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Alright, here’s my best shot at taking on the five word challenge from Evil Twin’s Wife.  If you wonder about it, or want to get in on it, I suggest getting a hold of her on her blog; just look up the link in my comments section.

1.  Malady:  Hmmm… well, I guess I’d have to say that there are any number of maladies out there that I’d rather not add to the ones I already have.  Nature has already been far too ‘kind’ to me in the last couple of years, and one more malady would be about as welcome as another hole in the head.

2.  Unite:  It sure would be nice to see more people unite to take on the problems facing the nation and the world these days, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards.  Instead, it seems like most folks out there are finding more and more reasons to bicker, fight, bitch, grouse, etc.

3.  Confound:  A lot of folks out there flat out confound me with their apparent lack of common sense.  I mean, I realize that common sense really isn’t that common, and that it’s really nothing more than properly applied learned behavior, but the majority of the people out there these days seem not to have soaked up any of that knowledge growing up.  Or maybe that’s the problem; not so many of the people out there these days ever REALLY grew up…

4.  Shed:  Well now, shed is one of those multi-purpose words, so which definition do I talk about?  We have a fairly nice, semi-finished shed on our property, but it needs quite a bit of work to bring it up to snuff.  We have dogs and cats, and they shed plenty, but the only one we keep in the house is a miniature poodle and he hardly sheds at all.  I could talk about shedding inhibitions, but I don’t think I have all that many to shed.  And I think that just about beats ‘shed’ to death.

5.  Pickle:  I like pickles, both dills and sweet, and I used to get ‘pickled’ on occasion, when I was a little younger and not on a bunch of prescription meds.  Beyond that, pickles are a great snack food because they have virtually no calories and it almost (if not actually) costs your body more calories chew them up, swallow and digest them, not to mention getting rid of what’s left afterwards.  And there’s another word beaten to death, I think.

And in the immortal words of Porky Pig, “That’s all folks!”  Talk to y’all again soon, provided the muse whispers in  my ear and gives me something else to write about!

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The last couple of weeks have seen some real highs and lows, but overall things seem to be evening out.  I wouldn’t have seen that coming a little over a week ago, though; I thought Honeywine and I were quits, done, finiti, etc.

Long story there, encompassing nearly a week of migraine headaches and witnessing Indy almost hit by a truck for her, but the upshot was her telling me, ‘I’m leaving you,’ and placing her ring, along with her bank card and a note, on the counter in the kitchen.  It hadn’t helped that when she informed me of this, I’d told her that I’d been thinking about it the night before (we’d quareled over something) and maybe it was a better idea.  I didn’t say that to hurt her; it just came out because I’d started to feel as trapped as she obviously did and couldn’t see a better way out.

At any rate, I took the kids on out for a day of fishing, bowling, and a little time at the library (it kept me occupied as much as it did them) before coming home to find that envelope on the kitchen counter.  The note inside asked me to call her Mom’s number before doing or thinking anything hasty, so I did.  We talked for a little while, and eventually agreed for me to bring the kids over to her Mom’s place the next day and to see the counselor the day after that before making any rash decisions.  But there was still some little bug nagging me…

I made a tactical error then, though usually it wouldn’t have been; I called my Dad.  Dad’s a very smart man and has been through a lot, but that’s the problem, really.  He’s been through the relationship-wringer worse than I have and so sometimes reads the worst into things.  The other problem is that  I came into the conversation with some preconceptions, based both on my past relationship and my perception of his; in other words (technical terms) we’re both damaged goods and a little screwed in the head where such things are concerned.

What ensued was me telling him about the whole altercation and my continued reservations about things, largely based on the experiences I’d seen him go through with his second wife (my brother’s mom and still a second mom to me); two good people who just weren’t good together and who’d spent seventeen miserable years figuring that out.  I was afraid that I was falling into the same trap and things went from there.

In hindsight, Dad didn’t PUT any thoughts in my head with that conversation, he just reinforced some of my fears with his own experiences and suggested that if I was feeling so tentative about everything, maybe she and I had had the right idea; maybe we should put the brakes on things, at least for a while.

Again, I think I read too much into this, and, coming from one of the few people I still think of as an authority figure, acted immediately.  I called Honeywine up and told her, out of the blue and in a pretty deadpan tone, that I thought  bringing the kids over the next day wasn’t really a good idea, that I didn’t see the point in continuing the counseling, and that I thought it was best if we just call it and be done.

She was nonplussed to say the least; ‘Where the hell had that come from?’, she told me later.  We talked a little more, and eventually she decided to go ahead and drive over that night to talk (it was after midnight already); I agreed, though at the time I really thought, ‘What’s the point?’

Once she got there, we talked outside for a few minutes, not really getting anywhere, and eventually she went back to her Mom’s house.  The next morning, though, I found myself feeling, well, empty, for lack of a better word, and a little bitter, maybe.  I really couldn’t believe that that was just it; we’d gotten just about as close as I can imagine two human beings getting over the last 9 months, gone through everything but the paperwork in a wedding, and this was how it was going to end?

I couldn’t let it go at that, so I called her Mom’s place and talked to her.  I arranged to go ahead and come out with the little girls (the teenagers inevitably get bored if there aren’t a plethora of ‘teenaged’ distractions for them) before Mull came to pick everybody up at 5 PM; they enjoy going out there to visit with Grandma, Uncle Dave, Uncle Will, and Aunt Tina, not to mention The Dog.

