressed (fell over a couple of times) and went downstairs. I put the kettle on with shaky hands and wondered what the hell was wrong with my body that would deny me from getting off.

I am still wondering 10 hours later. I'm going to try again tonight, if my clit can stand to be touched. It's not so happy about the jeans I am wearing so a vibrating wand might be too much.

EDIT: I tried again at bedtime. Nothing was happening. Fell asleep, mid-fumble. <sigh>

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Number 36 - In Which Nanna Reads Soft Porn

That's a nice tie.
My last living Nanna is a trouper. She is 82, has terminal cancer and has decided that these last few months are going to be lived her way and the rest of us can "fuck off." Her words. She has discovered several new words lately. Fuck is her favourite.

She found the Fifty Shades trilogy in her local Oxfam for £1. Yep, a single, solitary pound for all three. Having heard about the books, or rather the furore surrounding them, she thought the covers looked interesting, thought it was a set of books about a fashion designer, and promptly bought them.

She rang me today, which is always funny because she has become so irreverent lately, she tells it exactly how it is. 

"These books, these about the grey outfits and whatnot."

"Erm, yes?" (About the WHAT?!!)

"Well, I'm not sure if you have read them but I don't think they are about a fashion designer. "

"Oh, right?" (I'm trying not to laugh at this point.)

"Aye, they're about this two-bit silly bint and her chap. She needs a damn good slap, all that carrying on. There's a lot of what I think is sex in them, but it's nowt like how me and your Grandad used to carry on. Is this what you youths are doing these days? No wonder you have a bad back, with all this monkey business. I'm surprised you can walk!"

I had no words. Not even Fuck seemed appropriate.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Number 35 - In Which History Is Stoned.

Such a pretty leaf...
When I was 17, I fell in love properly for the first time. He was the older brother of one of my friends and I can still remember the full-on chest palpitations and butterflies kicking the crap out of my tummy.

He was 4 years older than me: broody, intelligent and utterly fucked up. Of course I was going to fall for him.

In the summer before I turned 17, we had a water fight - me, my friend Emma, her brother Nick and a few other girls. It was hot, we were bored and it seemed like fun. 

Nick and I ended up in the bathroom: inside the bath, fully clothed, me in his lap, kissing, under a hot shower. Oh my. 

Emma blew a gasket and refused to speak to us for the rest of the evening. The morning after was awkward. By the time the summer ended and my birthday arrived in October, we were dating, or "going out" with each other. The first time we had sex was in front of the telly, with the gas fire on, in his front room, just after the first ever National Lottery had been drawn (we didn't win.) I remember the sex being fairly good. Later, it got great - he was the first boy to go down on me and the first to give me an orgasm. Which was nice. 

I fell into an all-consuming, couldn't-breathe-without-him kind of love. I worshipped the ground he walked on, watched the post for his letters (he was in his last year of Uni in Wales) and would cry if there wasn't a letter, and be hysterically happy if there was. 

He was also the first boy to shag around behind my back (whilst he was in his final year at Uni), give me a raging STD (can't remember which but it itched and burned) and break my heart. 

Do you remember your first "real" love? I can think about him now and still get a funny feeling in my tummy. Some of it is a teeny-tiny bit of "how dare you cheat on me and give me a disease!' rage, but most of it is remembering how wonderful first love felt. 

I remember driving from Bangor Uni to his family's home in the Dales in his beat-up car after he graduated. We sang songs from cassettes all the way over, and stopped near a waterfall to have outdoor sex. 
We held hands as we walked down to the river, dodging puddles and talking nonsense. 
We shared a single bed in his tiny room, in his parents' little stone retirement cottage in a tiny picturesque village in Wensleydale. 
We curled up by the open fire in the snug, and he introduced me to whisky and ginger.

What wasn't so good, but what I readily accepted at the time, was how large and expensive his cannabis habit was. Looking back, I can see it was a major issue. If I hadn't found out about the cheating, the reckless frittering of money on weed would've been a red flag. I tried it a couple of times and it was okay, but honestly nothing to write home about. (Which I didn't incidentally, when I caught the train to Wales to stay with him in his last week at Uni.)

