Category Archives: Gifts

One Year Ago Part 2

Tomorrow is the narc’s birthday. The Big 6-0. I wrote last year how he feels about birthdays and what his gift to me was. We had just returned from yet another of his Boating Trips and I was furious over what happened on the drive home. He had upped his criticism of me to a degree that I’m sure was noticed by outsiders because I was starting to speak my mind, disregarding his poor, injured ego. The day before his b-day he was lamenting how his “decent into poverty” was all my fault.

On his Big Day I did not acknowledge his birthday. I got him no gift, did not wish him happy day or in any way let him know that I knew the date. He went to his boat and got drunk with friends and then drove home. My stomach was already in knots with worry about how he was going to punish me for “forgetting” his day, so I wasn’t fast enough to call the police to have him arrested for drunk driving. I still regret that…

It was the first time I voiced the thought that I should move out and quit holding him back so he could sell his house and go live his dream on his boat. It was the first time I told him that I thought he liked the idea of me, but not the actual person that I am and that he never had really liked me. It was liberating and terrifying at the same time.

At that point I had no clear idea of how I was going to get away from him, but I knew it was going to have to happen soon or I would snap. I had received word that I would soon have access to a retirement account that I had all but forgotten and visions of freedom were dancing in my head.

Fast forward to this year and my biggest “problem” is how to keep my water hose from freezing up – foam insulation, heat tape or a combination of the two? Fill the fresh water tank and use the inside pump for shower/toilet/sink, unhook the hose until more water is needed and avoid the problem altogether?

I started to make a list of what I would like to give him on his Big Day this year, but have deleted it because it makes me sound just a little bit crazy to be wishing so many horrible skin ailments on one person 🙂

Let me just say that my life has improved 1000% since I left the narc. I thought I was having a run of bad luck in the last years with him, but it turns out that he was my bad luck charm and leaving him was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself!

Have a truly awful day, dickhead!


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Galentines Day

Last week I had a thought – Awana and I are both (very happily thankyouverymuch) single and V-day is for all of you who are coupled up and that’s not very fair, is it? My idea was for the two of us to start an annual tradition of going out to lunch somewhere fabulous and enjoying ourselves all afternoon on V-day in defiance of the whole hearts & flowers thing.

Then I discovered that we both work on V-day. Okie-dokie, Wednesday it is!

We had lunch at a wonderful local Chinese restaurant where the owner plays piano whenever she has a chance and she is GOOD! She also paints gorgeous watercolors and is funny and wise on top of all of her other talents.

Not being very worldly where food is concerned, I ordered the Fried Shrimp special and it was exquisite! There are not enough words to describe how delicious each and every bite was. I ate egg flower soup for the first time. I even have leftovers for lunch at work tomorrow. Sadly, neither one of us brought a camera along, so you’ll have to take my word that the food was beautiful and wonderful. Awana had a Fish Hot Pot that puts any Mexican dish I’ve tried to shame. We plan on making it an every-other-Wednesday tradition until we’ve worked our way through the entire menu and then we’ll pick another local gem to try. Yum!

We then went shopping at local consignment stores. Being a Tourist Town, there are many wealthy women who spend only six months here and they leave their now out-of-season clothes behind. We love a bargain! As Awana said, “we shopped like we had money!”

We then spent the evening (after a trip to the dog park so Sabu could poop*) spinning and yarning with friends until we all got caught up on the latest gossip.

A perfect day.

And just a few minutes ago I discovered that ladies going out on the day before V-day is a Thing – Galentines day!

Nice! We are so With It we don’t even know it 🙂

* The damned dog has decided that she won’t poop anywhere but at the dog park. This is a two-piles-a-day dog, and she is holding it until we get to the dog park. 36 hours is her record so far, and she acts so pitiful and miserable until I take her to the park that I can’t stand it. Long walks are not enough. Frequent walks just make her smile. She holds her poop until we get to the park. What do I do about that? She is as stubborn as I am and I think we have a problem. Any advice would be appreciated as it’s been going on well over a week…


Posted by on February 13, 2013 in Dogs, Gifts


My Mom is the best!

Today, being a day off work, I decided to solve my desk problem. The computer table I’ve used for years will not fit thru Towanda’s door. Besides which, M built it for me and I don’t want it in my life.

There were errands to be run and as I drove in to town I was mentally reviewing my bank balance and trying to decide where to look for a table that would fit thru the door and still be ergonomic for long hours at the computer. I was coming up empty.

Then I stopped by the Post Office to check my box and inside was a lovely card and a check from Mom. She wrote that the money was “mad” money and to be used for something to brighten my day. How she knew exactly what I needed I will chalk up to Mom Instinct 🙂

I trundled off to the Evil Empire (Wal-Mart) to see what was on offer. At the very least, it would come in a box that would fit thru the door.

