In the Wee Hours

Twelve hours to go.

Today I finished taking down the Christmas tree. And it did a pretty good job finishing me in return. I’m exhausted. Depressed. Frustrated. Annoyed. Bored. Lonely.

I need better adjectives.

B tried to help me, but he very quickly began pointing out things I was doing wrong. So I told him to go away. I swore at him, I swore at myself. I got a billion scratches from the fucking tree. No, we don’t have one of those simple, pre-lit trees. I had to string all those lights myself. And apparently I was high or drunk or otherwise incapacitated when I strung them, because they were twisted and tangled all through and around each other. It was a mess.

Again, B tried to help, this time by rolling up the strands I’d been able to free from the tree. He gave up after one strand. We have like 10 or 12. I kept up the struggle; he went back to video games. I told him, if he was really interested in helping, he could put the laundry in the dryer, strip the bed, and start washing the sheets. He seemed to agree and disappeared into the bedroom for a while, then moved to the laundry room.

Two hours in, he came to me with one of his myriad flashlights. The man is obsessed with flashlights. But I’d finally had to unplug all the lights to untangle them, so I was having trouble finding the lines through the branches. He held the light for me, and we got it done. I took the tree apart and boxed it up; he sat back down to his game.

I still had a lot of things to pack up and put away. I bustled around. I began rolling the many strings of lights. They clattered against each other. It bugged him. I could tell, because he kept turning his head toward me, then turning back, like he was tempted to say something about it but changed his mind.

Finally, I was putting the rolls of lights away. I was nearly done. It was quieter now.

“Are you going to continue being all hyperactive? Because if so, I’m going to put on my headphones.”

Seriously? The task I’d been doing, the one that so annoyed him, was the task he had started to do himself but put aside. We couldn’t sit or walk anywhere until it was done, because there were piles of lights everywhere. I’d just scratched and stressed myself all to hell and back, on the last day of MY vacation, to put the house to rights. And I’m what, supposed to do it in complete silence because I might disrupt his video game?

Basically, I told him to fuck off.

Then I went into the bedroom. The bed was stripped, as I’d asked. But the sheets were piled up on top of it. Huh? So what was in the washer? I went to check. Yup, the same load I’d asked him to put in the dryer an hour-plus earlier was still sitting there getting mildewy. So I swapped the load—as quietly as possible, of course, lest I disturb him—and started the sheets.

“There,” I told him. “I’ll be as quiet as a church mouse for the rest of the day.” I grabbed my book, took my spot on the couch, and started reading.

Within minutes he was talking at me. The man cannot stop talking. He seems to think that if I’m in the room with him, I must be watching his game and fascinated by it. He starts telling me random details, like he’s explaining why he did this or that. I tuned him out and went back to my book.

Then it was food. “What are we getting from DoorDash? I want XYZ.” He types for a few minutes. I look up, and he’s scanning the menu for XYZ. Then he starts play-by-playing it. “Man, these guys have a great menu! They have…blah blah blah. And yatta yatta yatta. OH. MY. GOD. Such and such. That sounds amazing.”

I’m still trying to read and have no real idea what he’s going on about. Finally I give up and pull up the menu myself on the tablet next to me. I decide what I want and go back to my book.

Another few minutes goes by, more talking, more typing. I look up, and he’s already started ordering. Hasn’t actually asked me if I want anything or if I even want food from this place, but I’m used to that by now. He loves to tell me I’m the picky eater, that he can’t be adventurous with food because he “knows I won’t like it,” yet he’s the first person to reject a place, even a favorite place, if the food hasn’t been up to his high standard at any one time. And he has a HIGH standard for someone who until now hasn’t been able to afford much more than Chipotle or Five Guys. Both of which I love, but still.

He starts calling out pasta dishes and wants my opinion on them. One we’ve had, one we’ve never tried, and I tell him that. It’s up to him; does he want tried and true or adventurous? Then he calls out the dish I’ve decided to order. I tell him, “That’s what I want.”

Then I go back to my book.

I love this man. I really do. But sometimes he just can’t help but be a real asshole. And it usually happens when I’m overloaded with stuff and trying to keep the house and do my job and celebrate a holiday and bake cookies and enjoy my own vacation. He doesn’t have to do anything at home, really, although I wish he would. I take out the trash most nights. I load, run, and empty the diswasher most of the time. I do the laundry. I run the vacuum. I pick up after him. I make sure there’s food in the house. I pay the bills and save what money I can. AND I’m working from home, alone all day, no one to talk to. Insane upstairs dog barking all day. Angry, exhausted, work-stressed husband screaming every night about how much he hates his job, doesn’t want to have to work, is too tired to pick up after himself or leave the house with me on a Sunday just to get out of the fucking shoebox we live in. I take it all on.

No wonder I’m wound tighter than a drum and feel like every joint in my body is falling apart.

I’m tired. Exhausted. Completely fucking wiped out. And in three hours I’ll be in bed, trying to sleep, and probably won’t be able to because my messed up brain will have me chewing over all of this nonsense for hours.

I came here into my office to type this a little while ago. He was still absorbed with his game, swearing at it every so often. A quiet moment.

Then, “You okay?”

No, not really.

“Yeah.”

Silence.

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