I’m still a partying feminist grrl, dammit.
And in case you were wondering about my ovarian cravings lately, whenever I get those baby impulses, I just read a little of Dave Van’s journal. Clears that need for a child right up. Instant birth control.
Eric has a new job. I’ve mentioned that before. It’s a 9-5 desk job. To be more specific, it’s an 8:30-5:30 desk job. Just out of curiosity, when did they add an extra hour to the work day? Was that always the case? Didn’t people used to just work 9-5 and get a lunch, but they got paid for eight hours anyway? When did they declare we had to be there longer? I’m not sure when that started happening, but it sure changes that song. “Workin’ seven to four! What a way to make a living! And it’s quite a chore! Getting up like Jeremy Piven!” (Just trying to make a rhyme, people)
Anyway, so because Eric is now turning into a morning person, I’m turning into a morning person. Well, that’s not exactly true. I’m a night person who is sort of doing this science experiment. I hate being up all by myself at night, so I’m going to sleep when he does, and I’ve been wanting to exercise in the morning, because I get home too late in the day to do it, so I get up when he’s in the shower, work out and then when he leaves for work I get ready for work and then go.
It’s been like this for two weeks.
Yesterday morning as I was on my ninth repetition of stomach crunches and Jane was reminding me to breathe, Eric walked in with his shoes and socks in his hand. “If you had told me one month ago that today at eight in the morning I’d walk into the living room on my way to work and you’d be doing sit-ups in the living room and I’d be working with computers and you’d be not smoking I’d have to tell you–”
“There was no way,” I gasped.
“Exactly. It’s funny, isn’t it?”
But you know what? I think Eric loves this. He absolutely adores this new lifestyle. We have to get up early, and we see the sun and greet the fucking birdies in the morning and smell the morning air. And when we get home at night we ask each other about our days and then we eat a sensible dinner and then we watch a little television… and lately, he’s been reading before we go to sleep. We used to do this often, but we used to be reading at, like, three in the morning when there was nothing on television. Or we’d stay up playing games together. Or we’d just sit on the porch, drink beer, and talk. Now it’s eleven-thirty, midnight. And we lie in bed until we fall asleep. We don’t even really chat like we used to before falling asleep.
When my sister came to visit a few months ago her boyfriend came with her. Eric was ready to go to bed when the rest of us were up one night.
“I’m gonna go read, guys, good night,” he said.
“Wow. You gonna read?” asked my sister’s boyfriend.
“I think that I shall go read, if that’s okay with you,” Eric replied.
“Oh, he ‘shall.’ He’s smart. He said ‘shall.’”
And Eric did feel a little smart, both for the use of the word ‘shall’ and the fact that he knew how to read a book. Now he likes doing it every night before bed.
I WILL NOT FALL INTO A COUPLE RITUAL. I WILL NOT BECOME AN EARLY RISER. I WILL NOT MAKE COOKIES EVERY NIGHT, THAT WAS JUST A ONE TIME THING LAST NIGHT. I WILL NOT BECOME A HAPPY HOMEMAKER.
There. Just had to get all that out. Kinda getting worried.
I DON’T HAVE TO MAKE DINNER EVERY NIGHT AND THEN CLEAN UP THE DISHES IN THE MORNING.
Okay, I guess I had a little more to get out.
And, you know, we aren’t really all that adjusted to this new time schedule yet. We have a cranky hour. Sometimes it’s three cranky hours in a row. It is the period of time between when we are both home and we are both eating. I swear, I’ll be just fine, walking up the steps to our apartment, kinda tired, mostly just happy to be home, and I’ll open the door and I’ll see Eric on the couch and something just snaps. My brain gets bitchified and I don’t know what’s causing it:
“Look at him. Just lying on the couch. Watching the Simpsons. He’ll never let you watch Friends now. You got home too late. He’s got his damn feet on the couch too, with his shoes on. Now when you go to rest your head on that pillow you’ll get street germs in your hair. He does that on purpose, you know. And look how every light is on in the apartment. Don’t forget you need to pay the bills tonight. Look how the cats are hungry. Did he feed them? Of course not. Has he fed you? Of course not.”
And then poor Eric just says the wrong thing, because he doesn’t know:
“Hey, baby! What are we doing about dinner?”
And my face turns orange and flames shoot out my nostrils and then Eric’s brain gets bitchified:
“Jesus Christ. I am always in trouble. There is nothing I can do. Ever. I am stuck here just constantly apologizing for whatever it was that I did that is triggered by whatever it was that happened to her at work. You know? Forget it. I don’t have to eat. But I’m tired too, I just got home, and I’m sure I forgot something ‘terribly’ important that just couldn’t wait ‘three seconds’. Well, roll up, bitch, cuz here I am.”
I just wish food would appear right here.
“but he never goes and gets food. He never cooks.”
