Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I offered Steve a hall pass

"I will let you have sex with anyone, if you send someone to clean up this mess"

The above picture and message is what I sent Steve on Monday night.  He was on day 2 of a 4-day.  When he arrived in SFO late that evening his phone 'chimed' this lovely message. 

I was half serious.

I was that tired.

The next morning when Steve and I finally talked on the phone, he told me that he sent someone to help me.  I wonder who the lucky woman was.  

Steve and I have made the conscious decision to stop trying after two children.  Not only do I feel complete with our two little ones, I also don't want to push my limitations of what I can handle.

I think I pushed the limitations of what I can handle this past weekend.  And after the weekend was said and done, I looked at that mess in the kitchen and was just so exhausted that I would have done whatever it took so that I didn't have to clean it.  But, that is a pilot wife for you...pushing her limits to keep the kids engaged in the world, regardless of her husband's presence. 

I eventually got my ass off the lazy boy, and cleaned up the mess.  This is the shitty part of being a pilot wife...wishing for help but getting none.  It is all you!  That evening I cleaned up all the items that could have attracted bugs and said 'fuck off' with the rest.  I figured I had a couple more days to deal with the rest before Steve got home. 

*****

This blog is going to take some random twists and turns, but I promise they all come back to the hall pass that I offered Steve.

Let me lay out the timeline from my exhausting weekend, as my Google Calendar told me:
Friday:
- Ben's wellness visit
- volunteering
- dinner at China Buffet
- shopping at Frontgate outlet
- Margarita Night

Saturday:
- farmers market
- air show
- party at friend's house

Sunday:
- our town's festival
- Polish dancing at a church at 4:30p

Monday:
- visit with my aunt, at her house
- 2 Polish dance performances at a local festival at 2:30p and 4:30p

Now, on paper it actually doesn't seem like all that much.  I thought it to be a very manageable schedule.  Not to mention, it is my job as a mother to keep my children active with things that I think will spark their interest and attention.  If I didn't get them out and about, our house and yard would get really old - really fast.  On top of it all, it was Labor Day weekend, the last weekend of summer.  Gotta live it up!


If the above is what a calendar told me, let me now play out the above timeline with a little more detail of what actually happened:
Friday:
- Ben's wellness visit. A trip to the MD where a child has to get a shot is never fun.  Poor kiddo was screaming before the shot even happened.  At least we got his flu shot out of the way as well!

- volunteering: overall, a very good day.  Once again, I had to say a little prayer for the little boy that came from a rough home life.  I prayed for that little one.  The world has so much to offer, and chances are he won't even come close to all the possibilities.  After rocking him while he slept, a prayer was the only other thing that I could have offered.

- dinner at China Buffet: yummy!  All you can eat sushi for $8!  We had a great dinner.  I did notice, however, that the kids chose to sit next to me in the booth, rather than next to Steve.  This is a function of being a pilot and away from home a lot, no doubt.  These little moments make you realize how absent a pilot dad is from a child's life.     

- shopping at Frontgate outlet: I am pissed at myself.  We need bedside tables for our master, and I spotted these a couple weeks ago.  I didn't get them since Steve was indifferent about them.  I kept dreaming about them, and I was going to bite the bullet and get them.  They just have one table now, and I need the pair :(  The search continues...

- Margarita Night: we settled the kids into a movie after bath time, Steve settled into a couple bottles of beer and I am sure some web boards, and I headed off for fun.  Gotta love drinks and food and gossip with good friends! 

Saturday:
- farmers market: I took the kids while Steve: slept off a long run or watched Sports Center. It was hot and humid.  We got good food, including the most amazing nut roll by a Slovak baker.  At one point, some gal actually peaked over her table to see if I was wearing heels.  "No, all natural!"  A lot of people look at me because of my height.  As long as I don't get the "oh my God, how tall are you?!?!" question, I don't mind. 

- air show: in repeat fashion from last year, it was hot and humid as fuck.  $28 worth of beer, $12 worth of smoothies, and $16 worth of food later, we were spent!

At least we got these great pictures:



- party at friend's house: by this point in the day, we were just so hot, tired, dirty and exhausted.  The next morning, Steve had to leave at o'dark whatever to get to work, so after about an hour at the party we left.  We dined on Arby's for dinner (did you know they have mac and cheese for kids?  Ben's favorite!)