This was the scene this afternoon –

SANY3102One of the problems with a large project like this inside a 30′ travel trailer is that you can only work on one thing at a time. Each project must be put away before you begin another or you won’t be able to walk or stand or sit anywhere in a very short time.

A couple of hours later and we have this –

SANY3103Please excuse the flash – there is no room to step back far enough in this tiny space. The whole corner is now organized –

SANY3104Printer table to the left with (finally!) my fiddle sitting out waiting to be picked up any time inspiration strikes. The desk is a good height and the keyboard tray is the perfect height. A little rug to protect the carpet and it will work just fine. The cords still need to be tidied up, but it’s up and running and at last I can get the drafting work finished up.

Here’s a close-up of “The Cat Goddess” –

SANY3105Tomorrow might present a better opportunity – that darned flash again! “The Fiddler” hangs above the printer –

SANY3109My space, my favorite art on the walls! I can’t tell you how happy this makes me!

No word from M today. I am relieved. Thank you all for your comments – they give me much to think about, as always.

I don’t intend to give him false hope, but I guess that’s what I do when I talk to him and don’t tell him to just go fuck himself and that I’m not coming back. Ever. Obviously I need to get off my ass and get the rest of my stuff out of his house and get him totally out of my life. Or just let the “stuff” go so he can move on, too.

I know what’s right, what I should do, how it has to be between M and I. It won’t happen today, but it will happen soon…


Posted by on January 31, 2013 in Digging Out, Gifts, I totally Rock!, Narcissist


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New Neighbors and the kindness of strangers

After Awana left this afternoon, I introduced  myself to my new neighbor, Royce, and his Boston terrier, Stella. Of course my dog was being a bitch* and barking and acting like a fool.

I don’t know how much you all know about living in an RV (A-W-E-S-O-M-E so far!) but most parks have cable TV available to all residents. You can get the cable guys out to hook you up for wireless internet for a rather steep fee and because of the proximity of your neighbors, one can piggyback onto their signal. If all parties are amenable, two (or more) people can use the same network and split the cost – Awana told me so 🙂

Bold as brass, I asked Royce if he got hooked up with the local cable company yesterday. I really want to be connected, but I have a desktop unit to run my Work Stuff** He confirmed my guess and it turns out he and his wife have only been here for a day longer than I have. Anyway, I flat out asked him if, providing the signal is strong enough, I could get onto his network and I would pay half his bill. After some hemming and hawing, he gave me his password and refused to let me pay him. I will keep trying to give them money but if they won’t take it, well, I’ll start baking for them or something. Really nice guy. His wife is a traveling nurse who is on a 14 week contract so they should be around long enough for me to make other arrangements.

Royce informed me that I can get a USB wireless connector for my desktop. For the moment I am on the borrowed NetBook from work.

There have been no more phone calls or any e-mail messages after M came to the shop. I told him that I needed to be away from him and so far he is honoring my request, even if he did not heed my note.

I told a few lies when he was in the shop. He asked how this happened and I told him that the day I walked out I put in an application for an apartment and was approved and I left. The beauty of this little fabrication is that if he is looking around town for my car, he will be searching miles away from where I actually am. He will not think that I would ever decide to try RV living – after all, if I refused to live on a boat with him, why would I consider an RV?

I took the quietest route from the shop back to Towanda – the roads are mostly deserted at this time of year – it would be very obvious if a huge, diesel truck was  on my tail.

The Boss volunteered the use of his truck on Thursday – he will be at the shop all day and said I could do whatever I needed to do with it. I need to get this show over with ASAP so I’ll take him up on his offer.

At the moment I’m sitting on my new fold-out couch, steeping a cup of tea, blogging and watching TV while my dog is crashed out on the floor. I can hear some road noise, but not much as this unit is well insulated. I am wearing only one layer of clothes and my shoes are off – I am warm enough to be comfortable without extra layers – the thermostat is at my command 🙂

In a little while I will take a shower. A long, very hot shower, to see how long it will last (the hot water heater is only 6 gallons, but it is VERY hot.)

Tomorrow Awana will come over early to unload her van. I hope she will go have breakfast somewhere on me as a Thank You for all she’s done for me.

After that, I have a long-overdue visit to the hairdresser where I will be chopping off this mess on my head (yes, there will be pictures) 🙂 and then I will do a little shopping for some odds and ends (somehow I have no coax cable for the TV and no dish soap.)

A quick run by the shop for some ice cream and I’ll spend the rest of the day getting organized.