But, when he forgot my 18th birthday and hurriedly bought me a crappy stuffed teddy and a jar of humbugs from the local shop in the village where he lived with his parents, that kind of gave me a hint as to where his money was going. And it wasn't on me.

I was quite jaded for a while after we split up. I was not in a good place for a while afterwards and went on a bit of a one-night-stand shagfest, declaring that I wasn't going to allow myself to get close to anyone ever again. My first year in University was a lesson in how to get branded a massive slag.  My Dad had cheated, my first real boyfriend had cheated. Was this how life was? Did all men cheat? 

No, as it turned out. Not all of them. But I had a long way to go before I could recognise true love from childish infatuation. I'm still not entirely sure I'm quite there yet.

Interestingly, my sister came across Nick on Facebook a while ago and mentioned him. I did a little Facebook stalking, as you do. I was sad to see that he is still single. I'd hoped that he would be happy and settled, maybe with a family, but he isn't. He's single, unemployed, and also suffering from a deep and chronic depression. He always laughed in the face of cannabis addiction and its dangers. 

It was harmless, he said. 
He could quit at any time, he said. 
It had no long term problems, he said. 

But, based on my quick perusal of his page, I'd say that it hasn't done him any favours either. 

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Number 34 - In Which I Blatantly Ignore My Resolutions.

Happy... blah blah blah.
I'm late with this post. I have spent the last month eating chocolate, drinking Prosecco and reading trashy novels. Oh, I've done the work thing too, often while doing the eating of chocolate, drinking of Prosecco and reading trashy novels. I've always been brilliant at multi-tasking and as I am my own boss, I can't get fired. I don't think.

How was your Christmas and New Year? Any hangovers? Any ill-advised mistletoe or 2014 countdown snogging? Any resolutions? 

Husband had the face on on New Year's Eve and refused to go to any of the parties we were invited to, so Daughter and I decided to sod the miserable git, got dolled up and went to a friend's for civilised drinks and dinner. It wasn't the lively knees-up I had hoped for, as when we got there, we were the only ones invited for dinner and only two other couples turned up later, one of whom were tee-total vegans who were not happy about the table full of cheese, meat and alcohol. But, despite considerable hurdles, we had a fairly good New Year's Eve. I had several Kir Royales, Daughter had some low-alcohol perry and we twirled home. Husband went to bed at 12:30am in a sulk.

I was going to make a resolutions list but to be honest, it's the same every year. 

Stop eating chocolate. 
Go to the Gym.
Meet George Clooney.

It gets a bit repetitive and I'm setting myself up for a fail right there. I mean come on... stop eating chocolate? Never gonna happen...

I did decide on one thing on New Year's Day as Husband banged around the house like a bear with a literal sore head (I found an empty bottle of whisky in the bin and he smelled like the inside of a whisky barrel). 

I'm not going to put up with his shit this year. 

It's now three weeks later and I am still putting up with his considerable shit. He quit smoking today as well, and bought one of those eCig things. Already today he's made me and Daughter cry, and the dog is hiding in his bed with his tail firmly between his legs.

But this year I have work to focus on, a book to maybe finish, a dog to walk more and a daughter to help through GCSEs. I am still working out what to do with my marriage, but in the mean time I'm going to be busy.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Number 33 - In Which I Hide The Christmas Spirit.

Rows of spirits can either make a party that little bit better or so much worse. I expect some of you will look at the photo and think "mmm, I like a tipple of some/many of those on occasion." I wonder how many of you look at the photo and experience dread and dismay?

I do.

I have been known on occasion to have the odd tipple of Laphroaig after a long hard day, and on the rare occasions I do go out, I'll have a couple glasses of wine, a vodka lime, or a nice crisp G&T. I know my limits, I know that one or two drinks will give me enough of a buzz to enjoy myself, and I generally have cokes or soda water and lime in between alcoholic drinks, 1) because I hate hangovers and 2) because, frankly, it's cheaper. 

I know. What a sickening Miss Goody Two Shoes I am. 

