Friday, January 16, 2009

You Take It With You

The kids fight. All the time.

DrC isn’t Mr. Happy Pants.

I still want to rule the world.

Gettin' On Your Game
Gettin' On Your Game
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
No one said selling everything, throwing the rest away, moving on a boat, and sailing to Mexico would make it all better, but somewhere I must have gotten the idea. I know this because now I’m disappointed that it hasn’t happened. My family is living proof that you can change literally every aspect of your physical and economic life and still be a typical, moderately dysfunctional group of strong-willed smart asses.

We woke up this morning, and I realized we had not achieved our fantasy objective of being a perfectly happy, well adjusted family. DrC stretched on the bed and listened to my maundering tirade on misery looking for all the world like an advertisement for boxer shorts. All by itself, the situation made me bitter. In six months that man has lost his slight, upwardly-mobile-middle-class-professional paunch and added 15 pounds in all the best places. He’s tan, his beard makes him look distinguished, and I swear he’s losing all his grey hair and growing back in new soft curly brown stuff. I, on the other hand, look very much the way I have since Aeron was born: 20 pounds overweight, completely incapable of managing even the most basic female skin care rituals, and gaining grey hair at the rate of three per day. Yes, I take inventory.

So there we are -- DrC stretching and preening and making my mouth water -- and me trying to explain why we’re completely hosed as a family unless we do Something Drastic. Unfortunately, my husband didn’t disagree. The negative energy vortex on the boat has reached some sort of critical beaufort rating where the waves are flattened and the wind spume is hissing across our nerves with a low steady roar of frustration, sarcasm, and snarky comments.

I would love to blame this on my eldest. Teenagers are a fabulously convenient scapegoat for familial conflict. They are such monsters that it is easy to credit them with converting an otherwise happy, loving family into a six pack of spitting, barking rabid weasels. However, it’s not her fault. Jaime is what she is. We have allowed heat, dirt, close quarters, and over-exposure to transform us all into big bad meanies. The process took all five of us, and it will take all of us to take the energy out of the negative shit storm, calm the waves, and start moving in a new direction.

Aeron’s idea is to reinstitute Happy Bean Day.

Mera wants us to talk about how we feel. Every day. Or every other day.

DrC is committed to smiling at least once a day. He’s also agreed to try to first assume the positive rather than going with the foregone conclusion that none of the rest of us know what we’re doing.

I plan to pretend that my posse are standing behind my shoulder listening to every word I speak. My girlfriends, Mom and MIL love me but have little patience with my avowed suspicion that my children are actually Spawn of Evil from Planet Zoor.

Jaime just smirks. Did I mention she’s a teenager? We’ll work around her.

DrC once told me that he saw no point in getting divorced and finding a newer, better, younger model. He figures all the problems in our marriage are at least half his fault, and he’d just take them with him. No point in going to all the work of finding a new woman if she’d still only want to have sex about one out of every ten times he did and only after having a meaningful conversation.

Virtually Armed to the Teeth
Virtually Armed to the Teeth
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
This is more or less true for most major changes in your life. New job, new house, new city, new lifestyle -- each brings an opportunity to modify your core. But you can only shift the fundamentals of yourself and your family with a great deal of concentrated, deliberate effort. To make our family behave like a team, we are going to have to start working together. Simply putting us on the boat and assuming magic would happen was a disappointing failure -- albeit in retrospect a not particularly surprising one.

So this month we’re going to work on our attitude. I promise I’ll work on my flab next month.

Now look who’s smirking.

4 comments:

Lisa said...

He saw no point in getting divorced and finding a newer, better, younger model. He figures all the problems in our marriage are at least half his fault, and he’d just take them with him. No point in going to all the work of finding a new woman if she’d still only want to have sex about one out of every ten times he did and only after having a meaningful conversation.

Laureen said...

Yup, Toast m'dear, I am right behind you. Feel the hairs on the nape of your neck moving? That's me, harrumphing at you.

You gotta believe that those little people you made are, contrary to any evidence currently presenting, the very best of you and the very best of DrC rolled up.

Remind yourself of that every single night before you go to sleep, and every morning upon awakening.

And now that I've done the family therapy thing at you, feel free to laugh and point at me and my nautical and financial disasters, m'kay? =P

boatbaby said...

A universal truth that a friend warned me about before we went cruising the first time:
The highs are REALLY high and the lows are REALLY low. It's life at the extremes. So true.

Grab a bottle of wine and some dark chocolate, get on the VHF, call some other boat mamas, and go have a night to yourself.

Momma Ducky said...

I agree with Laureen, that your children are incredible, but for purposes of survival it is better for you to assume that your wonerful children are the spawn of evil, then you will be only pleasantly surprised by their good moments and completely at ease when their heads start spinning.:-)

I feel for you. Find a boat friend, a bottle of wine and a moment of peace and it will all be o.k.. Nicki (Rubber Duckies)