Saturday, December 03, 2005

My marriage, part seven

Disclaimer: If you read the previous parts you know.

The next part of RedHead's personality is a lack of basic economic skills. Unfortunately I didn't discover this until about three years ago. I consider myself a walking talking disaster when it comes to economics but compared to RedHead, I'm a fucking genius.

When we met I was deep in debt. I mean, deeeep in debt. About 300.000 SEK ($36 368) in debt. That's a lot of money, a full years salary for a skilled industrial worker with a couple of years of experience. A_full_years_salary.

The first three years I took care of most of the economy and since RedHead can be really tight-fisted with money we actually managed to pay off 5/6th of my debts. I credited her for most of this but later realized that it was just as much because of my meticulous planning on which bills to pay at what date. I literally planned months ahead but never realized that this helped her too. The year LazyWorm was born I gladly handed over the responsibility for our economy to her. Bad move, as I was to find out years later.

I won't call her a scrooge, nor a spender. It's just that she used our money in all the wrong places. When I worked at the plant I had a pretty good salary and since RedHead got a sum almost equivalent to our rent from her maternity leave, we had money to spare. The only regular bills were electricity, gasoline, TV and insurance. With all those bills paid, we still had money to spare. In fact, the equivalent to a $1000 each month. Half of that was meant for food and cigarettes, the rest for my old debts. I figured we would be able to buy a house within five years.

I still don't know where she spent the money. She almost never bought clothes or shoes to herself, in spite of me encouraging her. She didn't do drugs, drink or gamble. Still, somehow the money was spent on something. At that time though, I thought everything was fine. Was I coming to a rude awakening? More on that later.

RedHead got a seasonal job at a potato-processing plant in February 1994. I told her she could do much better than that but she wouldn't listen since some of her old friends worked there. LazyWorm and RazorTongue stayed at the day care centre and this year would become one of my happiest. Things were going really well for me at work, we both had jobs and our two offspring's were two little sun rays, most of the time. The future looked bright for me and my little family.

Since we both worked, we had to plan our time. We didn't want the kids to stay at day care to much because we would hardly be able to see them. RedHead left home at 7.30 and came home at 16.15. I still worked shifts which meant that the kids had to spend at least six and a half hour at day care those weeks I worked mornings. The week I worked afternoons, I spent two hours in the morning with them before handing them over to their terrific day nurses. Then I did all the necessary chores at home and left for work about 13.00. Night week I came home at 6.30, woke up RedHead and the kids, made breakfast and left the kids at 7.30 before crashing onto my bed and sleep until 14.30. A quick cup of coffee and get the kids before preparing dinner.

All of this worked fine and although RedHead often was completely flattened by her work, we still enjoyed sex more than twice a week. Since it was a seasonal employment she was laid off in May, hence she could enjoy the whole summer. We agreed on that the kids should spend five hours, five days a week, at day care even though she was at home. This would give her some time to herself. Her being at home enabled me to work a lot of overtime and in my mind we would be moving to our own house at the end of the following year. Life though, has a way of sobering one up.

Later, as fall just started, RedHead received a call from the potato-processing plant and was asked if she was interested in work a couple of weeks. She agreed. This time around we decided that she would get the kids every afternoon and enabling me to work as much as possible. As soon as she was laid off again I started to work overtime at every single opportunity. At one point I worked 35 days in a row, spent one weekend at home and worked another ten days. It's quite amazing how much you can abuse yourself if you love your work.

Spring next year they called her again and we agreed that we would do the same thing as previous fall. The difference was that overtime was stopped at work. Instead, I kept our apartment spotless to the extent that RedHead said she felt ashamed letting me do all the work.
Actually it was quite easy. When I worked afternoons I spent about five hours every Monday doing household chores which always included laundry, making beds, picking up after the kids, do the dishes, vacuum and generally clean up everything. Since I did it real thorough the first day of the week I only had to spend three hours doing the chores the following four days. The other two weeks I had only two hours but I managed it anyway.

Unfortunately this was going to lead up to our first big fight during the six years we had been together. This fight in turn would trigger something else, which I didn't realize until recently, but more on that later.

After the little "accident" that led to Razortongue's birth RedHead tried a new kind of pills, called mini-pills. They seemed to work and thus our sex life thrived. It didn't matter how much I had worked, how tired I was, if I had back pains or just didn't feel quite up to it, but if RedHead signalled that she was in the mood, we had sex. She never took the initiative, i.e. seduced me, but instead she would say:

-I'm going to bed, are you coming?" That was the key.