Thank you all for your wise words and support through all this crap. I will continue to blog as things settle down so that others can see what happens during the detox phase of escaping a Narc. At the moment, I am calm, no tears, no doubt, no rage, but I’ve been here before. It will be interesting to see how I feel now that I’m doing this (again) at a more mature stage of my life.


* She is the Real Me in a dog suit – always wants to be in control, likes to dominate the conversation if allowed, kinda rude and pushy if it’s about something she thinks she knows better. We take after my Mom that way 🙂

Back when I got the computer, laptops were still not quite powerful enough to run my CAD program very well, so a laptop wasn’t practical. Hopefully I’ll be able to save some cash soon to make an upgrade now that the technology has caught up with my industry.


Posted by on January 20, 2013 in Digging Out, Gifts, I totally Rock!


Pulling out all the stops…

M is doing his best to fool me in to thinking that he’s changed. He expressed genuine (as far as that goes for a Narc) appreciation at his gifts (which, BTW cost more than double what the box of chocolates cost him, not that I’m keeping score, but I know that he is…) when I gave them to him on Christmas Eve. I could tell by the look on his face that he knew I spent much more on him than he spent on me, and that I had listened when he was talking about how much he needed new clothes. It was priceless, really. Almost guilt, but not quite, and gone so fast that if I hadn’t been watching I might have missed it.

I sewed up his boat cushions and he was full of praise. I offered to cover the extra piece of foam with the same fabric since there appears to be Just Enough and it really needs to be done. His look was incredulous – “You’d be willing to do that?”

“Sure. I know you want to take it on your next trip and it really should have a cover. I can sew it up on Thursday. Will that work for you?”

Of course it will work for him!

He is full of praise. Saying things like, “you must really love me to be doing so many projects for me all at once,” and “I am a lucky man to have you in my life!”

It’s all bullshit and I know it. He hasn’t had a blow-up yet this month, but there’s still time.

Unrelated but on my mind, I can’t remember the last time I said, “I love you.” It’s been a few weeks at least. I can’t remember the last time I said it an meant it, either. How sad.

No word yet on when he will leave on his trip. There’s a BG here in town who needs some work done and M thinks he may want it done really soon, so maybe he should postpone his trip? I am staying non-committal so that I don’t give away my eagerness for him to be gone.

These are the times I question my sanity. He is acting just as I asked him to – being nice to me. Being appreciative of the things I do for him. Speaking softly and kindly. It makes me wonder if I shouldn’t just stick it out – if he can behave this way, maybe there is hope for us? If I left he would be totally blindsided, not understanding why I left after he has worked so hard to “change” and treat me better. Won’t I be cruel to just walk out after more than 11 years? How could I possibly be thinking about abandoning him like that? Isn’t this life Good Enough? Maybe if I wasn’t so [insert “bad” personality trait or habit here] we could finally find peace and get back to the wonderful relationship we had in the beginning…

Then I come back here and read my entries and get pissed off all over again at his duplicity – he knows very well what I need from him and he is deliberately abusing me. Deliberately. With much thought beforehand. In new and inventive ways. He is using me for his own ends and the only way it will ever stop is if I leave. The only way I will ever find peace and happiness is if I leave. There have been way too many second chances for him. Time to cut my losses and see what might be out there in the Wide World for me.


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The 13 Commandments

Last year I printed up what I call M’s 13 Commandments –


I kept the list taped to the inside of my planner, looking at it most days, trying to internalize the contents. M was so adamant that if I could only master these things our relationship would be Perfect. If only I would bend and not be so stubborn, he could love me. If only I would do these trifling things, I would be worthy to share his life. If only I would grow up and see that Real People live by these rules and are so much better than I could ever be – these are things to aspire to! Tenets that he lives his life by that I should adopt in the hope of improving my life and our relationship.

Let’s take a closer look, shall we? I abbreviated on the typed list, so I’ll expound here –

1. Symbiosis/Partnership – this means that we should operate as one unit – two bodies, one soul, always in sync, always in tune and working together. The problem is, HE is in control and what he really wants is for me to follow along in his wake, keeping things tidy and picking up the slack of HIS projects and adventures. All this with no instruction, warning, assistance, praise, thanks or gratitude. I am supposed to fit myself seamlessly into his life with no thought about who or what I was before him. My inability to do this is one of the biggest problems in our relationship.

2. Being able to receive and give gifts graciously – I’ve written about this before. I never get it right.

3. Give budget to receive itinerary – M refuses to tell me when and where he is going unless I give him a detailed budget.  It’s a totally bullshit exercise he uses to control me that was posted here and here.

4. Communication/Connectivity/Compromise – This is the category that means I should tell him everything that goes on in my head so he can better control me. I should be totally connected to his needs, moods and desires and compromise my own principles to keep him happy, no matter the cost.

