Friday, August 29, 2008

Family Use of Car? Final answer -- Yes.

Okay, so I understand from what everybody was saying is that if something would happen then my wife's parents' insurance would cover it. If that is the case, then yes, I trust them 100%. Her father is a good driver, and I don't believe anything would happen -- it was the RISK of SOMEONE ELSE doing something to THEM (uninsured) that I was concerned about, and the insurance ramifications of such an occurrence.

To be specific, my fear was that if something happened, I know my wife's parents would do the right thing -- whether that would be using their insurance to repair damage done to the car or even offering to pay for repairs themselves. However, I *do* know that if for some reason something happened while they were driving the car and their insurance *didn't* cover any damages, then UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES would my wife let me take money from them and she would make us eat the losses. For that reason, I told my wife "absolutely not" regarding lending out the car.

Overall, my thoughts circled around financial risks of "what-ifs." If something happened to the car, at this point, we couldn't afford to repair or replace it (we barely can make the payments now), which means that I wouldn't be able to get to work and my job might end up in jeopardy. This is a risk I couldn't take. Yes, we have a piece-of-junk van that I just picked up from my dad's that is drivable -- for now. But! It 1) is a gas guzzler, 2) has 200,000 miles on it, 3) looks like a big box, 4) has no air conditioning, 5) the windows don't open, 6) the radio doesn't turn on, 7) is very dirty inside, 8) the rear door is broken and doesn't open, 9) will likely break down and go to the junkyard within the year. So, in short, I wasn't willing to take the risk of something happening to the Accord because if something happened to that car, I might have some problems getting to work.

In the end, her parents rented a car anyway and the fight kind of just went away. She was slightly upset that I didn't let her offer to use our car. If she asked me about it again, after reading your e-mails and knowing that their insurance would likely cover any damages, I'd say yes and just resort to "hoping and praying" that nothing went wrong.

Senator McCain - Honorable TV Ad

I don't think Senator McCain specified exactly what he was referring to, but he was talking about Obama becoming the first black democratic presidential nominee ever in U.S. history. I think that was very honorable of him to recognize Obama for his achievement. I listened to Obama's speech last night with fervor looking to be inspired with facts to back up the promises -- I still think I'm voting for McCain.

On another note, I almost fell over laughing when at the end of his speech, after the fireworks, the confetti misfired and covered the backdrop of his stage making it look more like a horror show rather than a presidential nomination acceptance speech.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Whether to lend my wife's parents our new car when they visit... I say absolutely not.

I just got into a "discussion" with my wife over letting her parents (who are flying in from CA tonight to visit for the weekend) use our new car. Upset that my wife's parents were going to spend money to rent a car, when my wife asked me whether we should offer to let them use our new car, I said absolutely not, because if something happens to the car when her parents are driving it, while they might have their own insurance which would cover their own injuries if something happened, the car is likely not insured against damages that occur while they are driving it.

My wife used the example to counter my argument that when we went to visit my mom in Colorado, I wanted to use my mom's car, and why would that be different? I told her it was different because my insurance covered only our own personal injuries and I didn't care if something happened to my mom's car -- I was just going to drive responsibly and let them take the risk because they're my parents. In the end, my mom wouldn't let us use it because she wasn't willing to take the risk of us damaging her leased car.

Then my wife exclaimed that when we go to CA to visit her parents, they let us use their piece-of-junk 4x4, and they don't care. I answered that if something happened to the 4x4, they wouldn't be so upset, so they were willing to take the risk. However, they would never let me drive (or even let me stand near) their new 2008 BMW because if something happened, they wouldn't be willing to take the risk of me damaging it.

I think the issue is about risk. Then my wife got upset at me that it's an issue of family, and that I am not letting them feel as if they are part of the family by not offering to let them to use our car. I told her that they could use the piece-of-junk van, but not the new Accord. She didn't like that answer.

What's your view of this situation?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Resolution -- Patience

Firstly, with all the responses, you should know that yesterday was quite traumatic for me. It bothers me deeply when something shakes me at such a deep level as throwing everything else [such as my marriage, my identity as a husband and a father, and my home] off balance. I didn't like getting angry, and I didn't like fighting with my wife. I have a strong shalom bayis mentality, and so it is rare that I'll do something that will shake my wife's confidence in me like losing my cool.

It should be known that from the few e-mails I received last night, friends told me that I made my wife sound as if she did absolutely nothing all day, every day. In a way, that is true, but not that she sits in front of the TV wasting time -- we don't even have a TV in our home. Rather, she spends her day playing with the baby, changing diapers, feeding the baby food, and doing a small chunk of housework, sometimes more than a few. My critique of her is and has always been that she spends way too much time doing things that questionably don't need to be done (such as spending several hours making a cake,) and almost zero time on things that are important. It's a time management issue along with a procrastination to do what needs to be done, and that is why it gets so frustrating when she says that she spent all day doing who-knows-what, and I look around and nothing is done. Maybe I'm just the idiot husband who is jealous that my wife doesn't have to work and that I come home each night and see that she has read half a novel [and she's a slow reader] when she claims she had no time to do anything around the house.

