Thursday, June 28, 2012

Marriage Counselor -- Meeting #4

I know I am doing this out of order, but on Monday, we had our fourth meeting with the marriage counselor.

We went into the meeting feeling good about stuff in general, and we really didn't have anything that we planned to discuss with her.  Warning -- this is probably where the worst things come out.

My wife holds the door for me as we walk in, and we're cheerfully discussing a business idea the two of us came up with -- a business idea my wife will never follow through on, and so if we want to do it, it will be on my shoulders -- but snide comments aside, we were cheerful.

After sitting down with the marriage counselor, the conversation floated to our vacation, and specifically, the first few days [which I blogged about here].  We didn't even get to the part of the story where my wife demanded that we turn around, end our vacation before even reaching our destination, and go home.  The therapist honed in on the fact that our communication gets messed up (like misinterpreted text messages), and that we immediately assume that the other is our enemy and we imply and inject feeling of malice from the other that may or may not be there.

In short, the therapist didn't like me assuming that my wife was pissed at me based on "the look" she gave me when she came back into the hotel and found me working there.  Similarly, she did not like the fact that my wife assumed that I didn't empathize with her because I did not give her the specific signals that she needed to feel as if I was empathizing with her (noting that she ignored every other signal of empathy that I showed her).  There's not much space or patience on my part to go into the whole ordeal, but 1) my issue was that she didn't show any appreciation for the work I do to keep us afloat and to pay for all the expensive lifestyle choices she has urged us to make.  And, 2) her issue was that I do not show empathy for the tough lifestyle that she lives (which is total bullshit).

I wrote that it was bullshit not because I disagree with her that her life is difficult -- believe me, I appreciate her more than anything for the unbelievable job she does EACH AND EVERY DAY with running our household, raising the kids, and keeping the family afloat with all of her efforts.  However, as I explained to the counselor, whenever I notice that she is having a hard time and I acknowledge this to her -- whether it is by buying flowers as a thank you for all the hard work, giving her a hug as a thank you, telling her I appreciate everything she does, or even telling her, "I am sorry you are having a difficult time," when things go wrong -- I get the equivalent of a "FUCK YOU" as a response. 

My wife responded that she doesn't feel that my way(S) of showing her empathy are "real," and that she feels as if they are not authentic.  This pisses me off more than anything because I cannot explain how many different ways I have tried to show her empathy and appreciation, because no matter what I do (even when it is done naturally according to my style), she doesn't feel that it is authentic.  Quite frankly, I have tried so many ways of doing this, that I feel as if the problem is with her on this one (as some psychological issue she needs to work out) and not something I need to do or an approach I need to change.

Her opinion is that if I see she is having a hard time, instead of me expressing my empathy, I should instead ROLL UP MY SLEEVES AND HELP.  When she told this to the therapist, I got upset because 1) she NEVER does the same thing for when I need something, and 2) I feel that unlike many husbands, I *DO* help out significantly around the house.  Aside from the fact that I pay for a maid which comes pretty much every day for a few hours, I also help out with laundry, various cleaning tasks around the home (whatever is needed at the time), I come home early and promptly from work every day to put the kids to bed, and I take care of many of the household maintenance repairs and chores (e.g., mowing the lawn, taking care of the garden that she planted and decided she doesn't want to water, etc.) that she has nothing to do with.  This brings us to the final issue we discussed in our session -- PATTERN FIGHTING.

I told the therapist that the reason I did not help out and jump in there when my wife was having a hard time (this is no longer relevant since I've been kicked out of my home office and now I am never home during the day) was probably because at that moment, my hands were tied up with actual work I was doing at the time for the law firm.  I felt that she should have acknowledged that I was working too at that moment and if I could have picked up and helped out, I would have (as I used to when I was working there; when I couldn't help out because I was working, I didn't help out, but rather, I called out from the office that I know she is having a difficult time and that I felt for her).