5. Share something (sailing) and work towards that goal – this is where I take on his favorite hobby/lifestyle and adopt it as my own philosophy. He does not have to reciprocate in any way – it is a one way street.

6. Show interest and mean it. Retain info. Do private research – I should devote myself to his hobbies, remember everything he tells me (even if he contradicts himself constantly) about those hobbies and do independent research to fill in the gaps that he just doesn’t have the time or patience to share with me. He claims that he can’t even remember what it’s like to be a total beginner at anything and he just can’t lower himself to my level to explain something that he learned at his Grandfather’s knee. Nor should he have to – it is my responsibility to research and learn everything I can on my own so his precious time is never wasted.

7. Plans for the future & relationship – this is where I constantly update my 20-year plan and have a separate plan for each and every eventuality that may occur from freak storms to hangnails. I should have a set amount of money in the bank and three back-up options for anything that could possibly go wrong. I have been instructed to include him in my plans as if he is unable to do anything for himself and as if I could lose everything at any minute. It’s a ploy to keep me in a state of low level panic every minute of every day so that he can better control me.

8. Get first job done – too many commitments – If I have a project that I want to do for myself, it must be done as quickly as possible with minimum disturbance for him. I should be ready at an moment to begin, resume or finish a project that is for him, regardless of what else I might be doing at the time. I should be “on call” for him 24/7 because his needs are more important than my own.

9. Pride in home ownership – the grass must be cut as soon as it’s 1/2″ taller than he likes, the yard constantly maintained, nothing out of place that could cause the neighbors to gossip in a negative way. The outward facade must be perfect at all costs. Letting any outside job get “out of hand” is a sure sign that there is something fundamentally wrong with my wiring – that I don’t jump at the first sign of a drooping limb on a bush outside is a symptom of my “renter’s mentality” and we all know that Renters are the lowest form of life on the planet.

10. Listen to and remember the important stuff – this is basically anything that comes out of his mouth. Unless it contradicts what he’s saying right now. Or if it proves a point that I’m trying to make. Or it exposes his lies. Or he later says he never said it. This one is a moving target.

11. Notice personal changes/Pride in appearance – I should Dress to Impress. Him, not anyone else. If I leave the house in clothes that he considers “nice” I must be going to meet another man. If I wear grubby clothes to work in the yard, well, I’m just being a slob and he complains that I’m not wearing nice clothes for him. My dress is always inappropriate to the task at hand. The fact that I refuse to wear makeup or spend an hour styling my hair is an insult aimed at him because, after all, he is the one who has to look at me all day! I should notice if he shaves the second he steps out of the bathroom. I should notice that he cut his hair and it’s now 1/16″ shorter than it was yesterday, even if he’s wearing a hat. He wants daily praise about his appearance – he acts like a 16-year-old girl about it some days.

12. Have an opinion/Share feelings – he wants me to express what I feel, to tell him my opinions, but he then pokes holes in any independent thought that I share and uses my feelings against me. This rule is only about giving him more ammunition to hurt me – it has nothing to do with helping me become a more mature person, as he claims.

13. Money talk does not have to be emotional – for him. He will berate, criticize, lecture, and demean me in any way he sees fit over money matters while protesting that a Responsible Adult can talk about money without emotion and I need to grow up and learn to be Responsible.

I tossed the list into the garbage after finishing this post. There will be no more rules for me except those that I write!


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Out of the Blue

The other night as we were laying in bed* M was babbling on about this and that and right in the middle he says, “You were so indignant about A not paying his ex for the rabbits**, but YOU never paid ME. The one who got screwed in that deal was ME.”

Right out of the blue, sandwiched in between two other subjects that he was nattering on about.

“I was angry that he lied to J and told her that we cheated her on the deal…”

“Still, you never did pay me back for those rabbits. I got screwed.”

I could do nothing but stare up at the ceiling while he changed the subject yet again and started asking how he could make some changes to his blog to get more traffic.

The rabbits were HIS idea. HE negotiated for them without my knowing about it. HE told me that “we” had to go “rescue” them tomorrow or who knows what would happen to them. I had no intention of getting rabbits and if I had known how M would use them to torture me I would have put my foot down and refused to take on more responsibility. Don’t get me wrong, they are great and I love the two that remain (they were not young when they came to me, and five of them have passed on) but I would never have agreed to it if I’d known the whole truth about their situation and what he would demand of me forever more.

I found out where he’s hiding his wallet. Yep, there’s a big ol’ wad of cash in there and he is trying everything he can think of to get more money from me, including bringing up this old shit that he knows very well I paid him back for.

