Monday, January 19, 2009

Missed minyan.

I'm not exactly sure what I'm writing about. It's 6:30am and again I've missed minyan because I couldn't get myself together in time to head out the door and it makes no sense showing up half an hour late which is what it would be if I got dressed and left now. Minyan is at 6:30am here, and I set the alarm clock for 5:45am (I cannot get myself to agree to wake up to a time earlier than this, and I've often tried 5am, 5:15am, etc. but I don't seem to wake up to these times) and I *DID* wake up, but my goal was to run to the kitchen and turn on the hot water, run to the computer, load iTunes so that it can download podcast content so that I can listen to it on my hour commute to work, hop in the shower, get packed (pack lunch) and head off to minyan. I didn't make it past loading up iTunes.

I got so gripped by the news (interestingly nothing of content) that now it is 6:35am and again I missed minyan.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Thank you reader for calling me an "ass."

As a follow-up to last night's interactions with my wife, I was relieved when we finally got to the conversation topic towards the later end of the night. I didn't want to mention how much effort she obviously spent cleaning things up because I knew she was fuming angry about feeling pressured into cleaning it up (when really I just wanted her to pick up after herself). We clarified things, and while my wife somewhat apologized after hearing my side, I clarified that I wasn't upset and that my only goal was to help.

Anyway, yes, I'm the jerk, I always am. There is no good that I do, and I am the most unsupportive husband in the world devoid of needs of my own and deserving nothing. It is wrong of me to expect that a diaper or a poopy or snotty tissue be thrown into a plastic bag to be kept in the bedroom rather than having it thrown on the floor. I am wrong to ask for coffee cups to be taken to the sink rather than left around the house to be accidentally spilled by our toddler later on all over my paperwork and/or laptop computer. And yes, I am wrong to ask that things be put away when they are taken out instead of just left lying around, not immediately, but when (if) the chance presents itself.

For all these things, I am the ass, I am the terrible husband, and I am the insulting jerk.


Thursday, January 08, 2009

Resolving the morning fight with my wife.

I dreaded coming home tonight. When I got to work, I tried to message her, but she wasn't interested in speaking to me. She was angry at me and cut the chat off before we could have a conversation. She said before ending the chat that she was "cleaning your stupid house so you could be comfortable while you're sick." Later in the day, I called her multiple times, but she didn't pick up the phone. After work around 6pm before going home, I even logged into my computer remotely, loaded up iTunes radio, and played dance music at the loudest setting to get her attention, but she did not respond. After calling her many times again, I got worried that maybe something chos v'sholom happened to her. Maybe she snapped from postpartum depression. Maybe the unthinkable happened. I kept ringing her phone, and just before I was going to call her mother, our neighbors, and the police to check in on her, she picked up. She was cold and unemotional. She said she was still angry at me and was not interested in talking to me.

I came home to a quiet house. Nobody greeted me hello (well, nobody does anyway except my son when he's up past his bedtime), and the house was silent. I walked in, saw that the house looked markedly cleaner, put down my things, cleaned out my coffee cup and my lunch containers, and I took out four bags of trash with two hands. When I came back in, I saw that the oven was on and that she placed two pieces of fish in for us to eat. That calmed me a bit.

Really this morning's fight was an escalation from me nicely asking her to please pay attention to cleaning up after herself since we're in post-birth mode, and after she pulled an attitude, it escalated into me calling her a slob. Really I just wanted us to put more of an effort together in keeping the house livable before we got back on our feet.

Seriously, Poor Me. I'm looking for pity even though I likely don't deserve it.

I am so distraught about what is going on in my home that I am sharing this "poor me" letter that I wrote to my mom who is coming to visit and to help out now that my wife has given birth to our B"H beautiful daughter. Look, I give tremendous credit to my wife for everything she is going through, and I commend her for her strength. I just wish sometimes that she was superhuman and/or perfect.
Hi mom, you're lucky that you are coming when you are, and not when you planned to come when Jenny's (my wife's) brother-in-law left. Jenny got sick a day or so after giving birth, and so Alex was no help because all he did was sit on the computer and chat with his buddies. I exhausted all the remaining available days off from work to take care of Jenny and the house. Then Danny (our son) caught Jenny's cold -- he was sick for over a week now, where his nose was FULL of snot dripping everywhere. I took very good care of him, even sleeping one night on the floor of his room where I was holding his wet slimy hands all night even though he was sick. Around two days afterwards, it appears that I caught what Danny had, and even though I have been literally knocked off of my feet from this flu-like cold, I have been showing up to work each day because I have no sick days left, and I've been trying to rest as much as I could in the evenings, sometimes going to sleep an hour or so after coming home from work. Even with all this and alternating between taking Theraflu and Robitussin, I have not been able to get one night of restful sleep because my being ill is interfering with me being able to get a restful night of sleep (I've been waking up totally achy and unrested as if I was up the whole night).