But I live with someone who has a drinking problem, so the reason for my dread and dismay is that it's Christmas time again, and yet again, this holiday will be used as an excuse to be drunk for a good week and a half. 

"It's Christmas. What's wrong with having a drink at Christmas?"

"I have the Christmas Spirit, stop being such a miserable cow."

"For God's sake, why should I pace myself? It's the time to be merry and jolly!"

I've had those retorts thrown at me, and much worse over the years. But this year, my dread is early because Husband seems more belligerent than usual. He is miserable in his job, so drink is his crutch.

From June onwards, I put a little money aside each week. Nothing massive, just a few pounds here and there, in order to save a decent amount for Christmas. I am a small business owner who has noticed the pinch of recession in recent years, so I don't have the luxury of a regular income. I work hard, for much less than I'm probably worth. I know this is a similar story for many of my networking associates. 

As far as Christmas gift giving goes, I generally buy the majority of the gifts for my daughter, as well as whatever Husband wants, and also presents for all the nieces and nephews on both sides. I usually make the adults in both families something homemade: boxes of truffles, homemade mincemeat, christmas biscuits, non-alcoholic ginger wine. Or occasionally we will set rules like "only spend £5." It's long since been agreed that we spend the majority of our money on the kids in the family, as Christmas is really for them first and foremost. 

Husband just has to buy for me and his parents.

So this year, as usual, I have bought for everyone, including most things on Husband's list, (which is a bit specialised as he requires tools for his hobby which are not cheap). As my daughter is now in her mid-teens, she is at the stage where she doesn't really want anything. She already has a laptop, a fairly good phone, an iPod and a DS Lite. She hasn't asked for anything other than books, so I have bought her those, plus lots of little things that I thought she'd like. (If I totalled them up, it would probably come to £200 or so.)

Today, Husband asked me to buy a wreath for the door. I said I couldn't as I had run out of money. 

Cue RAGE as he found out I had no money left to buy the Christmas food; something I actually thought he was purchasing this year. (He got his Christmas wage on Tuesday, plus a bonus. And he says it has just about gone after rent, car tax, council tax and TV licence are taken off. And then he said, "So I haven't been able to get you anything much yet.")

I have just had to listen to him scream at me for the better part of three hours about how I could be so irresponsible and not check my bank balance. How I could have dared to invite my family up for Christmas when we now have little money left to feed them. How Christmas is essentially ruined by my  carelessness. And how did I expect HIM to pay for Christmas food when he NEVER has any spare cash at the end of the month, so why did I think this month was different? 

So I rang the bank and asked for an overdraft, which they kindly agreed to. 

(It is at this point where I need to point out that he earns twice what I do. Yet every month he needs a few quid for this and a few quid for that and can he borrow £20 for petrol, and he is out of tobacco and the world will end if I don't give him £10 immediately.)

But he spends £70 a WEEK on alcohol and tobacco. 

So, I worked out what we'd need to spend on food this week, to feed us plus an extra 5 mouths. It's about £160, including the massive turkey. And I wondered "why the rage, the food will be paid for?" Then I realised that it wasn't about food at all. His rage is because I haven't set aside any money for alcohol. 

So while I have been quietly scrimping and saving for 6 months to accrue money for Christmas, he has spent over £3500 on alcohol and tobacco alone. If he even halved this spend, he'd be £1700 better off a year. If he'd put that aside and saved like I have, we'd be eating like kings next Wednesday.

I hate being a penny pincher. But what I hate more is living with an alcohol-dependent person. He is selfish and self centred. He only thinks about how he will get his next drink. This is the third Christmas in a row he hasn't bought me anything because he had no money, which isn't a big deal, but it hurts, coming second to bottles of alcohol.

So I have very little Christmas spirit, if I'm honest, either literally or figuratively. I'm not looking forward to the next week, other than seeing my daughter open her presents, and seeing my sister, her family and my Dad on Christmas Day. It's been a tough month for him and this is the first Christmas without his mother. 

The bottles of wine and spirits I do have, given to me by clients, are hidden away. I hate not being able to freely enjoy one glass of something, because I know that the rest of the bottle will be drunk within 24 hours. I am so sick of living like this. But I don't know how to change it.