Well, at this point my wife and I got into an argument in front of the therapist that she doesn't acknowledge the fact that I work for a living, and that everything that she benefits from is based on my toil and sweat which she takes for granted.  She turned around and started fighting about her taking care of the kids and that I never help out with them, etc. etc. etc.  --- The counselor picked up on this and explained to us the concept of PATTERN FIGHTING.

In short, PATTERN FIGHTING is where we habitually return to an old fight which we repeat over and over again, regardless of the context.  

For us, the context used to be 1) [when we got married] me studying all day and night for the patent bar exam vs. her working a job and paying the bills, or 2) me working from home all day and night at a low paying job vs. her leaving her job and raising our newborn son while being pregnant with our second, or 3) me working hard at a real corporate job vs. her home running the family of two kids without any help, or 4) me starting and running the law firm in our 6x6 closet vs. her running the family of three kids on a tight budget with no help, or now, 5) me running a successful law firm outside the home in my office space vs. her running our entire family (4 kids).  It is all the same fight, but the contexts have evolved.

We both have worked hard to bring us where we are today, and me bringing in over a quarter of a million dollars a year just on my work and sweat alone and buying her everything she needs (including a house, remodeling the kitchen, paying for a maid, paying for yeshiva tuition and camp for three of our four kids, going on vacations, paying for her to bust through and explode any budget we ever set for ourselves, just to name a few [and not mentioning the overly expensive decisions which I have disagreed with, such as hundreds of dollars for each curtain, an expensive bunk bed, a remodeled kitchen [okay, I'm mentioning it again], etc.]), and her raising our family and successfully running our home with our four children (including driving them every day, preparing lunches, clothes and bathing them every day, babysitting our youngest and then all of our kids after school, cooking dinners, cleaning up spills, changing diapers, shopping for food, shopping for everything we need (diapers, etc.), doing some laundry, and cooking and managing every Shabbos and every holiday), etc. etc. etc. -- we both work crazy hard, and we both are quite exhausted. 

Anyway, apparently we have this ongoing fight where 1) I do not feel appreciated for the work I do or for my contributions to our lifestyle or the benefits she enjoys every day, and 2) she does not feel as if I empathize with the difficult life she lives and toils with every day.

While our hour with the marriage counselor ended before we resolved anything, in short, she told us that we must 1) acknowledge that we have this pattern of fighting that we fall into, and that it acts as a magnet and draws us into the same fight each time we are pulled into it, and 2) we need to recognize what "triggers" the pattern, and then step back and break the pattern before we jump into the fight yet again.

Obviously she triggered the fight on the way home, and I wasn't so good at stepping back.  Similarly, we have triggered the fight multiple times almost every day since, and neither she nor I break away from it.  The problem is that once the trigger happens, the wound has already happened as well -- so it is difficult to step back when she hurts me, and probably vice versa.

[Personal Note: Not necessarily for you [the reader], but more for my own diary and recollection, what I want by having my work acknowledged is that I want my wife to appreciate and be grateful for the work I do for her and OUR mutual benefit.  There are so many things I can do that are far more selfish (I don't have to work all day; I can slack off; I can say, "okay, we've made $75K, $100K, $150K -- let's take the rest of the year off," and yet I devote myself to her and our family, and I feel that I should receive some kind of "reward" or "thanks" or gratitude for all the work I do that is BEYOND the duty of a husband merely providing for the needs of his family.  Yes, of course it is my DUTY to work based on the decisions I have made in my life, but still, if I do all this (when I could have easily done far less, or, for example, just taken some job as an employee and made some meager salary), I want to be appreciated and rewarded for the extra strenuous work that I have taken on for our family's own betterment.  More than this, I want to be CARED FOR, and I want to feel loved.  I want her to know that I contribute my fair share and then some and that my wife is lucky to have me.  And I don't want all the work I do to benefit us in the dark.  I want my wife to know what I do for her, and I feel that unless I mention it (probably incessantly over and over ad nauseum), she won't know what I do.  That sounds stupid and illogical, but it is how I feel.  I feel used and taken advantage of.  I also feel neglected, and I feel that I am ignored because somehow everything I do is expected of me without thanks or appreciation.