Anyway, this blog should not be about my wife. She's a loving woman and I care about her immensely. She has a good heart, and she means well. We both have faults (G-d knows I have mine) and so if I should expect her to tolerate my many many shortcomings, she should expect the same thing from me.

That being said, last night after being tired of being upset, I decided to "make nice" to her. I came in and I dropped all feelings of anger at the door. It's hard for me to express this, but I don't believe I was angry, but rather, I was merely upset that I had to fake anger to get through to her. Either way, whatever it was, I dropped it at the door, and I sucked it up. We spoke, and she told me that she didn't think that I handled the whole situation properly, and that I should have just told her again what I needed (even for the millionth time) without getting annoyed or visually upset. Being that she is a loving woman who does love me and wants to do good by me, she said eventually would have caught on and would have gotten to it. Instead, she did the laundry and made me not out of love, but feeling restricted and being told what to do, a hot button for her because nobody tells her what to do -- not even me.

So now things seem to be back to normal. I will work harder on picking up the slack rather than getting upset for things that aren't done. She probably is working overtime and over-hard, and I know our lovable son is a handful because he is always going somewhere he shouldn't, or picking up something he shouldn't, or standing on top of something he shouldn't be, demanding love and attention and giving the same in return.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


The comments on my various posts by Shoshi have been disturbing and have put me on edge (maybe that's a good thing.) I feel painted as the evil, selfish husband who nags his wife to death with his unending tirades. Hold on to your seat belts, I have one more, and this one is probably big.

I believe my responsibilities as a husband consist of the following things: minyan, work, caring/helpful husband/father. This morning I blew the word "caring" out of the water.

My wife and I have been discussing what is important for her to have done in the house: mother, maintain clean home, clothes, food. After tripping over clean clothes she has not yet gone through for over a week now and being annoyed that I have to fight with her to get the laundry done so that I can have clean undergarments and shirts to wear to work, I stumbled to minyan wearing the same pants I wore yesterday.

Looking the rabbi in the eye this morning from across the room, I could tell he was wondering why I was late *again*. I wished he knew how difficult it is in my life to have things in order and I wish he knew how disorderly everything is in my life. I wanted to cry.

I came home, entered the house and saw that the kitchen light was on. I was happy about this because my wife and I had a fight yesterday after her not waking up for the umpteenth time to make lunch, one of her responsibilities (don't ask me why, that's just the way it has been -- on that note, I have suggested to her a million times that it would be easier on her if she only made lunch once a week, such as on a Sunday, and then just make a number of portions.) Knowing that she had a midwife appointment, I decided to surprise her by moving the baby's car seat into the other car without her having to ask me; I did this quietly so that when she would ask me, it would already be done. When I came back into the house, I noticed that the kitchen was empty. She wasn't even awake.

A bit confused, but slightly annoyed, I wondered to myself why she only reacts to a fight and ignores everything I say otherwise. I gathered my things for work, and without eating breakfast, I wanted to just leave. She woke up and came out of the bedroom with the baby, took one look at me, and noticed that I was upset again. I left without saying a word, without breakfast, and again, without her making me lunch. I slammed the door on the way out for the first time in our marriage.

Waiting for her call to remind me not to take the good car because of her appointment, I heard nothing from her. Now even more upset that she didn't even remember her own appointment, I drove to work. She called a few minutes later, but I didn't answer, thinking, "you treat me as if I am single, I'll let you figure out for yourself which car I took and whether I moved the car seat." A few seconds later, I gave in and called her back just in case it was important and just in case she needed something, and she picked up in a cute voice saying, "you're not allowed to leave the house without saying goodbye."

[I HATE BEING ANGRY, yet I hate even more being angry over the SAME PROBLEMS EVERY DAY. Whether it's the cleaning, the laundry, the food (or the lack thereof), I have spoken to my Rabbi many times telling him I just want to take over these things because I hate waiting for her to do them. He has told me that "this would be a very bad idea for the sole reason that you will resent her for not doing them and thus it will cause a shalom-bayis issue between you." You have no idea how many times I have wanted to TAKE OVER these responsibilities of hers, but I have held back so many times and have waited for her to do her part.]

Sitting in the car fuming from anger, I drove to work. When I got close to work, I called her calmly to ask her if she even knew why I was upset at her. She knew, but then did not take responsibility for her not doing what she was supposed to do and instead, she turned it on me that its ugly for me to be angry at her. This really annoyed me.

