Turning Forty

Woman who journals about her life and the miscellaneous life circumstances she encounters at age 40 and beyond.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Buying Christmas and more than I bargained for

Christmas is absolutely my favorite time of the year. I love the decorations, the lights, the cold weather, the hot chocolate and cookies. Kids all excited about what kinds of gifts they're going to get.

But for me , everything seems to be coming to a head this year.

I've applied to over twenty jobs with a specific agency. Several times I've been referred to the selecting official, but not selected.
I don't keep good jobs very long.
The decent jobs I've gotten I've failed at, or was unhappy in. I feel like a failure, and I've got the track record to prove it.

I like writing so I thought I'd give that a go. I was accepted into a writing collective, I turned my article in on its due date at 2:00 am in the morning the day it was due (its true that I'm a pressure driven kind of person, but I honestly worked on the narrative and other aspects of this article during the two weeks prior to its due date). Yet at 9:00pm on the 22nd I was informed via email it was done incorrectly. I spent the rest of the of the night on the 22nd and from 12:01 am till 0630 am on the 23 doing a re-write and finally submitted again at about 630 am.

Editors and my supervisor liked it, and only minor revisions were made to my re-write.

I just went to check the status of the article, its in policy review, but someone re-wrote my summarization of the article. I feel like I suck at writing now.

I clean up my house everyday. It's usually in pretty good order by the time my husband gets home. By nine pm its a disaster again, shoes all over everywhere, coats hung on chairs, school bags laying on the living room floor, beer cans on the coffee table, dirty dishes in the sink, dirty clothes laying on the floor and in the bathroom. Whets the point? I get frustrated and give up and then I feel guilty because my house is so messy so I clean it anyway, if I don't no one will. After all its my job right because I haven't got a paying job.

I take care of the bills and finances. Yet almost daily my husbands tells me that I don't know how to manage the finances. I wish I could just say 'I quit you do it then." But we've tried that before, he never follows through. I realize that I can't refuse to do the bills and checkbook because he's the one that goes to work everyday to provide for our living expenses, so how can I refuse to do something he's specifically ask me to handle? Once again he makes the money, and since I don't bring home a paycheck its my responsibility to handle the finances. To coin his own words, "I make it, its your job to handle it"

Which finally brings us to Christmas, I just about finished with getting gifts for everyone on my list, (My parents, stepson, husband, daughter, charity x2, neighbor boys, friends two daughters, brother, grandchildren x2) save my son, two nephews, one niece, and a sister and brother in law. I've spent a couple of days doing this. My costs have been approximately $450.00. I am mindful of what I'm spending, but I also believe that Christmas is the time to give people things they wouldn't normally purchase for the themselves. Frivolous things like, toe socks for my daughter, a rifle trader catalogue for my husband, candy for my mom and dad who love pecans, toys for children EVEN though we know those toys will end up broken or left to collect dust in a relatively short amount of time.

My husbands question was "Hey I want to know what's the limit you set for spending on the kids?" my reply, " I don't know what my cap is and besides I never discuss Christmas with you because you're a scrooge and you wouldn't let them have anything they've put on their list." His response "I don't want you going hog wild buying these kids toys! They don't take care of them. Why do want to get our son another game system? He's already got a playstation. Buy him clothes or something practical he can use." my response, I have none, because NOW, he says I don't know how to handle Christmas purchases. Another reason to keep quiet was that I hadn't had the chance to total up what I'd spent so far.

I usually keep the limit on Christmas purchases for my children to 250.00 per child, I knew that when he asked the question, but I was afraid he'd say that was too much and I think its a reasonable amount. I didn't want to get into a power struggle, so I went to clean the kitchen and make dinner.

He's never bought their gifts at Christmas, he never buys anything for anyone on any special occasion. Well he buys ME present(s) at Christmas and maybe on my birthday. Gift buying is always left to me to remember and carry out the purchases. I take great pride in purchasing gifts for people because I really do make the effort to get them something they'd like or something they REALLY want.
Needless to say I'm crushed over my husbands assessment of my Christmas purchases. I also realize he's right. My son doesn't take care of his toys and they really do end up in heap in the toy box after awhile.

So I while I was in the kitchen making dinner and I tried to figure out how I could convince my husband that I believed he was right in his assesment of my purchasing abilities and convince him at the same time that I should be able to get my son some of the items on his list. I did my best, but it just came down to another "Parent/ child conversation". I'm sick of it.

Things go way...waaaayyy deeper than this. I know it and so does he. Its just that Christmas and spending money is bringing it all to a head. I'm ready to quit. He doesn't appreciate a damn thing I do around here and I don't enjoy doing a damn thing around here anymore. This marriage has not enhanced my life, the only positive thing I have to show for it are my children. Over a relatively short span of 16 years I've gone from a 120 lb cute, confident, employed, happy 24 year old, to a depressed, overweight, unappreciated, jobless, 40 year old wife and mother.

Something inside me though keeps telling me that I just have to be wrong about all this, I just can't be seeing my life the right way. Yet when I try to find things to contradict what I see as the true reality, they just don't hold up. I hate my life. I hate what I've become, and I'm sick and tired of a husband who's putting me down and underming my confidence more oft than not. I can't go on like this, its killing me, literally. I have to change something. I have to change me. I know I can, but I can't do it married to my husband, we disagree on to many fundamental issues that make a marriage bearable (sex, religion, child raising, finances).

Monday, October 18, 2004

Research and writing

As a budding writer, I'm discovering that you'll do about 3 times more reading than writing ....lol. I'm working on an article for my local newspaper (freelance of course) about bullying in school and why we give our kids a double message about fighting (dont fight but dont run either).

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


I can still see me sitting Indian style under that great big Oak in our back yard, gazing up at the sky and sun twinkling through the leaves. I was connected to my consciousness. I gazed up admiring how beautiful God made that scene and wondered how I got be there to see it and why. I still remember that day. I still don't know the answer to those questions. I only know that today I'm 40. I've done quite a bit and not enough. I'm frightened I won't matter, I'm frightened to face the day my parents will pass away, and I'm frightened my spouse will leave me. I'm thankful I've had so much fun and so many great experiences, I love my kids, and I'm excited about a tiny spark to a writing career. I don't know what the future will bring, but I'm sure I'll be here for it. I'll gaze up at the sky this evening and still be in awe of the scene God has made and be thankful for it.
me on 40