I’ve been focused on my birthday. The “Grateful to be hitting 30” segments have really gotten me going to write more about my misadventures but on my last one posted someone asked about the Ariel situation. So I’m going to try and sum things up in one post. Kind of a bookend if you will to everything that you’ve already read.
Now I was very good about detailing all the little things about the first week that she was back at my place and after that I tapered off for two reasons, first, it felt that no matter how much I wrote it just wasn’t going to catch up to what was going on and the second was that honestly I wanted to try and process as much as possible.
After the first week the petals began to fall off the flower. I know that it happens inevitably, that we go from new love to constant love to comfortable love. It’s a healthy down point where you realize that the person you’re with is going to be with you for a while and you shouldn’t burn yourself out trying to steal as much time as possible and remember to BREATHE!
When it comes to new romance my school of thought is this: you give 150% to who you’re with. You do it to prove that you have something of value that they want in their lives. You do it to show them how grateful you are to have them with you. You do it out of respect, kindness, courtesy, love and admiration. It’s a healthy 150 that you hope to get in return.
Granted I gave her the first week as a type of vacation. I mean she had been describing all of the things going on with her and in her life and her depression and everything else, I wanted to recharge her batteries. She was here for almost a month.
I went to work everyday, came home and did the dishes from the night before, she would cook, I would do dishes and then we’d hang out. It wasn’t a bad routine but then I noticed some stuff and Jen and Travis noticed some stuff.
I’d come home, the house was in disarray. Nothing had been cleaned up and instead there was MORE cluttere and garbage to be had, empty soda cans, used plates, empty boxes and everything else. I’m not as much as a clean freak as I should be but I’ll be damned if I want my house to look like no one cares. So I’d come home and start doing some cleaning, thinking that maybe she would get up off the couch and help me do it. It never happened.
One of the biggest things that happened that kind of woke me up to what was wrong was three weeks ago. I work a health clinic, one of the front office people was on vacation and the other called in because her son was sick, which left me alone in the front office to check people in and out, answer phones, and answer questions that might come my way. The office doesn’t close for lunch and I had no one to relieve me for breaks. So really I’m working a straight day through, nine hours. While that’s bad, it’s also the day that I stay late, we come in at 11 and leave at 8, then come back in at 8am the next morning. It’s the hardest day I have. Made even harder by not having any real down time to recharge at work. So when I get home I’m going to be EXHAUSTED.
Jen and I talk all day on email so she heard my tale of woe as it happened. She relayed the information to Travis and I called Ariel during my first break and explained to her how exhausted I was already getting.
Okay. Here’s the question for you guys… you are at home all day, your boy/girl friend, significant other calls and tells you of his/her day. What do you do?
Personally? I know my lady’s having a shit day, I’m going to make sure that she knows she’s appreciated, maybe make her dinner or get take out, give a back rub and be ready to listen to the day they’ve had. I’m built that way, I know it’s SUPER feminine but honestly it’s how I was raised and I wouldn’t change it. I show affection by touch, by words and by deeds. I’m not going to try and BUY love, but I will show how much that love means to me.
I called Ariel at about 1pm to let her know what’s going on.
Travis and Jen have basically moved in together but Jen doesn’t have internet access and his computer is at our (Travis and my) place. So he’s got a key, he comes and goes, as is his right. He got home that day about three o’clock and Ariel was still in bed. The house was a sty and she hadn’t done any of the dishes. He was upset.
When I say he was upset I’m not talking about because the house wasn’t kept up, he was upset for ME because of the condition of the house and the fact that I was having a bad day. The possibility that I might come home and nothing had been done.
So he takes it to Ariel, “Hey Ariel, Gabe’s having a bad day at work, are you going to do the dishes and stuff before he gets in?”
“Well dishes are his responsibility and he didn’t feel like doing them last night, he’ll do them when he gets home from work.”
Travis is a gunslinger, he shoots from the hip, eyes like a hawk, reflexes like a snake, his words can bite if he needs them to and at that moment he felt like they did, “That’s pretty messed up, he’s having a hard day at work and you’re going to make him come home and clean? Really?”
He didn’t say anything else to her, he didn’t feel like it was his place. Instead he took charge and started cleaning. Jen heard about this and left work early to go help him clean up as well.
Understand that they’re cleaning up not because I’m that dirty but because they know the type of day that I’m having and they don’t want me to come home to have to do something else. They don’t think it’s fair or right.