Sunday:
- our towns festival: by this point in the weekend Steve was gone.  I took the kids out so they could have fun on the bounce houses.  After an hour in the hot sun and humidity, CC graciously peed all over the bounce house!  Clean up in aisle 1.  The high school volunteers, who were manning the play area, were stunned with what to do.  What a mess! Month 9 into this potty training gig, and counting!

Before CC decided to empty a full bladder all over Mr. Carl's wonderful bounce house, I did take this picture of the kids and sent it off to Steve.  Who doesn't love balloon animals.  In typical Steve fashion he didn't response.  This pissed me off.  I swear, since he has to always respond to ATC, he never responds to me.  I don't know if this is typical pilot to pilot wife behavior, or just my pilot behavior, but I hate it! 


- Polish dancing at a Polish church: I loaded the kids in the car, drove 40 minutes, unloaded the car, walked into a crowded church festival, got Ben dressed, watched his performance, ate dinner, and then went home.  I was beat.  I was tired.  At least Ben looked super handsome!

Bath time, movie time, and the kids were relaxed and happy.  The evening was rounded out with the kids sleeping peacefully next to one another.  I love that they like sleeping in the same bed (on the weekends) and like being together.  I hope they grow to and remain to be best buddies.
I think I sent this picture to Steve too.  Of course he didn't respond to it. Typical.  Speed Bird 123, do you copy?



Monday:
- visit at my aunts house: to retrieve a belated birthday gift.  As we were walking around her gardens, I knew we were in for a long afternoon in the heat!

- 2 Polish dance performances at a local festival: the performances were at 2:30p and 4:30p.  I was pulling the kids in a wagon, so that helped since the kids were happy and I didn't have to carry everything.  But, it was still a long and hot afternoon.  During the break we did more bounce houses.  Thankfully, CC refrained from peeing all over herself.  And doesn't Ben looked super handsome in his other costume?!  (He is holding his belated birthday gift from my aunt.)
After bitching at Steve about his unresponsiveness, he did reply to this picture and said that Ben was handsome.

I should add that Monday night both kids were restless throughout the night, and I had to make multiple room calls to crying kids.  Ben stopped by 10p, but I think CC's last call was around midnight.  Then around 1am, I awoke to waves of nausea. It must have been the Stella and Doritos that I had for dinner.  After my body rejected the contents in my stomach, I finally fell asleep.

All the while, Steve was having a cake trip.  He was flying with one of his top 4 CAs.  He was flying 1-2 legs a day...cake stuff.  Hell, he even had a "kick ass" tail wind one evening that got his trans-con flight in a whole 45 minutes early.  This trip is reverse of the normal - I was the total sour puss on the phone, and Steve was Mr. Chipper.  I was the one struggling, and Steve was having a good trip.

So, what's next?  Well, Steve's flight home from a 4-day gets in at 22:48 (read: the kids will be asleep when he gets in so I don't really count this night as being home).  He will be home with us one short day before he heads out for 2 nights for a weekend away with the guys.  His annual weekend away with the guys.

Here is where a twist is going to happen:
Remember the post "You act as if the kids are a burden"?  Well,  'Old Husband' had a very intriguing, and appreciated, comment that sparked conversation between me and Steve.  "Do I abuse you?" I asked Steve.

"No, but sometimes..." and Steve went on to tell me that it sucks when I basically throw in the towel after he gets home from a trip.  But, sometimes I just need a break! And how I bitch and complain when he goes on these annual guys weekends away.  But, you are gone so much already I hate to have you away any more.

As timing would have it, Old Husband's comment was right around Steve's guys weekend trip, AND I had this crazy past weekend.  Steve will be home for one short night before he leaves again for another 2 nights. 

When Steve is gone on this guys weekend, he will be missing CC's first Polish Class, Ben and CC's first swimming lesson for the fall, and a birthday party.  I won't catch a break.  No chance to throw in a towel here.  And Old Husbands comment is still whispering in my ear...I need to keep things happy so that Steve is happy.

And how will the weekend end?  With Steve napping on the couch, just like he did last year after his trip.



Let's just say I have a lot of internal dialogue going on about this whole situation.  A tough 4-day, I can manage.  That is what I signed up for.  What I don't do so well with is my pilot husband leaving again for another 2 nights away from his already gone-from-home-a-lot schedule. Another 2 nights away from home, that come right after a 4-day that kicked my ass to the blue moon.

Pilot wives know what I am talking about.  Pilot husband's, at least my pilot, doesn't get it.  To him, this is only ONE weekend away.  ONE weekend a year.  "Just ONE weekend. That is all that I ask."  To me, this is yet ONE more time he is gone from home.  To me, this is more of our life that he is missing.  Of course, I don't put up a fuss to him. 