We had a good visit; everyone else kept the little ones amused while Honeywine and I took The Dog for a walk up the road and talked for a while.  I don’t remember the specifics of what was said (damn short-term memory loss!), but we ironed some things out and agreed to give Dr. Mark a chance to help us figure out some of the others.

I went ahead and took the little ones back to the house then, arriving just in time to get them ready and get their stuff together before Mull came to pick them up.  That went off uneventfully (never a sure thing where Mull’s concerned) and a couple of hours later Honeywine came back out, Dave chaufering so that he could bring the car back.

The next day, we went to our scheduled appointment with Dr. Mark, and just about blew his mind, I think.  We talked out the whole thing, and received some more homework, and overall I think it was a productive session.  He re-emphasized the whole not living in each other’s back pocket thing, and acknowledged that our personality types (both boderline type a’s, though from different angles) were probably causing a lot of our problems.  The main message I took was that things aren’t going to be solved overnight, and that we simply have to have some patience and give each other some space.  Yeah, I know, that sounds kinda’ formulaic and 60’s-ish, but if it works, it works and I’ve always been a big fan of what works!

Well, as we all know, when nothing else quite works, it’s generally time to call in a professional, and Honeywine and I did just that earlier this week.  You see, even though we both undeniably love each other, and are both aware of this, we’ve had some ‘butting heads’ problems for most of our relationship, and those have sort of come to a head here lately.

While we agree on a lot of the BIG things, there are a lot of little things that don’t dove-tail together, and every so often those jump to the fore.  In fact, we’ve developed a pattern, more or less; things will be pretty much fine for a week or two, both of us working and playing on the same sheet of music, so to speak, and then some issue, normally something I think is a small thing, will come up and the next thing you know, it’s exploded into a shouting match with associated fallout that might linger for hours or even days.  Then the cycle starts again.

Both of us have noticed this, but despite effort on both our parts, just seem unable to get any real control over it.  Fortunately, neither of us is really the type to take anything beyond a verbal confrontation (though sometimes I think I may be more strongly tied to that inclination than she is!), so nothing crazy has gone on.

However, like real fallout, the fallout from all of this has been slowly accumulating, with an apparent half-life of just about forever, and now it seems to have reached toxic levels and the other day, for no good reason that I can fathom, we had a mid-grade meltdown.

The day had been going just fine, encompassing a drive out to visit her family (her Mom just got out of the hospital), but on the trip back, we hit a major obstacle, and I don’t mean a bump in the road.

For some time, we’ve been talking about a number of projects to look at doing on the property, and the possibility of building a new house on the back (unused) acre of the property has been a major contender, partially funded by skimming the equity off of the existing house.

I’m not opposed to this, but Honeywine’s sister did bring up the valid point that said money might go to better use paying off the majority of Honeywine and my existing debts, minus the existing mortgage, saving us quite a bit a month in payments.  Interesting, I thought.

On the way home, we discussed all of this, and I expressed the concern that I wondered if it was a good idea to jump into a major new project, using that equity, when we both had the rotating bills (and those cards are maxed out, making them useless) plus the mortgage.  I didn’t intend this to mean that we shouldn’t look at building that house,  just that maybe we should look at saving up (we do usually come out with a little extra every month), backing up a little, and maybe doing the project a little at a time.  But I may not have gotten that across very well.

At any rate, she took this as a major bombshell and that argument that I’d so wanted to avoid started anyway, with a vengeance.  We snipped all of the way back home (about 30 miles or so) and even after I thought things back through, realized that we’d recoup a lot by renting out the unoccupied part of the house (long story), and conceded that it probably would be doable to take on the house project, she’d have none of it.  All she’d say was forget it, and decided that she’d just take over the semi-finished outbuilding behind the house and turn it into her own domain, complete with locks to keep out unwanted visitors.

I guess I was being dense (or maybe just male), but that made absolutely no sense to me and I let it be known.  Big mistake, of course, and I paid for it; the ‘disagreement’ just kicked up a few notches.

There was a brief lull once we got home, but it didn’t last, and eventually the conclusion was reached (someone reached it and I went along) that we should seek counseling.  This had been batted around before, but I’d been resisting the idea intensely; I’ve been through ‘relationship counseling’ before, just prior to my ex essentially saying ‘screw you’ and flying the coop.  Naturally I was a little gun-shy.

Well, it wasn’t bad at all.  The guy we talked to, Dr. Mark, was actually very helpful in my opinion, and I think his suggestions, mostly centered around spending a little ‘quality time’ appart (not being joined at the hip to the point of driving each other crazy) are good ones.  We’ll see, I guess; we’ve got some ‘homework’ to work on, and another appointment next week.  I’m very hopeful, and the ‘hebbie-jeebies’ are pretty much gone; unlike my ex, I believe that Honeywine truly WANTS to fix things between us, and I know that’s what I want.

Okay, this is my first post here (gasp!).  Not so much to say, really, beyond what’s in my profile.  I’m a late 30-something guy who just retired medically from the Army after not quite twenty years of service.  I’m married to another blogger here, Honeywine (oh, the online battles we can look forward to!) and I’ve got five kids from the first (and worst) marriage.  If you take a look on Honeywine’s blog, you can read the whole Peyton’s Place series of events that’s brought us to where we are now!  Beyond that, I look forward to merrily venting my life here online, appropriately edited, of course, in consideration of my wife and in the interrest of preserving domestic bliss!