On the flip side, going back over that paragraph above, flipping what I said around, I feel that I have fulfilled my obligation as a provider.  I feel as if the work I do is not appreciated, and that I do not get any benefit or reward from my wife for continuing to toil even though I technically can take the rest of the year off if I wanted to because I have made more than most people in the community make, and they get by fine, why shouldn't we get by on less?  I don't feel that I benefit from making the extra income for our family, and there is certainly little reward, because no matter how much I make, it is never enough.  I don't feel cared for.  I don't feel loved by my wife.  I don't think my wife thinks I contribute equally to the family.  I don't think my wife is in love with me.  I don't think my wife is happy that she married me versus someone else.  I don't feel special, I don't feel important in her eyes.  I feel as if the work I do goes unnoticed.  I don't think my wife knows or acknowledges the work I have done for us.  Wow, sucky life.]

Reflection on the vacation.

So almost one week has passed since we returned home from our crazy vacation.  My memories of it are that parts of it were rewarding -- taking each one of my kids individually into the waves of the beach, and jumping over them -- teaching my daughter how to "breathe" under water (essentially, holding her breathe and opening her eyes under water; this was important to her because before this, she was afraid of putting her head into the water out of fear that she'll drown) -- but the rest of it was so much damn work (and in my opinion, not so rewarding).  We didn't do anything except go to restaurants, schlep the kids all over the place from one "activity" to another [this wasn't a vacation for us, but for them -- but quite frankly, they would have had just as good a time spending it at the parks and on Long Island], and as far as I am concerned, it was flat out EXHAUSTING.  I won't even mention expensive.

We drove all the way home in one shot, my wife and I taking turns driving (pretty much me driving the whole way, and my wife driving a total of three or four hours, but who was counting), and overcaffination via energy drinks (too many at the same time) got us home.  I was WIPED OUT.

Shabbos came and went, and on Sunday, silly us, we drove to a water park on Long Island for the day.  It was grueling hot, and it was pretty much non-stop holding the kids, playing with them, and carrying them.  I forgot my sunscreen long-sleeved jacket, so I was shirtless, and even with lots of sunscreen, I got burned all over.  My whole body is pretty much aching, and I'm exhausted from the whole ordeal.

I was showering this morning, and part of me felt a bit sad.  Since we started our trip (and even before, since we started seeing a marriage counselor), I've been a bit sad.  Parts of me in the past that have hurt regarding wounds in our marriage -- well, I've put those away pretending they weren't there (or just dealing with the fact that they won't be dealt with), but now that we're seeing someone, I don't know why, but I've been filled with a bit of sadness.  I don't feel a connection from my wife, and quite frankly, I'm not really interested in being the one to light the spark each time.  I really am just tired out physically, and drained emotionally.  I am overwhelmed by the kids, and I have little patience for them.  I am hurt by my wife for forcing me to get an office outside the home, because now I have no relaxation or rest, and I'm suffering on many levels alone in a room which is now my prison.

Friday, June 22, 2012

RECAP - The Rest of Our Vacation

The result of the vacation from last month was in my opinion nothing short of less-than-exciting.  After two days of me trying to balance work and play, my wife decided that this is no vacation and that we should turn around and go home.

This would be okay with me, but where we were (26 hours away from our home) wasn't the destination, but was 4 hours away from my mother and the beach (the ultimate destination of what was to be a two-week trip).  [To recap in one sentence, my wife did not want to spend the two weeks that our four (4) kids had home from school sitting in the house, so we agreed that even though I still had to run my law firm remotely (we are still a one-man-show), at least she could have "bubby" (my mom) taking care of the kids and helping out while she and my wife went to the beach each day with them.]

Yet, even so close to our destination, my wife essentially threw an attitude that she has no interest in watching the kids at a destination outside the home, and that she wants to go home.  Now.  She had no interest in continuing the trip to our ultimate destination (mom, beach), and she blamed the whole thing on that she cannot stand me working on our vacation.  Mind you, all I needed was 2-3 hours in the early morning, and an hour in the evening.