See, at first the rabbits were a “gift” because we didn’t have a place to have sheep (long story – another post) and he wanted to show how supportive he is of my fiber arts, but it quickly turned into a Huge Obligation that he felt he should be compensated for, as all his “gifts” are. What a fucking mess!

So, basically, I owe him money for everything he ever thought of doing “for” me, and everything he needs to pay for now, and everything he will have to pay for in the future because it’s “all for [me]” and I should take responsibility for that debt right now.

Oh, I’m not allowed to be angry that he’s bringing up all this shit, either, I should “act like an adult” and “take responsibility for everything that [he] has done for [me].”

Believe me when I say the only thing keeping me from exploding right now is knowing that he will be going out of town soon and I will be out of here! The Boss is on board and will give me as much time off as I need to make it happen.

Question: Do I leave a note? What’s the protocol here?

* I like to read before I go to sleep – it helps me unwind and has become a habit I love to indulge in. M, of course, is offended if I continue to read after he comes to bed and has devised various ways of showing just how irritated it makes him, one of which is trying to engage me in conversation, forcing me to put the book down to talk to him. I’ve tried ignoring him – it doesn’t work and usually escalates the situation, as does putting him off or telling him that I will put the book down in just a minute. He really is a child.

** It’s a long story that I think I hinted at some time ago. A is a Narc Dick who was having an affair. He decided to leave his wife and three teen kids to live with the exotic dancer he was fucking. Before he went, he sold off everything of value around the property. Seven of those things were angora rabbits. I was told it was a “rescue” that his wife was too busy to take care of them, the kids were not interested and A would give them to “us” for free. “Free” turned into $600 in trade (coincidentally the exact same cost of new tires for M’s truck) for some of M’s Cool Stuff. A neglected to mention that his wife was not interested in letting the rabbits go – she was in fact taking care of them, but he convinced her that it was in her best interests to let them go. [Sorry, another aside – when we went to pick them up it was a bizarre scene – M was hopping around, very anxious to get out of there, J was upset, A was doing his best to distract her from the reason we were there with a thinly veiled hunt for a missing debit card. Just strange, and I didn’t know what to make of it. I had the distinct feeling that I should not be there at all.] J was very cool towards me in later e-mail exchanges and I got the impression that she was angry but did not know why. Turns out A had told her that she would be getting $600 cash for the rabbits, but that M and I had cheated him on the deal and she was out of luck. He added a few more lies for good measure and left her soon after with a boat load of debt and a bunch of missing stuff – he also “sold” M a spinning wheel that I just found out belonged to J. Wonder if she knows where it went? What a dick!


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When I arrived home from work last night, this was in the driveway –


It’s a long story, but I think it illustrates my toxic relationship pretty well, so bear with me.

A few years ago M and I were launching or hauling out a boat at the local boatyard in preparation (or departure from) the local wooden boat show – I don’t remember exactly. Sitting “on the hard,” balanced on a couple of sawhorses was this cute little skiff. It was weathered and worn and needed a few minor repairs, but dang, she was cute!*

I pointed her out to M and said that he should ask the boatyard owner what the skiff was doing sitting out in the weather. He asked and was told the story, which is too long to bore you with here and documented elsewhere.

At the time, M was really pushing me to get more into boats, but all of his boats are too big to feel comfortable handling by myself and I thought this little boat would kill two birds with one stone – I could work on it and get it back into shape, pleasing M, and it seemed small enough that I could feel comfortable handling it. I had the idea that if I had a boat of my own, maybe he and I would not have so many problems doing boat stuff together. I was wrong, of course.

I paid half the asking price, M paid the other half, the bill of sale was made out in my name and we brought her home two weeks before a big boating get-together up North. Yes, he had other boats that could have gone, boats that were ready to hitch up and go, boats that did not need any repairs and would have been perfectly suited to the trip and the event, but he decided that he had to have a new boat and a good story to impress the Guys Up North.

M decided that we simply HAD to get this boat ready to go to that event. I was working at the time, so he took it upon himself to bust his ass to make repairs and sand and paint to get her seaworthy before the event. He made his goal, but now the little skiff belonged to him because of his “sweat equity.” Because I was busy earning money for us to live on, I lost out on “my” boat, and he made sure to let me know how the situation stood (in his mind) at every opportunity.

It only went downhill from there. Every minute I wasn’t outside stroking that boat was another minute I was ignoring M’s gift. Yes, it had become a gift. There were many snide comments and harsh words about how little I cared for the boat that I called mine but was really his. It didn’t matter that he scheduled repairs and maintenance on days that I was working or had other plans (of course he never told me he wanted to work on it – that would be too easy!) Every little thing that he felt HAD to be done, had to be done Right.This.Minute. no matter what I was doing at the time and if I couldn’t just drop everything to do it, well, I didn’t care enough, did I?