I raised my voice (with a loud pleading voice rather than a shouting or yelling voice) and I told her that I HATE being angry. I hate seeing the same things not done every day, and I hate having the same fights with her every day. I wanted to tell her that it was her fault I was angry but let's be real -- I was choosing to be angry because while it sapped my energy and hurt my heart and my chest and made me cry to do so, I felt it was the only thing that she responds to. At that point, she started nit-picking defenses, and I got annoyed at her again. "She's not even listening," I thought. I tell her five things that are not done, and she focuses the argument on the one thing she did yesterday when the point is the FIVE things that GENERALLY ARE NOT DONE EVER.

During the fight, I realized that she was getting upset and/or hurt which meant that for once, she was not just shutting down and putting up a wall the way she usually does when I say something critical to her, but that what I was saying was actually getting through. At that point, fearing a tear, I backed off and ended the conversation.

So that was our fight. It should be noted that the content of our fight was not over the laundry or the food or the lunch or the cleaning, etc., it was over her not taking an active role in our life together and treating life as if it were a vacation while shirking her responsibilities. Case in point, I was upset at her for not taking the initiative on so many areas of our life that she promised that she would and that I was relying on her to take the initiative, such as in the areas of 1) her finding a job, 2) her doing research on real estate and foreclosures for us to buy our first investment home, 3) things that we agreed that we would do together (e.g. she wanted to take the introduction to computer science online courses with me), and I am finding that I am doing them alone, and 4) taking the initiative on things that should be done to move our family forward, such as writing a check to pay the parking ticket she got a few weeks ago and that I've been hounding her to pay, etc.


When I come home from work every evening exhausted, I don't sit down in front of a TV and veg out. Instead, I spend time with my wife and my son, I talk to them, I play with them, and I often help her put him to sleep, spending close to 20 minutes holding my son's hand before he falls asleep. At that point, aside from doing some minor chores or helping my wife out with something, I feel that my day is over BECAUSE I HAVE FULFILLED MY RESPONSIBILITIES. I feel that I have earned the right to sit down with a book or to open my textbooks and start doing schoolwork or learning something.

If you think I am selfish for this and for wanting her to have finished her part of the bargain by doing her responsibilities, I think you are wrong. There is nothing I want more than to sit down with her lovingly and to pay attention to her and love her for the rest of the evening, and I usually do turning a blind-eye towards the things that have not been done. But after a while, some things can just no longer be ignored.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"Do you hate your wife/life?"

Meir, that was an interesting question. "Do you hate your wife/life?" Obviously, the answer is an emphatic NO.

My understanding about love and hate when it comes to my wife (who is my partner in life) is that love or hate is determined based on the CHARACTER of the person you are loving or hating. When I dated my wife (albeit briefly per the shidduch model as opposed to to the secular dating model), my four-part criteria for marriage was 1) whether she is a good person, 2) whether she has a good heart, 3) whether she has good or selfish intentions, and 4) whether she would be a good mother / wife.

My wife is a loving, caring woman who while she obviously has her flaws (as I certainly do too,) is a good person with a good heart and a good character. Her intentions are for the most part good. She is an excellent mother, and she tries her hardest to be a good wife. Where I take issue with her is her organization skills and her openness to dealing with my criticisms, even when they are constructive (which they usually are first and it upsets me that I feel that she responds better to anger and fights rather than loving suggestions.) I have strong expectations for how a family should run (clean house, things in order) and while I believe in a relatively high maintenance household, she does not share that high maintenance attitude and is more lax and chill about things which frustrates me and is the root of most of our problems. We are the "odd couple," me being Felix and her being Oscar, and most of our fights come from this point.

The problems arise from the fact that I try to be understanding about her mentality and I give her a lot of slack but that doesn't change my expectations or my willingness to live in a dirty, unorganized, or messy home. I won't and I cannot live in a messy home and I know that many people are comfortable or happy in this environment, but not me. I absolutely will NOT live in a home like this and I will make problems and even pick a fight if and when this escalates past my level of acceptible discomfort. My wife tries her hardest to keep everything clean and to have everything done, but I suspect that she doesn't yet have the organization skills to maintain the house in this condition. I also suspect that she wastes time daily on facebook and on other websites when she should be running the household and taking care of things that will move our family forward rather than cause us to slide backwards. So yes, this is a big weakness on her part, but then again, look at me now -- I am writing this when I should be working and so I will have to stay extra hours to make up for the time I am wasting now writing this blog entry.

So in short, yes, I love my wife. As for my life, I value the fact that I have a caring wife who is a good person and who I love dearly. I also cherish the fact that I have a cute and loving child who she is raising into a wonderful little boy, and that we have a second on the way. I am relieved and happy that I have a job that pays our bills and contributes to paying down debt (albeit slowly), and that we have our health and are living a semi-comfortable lifestyle.