So instead of fighting her on it, I let her make the decision that we should turn around and go home, and even though we purchased the resort hotel room ($225+/night) for that night as well, she wanted us to immediately drop everything, check out early, and leave immediately home.

So we're in the car for roughly 2.5 hours driving home, and I wasn't arguing with her on the decision.  I was obviously pissed (this was my vacation also, AND I rearranged the whole law firm and our schedules to allow this vacation to happen), but I went along with it.  2.5 hours into the trip, she decided that maybe it wasn't so bad for us to go to Bubby and the beach, and so we turned around.  A total of 5 hours later (2.5 hours each way) and now late at night, we arrived again at where our hotel was, but because we already checked out, we lost our room (and they did not have any other rooms available).

So we (I) continued driving to our ultimate destination.  5 more hours later (we were driving at this point for a total of 10 hours), we arrived in my mom's city, and my wife wanted us to find a hotel.  Knowing that my wife has a fetish for big named hotels (and that she won't stay at anything less than a 4-star hotel), I looked on my smartphone on the app and found a Marriott (or Sheraton), who knows.  It was a big named 4-star hotel.  Exhausted, I drove over there, and checked in.  I think the smell of smoke and 1980's wallpaper should have tipped me off that this wasn't going to be a good idea, but it was 3am, and we were all exhausted.

We get to the room, and it smells like smoke too.  In fact, the beds were made, but there were crumbs in between the bed sheets.  "SCABIES!" my wife screams.  "We're going to get SCABIES!" "Sleep with your clothes on!"  We slept there for four (4) hours [what a waste of money], woke up already dressed, didn't let the kids touch anything, and we went into the car and checked out.  Funny enough, later on in the trip, my wife broke out with a heat rash, and she was convinced that she was infected from the shitty hotel that "I" chose.  It went away a day or so later, but still, I couldn't help but to find the humor that with all of her precautions against getting scabies, that she was the one that got infected.  She didn't, but we still had a fight over the fact that I couldn't help but chuckle when I heard that she got infected.

In sum, the vacation was fine.  We stayed at an overly lavish (meaning expensive) apartment overlooking the water, where we could leave the apartment, walk outside, walk past the beautiful pool, and we were on the beach.  My mom came over almost every day to help with the kids, I did my work, and we all spent quality time together.  At nights, my mom babysat, and my wife and I went out to do who knows what.  We met up with her friends; we went out to dinners, spent an evening at an arab hookah bar, and I even caught a 3D movie ("Prometheus") with my mom's husband while my wife had a girl's night out with her friends who live near my mom.

As for the cost of the vacation -- well, I didn't look at the cost until we returned home, and it wasn't pretty.  Every meal was anywhere between $65-$120 (simply put, where we were, EVERYTHING was very expensive, and kosher restaurants were obscenely expensive -- in one place, $70 for a crappy sandwich for two adults), but quite frankly, I wasn't phased because 1) I knew based on where we were going that everything would be overpriced, and 2) we budged for it and already had money for the vacation fund set aside.

As for me, quite frankly, I was wiped out.  Normally I work every day and spend time with the kids in the mornings and shortly before bedtime during the week, on Shabbos, and on Sundays.  Ugh, Sundays is like 24 hours with them, and they require so much energy I am wiped out by it.  Well, on this vacation, pretty much EVERY DAY WAS A SUNDAY (and on top of that, I still had to run my firm for a few hours in the morning before everyone got started on their day).  My wife, however, was happy, and she thought we had a very successful vacation and is now planning our next trip (as if this one wasn't big enough)... Israel.

Monday, June 11, 2012

First Day of Vacation -- Unrealistic Expectations

We are on vacation, and after driving 26 hours straight and having a good night's sleep, I woke up unusually early (everyone was still asleep).  I showered, opened up my laptop, and I thought to myself, "Everyone is asleep.  Maybe if I did some work now, I could have more time to spend with the family on vacation later."

Around 20 minutes, later, one child woke up and woke up the other three.  I managed to boot the computer, check e-mail, and send out a few letters for clients (note, I had around twenty to deal with, took care of three).  Wife woke up, and my thought was to work until everyone would be closer to leaving.  I would in that time (while waiting for other things to happen or for people to respond to my e-mails) daven, and it would be a good morning.