From one second to the next, this is my internal dialogue:
- Steve deserves this, he should go on this trip away.
- Fuck that...he is already gone a lot.
- Oh shit!  He is going to miss CC's first day of Polish School.  Which means that it is me that will be dealing with CC not staying in class and having to run her back into the room.   Hell, he already missed Ben's first day of Kindergarten, and now this.  I start to get teary eyed.
- No, I am going to be the woman/wife/mother here.  I will be the one to raise the children while Steve works, brings home money, and does things that he deserves.  His job is hard on him, he deserves some time to himself.  I don't want him to burden him with my troubles. 
- Fuck that...my job of keeping house and raising the kids is fucking hard.  When do I get my break?
- No, I need to do things that keep Steve happy.
- But, what about my happiness? 
- How much can I take before I break?
- How much can I give of myself before I lose it?
- How much longer can I keep my mouth shut and keep a smile on my face?
- What am I thinking?  Steve is working, not screwing around.  I signed up for this.  He is doing his part in working, and I need to do my part in keeping house and home.

And then I start to get teary eyed again.  Sometimes this lifestyle just wears on you.  We all heard about the JetBlue FA that cracked open a beer, yelled "fuck off" and slid down the inflatable slide.  Sometimes I feel like doing that. 

And then I get pissed off and purposefully ignore a phone call from Steve.  If he challenged my unresponsiveness, I would have told him I didn't answer since I was driving in heavy rain.  I am afraid that if I do pick up and talk to him I will 1. erupt like a volcano or 2. cry like a baby.

*****

Although it may not come across as so, overall I am rather cool about all this.  Being pissed off isn't going to get me anywhere.  I have a positive attitude by nature, so that helps. I also try to keep a bit of humor in my life, hence the hall pass proposition to bang any chick he wanted...I was just so exhausted that night, humor was the only way to get through it.  Beer has also been my friend as of late.  That sure as hell helps!

Steve will get home from his trip, the house will be clean, dinner and beer will be in the fridge, and maybe I will be the lucky one that he uses the hall pass on.

Life continues.  I need to do things that keep Steve happy.  In turn, I hope Steve does things that make me happy.  What goes around, comes around right?  Take it from our first dance song at our wedding, Jimmy Durante, Make Someone Happy.  I will do just that.  I will keep a smile on my face, keep my internal dialogue - internal, and keep on keepin' on. 


16 comments:

  1. I would be exactly where you are if in your position... totally annoyed that once again it's all YOU although torn b/c everyone deserves times w/friends.. hard hard hard to imagine.. but you are doing great b/c I have a hard time & i HAVE my husband home every night! amazing.... stacy

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    1. Thanks for the kind words. Yes, the internal struggle isn't easy but it is only fair for Steve.

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  2. I commend you. You do a wonderful job of keeping the kids busy and cared for while managing a household alone 50+ % of the time. Tough situation with the "guys' weekend" ... I understand both sides! Steve deserves to get away but the timing isn't great. Best of luck! I am sure Steve appreciates all you do for him and the family ... you are a great wife and mother.

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    1. Aw shucks, thank you for your kinds words. Steve does appreciate me, and that is nice :)

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  3. I completely understand about being gone for the guys weekend! When John was in FL he would go play golf with his dad for his 2 days off, it was too far to commute for not enough time BUT still...it drove me crazy. I don't know how you pilot wives with kids do it, if we had kids John would come home to find me locked in the closet with a bottle of Rum! Hope things even out for you soon!

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    1. Rum, or in my case beer, does keep you from going crazy ;-)

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  4. FWIW, I remember "Old Husband"'s comments and I thought they were patronizing and obnoxious with a dash of whiny thrown in at the end. I sat on my hands then, but I'm in a mood tonight so... The fact is that people would *die* if you didn't do your job either. You have two helpless little people in your home and most of the time you are the only thing standing between them and the big bad world. That Old Husband would suggest that you don't appreciate what it is like to hold the lives of others in your hands is ridiculous.

    A good and loving husband provides more for his family than a paycheck. In my opinion, the fact that a pilot's job takes him away from home so much means he *will* have to work harder when he is home, to plug back into your lives. Pilots miss a lot, and staying engaged and relevant will take more effort than it does for the average 9 to 5 husband and father. A pilot needs to take special care of his wife so that she can care for the family while he is away.