What I do not like is the fact that I often feel physically dirty after being in our house, and that my clothes and other parts of my life are not in order. I hate the fact that I am 40 pounds overweight, and I hate the fact that my busy disorganized life does not give me the time or the money to pursue any of my interests. I hate the fact that my wife and I are over $160,000 in school loan debt, and I hate the fact that my job barely pays my bills and that it minimally pays down my debt and that there is barely anything left over for the comforts in life. I hate the fact that I always feel poor, and I hate the fact that EVERYTHING is getting more expensive and that our cost of living only increases and this bugs me to no end, especially because I am trying my hardest to conserve. I also hate the fact that I worked so hard for a law degree and that I have not been given the chance to use it, yet I still have to make my blood payments towards those loans every month. Most of all, I hate the fact that it will take at least 4-5 years to get out of this mess at a minimum, and then we will be left with only $100,000 in federal loans which we can pay the minimum at 3.125% for the next 20 years (even though our payments keep increasing and will continue to increase until we pay it off based on our current payment plan.)

So you see, I love my life, and I hate my life. The most important thing is that I [for the most part] wake up every morning, I go to shul and pray, I spend some time with my wife and my son before I go to work, I work hard, and in the evenings I try to rest (even though this almost never happens.) I am taking steps to remedy the "no technical science degree" issue by taking classes online which will get me into a degree program which will take me a few years to complete. At the minimum, I am happy this plan is in motion. Lastly, my wife and I are working together to build an orderly house, and we each are working on bettering ourselves both physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. I wish there would be a quick fix for our problems, but they all take time, care, and effort which we are giving them.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wife, you STOLE my evening.

I want the world to know that I am angry at my wife, and I feel that she has stolen yet another evening from me, and this time I want it back.

Because our landlord has failed to fix the central air conditioning in our not-so-humble apartment, I went back home this weekend to my dad's house to pick up wall-unit air conditioners (and a beat-up old minivan so that my wife can have a car so that she won't be secluded in the house while I take the car to work each day.)

Well, as usual, today around the end of a grueling day at work, an hour or so before five o'clock pm, I receive a phone call from her asking me when I'll be home. By her voice alone, I crumble and I give up plans that I really want to go to the gym and I say "I'm coming home directly at 5pm" and she is happy.

I come home, and today for the first time we have a guest in the home -- my wife had a neighbor stop by (they are both pregnant and so they will be going shopping tomorrow together). A few minutes after the neighbor left (now around 7pm,) her father called me up urging that I go to Mincha/Maariv minyan at 7:30pm. I can't say no, so I go. 8:30pm rolls by and I am back at home, and again, my wife is struggling with the baby to put him asleep and he just doesn't want to. "It's probably too hot" I think, and so she puts him into her bed in our air conditioned room and I wait for her to come out and at least say hello to me.

Minutes turn into hours, and I'm STILL waiting for her to come out. I make my presence known by walking into the bedroom so that my wife can see that I exist, but its dark in there and I don't want to wake the baby. I sit by the dining room table burning DVDs and ordering books for the 8 credits of computer science classes that I am taking in the fall online so that I can get a technical science degree (to get a job as a patent attorney), and I wait for my wife to come out, but she doesn't come. I sit by the couch waiting for my wife, and I fall asleep. I wake up sweaty at 1am realizing that I fell asleep again waiting for my wife.

I am so ANGRY and SAD and LONELY because I feel neglected by my wife. I feel as if she has taken on the role of being a mother, but she has forgotten that she is ALSO MY WIFE, a role she has long neglected. Not only that, but I feel stupid that I give up each and every evening running home to her only to have ZERO interaction from her because she goes to sleep without telling me only to have me waiting all night for her. I think to myself, "why don't I be a bit selfish and NOT run home each night? Why don't I just go to the gym as my health NEEDS me to and be a good husband an hour later?" No. Stupid me runs home each evening thinking that this one will be different, only to be disappointed again.

Wife, I feel as if you stole yet another evening from me, and I want it back. I had plans for us to sit by the table and talk about our day, to reflect on our experiences, and to plan for our future, and you stole that from me. I wanted you to put the baby to sleep and to come out and spend your evening with me. I wanted us to watch a movie; to play a game; to do anything, as long as it is together, and AGAIN, my night has been spent alone. Had I known this, I would have made plans without you. Had I know this, I would have done something else. I wouldn't have sat by the dining room table waiting for you as the minutes and hours passed by. I wouldn't have busied myself watching the clock for you to come out of the bedroom, but you didn't.

I want my evening back. You stole it from me. Thief.