Instead, I got resistance from my wife.  "Why are you working here?"  "Can't you go to a business office or something downstairs so that I do not have to see you work?"  This upset me because I wanted the comfort of working and being around family at the same time.  This doesn't work for my wife, and so she ousted me from our room.  Now I'm downstairs in the business center in the lobby feeling sad -- why couldn't I work in my room?  The goal here was to speak to my wife in the interim, be helpful (sort of) with the kids, and get out the e-mails that needed to go out.  Now I'm sitting here in the business center waiting for a 10MB file to download (9 minutes left) when I could have spent it talking to my wife.

I understand that I need to work, even when on vacation.  I run my own law firm, I have clients that have daily needs, and I have responsibilities.  These don't go away because I am on vacation with the family, and I explained that to my wife and she agreed.

...[Later in the evening] The morning was nothing short of a disaster.  I worked not until 10am as we agreed, but until 10:15am (I had a client matter that needed to be finished before I shut down the firm for the day).  Around 8:30am, I received a text message from her stating that the pool looks open and that she's going down with the kids.  She wasn't clear which of the many pools she went to, and when I asked her, she gave me an inaccurate answer.  Not getting finished until 15 minutes later than expected, I rushed through the davening, jumped into my swim suit and clothes, and cleaned up a bit.  I looked at the clock, and it was 10:40am.  Shoot.  I blew it.  I ran downstairs, and she wasn't at the pool.  I looked in another pool, and then another pool (we're at a big hotel).  Nothing.  She texted me then telling me that she and the kids are going back to the room.  I told her I was already downstairs looking for her, and she told me that she was at a particular pool across the lake (one of the first pools in which I looked for them).  As I was sending the text telling her I was there 20 minutes ago, the phone died.  I ran over, and they weren't there.  I paced around the pool looking around, and they weren't there.

Finally they arrived, and my wife was clearly pissed.  It was close to 11:15am now, and I was quite upset that I was running around for nothing.  She was pissed that I wasn't there at 10am (even though stopping at 10am from the business lounge, it would have been impossible to get back upstairs, dressed, daven, and walk over to the pool (assuming I knew which it was) all by 10am was impossible and unfair thinking).  Anyway, she dumped the kids on me, and wanted to go back to the hotel.  I was upset at this, as I wanted to spend this time with her, and I didn't come downstairs to have the kids dumped on me -- I wanted to spend time with my family.

Anyway, our morning (and most of our day) was really tense.  I wasn't happy at the pool because I felt more like a divorced father with custody of the kids rather than an engaged husband who enjoyed spending time with his family, and the tension between my wife and I really hurt me.  I felt it was unfair for her to change the plans, and then not tell me she had any expectation of me to change my plans, and then punish me all day with a cold shoulder because I did exactly what we planned on doing.

Anyway, it is nighttime and we are no longer fighting, but I am obviously still upset about this morning's events.  When we are not close, it hurts me, and it is not like I was playing solitaire or something.  I was doing the bare minimum that I needed to do to keep the firm afloat (which by the way is paying for our trip)... and what bugs me the most is that I was working hard and doing what I needed to do, but this was not good enough for her.  She just wants me magically to do all this AND be the perfect husband and father at the same time.  I just feel like she set me up by leaving early to the pool (the plan was for everyone to go down together at 10am), and then had nothing but criticism and nasty words for me when I eventually arrived at the pool.  Shrug.

Monday, June 04, 2012

"Intimate moments" -- the marriage counselor's topic de jure.

Marriage Counselors.  They're quite an interesting phenomena -- they're there to help you, but not to get involved or to take sides.  My rabbi told me to use the counselor as a tool to work on the areas of my marriage that need fixing, but not to engage my wife directly in fighting about the issues.  Having an intermediary he says is the perfect way to hit the issues head on, while still being a supportive husband after the session is over.