We took her out a couple of times and M declared that he hated to row her – she doesn’t have enough waterline, she rolls more than he likes, she is too slow, etc. She’s actually perfect for the job she was designed for, but M feels that every boat should be a race boat and does not  give any thought to other good qualities a boat might have.

Since he didn’t like to take her out and use her, we did things with the boats he preferred and she sat at home. I kept up the paint and kept her covered from the weather, but we did  not take her out – I just couldn’t handle the criticism that was heaped on the boat on top of the criticism heaped upon me whenever we do boating things. It was too much.

At this point I was feeling a lot of resentment about the little skiff – it had become yet another thing for him to beat me over the head with.

Since M does not work, two summers ago he decided to put a boat up for sale.** He advertised his favorite row boat as it was always a hit at boat shows and with people who like wood boats and he knew it would sell quickly. I suggested he sell the little skiff as he hated it and I was too busy to take her out and then he could keep his favorite boat, but he wouldn’t hear of it – I had to have “my” boat, even if it was taking up valuable room in the yard and I never took care of it and it had become his responsibility, and blah, blah, blah making me feel like shit because I couldn’t just pull enough cash out of my ass to fund his latest adventure.

His favorite boat sold to a guy we both knew would never use it. Word got around with the Boat Guys (BG from here on out) that M had sold this well-known and well-loved boat because he needed cash. M soaked up the attention – he had no idea that these guys would be so kind and caring towards him if it looked like he was making sacrifices in the name of finances.

One of the BGs has been a friend of both of us for many years. He has a bit of a crush on me, as do several of the older guys, but it’s all about an able-bodied woman out on the water, supporting her man with his Hobby and not bitching and moaning and making him jump through all kinds of hoops to get her to go along on their outings. I am out in the rain, the wind, the choppy water, all smiles, trying my best to hide how miserable I am, so these guys have no idea what’s really going on. But that’s beside the point.

Jim is in his early 70’s and maybe the kindest gentleman I have ever met. He took a liking to both M and I early on and has done many kind things for us over the years. Of course, I can’t reciprocate because that would put M’s nose out of joint – I’m not sure why Jim continues to do things that he thinks will make me happy.

So. Jim heard about the sale of M’s favorite boat. He tracked down the guy who bought it sometime last Spring, saw that this other guy was not treating it properly and had no intentions of ever using it and he bought it from him. So now Jim has M’s favorite boat in his boat shed and informs M that he bought it with the intention of returning it to M as he feels this particular boat belongs to M forever more and he wants to do a good deed.

On the surface, it sounds like a very noble and kind thing to do – Jim knows how M loved that boat and was forced to sell it and he has the means to correct what he sees as in injustice in the world. Jim is thrilled to be able to make this gesture and expects nothing in return but to see M out enjoying his favorite boat during the Summer.

Because M keeps score (every little thing he does for someone else has a value that he determines and intends to collect at a future date) he thinks that everyone else also keeps score and he desires to always be on top in any exchange of goods or services so he can be indignant later when he feels that someone has not fulfilled their end of the bargain, even though other people don’t have a clue as to what the bargain is, nor do they know what their end might be. It’s a game he plays in his mind, by his own rules, and he is angry and hurt when others just don’t get it.

Jim sets a date to deliver the boat. M was scheduled to be out of town, and was very agitated about the whole thing – if Jim brought him a boat, he would be indebted to Jim forever! Woe is he! How to re-balance the scales?

I offered a solution – trade Jim the little skiff for M’s favorite boat. It would be a great exchange – Jim was very fond of the little skiff and would take good care of her and use her (he likes smaller boats) and M could have his boat back and they would be even.

There was a bit of back-and-forth between Jim and M as Jim wanted to be sure I was really in favor of this trade and not being forced into it. Truth is, I was ecstatic – finally the skiff would be out of the yard and M wouldn’t be able to whinge about how unsuitable it is for two people, how I don’t take care of her, how I really, really wanted this boat and now it has become a millstone around his neck, etc. etc. etc.

The day of the exchange came, I was there, but M was not. Jim unloaded M’s boat, hitched up the little skiff and off he went. I almost cried, not because the little skiff was going away, but because for the last hour I had had a lovely conversation with a kind man who cared about my feelings – something I hadn’t experienced in a very long time.

Fast forward to yesterday. I pulled into the driveway and what did I see but the little skiff parked there. My stomach hit the floor. This is not going to go well for me. Did M spend his wad of cash to get this boat back for me? Is this my “real” Christmas gift? Am I going to have to pay for this with sex? I did not burst into tears, but it was a near thing.

M said that he and Jim have been e-mailing back and forth for a month, trying to keep it a secret from me. Jim wanted it to be a surprise. Merry Christmas!