Jenny has not been doing well either. She has been unable to sleep because between Danny waking her up crying in the middle of the night and Julia (our daughter) also being awake and crying for most of the night, Jenny has been unable to function far beyond the basics (e.g. feeding the babies and maybe doing one or two small things each day). To that end, my getting sick has been an "inconvenience" for her, and she has started complaining to me about how tough she has things, and I believe her, but only to a degree. On top of that, I feel that she has been hindering my attempts to get better by objecting when I try to do anything that does not involve taking care of Danny (e.g. I've been talking and trying literally for days to get over to a steam room at the gym and to sweat out this cold, and each time I try to go, she finds a reason to object), and I have been unable to get to work on time because I'm taking care of things in the mornings to let Jenny sleep. That being said, I don't thing she understands or appreciates what I am doing for her, as I have taken over most of her responsibilities since the birth, and that is causing much tension between us because I am beginning to resent her. On top of that, I have been becoming increasingly thin on my tolerance for the buildup of the mess that has been growing in our home these past two weeks, and that led to an eruption between us this morning when I asked her to pick up after herself when she said the mess was not hers, my request escalated into an argument where I called her a slob and she denied that she had any responsibility for anything and out of spite, refused to take any steps to make it better.

So in short, you should know that you are coming into a very tough situation where all of us are exhausted and have been ill for the past week or so and Alex did nothing to help and only made things worse. On top of that, things appear to be getting more tense by the day (obviously I will be diffusing this as soon as I can) and so I wanted you to know that we are really looking forward to you coming in and helping out. Alex made the mistake thinking that helping out would mean playing with, holding, and cooing the baby all week, and he thought his week would be filled with fluffy cuteness and warmth. The days and nights of crying and needy children was not something he could handle and so he isolated himself in his room or on the couch and offered little help with housework, chores, or anything that needed to be done.

I'm hoping that you have realistic expectations and that you understand what you're walking into. My goal aside from resting as much as I can over Shabbos and hopefully finally KILLING this flu-like cold that has been plaguing me all week is to at least get things under control and in order in the house so that when you arrive, you'll arrive to a pleasant atmosphere. I'll be expending extra energy doing cleaning, housework, and chores over the next few days that will hopefully put things back in order. That being said, I wanted you to know what you were walking into.

Please e-mail me (if you can) a copy of your itinerary so that I can know the flight number and be sure about which airline you are taking. I also want to confirm which airport you are flying into, and get an exact time you are scheduled to arrive.

Lastly, I'm not so sure that having Liz and/or other guests over is a good idea. The earliest I could possibly see guests coming over is later in the week, but we'll all need to judge that by how things are going the first few days you are here.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Caught the flu that has been circulating among my family members.

I am fortunate to have an understanding wife who understands my feelings and who is so flexible when it comes to relationship building. As you know, yesterday was the one-sided fight where I accused my wife of conspiring against me by waking me up and not letting me know it was still early in the evening (11pm) while I started my morning routines as if it were 6am.

Obviously I realized that she did not know what was going on and why I was angry, and in the morning over instant messenger (this is such a helpful tool for Shalom Bayis) I explained my feelings and apologized for overreacting.

I also told her that just as everybody was sick last week and I took care of everybody's needs, now I was catching that flu that has been going around our home (I would venture to say it is a sick-house because we have ALL the windows covered in plastic and thus there is almost zero ventilation. Thus, it was only a matter of time that the cold would get to me as well. Well it did. Headache, aches and pains all over my body, drowsiness, and an involuntary cough which is just tempting me to cough up the phlegm that has been building up in my lungs. I have been trying to fight this for a few days now before I actually got sick, but as much as I tried using homeopathic remedies and precautionary remedies like Zinc and herbs, it was no use; I was doomed to get this cold.