Our third session -- this morning -- was quite an interesting one.  I came in there with an agenda.  My wife believes that when I do not speak about something that is on my mind, that I am being deceptive.  Quite frankly, I was exasperated because every topic I discuss was shot down.  Let me explain.

I used to love homeopathy.  I read books on it, and I not only knew most of the remedies, but I lived the philosophy of homeopathy as my own.  It excited me how the body was able to clean itself and it was able to take in some poison and use the poison to extract the hurt.  There is obviously more about this, but here is not the place.  Point being, I loved homeopathy, however, my wife had absolutely no interest in hearing about it.  She shut down every conversation I ever tried to have about it, and called my conversations about it tedious, boring, and a waste of her time.

After a while, I shut down and metaphorically, put the "homeopathy" topic "on the metaphorical shelf."  Same with ballroom dancing, holosync/hemisync, green drinks and health topics, piano playing, and pretty much everything else that use to give me jazz -- one topic at a time, it died.  After a while, I stopped talking to my wife about the topics, and I even stopped thinking of them.  This was easy because much of my former interests was against halacha or bordered on avoda zarah anyway (think mixed dancing, kol isha with the opera, and cloud busting, etc.), so when they popped into my head or inspired me, I ignored the thoughts and as much as I wanted to share them with my wife, I didn't.

The problem that arose however, is that when I didn't share something, my wife thought I was deceiving her, and this upset me.  Quite frankly, she cannot ignore or not allow me to discuss topics (or even personal hardships) that are meaningful to me, but then expect me to open up to her at the same time.  If she kills who I am, then I am dead, plain and simple.  She doesn't get to have me full of life if the things that give me excitement have been sliced out of our marriage with her scalpel.

Then there is the past, which if any of you are older readers, you know well about.  All the old issues I went through and then probably subsequently deleted from the blog years later.  Quite frankly, there are some things -- skeletons -- that I simply did not tell her, not because I was hiding them from her, but because when we were shidduch dating, they weren't relevant because I was no longer that person.  Obviously she is well aware that I was in a fraternity and that I had girlfriends, but we never discussed them and nor do I think we should.  They are simply not helpful in our marriage, and they do not contribute to our understanding of each other. 

On the topic of ex-girlfriends, quite simply, I never told her about the various experiences, the hurts, the heartbreaks, and the endless journey of trying to find the "right" person.  I still hold by this, because I have friends who told their wives about a certain "other Jane" from before they even met (sometimes years earlier), and every time there is a fight -- if those friends are still even married which many are not -- the wife used to throw "Jane" at the husband as a weapon which was simply not fair.  Bottom line, all my wife needs to know is that I dated girls before her, that I had girlfriends, and that I was a different person back then, and... I chose to live my life with her.

Anyway, I spoke about this topic in depth with a friend of mine who I trust, and he agreed that there is no reason for a man to embarrass himself and expose his "skeletons" to his wife, especially if the skeletons have nothing to do with the man, his family, or the person he has become.  Obviously if an ex-girlfriend moves next door, then yes, my wife and I have something to discuss.  But aside from that, there is no reason to expose and embarrass one's self with skeletons if they don't affect the marriage.  And as for the diaries that discuss every detail of every past skeleton in haunting detail -- he says, "get it out of the house and put it in a safe."  Some say "burn it," but there is so much more in there that is very useful to me (e.g., seeing how I've grown, my thoughts as they change as I mature, etc.) that it would be too much of a loss of my own history to just burn it.  I wrote those memoirs so that my kids will be able to learn about me and through my mistakes as I grew up.  They were my chronicles and they were my lessons.  I don't want them to go away just because I stupidly wrote about so-and-so.

I am running short in time, and as always, there is so much to say and no time to say it.  The exciting part of the session was that when I brought up the "shelved" topics, my wife retorted to the marriage counselor that she was bored by my incessant discussions of the topics that excited me because all I would do is discuss the topics as factoids.  Instead, the counselor suggested that I discuss how I feel about those topics, and what meaning they have for me.  That way, my wife gets to learn not only about what excites me, but why it excites me, and perhaps it can help us share a few moments and help us share intimate moments. 


