This morning both my partner and I were feeling quite emotionally exhausted and experienced our own “wasp stings”.
Mine was literal, his was an emotional reaction to having to do chores first thing in the morning.
My spouse hates chores; loathes them even. There is no proper word to describe just how much he dislikes work in general, but when that is combined with things that are necessary, it’s worse, far worse.
He likes to have a clean house, of course he does he grew up in a family where his father is an OCD perfectionist, who would get upset if there were sprinkles of water (pure water mind you, not dirty water or drinks) on the kitchen floor.
(Imagine how much worse it would be if you spilled a drink in that house)
He got used to that level of clean, he got used to everything having a place.
A level of clean I can’t maintain I might add – which can be a frustrating thing for him in and of itself.
But he also disliked it living with that level of maintenance-cleaning. Cleaning up after himself is something he only did (does?) when it is necessary, so at this point that usually means he avoids any chores whenever possible, but especially in the morning.
In the morning, if he hasn’t had time to relax yet, then he doesn’t want to do anything else.
Just my talking to him, especially about the prospect of doing anything (anything), is an interruption in that relaxation bubble and he feels like he has to start all over again with the process of getting absorbed into whatever he’s trying to do. (play a game, read, just daydream — whatever)
This morning the first thing I did was the dishes, because they needed to be done, and I’ve put them off for a couple days (I don’t deny it, sometimes a pan will sit for as long as a week – lately not more than 2 days, which is good. 😀 )– when I got most of the way through I was starting to feel really exhausted, like I was burning through my spoons (look up “spoon theory” if you don’t understand) mostly because I hadn’t eaten first.
So I looked at what we had, and asked if he felt like french toast.
He said he’d love french toast — I kept going, and realized that I wasn’t sure I had the energy to actually make the meal at this point, but I clearly needed to eat, and I knew if I filled up on something else he wouldn’t get food either. Also, I thinking about it, I was actually wanting crepes with french toast flavours (so with cinnamon and nutmeg added).
I don’t usually make crepes because I struggle to flip them, so because spouse is good with them, I asked him if he’d make crepes.
Micheal sighs, but agrees. I don’t really register the sigh because I’m washing dishes and my mind is on where the cookbook is for the crepe recipe, on getting this chore done, on the headache I’m getting form being so hungry.
Washing dishes always makes me feel sticky and sweaty. In short: Gross. So I shower and dress, find spouses cookbook, the one his mother made for him, and start mixing up the crepe batter.
When I have it set it’s probably been half an hour at least since I first asked, but my poor love has not relaxed since, because he can’t always once he knows he has a chore on the horizon. I’ve ruined the morning, without ever meaning to, by asking for breakfast.
As he cooks the crepes, he looks annoyed, I’m hesitant to say anything, but I ask him if I can snag one, he says yes.
I’m glad of that, because I know can’t wait any longer to eat, I’d have to snack if he wasn’t feeling like letting me. (I don’t know if it’s irrational, maybe because it’s never actually happened yet, but maybe not because if he’s annoyed because of something I’ve done I feel like ‘all bets are off’, and at those times I’m always worried that he’s going to say no just to spite me because I’ve pissed him off.)
Knowing he’s hungry, I offer to give him a bite — he gives me silence, and then when I reach out to physically offer the bite, and in the process I drip maple syrup on his forearm (- Something ot make clear, so that his reaction isn’t just about having to cook: My spouse despises stickiness. He get’s so, SO upset if anything he touches is sticky. He will clean something super thoroughly [and given how much he dislikes cleaning that is actually out of character] if he feels anything sticky, or even thinks something is sightly sticky. [like once when I wiped his desk and because it was wet he thought it was sticky] He doesn’t have any rituals about it except the cleaning, but it seems like a very OCD thing to me.)
Now his arm will be sticky, he snaps at me “No. I can’t eat while I’m cooking.”
He’s had bites of things before while he’s cooking, but now that he’s upset he just wants me to leave him alone. So I do, but there’s very little I can do to feel good about this.
When he finishes, I come and eat breakfast with him, but the mood is still low in the house, even now a couple hours later.
To be clear, I rarely ever ask him to cook anything. If I ask early in the day I’m risking this kind of response, if I ask late in the day he’s too tired to make anything or feels like he’s already done too many chores to be up for one more. Gauging if/when I can ask is really hard for me, so sometimes I just do, and try to brace for whatever the outcome is.
When I don’t have energy to cook, I usually just don’t. My partner has always been content to just make himself something… and I forage. Eat cereal, make noodles. I’m mostly okay with being the one to cook if something is going to get cooked, but I don’t think I can avoid ever asking.
As it is I rarely ask, but breakfast meals are the ones he cooks the best. Clearly he’d prefer that I didn’t ask at all… but it’s a problem of timing more than it is of asking, and I know this. I know this from years of experience.
The secondary issue, as I mentioned is that I don’t often know how to get the timing right. I know there’s a time to ask, but I am not good at judging it, and it changes with the day and how much we’ve slept.
I just wish the backlash didn’t leave us both emotionally drained for most of the day.
It’s like fighting, without actually fighting over anything.
He’s stung, I’m stung. Invisible emotion bug is stinging us.
As for the real wasp sting: Just after breakfast our little cat doesn’t know what’s good for her, and was tracking and trying to eat a wasp — not a good idea, she’s gonna get stung and she won’t understand why she’s in pain, unlike me — so to help her avoid being stung, I grabbed a plastic bag and went to remove it, and it strung me through the damned plastic!
*sigh* I don’t like wasps — I ❤ bees, I think they are cute, and of course they don’t want to sting you because it will kill them.
Wasps are much less pleasant, willing to sting you whenever. Nasty buggers.
I stuck some vinegar on it, ran it under cold water, iced it, then put some anti-itch cream on. I’m freezing some water with dishsoap (to see if it really doesn’t freeze all the way and makes like a gel pack)
Not sure if any of that will help my finger but at least it gives me something to do/focus on.
As does writing/thinking… I guess maybe the emotional sting this morning was more like a bee sting, because both of us have our guts wrenched from it (though this is nothing life shattering — exactly like for a non-allergic person, like me, a wasp sting isn’t a big deal.) but we are both hurt from it. Unlike a wasp sting, where the wasp isn’t injured, I know it takes it’s toll for my partner to be angry with me.
It takes a toll on me to have him mad at me too. Especially when I can’t really take it back — Worse, I don’t want to take it back because I ask so rarely and I was so hungry I just wanted to have something warm to eat, that didn’t also take all my energy for the day to make.
I don’t know what to do about days like this.. I can’t just curl up in a ball, surely there’s some sort of way I could make things better? I don’t know what it is.
Oh well, I guess just trying to push forward and make the best of the rest of the day is the best answer I have for now.
Maybe I’ll get a second wind and feel better when the wasp sting stops hurting so much. Or maybe I’ll just enjoy a nice nap.
Either way, I feel like this doesn’t have to be a “day ending” event.
Besides, the day is not even half way through. 😀
Hopefully it will seem brighter as the sun rises higher in the sky, and I’ll take the rest day to day.