Anyway, soon she was laid off again and spent her days at home. One Friday, I came home after having filled in for one of my colleagues who was supposed to work nights but had fallen ill. This meant I had been working sixteen hours four days in a row. As I entered our kitchen I became completely stunned. This was two weeks after she stopped working and our kitchen was a mess. I don’t mean cluttered with toys but down right filthy. The kitchen sink that I had kept spotless for several months had a thick coat of calcium oxide mixed with mould and pieces of rotten vegetables. This doesn't happen in one day you know.

I almost exploded out of anger. As I looked out the kitchen window I could see RedHead sitting out in the yard, chatting with her friend TrashQueen and drinking coffee. Then I took a deep, deep breath, thinking: "Okay, she’s worked hard all spring and deserves some spare time." So I cleaned out the mess, leaving the sink all shiny and nice. On my way to the shower I couldn't help notice the dust balls, the unmade beds, all the toys scattered around and, above all, the overfilled hampers. Except for the kitchen sink, those annoyed me the most.

As I came out of the shower RedHead was just coming in from outside, all smiling. She glanced into the kitchen and got a surprised look on her face.

-Oh.. You've cleaned the kitchen."
-Yeah, I cleaned the kitchen."

Her face blushed.

-I was going to but time just flew."
-I'm going to lie down for an hour."
-Oh... Okay, you want dinner ready?"
-Are you sure you have time for that?"
-You don't have to get all sarcastic on me."

I didn't answer that, but the things that passed my mind werent nice, so I just went to bed.

Now we jump forward about eight weeks. Once again I had been filling in for colleagues, working sixteen hour shifts. This particular Friday I'd working 18 hours due to some special deliveries. Rumours had started to circulate that people were going to get laid off at the plant, which didn't do much good for my working environment since everyone asked me about it. Once again I got greeted by an apartment that looked like a disaster zone.

Now, there's one thing you have to know about me. I'm not, repeat, not, the tidiest of humans. A cluttered room doesn't freak me out. If the kids throw their clothes everywhere I rarely raise my voice telling them to pick it up. A room can be messy and I don't care. A filthy kitchen however, that's something that really freaks me out. If the kitchen is clean, I don't really care if the remaining rooms are cluttered. If you had seen my desk, you'd understand.

RedHead was sitting outside, once again chatting with TrashQueen, as she had been doing every day for the last week. LazyWorm came into the kitchen and told me that:

-Mom asked me to ask you if you could please make some coffee. And she needs a mug too."
-You can tell your mother that I have to do the dishes first, since her fat ass seems to be glued to the freakin' bench and doesn't seem to find any time for..."

LazyWorm was out the door before I finished the sentence, running as fast as he could to tell his mother that Daddy had said something bad about her behind.

Through the window I could see RedHead get up and by the way she walked I could see that she was furious.

To tell about this first real fight we had is hard. Not because of the fight itself or because I behaved badly (which I didn't). No, it's because I was so mad that I actually don't remember much of it. My throat was sore for the whole weekend. I've never raised my voice that much against a person in the same room with me. I just remember she claimed having cleaned the sink "not so long ago". I told her I knew at what time it had been cleaned and who did it. It was ME and it was EIGHT FUCKING WEEKS AGO! And she knew it was the truth.

Anyway, it ended with RedHead in tears, playing the old martyr. She didn't know why she hadn't cleaned the sink, done the dishes, taken care of the laundry and so on. She was a bad person, in fact she was a bad mother too and didn't deserve to be married to me. I told her to stop playing Jeanne D'arc, unless she wanted me to walk out the door. I reminded her of what we had agreed upon, that the one who spent the most time at home should take care of the lion part of the chores. I also reminded her of the thing she said about being ashamed because I did so much at home. It wasn't exactly hard to do more than her since she had done almost nothing for the past few months, except leaving the kids at day care.

-Well, time flies and I can't keep up with the chores."
-Yeah, time flies when you're glued to the fucking TV or sitting on the bench outside, chatting with TrashQueen and drinking coffee. If you had put HALF of that energy in the chores, our home would be real nice. You have five hours, every day, without the kids. Don't even try to tell me that you can't find time to clean up this place."
-I vacuumed!"
-Great! We live in
Buckingham Fucking Palace!"

At that time I was once again becoming agitated and had to leave the kitchen. God knows I wanted to slap her. If I hadn't left, I would most probably have done it. People who know me in real life know that I never use violence unless I get physically attacked. But for once in my adult life I wanted to hit someone, the woman I had sworn to love. That's how furious I was.

Later, as we were in bed, she asked me if I was going to leave her. I'm not the kind who holds a grudge for long so I just hugged her and said no. And then we had the best sex for several weeks.

This was, as I mentioned before, our first real fight. It's impact was going to come back and haunt me later, but for the time being it seemed as we had straightened things out.

Damn, this was almost four pages.


Me said...

How weird. She thought you'd leave her for being messy? She has major fears of abandonment. What does this stem from? Her mom and relatives seem to care for her and you do too.