FYI, if you haven't gotten this yet, intimate moments are moments a couple connects together.  We aren't at all discussing sex or physical intimacy.

Status Update -- I am still here.

So this is the new "blogger" template.  I didn't choose it because I love airplanes -- it was the only one that didn't look patently stupid.  Perhaps if I have more time, I'll play with it.

So, one year has passed.  You are right, I have one more child -- a boy.  That makes four.

I haven't re-read my blog in over a year, but I see my last post was about my weight, so I'll pick up there.  I achieved my weight goal and dropped to 215 lbs.  I stayed there for a while by simply eating small portions, drinking lots of water, and walking a minimum of 10,000 steps each day.  That sounds difficult to do, but with a bit of commitment, it's very doable.

Shavuous just passed, and with all the holidays and the eating out (I'll explain why in a sec), I've gained a few pounds (now 220 lbs., soon to revert back to 215 lbs.).  I've been eating a lot of pizza during the week and challah during the weekends, no doubt a heart attack waiting to happen.

So... one year later... I no longer live in an apartment -- we've purchased a house in Brooklyn (still in Crown Heights, just a bit south of what used to be called "safe" territory).  There has been a lot going on, but I've managed to keep my head on straight, and I've focused on being a father, a husband (in no particular order), and a Jew. 

My law firm has been more successful than I could have asked for.  For privacy reasons, let's just say that I found a niche, and I've been working on it as hard as I could.  I am no longer working in a closet -- I have actually rented office space around 15 minutes away from our home, and while I don't have the name of our firm on the door, I have hired an assistant and have been keeping quite busy.

Now with four kids who are growing up, we are paying more tuition than I ever imagined.  But, I give to the school freely because 1) my kids benefit, and 2) in Gemara (I don't have the cite handy), it teaches that a man gets a beracha (blessing) for parnossa (money), and on top of that blessing is the parnossa that is given to him for his children's education.  The gemara doesn't specifically discuss girl's education, but whatever -- I now have three kids in private school, with our fourth at home with my wife.

My wife now has help as in a maid -- she comes in every day at 7:30am, and works until 12:30pm (5 hours each day).   She cleans the house, helps my wife with the kitchen, dresses the kids, and takes care of the laundry.  I leave to the office each day around the same time the maid arrives and as far as I'm concerned, since I'm paying for it all, I tell myself that it is as if I'm contributing to my wife's stressful morning by paying for the help.

Next, marriage issues.  Nothing really has changed over the years.  We have now been married close to six years -- can you believe it??  Now while things are sometimes good and other times they're a wreck, we still have maintained our family structure as parents, and when we can, as husband and wife.  We get along well, but now years later, the intimacy issues that have been preventing us from being as close as we could be are still there.  For this reason, we decided that we were going to go see a marriage counselor.

The counselor appears to be focusing on our intimacy issues, specifically getting us to express ourselves and communicate better.  She is [finally] bothered that after all these years, we are still like two roommates who are raising a family together rather than lovers, and quite frankly, this is what bothers me as well.  I'll write more about this momentarily in another blog post.

Lastly, I am still as religious as I was the last time I wrote, but no doubt there are areas which have improved (e.g., my Torah learning), and areas which have remained just as weak as ever (e.g., davening, showing up to minyanim, etc.).  All I could say in the religious realm is that I ashame myself, and I am an embarrassment to those who call themselves religious.  There is no excuse or other way to put it -- I know what I need to do, and I have no interest in doing what I need to do, and yet, I expect things to get better.

Friday, June 01, 2012

"Blogger" Template Update

Wow, it has been like forever since I've last written to this blog.  I am truly sorry.  Believe it or not, almost a year later, I am still having a problem with Blogger trying to migrate the blog to the new settings.  It is set in some kind of loop that Firefox and Chrome (or even Comodo Dragon) can't figure out.  I gave up last year promising myself I'd pick it up at a later date, but I never did.  I never use IE, but this was the way I got in.  I think I need to update the template to one of their new ones.