These guys, they’re my family. I’ve said it over and over again and while you don’t know the full story yet, each time we get together that bond grows closer because we understand each other in levels that many people strive to accomplish after years. Due to the stress of our lives this year we’ve compressed that and it’s strengthened us as individuals, friends and now family. I can not say that I have EVER had a pair of my friends come to my house to make sure that I had little to nothing to do when I got home because of a rough day.
So with a fifth of Pendleton in hand they begin the arduous job of cleaning the kitchen from top to bottom. They’re both upset, I’m their friend and they feel like I’m getting shafted because the woman that I’m providing for at the time doesn’t want to make sure I have a good evening when I get home.
The best way to defuse this situation if you’re Ariel? Get out of bed, come help them and apologize, show that you care. That goes so far into how they would have seen it. Instead she closes the door and shuts herself in. She doesn’t come out until I get home and coax her out of the room.
That was the first sign.
There are other little things that got dropped on me.
We spend a lot of our time on the front stoop, we smoke and I don’t like that smell in the house. It’s a quick walk into the house to get something to drink if you’re thirsty. I just don’t want people smoking inside so I ask them to wait or they ask someone to get them a drink, we all take turns going in, it’s a friendship thing. I got thirsty and I asked Ariel if she could please get me something to drink since I was smoking. She said sure.
After twenty minutes of prodding and finally just getting up to get it myself, she went in and got me something to drink. I know it sounds petty but to me, you would think that if the person that you’re with asks you for a drink and you sit and wait 20 to 30 minutes and then you only get going after they say they can do it themselves, that’s not really fair.
While I’m showing you that let me tell you how I tried.
She likes to have foot rubs, and back rubs and to get lotioned, I did it every day. Why? Because I was putting my best foot forward and it’s who I am. When she same up she had duct tape holding her glasses together because they didn’t have the money to get them fixed, I got her new frames. I got her new clothes; I made sure that the pantry was always full. Stopped and get her flowers, made sure she had soft drinks at home and a few days I just brought home fast food so that neither of us had to do any work. I did it without complaint. Again it’s because of my personality. I like to take care of people but my flaw is that I don’t look out to be taken care of the same way.
We made two shopping trips while she was here, well three technically. Two to the local supermarket so she could have the things she felt she needed or wanted to cook and the other was to Costco to get some random supplies we thought would be cheaper there and to help Travis and Jen get ready for their camping trip.
She had a checkered past when it came to her sexual habits and while I know that no one is perfect I didn’t dwell on it. Way I saw it she was with me and the past was the past. The thing is that for that to really work, you both have to get over the past, your and the person who you’re with. She didn’t. She would talk about her exploits and while I knew stuff had happened, I didn’t need to hear about it. Still I kept my silence because I really thought it wasn’t my place.
Travis didn’t have the same issue. He tossed out some comments and seethed for me in silence. That’s when I think we realized something wasn’t right.
The thing that happened that Tuesday I was swamped? It happened all the time. I would come home and nothing would be done. She had spent DAYS watching Buffy reruns, playing on the computer and anything else that was relaxing. She didn’t really try to make the effort to help.
While she was here I did laundry multiple times after I got home from work. She never asked to help, or at least offer to switch the clothes from the washer to the dryer…. I was doing her laundry too.
The other stick point were some of my friends. I was raised by women, I get along more with women. One of the women in question is Shannon. Shannon I’ve known for about five months and we clicked, we’re good friends, we tell each other everything and we have a good time. Wednesday nights I’ve started to make it a habit to go play poker at her local hangout because she enjoys it so much.
This did not sit well with Ariel, she felt threatened and what’s more, she felt like Shannon had to be cut out of my life. She was intimidated by her and didn’t want to put up with it.
Keep this in mind. She was intimidated and wanted her gone but she was still going back to her husband. The time with me was sweet but she still felt a duty to try and work something with her husband. I can understand this but the double standard she was setting was, getting to be with her husband while I sat in the wings and waited, alone and having to be okay with her being with him in all ways possible.
There’s only so much that’s okay.
So Travis and Jen went camping this last weekend and I let them use an air mattress that I had been using for a while as a bed, it was something that Amy had let me borrow kindly enough when she heard about my situation. Travis isn’t really at our place so he has been generous enough to let me use his bed. I thought that was great, least I can do is let them use the air mattress and if Travis really liked it, hell he could keep it.
The mattress however seems to have met and early demise at the hands of a sharp object while it was still in my house, someone stabbed it. Okay, jealousy is cute but that’s bordering as far as I’m concerned. She never admitted to it but the body language gave a lot of it away as far as I’m concerned.