So I explained to my wife my situation and I told her EXACTLY what I will need. I let her know I will be unable to function at full capacity as I have been and even though I will try my hardest to keep things orderly, I cannot promise I will be on my feet. She understood. I also asked her to be more sensitive and nice to me when she asks me to do things that are counterproductive to being able to function at work and hold up my end of the responsibilities I've taken on since the birth of our second child. I told her that I would go to the ends of the Earth to give her what she needs and to take care of her, but all I ask in return is a bit of sympathy and empathy for my hard work, just as I frequently acknowledge and sympathize with her overnights with our newborn. I asked that she simply acknowledge that she knows what I am doing for her is difficult, and that is all I need to keep going. She understood and agreed.

I came home last night (the one still going on now) after work, and hung out with her for a bit. I put our son to sleep (a very trying experience because he simply does not enjoy going to bed), and then sat on the couch and spoke to my wife. Shortly afterwords, I headed off to bed only to have woken up and hour ago (3am) with excruciating pains in my shoulders and an ill feeling. So I woke up, covered my shoulders in Ben-Gay muscle cream, took the laundry out of the dryer, set the downloading of my nightly news podcasts in motion, took some Theraflu tea (medicine) and wrote this blog entry. This was the plan before getting up. Thank G-d I was able to complete it. Now I'm going back to sleep for another 3 hours to wake up for minyan.

Monday, January 05, 2009

It is 3am, I still couldn't sleep, and I am so enraged by the mess in our room over the past few days that I couldn't sleep in my bed, so I moved my pillow and my cover to the couch. At least that is an environment that I can control. I'm also thinking of taking some Nux Vomica (a homeopathic remedy) because I am seriously showing personality traits of that kind.

Angry at wife with newborn for waking me up an hour after I fell asleep for the night when her brother has been staying with us to help out.

I am just about SO ANGRY that I would spit fire (if I could). All of us agreed that after today's long day, that it would be a good idea for all of us to get an early night's rest so that I can be fresh awake for work in the morning, and so we all can get some needed rest.

I've been going overtime since our second child was born, I have been waking up in the middle of the night multiple times taking care of our first child while my wife tends to our newborn. I've also taken on most of my wife's daily load of responsibilities which means that I've been pretty busy. On top of my usual workload of my three-hour total daily commute, and the classes I've been taking online to get an electrical engineering degree, my schedule has been quite full.

Normally, my wife wakes me around 5am when my son starts crying and wants to come out of his crib. No problem. I usually take him into our bed and he naps for a bit and then we both wake in time for me to go to minyan. Not tonight.

My wife woke me up, and I answered lovingly "yes dear, how can I help?" Her brother (in first year of med school) came to get him, and she said "No, Zoe can do it. You've already gotten him twice tonight." She asked me if I could get our son, and I said sure with a smile. I took him out and he started to cry. When I brought him into the bedroom, she giggled and asked why I brought him into the bedroom at 11pm.

"ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?" I thought. She woke me up at 11pm to get the baby when I just went to sleep an hour earlier?!? I couldn't help but feel betrayed, tricked, and that she had plotted against me in a cruel way to wake me out of my deep sleep just for her to get her kicks.

Now it is three hours later, and I haven't gotten ONE BLINK of sleep, as I am filled with anger from this event. She apologized, but as far as I'm concerned, this is a wrong that is a serious withdrawal from my trust account with her. I cannot believe she would do a thing like this to me, especially after all of the extra work I've put in to take care of her after her having the baby! This seems sinister, evil, distorted, disgusting, and wrong. I feel cheated out of my sleep, and I feel as if her passive-aggressive, sly trick on me should elicit nothing but disdain from me towards her. On top of that, my brother-in-law who has been staying with us to "help out" was sitting on the couch playing emulated video games, so it was no sweat for him to get our son rather than waking me up for it. I feel SO deceived and taken advantage of that three hours have passed and I have not been able to get back to sleep and I have a long day of work tomorrow. I think this was disgusting of her.

I hate thinking that the truth is that she honestly didn't realize that waking me up would be a problem, and that she was probably tied up nursing the newborn and so she asked for my help. She had no idea that I would think that it was 11pm, and so it took her by surprise that I took our son out of the crib as if it were 5am. Then again, she was surprised when I turned into an angry flare in front of her eyes, just as she was complimenting me how helpful I've been to her.