Well, it’s not going to.
“Who does she think I am, Superman?”
No, I suppose it ISN’T, is it?
“Maybe this isn’t about me, after all. Let’s just let her vent. Get off a little–“
“I don’t want to talk about anything. Why is our kitchen so small? I hate my hair.”
“Well, fuck me, I guess I’m evil again. I wish she had to work late or something.”
What, “fine.” What’s wrong with you?
“Why am I snapping at him? I’m not even mad at him. I can’t stop myself!”
Nothing. Nothing at all.
“go away. say you forgot something at work. just go away.”
I guess if you can wait five minutes, I’ll make dinner.
“I really want to take a shower.”
Whenever, that’s fine. You want help?
“I’m never going to eat again if it’s this much fucking trouble.”
I don’t need help. Unless you can just make it for me.
“I think I’ll buy some shelves for in here.”
How do I–
“Oh, shit. I don’t want to cook–“
Oh, forget it.
“He’ll just make it taste funny, and then I can’t blame him because I made him cook it.”
And once we both get a little to eat we are fine again. But there’s something about trying to be a morning person that is making me an evil twilight person. I just need some time to chill out and then restart. Getting home and then just going into my at-home chores is getting to be too much for me. Once I got home and took a shower, and then I was totally fine afterwards. But I’m so freakin’ hungry when I get home because I don’t eat much at work, and I can’t eat in the morning because of my allergy medicine, and I can’t eat right when I get home because of my allergy medicine, and I can’t sleep at night because of my allergy medicine, but I feel really really healthy because of my allergy medicine.
So, I’m adjusting. But I refuse to be a morning person. I’ll continue to test out this lifestyle, but I don’t like it. I’m just making sure it’s heard. I may get up in the mornings and work out and drink lots of water and be really bouncy and energy-filled at work and not smoke and keep my house clean and my cats fed and make dinner for me and my boyfriend at night and then snuggle in bed together reading and then fall asleep to happy dreams but I don’t have to LIKE it.
And I’m angry about it because I may end up liking it. What if that happens? How can I bitch about a Return to Modesty when I’m shaking my head while I pick up Eric’s boxers from the bathroom floor and mutter, “That boy. Will he ever learn?” I’m not a mother! Why am I turning into his mother? Why do I keep nagging him? I never used to do that.
Last night I picked up Diet Coke because I knew we were out and Eric has an addiction, and I brought it home. He says, “Oh! You got Diet Coke! How nice of you!” And I actually said, “Well, you can have a Diet Coke after you clean that bathroom like I’ve asked you to for the past week.”
What the fuck is that? Who am I to bribe him with caffeine?
I do not want to be the happy homemaker who la-la-la’s all over the house dusting this way and that while spouting off things like, “Did you remember your wallet?” and “Who are you talking to on the phone, dear?” I need to live my life and let him live his life and not nag and whine and moan about everything.
But you know what? I wouldn’t do it if he fucking did something when I asked him to, right? If he cleaned that bathroom, or put away the cheese instead of leaving it on the counter, or put his dirty clothes in the basket instead of next to the basket.
One month ago, when I didn’t care if the house was clean or not, I wouldn’t bother him. Getting up early in the morning forces me to look at the place I live in and say, “This is not my beautiful life.”
Where is the happy medium? It will drive me insane if I don’t say anything. I hate myself the second I say something. What am I going to do? How can I be the cool chick power woman if I complain that he leaves his one dirty dish next to the full dishwasher that’s ready to be run when he just puts that one dish in the dishwasher?
And why is it when he does the dishes he puts the wine glasses in the bottom shelf of the dishwasher where they are going to break? Why does he insist on running the blender without the lid, but rather with one of the new plates on top, when the lid is right next to him in a drawer, but he doesn’t want to lean to get it?
WHY DOES IT BOTHER ME SO MUCH?
Why am I losing my mind? Oh, God, help me.
It’s time to give in, I think, and just accept the fact that I am living with a bachelor. I don’t want to be his mother, so I will stop mothering him.
Oh, and I hate it when he calls me on it. “You can stop treating me like a child,” he says.
And I’m mad. I’m mad because he noticed. I’m mad that I was doing it. I’m mad that I felt like I had to do it.
I just want to be a strong woman with a loving partner who lives in co-habitation with cooperation. I want us to share the household duties. I want us to care equally about each other, and respect each other’s limits and recognize when we should take on a little extra to help the other. But who has that? I just feel like a feminist failure when I fall into the 50’s ideal of Mrs. Cunningham. I may wear my hair up and in pins sometimes, but I’m not putting on an apron.
I am not Donna Reed. I’m more Rex Reed than Donna Reed. Hell, I’m more Donna Summer. And since it’s all rainy today, my hair does indeed look very Donna Summeresque.