Oh, fuck. Did Jim give me a boat for Christmas, and if so, what on earth was he thinking? Is this a Kind Deed from a kind man who thought I was making a big sacrifice for my man, or is it M making a Grand Gesture to win me back?

M won’t say and I did not get a chance to see if there’s still a wad of cash in his wallet. I asked point blank if he paid Jim for the boat, but he refuses to tell me.

“Oh, I paid for this boat, alright, and I’ll keep paying for this boat! You call it yours, but it’s really mine!” and on and on.

Great. It’s yet another thing to beat me with. Yet another obligation that he never wanted that has been heaped upon him by me.

There is no win for me here. I won’t be able to get the whole story from M, but will try to get it from Jim if I can do it without M finding out.

The real question is this – do I take the boat when I leave? I could hide it in a storage locker until I finally blow this town and sell it or use it far, far away from where people know it…

UPDATE: It looks like Jim really did give the boat back. He spent the Summer sanding and painting and working on the trailer and he decided the time was right to give her back. He says that he won’t use her and that there was a bit of back-and-forth about getting her over here. It was all his idea. There was no mention of money, so I have to believe that it really was a gift and M is being a dick when he refuses to tell me outright if he paid any cash to Jim. I thanked him and will leave it at that.

* Remind me to come back to this once I’ve moved out – the story about the design of the boat and why it especially suits me is interesting and documented on one of my other blogs. Just thinking about it, I really, really love this little boat!

** Duh! If you don’t work but need money, you sell your shit, right?!?


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Holiday Hell Lift-off

Yesterday M went shopping while I was at work. When I arrived home there was a red gift bag on top of the wardrobe in the bedroom. I ignored it.

He tried very hard to engage me in conversation. I resisted. He tried to get me to commit to finishing dinner. I said I wasn’t hungry*.

I made a cup of tea and settled on the couch to read. We watched a really bad movie**. I ignored the bag and fell asleep.

This morning he asked me, “is there a red bag in the bedroom? I wonder what it could be…” in the hope I would show some enthusiasm. I knew what was in the bag, and I really don’t care. He had somewhere to be, so I finally gave in, got the bag, pulled out the box of chocolates (you knew that’s what it was, right?) and thanked him.

He made a big deal of telling me that he had the lady at the candy shop take out all the fruit-filled ones, looking like a child who is hoping he got it right.

“Oh, here’s a salted caramel!” I said.

“You like them, or hate them?” he asked.

“They are my current favorite,” was my reply.

Let me explain. I work in an ice cream/candy shop. I sell salted caramels all day long. They are fabulous and I have mentioned them, bragged about the quantity I sell, and flat out stated that I love dark salted caramels. He did not hear me. Not once.

The ladies met at the sweet shop for Fiber Night. The Boss works on Wednesday and I said, “before I tell you about my day, I want to prove a point.” I called The Boss over and asked, “of all of the things we sell in this shop, what is my favorite?”

“Dark salted caramels,” he replied without hesitation. “You don’t like the divinity or fudge because they’re too sweet and make your teeth hurt. Your favorite ice cream is Tillamook Mudslide.”

I see this man maybe half an hour a week, and not usually all at the same time. I started working for him in May.

M and I have been a couple for over 11 years and he has no idea what my favorite anything is, or if he does he doesn’t care.

When I related my story to the ladies, The Boss was listening. His reply, “you deserve so much more. You need to leave.”***

“Coal to Newcastle,” declared A. “You would think he could get you something else this year! And he says habits are for wimps!”

We’re all in agreement – M has to go. Or, I have to go. You know what I mean. My hope is that if I play this right he will take another trip at the end of the month and I can get out. Pretending that everything is fine is quite painful, but I refuse to let this whole Holiday gift thing get me down. I bought him clothes, keeping the cost at about where the chocolates cost him (he paid cash – I looked at the receipts 😉 because he has been whining about needing clothes for a few weeks. Buying is much less expensive emotionally than making him anything, and he can’t complain about anything.

As for how to spend Christmas day, I don’t know yet what I’ll do. Avoid him as much as possible, probably. I’m on jury duty, so I can’t go visit family because they don’t notify potential jurors until after 5:30 the day before they serve, and they have to report by 8:30 the next morning – a four-hour drive at o’ dark-thirty is not something I want to do, so I will stay in town next week.

I hope you all are having Happy Holidays! 2013 will be my year to create some new traditions!

* I’ve started buying food on the way to work or going to the sandwich shop next door for lunch. That way, if M is not hungry, I won’t cook. If there are no ingredients in the house, I won’t cook. If he starts a meal, I won’t finish it. I am having trouble eating if he’s in the house. Sitting across from him at the table I have to totally tune him out, not look at him, no conversation at all, or the food sticks in my throat. Sick, I know.