    Yes, some women complain and abuse their husbands - if Old Husband wants to lead a jihad on lazy, ungrateful wives I would direct him elsewhere - reality tv perhaps? He won't find them among pilot wives. I submit that truly ungrateful and unappreciative women would never put up with this airline lifestyle. It is too hard.

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    1. I like your comment! There are so many good points you made. Old Husband did recommend a book, which I have reserved at the library. Once I read it, I will review it as it applies to us. You know, I think it must be the third child in me, but I didn't take any offense to his comment at all. I tend to let things roll off my back, and just focus on the points that I care about. I found it informative, a different point of view.

      I actually have 2 marriages around me that are ending and verbal abuse is part of the situation. Maybe his comment hit a little too close to home for me?

      You are very right in that pilots need to take extra care of his wife and his family. At the same time, I think that it is important for the wife to remain as upbeat and with it, as much as possible. In the above blog post, I could have totally just kept the house a mess and let Steve walk into a disaster. Instead, I chose to be upbeat. What does around comes around...the energy that I put out is the energy that I am going to get back. This was the point that I was getting with Old Husband.

      As I mentioned above, I am going to get that book and read it and review it...I think that will open up a ton of dialogue about this all. I think this open discussion is important! I think if we talk about it, it can only help our marriages.

      :)

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    2. I think we agree. I am more touchy these days because my husband has been deployed with the AF Reserves all summer, and when he returns he will be squeezed out of his Airline pilot base and back to commuting to reserve. So I'm pretty much the opposite of upbeat, lol.
      It is important to stay positive, and it is a challenge. I know you know how hard it is because of the conversations you describe with yourself. I have the same ones. I haven't read Dr. Laura's book, but I have heard her on the radio (is she on the radio anymore?) I may have to check out her book myself.

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    3. ugh, stinky, ugh, ugh ugh! I can't relate since Steve is not part of the reserves, but my goodness!!!!

      Yes, staying positive is key. And yes, it is a challenge. Oh, I am sure your struggles are that much more magnified with your husbands extended absence. All I can say is say strong! Commuting to reserve - three words no pilot wife ever wants to hear!

      As for the book, I just read the reviews on amazon at this point. Apparently she is VERY conservative, so I know I won't be able to follow all her advice. But, when you boil down to her main broad-stroke statements she has some good advice, apparently...even for liberal folks like myself. Apparently she gets down in innate behaviors in males, and how a wife can respond to that. It should be an interesting read.

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  5. ....so THAT'S the secret to your marriage, LOL!!

    Seriously, I can imagine how tough it is to stay sane with absentee hubby gone. Actually in my marriage, well, most cleaning, cooking, laundry never got done till I got home and did it!! Yeah, I'm divorced... ;-)

    ...I would LOVE getting those awesome pics!! I know my kids're closer to their mom 'cause of my absence, and so little things like that are precious! I know Big Strong Silent Steve is VERY appreciative of your gestures of the pics--do them outta love and not expectation of obligation on his part!!

    Just last night the kids n their ma came over and hung out while we celebrated their mom's birthday. I savor the precious few moments I get with them anymore, as they are near full grown and outta da house--Desi 21 going on 30, and Tim 17 going on 23!

    Hope you were able to clean up the balloon house "accident," with minimal hassle and expense, LOL!!!

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    1. Hey, we like to keep spicy ;)

      Good point on the expected response of the pictures. This has actually changed me. I will do it out of love, and not expect a response. Thank you.

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    1. I have to ask...what is "Jimmy"?

      Um, in my head I can think of one definition of "Jimmy" but I don't think you are into that! LOL

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  7. Hi there! I just wanted to say that I'm really enjoying your insights and advice. As a new pilots wife (married in March)...it's not easy! My husband is a junior captain on reserve and commuting. And can I just say this upgrade happened in March? Yep, same month as the big I do's. It was quite an eye opener when he had to call in sick for the wedding because his vacation was no longer valid. It sucks...no way around it. I'm just trying to keep positive and know that sooner or later he'll be able to trade back down. When we met I already owned a house so I'm used to taking 90% of the domestic side...but now where talking kids in a year or so. Your blog is really helping me in learning what to expect. It's not going to be easy or an ideal situation, is it?

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    1. Congratulations on your recent marriage! That sucks that he had to call in sick for your wedding, but I am glad he was able to do so and make the big day ;) What a good story to go in your life history though.

      No, raising kids is not easy or ideal, but we manage and you will to. You be will surprised at the amount of strength you have to do what you will do. We are a strong bunch of women!

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