Immature, yes. More to the point Travis and Jen were counting on that bed and none of us knew what she had done. They took it up thinking it would work just as well as it had for me and instead the plopped themselves on an air mattress that let out all of it’s air and all they felt were hard rocks against their backs, I KNOW how much that hurts. If not for the quick thinking of one of their friends they would have had back problems for a week.
Tuesday I get an email from Jen that asks me to please stop by their place directly after work. “We would like you to swing by the house on your way home if you get a chance, we’d like to talk to you.”
That’s code for: Something’s wrong and we need to find a way to fix it.
On a side note: That same day was the day that they took Jeremiah away. I was informed that the state took him out of the home of my Ex and was going to place him somewhere else. It’s the third son I’ve lost in my life.
So I’m already having a bit of an emotional rollercoaster and the only two people in the world that I consider my nearest and dearest are calling me out to try and help me.
I beeline it over to their house as soon as I get off of work.
I walk in, “Don’t be alarmed, we’re beaners”
On the stove Jen’s making Pan Fried Oysters. In the oven Travis has, Portobello mushrooms, Baked potatoes, Asparagus, and Garlic bread. I look on the counter and there’s three dishes out.
We’re doing this over a meal.
If you don’t know by now, for me talking to people over breaking bread is an awesome thing indeed. It’s a personal thing, you only eat with those you are comfortable with. You would never eat with an enemy or someone who causes you grief, you do it with those you love and want to confide in.
So they set the table and we sit to eat and the intervention begins.
They’ve been watching from the side lines while this whole thing has been happening. When they met Ariel they gave their vote of confidence and I don’t need to remind you that the vote they give, WAY important.
Then they started showing me the signs.
Some of the mile markers that I’ve already explained.
Travis: “Can I say something? Brother, I love you, you’re a lot like me. You don’t want to be alone. You hate having an empty house and any port in the storm is better than nothing but I’m going to tell you this and if I’m out of line you can punch me. You’re getting played. She’s using you, she doesn’t help you, doesn’t lift a finger, eats you out of house and home, and what do you get in return?”
Jen: “We know that when we met her we told you to keep her and at the time, Hoovey, you look so happy and even though we had reservations about the situation, because you were happy we were happy but watching the dynamic, the lack of respect and caring about you. That worries us. This is a situation that we think is going to cost you a lot if you stick around. You need to cut ties.”
The conversation went on all night. They would remember things they wanted to tell me but were stuffing in the hope that it was something small and petty and they were just overreacting.
The cards laid out on the table. The image didn’t look good. The saying that started all of this? “You can’t tell there’s a problem when you’re inside the box”
I spent the whole night talking to them and having them show me the outside of the box. After a month of me putting out maximum effort to show her that I care and I got had gotten the bare minimum. It was time to change tactics, maybe giving her a break from me would help. Letting her go back home so she could see the contrast between who she’d been with for a month and who she was married to. See perhaps the difference in affection and attentiveness, maybe that would shake her out of whatever she was thinking because for all she was getting she wasn’t showing anything in return.
I didn’t go home that night. I had to think. I went right to work. I had to.
Travis the next day found the final straw. The house was tore up from the floor up. It looked like someone had come in and just let a hurricane loose. Dishes were piled up in the sink, the living room was a mess and she was firmly entrenched in the bedroom that Travis’ bed was in, which is where his clothes are in.
Travis: “I tried brother, I really tried but she’s got to go. I’m sorry. I pay half of everything and she’s using shit up and not helping and not contributing in any way. I want her out of the house.”
I got home and she was pissed. She was pissed that I had been out all night, that I had done it with my friends. It wasn’t fair, what was so important?
So I laid it out for her the best way that I could. I tried to keep myself in check, I tried to be very polite about pointing little things out but I did end it with, “It feels like I’m getting played. Like I’m being used.”
Retaliation: “Well I feel like I’m only being used for sex and food.”
That my friends, that one line was all it took to put everything in perspective for me. She’s a kid, she’s not ready, she may never be ready and in my eagerness to find something and someone of my own I looked right past it and got sucked in.
I gave her the option of what she wanted to do. She decided to go to a friend’s house in the area and they could drive her back to Eugene the next morning.
So just as quickly as she swooped in, she’s gone again. I would love to say that it’s a love story ending but for the Shaman it appears that something like that, if it ever happens, is a long way off and shouldn’t be rushed.
As always, I’m still writing. I’ll continue to blog. This is a chapter I won’t be revisiting any time soon. I’m looking forward and breaking off the rear view mirror as a gunslinger I know is wont to say.
Thanks to all who showed interest and passion in this situation, it was a fifty/fifty chance and I needed to know what was there now I know it was a mirage and I can move on.
Friday, September 5, 2008