Artist Unknown










It begins.

Fella ignored the “honey-do” list, and found seasonal work to do on the farm as usual during the day, and didn’t make time to do even one thing I’d asked. By the way, these aren’t big or time-consuming things, most of them. There are some that would only take a half-hour, and that he is the only one who can do, like locate a pair of my old half-circle end tables (they need refinishing, but I’m not asking him to do that!) that he stuffed into a shed on his parents’ farm some years ago. There are 10 places he could have put them, and they are not all buildings that are easy to get into. For me, who has no idea where to start looking.

There is always farm work to do, and that is a whole other issue because when Mom died six years ago he told me he had a five-year plan to get out of farming, which we agreed he should do. He has a very busy full-time business already, and the farming fills his evenings and weekends, and he doesn’t need the headaches. Alas, not only is he still farming, he has decided to continue. I don’t like it? It impacts our lives in a negative way? Too bad for me.

Anyhoo, I worked about six hours yesterday, did some free proofreading for a psychic medium in the area who has set up a webpage, took my walk (lovely sunny afternoon; saw a fox cross the road outside our yard, then come back out of the ditch and walk toward us unseeing till quite late; hope my photo turns out, probably won’t though), drove my son back to town for the week, made supper and did the dishes, and sat with Fella to watch the last few minutes of Call Me Fitz, a program I haven’t warmed to, and then Boardwalk Empire, because I love the period costume and settings, and Steve Buscemi. Before getting up to come into the office and put in another working hour afterward, I asked him if he’d managed to cross one task off the list this weekend. He scoffed.

I said, “That’s too bad, because I have asked you nicely to either do or help me with these few small things for the past 10 years, and I have patiently and respectfully waited for you to do them in your own time and you never have, so unless I am the biggest pushover in the world, it is time things change. Since you won’t, I will. It likely won’t be pleasant for either of us.”

His response, sneering, voice raised, accusatory: “Why don’t you take care of the lagoon then? What the hell do you do? You don’t even cook; tonight was the first time in ages.” And so on, as if I do nothing, or what I do isn’t much, while every step he takes is a great laborious stride. It’s also a lie. I make supper virtually every night. I also bake the bread he eats every day, and make the big batches of granola he eats bowlfuls of several times a day. But this time I didn’t let him blind me with all this smoke and mirrors.

My reply: “I suppose when you were growing up, yelling and getting angry was how you got your way. It’s not going to work with me.” (With appreciation to Josephine, who said this exact same thing to her husband, who shares some of my spouse’s abusive methods of communication.)

That was the end of it; we didn’t speak again for the rest of the evening, or this morning, when I stayed in bed till he left. But I slept in the office here; there is a single bed behind me. My little dog kept me company on top of the blankets, and it was a perfectly comfortable night. And here I will stay.

I will of course continue to make supper for both of us, as I have to eat good meals, and I’m not going to make only enough for one when I am cooking anyway. But I am not going to be considerate of him any longer in ways that take me out of my way. I won’t cook meat, for instance, unless I’m craving it myself; if there are other convenient options I usually leave it off my plate anyway if I’m only cooking for myself or, say, at a buffet. It’s for him that I’ve been cooking roasts and steaks and ribs and hamburger, because he loves meat and believes he “needs” it. I’m a vegetarian wanna-be, but all too moderate about it.

I will no longer cook potatoes when I’d rather have pasta or rice, although he complains loud and long and publicly because potatoes are not prepared as frequently as he would like. He loves them, and believes he “needs” them.

I won’t do his laundry any more.

I won’t make another batch of salsa. It’s not me that eats it with every meal.

Oh, I’ll do the general laundry: the towels we both use, for instance. I’ll still sweep all the floors (our house has no carpet except for the indoor-outdoor in the large porch, which has to be swept because we’ve no vacuum), do all the dishes and kitchen cleaning, take the recycling to the depot, do the grocery shopping, feed our dogs and barn cats, and so on. I still live here and will do what needs to be done. But do things that till now I have done specifically to please and support Fella? Nope. He calls this my “work to rule” routine.

Oh, he will retaliate. There will be verbal accusations and beratings. There will be threats that he isn’t going to take care of the lagoon then, how would I like that. Then he’ll mope. Then he’ll get sick. Then he’ll start talking about selling the house, and he’ll ask if I’ve found a new place to live yet, as “this isn’t working,” and he’s right, it isn’t, and it’s “his” place so I’m the one who has to move, he’ll insist.

I’m off to the city on Thursday for a gospel workshop till Sunday, and maybe I’ll come back. As long as my computer is here, and my little dog, I sort of have to.