** The Expendables, if you care. I chose it because he would hate it. We heard about it at his sister’s house – the whole family loved it. I found it hard to sit through, but I suffered just because I knew he was suffering more. Sick and petty, I know.

*** Don’t get the wrong idea – he is very happily married to an absolutely adorable woman who he is crazy about. He has been put through the wringer and is now very happy, so he understands.


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That was…Interesting

I stuck to my guns yesterday – no b-day greeting, no gift, no acknowledgement in any way that it was M’s Special Day.

I left for work and he went to the next town over to help a friend move a boat. While there he invited said friend and others over to his boat for a little celebratory b-day drink. He called me at 7:35 to let me know he was on his way home. He was slurring his words and I asked if he was okay to drive.* He said of course, “I can remember what it’s like to drive sober, so I just have to do what I know how to do,” which I’ve heard before. I’ll probably go to hell for thinking it, but my very first thought was, “if he wraps that truck around a bridge abutment my problems will be over…”** Just don’t let him take out anyone else…***

Of course he brought up my “forgetting” his Special Day. I asked him if he remembered my last b-day, which of course he did not. The next two hours traveled along our usual track – I am a selfish, self-centered bitch who obviously “did something” to cause his harsh words on my last b-day, but since I couldn’t remember exactly what I had done, I had no right to be angry 6 months later. I am a vengeful bitch for “seeking revenge” and hurting him this way. I got what I deserved. He is the injured party, blah, blah, blah. If I would be nicer to him, he would be nicer to me, I have to give before I get anything, and on and on. He has only ever acted in my best interests, unselfishly, totally giving in to me, letting me take the lead, blah, blah.

I finally said that I understand perfectly that my behavior has landed us here****. Big nods of his head as if I’m saying what he believes to be true. I said that I had made mistakes and that I truly regret them now.

I said that I think he likes the idea of me, but has no interest or liking for the person that I actually am, and that is not Love. He insists that I accept him just as he is, but I don’t get the same consideration or respect. I said that he wouldn’t speak to another woman the way he speaks to me – he would never talk to a female friend or co-worker the way he speaks to me, and that I find that significant and telling.

And then I said this – “The only solution here is for me to move out so that you can sell this house and go live your Dream.”

Whoa! He did such a quick about-face that his head almost snapped off! It was something to see.

All of a sudden it’s his aggressive behavior (that he just can’t control, sob, sob) that has damaged our relationship. He knows that he’s over the top sometimes (but isn’t that in my “best interest?” – which conversation were we having again?) and needs me to be understanding. I’ve been so patient and loving to him, so tolerant, so willing to love him in spite of his faults and now I just want to chuck it all out the window?

And the next second he was back to pointing out my faults and demanding that I “take responsibility” for my part in the breakdown of our relationship. And then back to begging for mercy. Then pissed off and making up the futon couch in the back room while yelling at me that he’s “being kicked out of my own home for the THIRD time” since we’ve been together.

It was back and forth until almost 2:00 AM. Fun times!

This morning he crawled into the bedroom and said that he finally had some clarity about “our situation.” Seems that when I say something that he doesn’t agree with, he gets angry and aggressive and has to “go to war” over the subject and his views – he just can’t help it. (Ya think?) But now he recognizes the pattern and wants to try to change. He is ashamed of how he treats me and how he talks to me. I am his All, his Life, and if I left him he would be devastated.

He can’t afford to keep the house if I leave and take my job with me. The house won’t sell in the current market, at least not this Winter, so he needs me to keep things afloat. He is willing to live on his boat if I feel we are Over and I can rent the house from him, or buy it on contract if I wish. He would be very unhappy if he knew I took “something substandard because that’s all [I] could afford.” He would, of course, still need access to the house until he could “clean up [his] mess.”

Seems that I have his attention. Now what?

* I had no intention of going to pick him up – I was going to suggest he sleep on the boat – that’s his Dream, after all, right?

** By the time, “shit! I could just call him in as a drunk driver and that would be something he wouldn’t soon forget!” ran through my mind he was almost home. That won’t happen again.

*** I have a real problem with people who drive while impaired. I don’t drive after even one drink and I don’t ride with anyone who has been drinking. I think it’s an evil thing to do and there is no way I will ever change my mind about it. Aggressive, drunk men are also a trigger for me, so even before he arrived home I was very nervous and apprehensive.

**** If I hadn’t been such a doormat in the first place I would have dumped him four months into our relationship and had a torrid affair with a guy at work who made it very clear that people who have expectations about how others should feel are not good for relationships. He was hot, too. Really hot. But I said no. Idiot!


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