Running Away from Home
I packed my bag. I packed the dog's bag. I made two sandwiches and brought the dog food. I grabbed an apple and the GPS. I was running away from home.
You might ask, "Why?"
I live in Vermont where it's very cold and snowy. We've had about two feet of snow on the ground since Christmas. I look out my bedroom window on a beautiful white rolling lawn dotted with trees covered in white cotton candy. One foot down below my bedroom window is the roof of the porch -- the maghogany porch that runs the length of the house. That roof has been layered with snow since December.
Between Wednesday and Tuesday the weather pattern broke. We finally received our "thaw." We usually get at least one thaw -- a warm spell of a few days (and by warm I mean 40-50 degrees) in January, and one in February. I guess we must not have paid our January dues. Anyway... the snow began to melt. This is a little tricky because at night it gets cold again, which means ice forms. And then it rained and we had an skating rink on that porch roof.
I said to my husband, Steve, "Please do not go on the roof. It's two inches thick. Abso-f'ing-lutely do not go out on that roof when I'm not home."
This is not the first time I've asked him to quit the dangerous behavior of going on the roof when nobody's home. Does that make any sense? He's in good shape, but he's soon to be 69 years old and he has had one heart attack. I don't think anybody should be on a roof or even a tall ladder when nobody's around to get help should that person fall. To me, that's common sense.
I have had to deal with Steve practicing a lot of unhealthy behavior and it doesn't make me happy. He fails to wash dishes with hot water. He doesn't want to turn on the heat when it's freezing (and I mean below zero). He turns down the flame on the hot water heater when I'm not looking. And he'll eat stuff that has mold or fuzz. He drives on his tires 'til his son calls them "baloney flaps." I know. I know. He's frugal. But at what cost? Where frugal stop and unhealthy begin? He worries that the ice on the roof will damage the porch. I get that. But we can hire somebody or he can wait until I'm home.
I drove off to school in a drizzle at 6:30 a.m. on Thursday morning. Steve would be leaving for his job at 7:30 a.m. I would be home around noon -- with the next week off for Winter Break (I love being a college professor). I looked forward to a mellow "time off."
Every day I get home, the first thing I do is take Casou, our dog, out to relieve his bladder. He'll jump up and down, kiss me a lot, and head for the door -- all 15 fluffy white pounds of him.
Thursday, I followed him across the porch to the side steps, right below our bedroom window. And what do you think I saw all over the ground?
JAGGED CHUNKS OF BROKEN ICE.....
I knew. And I was furious. My very first thought was -- I want to run away from home. I want to drive as far as I can go. Right now. Really. I could see myself in the car, just going.
I grabbed my phone and tried to call his cell. Then I called him at work. And I couldn't have been more angry. Ever.
That's when I packed the car and left.
But I had no idea where to go. I've lived in Vermont for eight years and I don't think I have any friends. Not the kind you drop in on with an overnight bag and cry and vent anger. And who would "get" this, anyway? Everyone thinks Steve is a pussycat. No, I saw myself in a hotel for a couple of days, eating from room service, reading books, walking the dog, and not sleeping.
I drove to my favorite places: Michael's, JoAnn's, and the public library. I might have driven to Burlington but that's north and the roads are always a surprise this time of year. I would have driven south, but I wasn't in the mood to shop, and Manchester is about all that's south, unless I was truly serious about going to Disneyland... DisneyWorld.
I dithered and wandered. One good thing: I didn't eat my way through this problem. That's a plus. I just moped and mumbled and kissed Casou a lot.
I returned home about six o'clock. I didn't talk to Steve. I told him to just keep away from me. I slept in the guest room -- and that's not my style. I went to bed at 11:30 p.m. and woke at 11:47 a.m. -- 12 hours of sleep -- Casou right along with me. Sign of depression? I yawned all day, yearning to go back to sleep. I don't know why I'm so upset and why I have inaction written all over me. My heart is just weary. I still won't give Steve even a hug. I've talked to him about mundane things, but I haven't moved past my anger.
And he knows he "screwed up." But he acts like a little boy digging his toe in the dirt and not looking at me, and making excuses. But how does that lead to change? I want to hear an admission of realization. A mature admission and a sincere request for forgiveness. He broke my trust. He can't go on the roof and he needs to rethink other unhealthy practices -- for my sake if not for his. I feel as if I always lose out to material things. To money. I can't see that as viable for two people who love each other. We need to trust that we'll both do the right thing for each other -- even on the smallest stuff, or what the heck can we trust with the larger issues?
Goes to show. No matter how old you are, how long you've been together, or how secure you feel, relationships are hard. It's Saturday and I'm still trying to figure out how to get past this heavy feeling. I'm sure I'll be able to deal with it eventually. I love Steve.