I can't help but to notice how much my anger has been being felt since our little girl was born just one week ago. I have been having so much anger inside of me that I feel as if I am emitting fumes and heat, and that I am burning up my insides making me ill and weak. I can't focus, and I can't calm down. I also started exercising last week around the same time and this burst in anger coincides with the burst in energy I've received by the exercise. I know they are combined, especially with the amazing amount of pressure and stress that I am under trying to keep our family and its health both physically, emotionally, and spiritually in good condition.

I'm also quite distraught by the sincere mess and lack of organization that has infiltrated our home since the baby was born, and I cannot help but to blame my brother-in-law and my wife for allowing such a mess to come into being. I know my wife should have slack for stuff these first few weeks after the birth, but still, my brother-in-law came here on the premise that he would be here to help. Honestly, he has caused more of a mess than he has helped out, and I cannot confront him because he is my wife's brother and doing so will only further distance us in an already troubled relationship.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Avakesh's video post on Shidduchim.

I must give credit to Avakesh for this video... I smiled when I watched it (although it *does* cut off towards the end which isn't that big of a deal) because I went through the same thing. Somehow, G-d took me out from the college-secular life, and put me head-first into a yeshiva. From there, I started anew, and now I have what many would consider to be a chassidishe family. I would tend to agree, but as you know, my standards are quite high, and so I know that certain things detract from my holiness, namely movies, etc. but I have no intention of changing that at this time. Maybe when I am wiser and when I understand what I am doing to myself (in a "daas" kind of way), I'll kick the habit.

the mitzvah of peru u'rvu more than once?

Time goes by pretty fast when you're *not* blogging every day. I used to spend so much time blogging while in law school that my days and nights all seemed like an adventure. No more. Now I'm Mr. Family Guy, and I love it. (Not the big-headed bald guy on cable).

Something crude happened a few days back which I thought you yiddishe folk would enjoy. I was playing airplane with my son while I was on my back, and he accidentally jumped and landed in the wrong place on my body. I screamed out, "OUCH! MY MENTCHMACHER!" After a moment's reflection and my imagination of my wife giggling, I decided it would be more P.C. to call it my KINDERMACHER!

Anyway, all I can say about life, Israel, the depression (oops, recession), and everything that is going on in life is that I'm holding on as best as I can. My wife had our second child recently, and I'm very very excited to be the father now of both a boy and a girl -- Hashem, feel free to put a check mark next to the mitzvah Peru U'Rvu because I've fulfilled that one! I just asked my wife if I get to do that mitzvah more than once in my life, or is it that once a Jew has fulfilled that mitzvah, he is set for the rest of his life? My logic is... I put on tefillin (ideally) every day. Each time I do it, it's a separate mitzvah. Why can't I do the mitzvah of peru u'rvu more than once? After all, I don't have any intention of stopping here regarding children. We're both young. The goal is to keep going.

Anyway, about everything else, nothing seems certain and the fact that everything seems okay during times like this only serves to scare the wits out of me because false senses of comfort are the most dangerous times one can be in. The world seems to be crumbling around me with regard to the economy, where even my job seems to be shaky on the good days. I'll be honest. I love what I'm doing (or what I *was* doing,) but I don't see that I'm being as revenue-producing regarding my hours as I was a few months ago. There just doesn't seem to be as much work to do anymore. I have tried to take a proactive position regarding looking for projects to do, but those around me have criticized me for rocking the boat and seem to think I'm making problems for myself by asking for work and that I should just look busy and focus on whatever scraps I have to work on until better things come my way. The problem I have with this is that I feel as if those around me are not necessarily out for my best interests, and by me doing nothing, I am making their case for my termination. That's the pessimistic point of view. On a positive note, I *am* still happy that I am employed, and I am working as hard as I can to keep being employed.

As for everything else, it's all in a holding pattern until G-d decides to kick our butts and test us to see what we're made of. Hashem, please do *NOT* (I repeat NOT) test us. I'm not so holy that I can withstand your tests, and I ask that should I be on the wrong path, please gently correct my way by opening up the doors of opportunity before slamming those I am currently walking through.

I remain,
Your Loyal Servant