Queen to a King

25 09 2012

We moved house on the 1st of August 2010, to the day the 4 year anniversary of his mom’s passing.  We acknowledged that she would have been so happy for us, and yet in reality she would have been clutching at her heart again as she watched the next few months unfold.

Moving into a bigger house I went into full ‘project’ mode.  I am not one that can sit around in clutter and putz about while I figure out where things go.  I had a picture in my mind’s eye months prior about where each piece of furniture and knickknacks would be perfectly positioned.

I would tackle room by room, starting with the girls bedrooms with their input so that they had their own new personal domain that they felt ownership of and comfort within.

I tried to get Mort involved in the same way, but since he never really offered to help, I stopped asking for input.  Every now and then he would try to move something after I had placed it, I would move it back.   I would try to give him ‘outside man jobs’ so at least he had something to do, though more often than not I would have to go back and respray the mealie bugs because he had done such a crap job.

The new king-sized bed was ideal, there was already distance between us and that just gave us another 20″ of separation.


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

19 09 2012

2010 should have been a fabulous year.  Mort had changed his job to work with a smaller boutique firm with colleagues from his earlier days that he admired and respected.  We had two happy, healthy, vibrant kids, an awesome group of friends and were planning a big house move in the August of that year that we were all excited about…it should have been the best of times…but it was the start of the worst of times.

He started to become disconnected and disengaged, with me, the girls, life in general.  Sometimes I would address it and sometimes I just couldn’t be bothered as I didn’t care to be labelled with ‘nagger’ again.  My focus became to keep lightness in the house for the girls, so while I was grinding my teeth and yelling profanities in my head at Mort, I had a happy face and kept routine and laughter in the house.

His appearance also had become slovenly, he was stacking on the weight, and his skin was flared up most of the time. He looked like crap.  This was the person who was sporty, attractive and vibrant 10 years prior.  It was a cause and effect issue.  It wasn’t the weight as such that bothered me (totally willing to admit that I was toting around more than a few extra indulgences on my frame), it was the attitude behind it – complete apathy.  In the early days we would   fall asleep holding hands……and now I found my lip in a repulsed snarl just looking at him.

All marriages go through their rough patches, and I had hope that whatever funk he was going through he would come out of. I started to express my frustration and disappointment with his lazy attitude and disheveled appearance to external sources, which for me to say it out loud, beyond our walls, made it real.

I was hoping that the house move, something that we were all excited about would smack some life back into him…instead it was his complete undoing.

There is at least a discarded book beside this guy, it would have been an ESPN magazine in Mort’s case.

The tremors turn to fractures

18 09 2012

Christmas of 2009 we had gone back to visit Mort’s family. Relations between Mort, his dad and his siblings had been strained since the passing of his mom in 2006.

This was not a fun trip.

We were there for 3 weeks and I was pretty pissed at Mort for the entire time. Instead of shaking off his family issues and getting on with stuff he let it weigh heavily on him and in turn completely disconnect with the girls and me.  Here we were in this great city with fabulous friends to reconnect with and yet Mort went into this self-absorbed funk.

For the first week he would claim jet-lag. We would take turns getting up in the night to deal with the girls and their various stages of jet-lag and requests for pancakes at 2am. But then come day light when the girls and I were up and excited about catching up with friends, he would plop himself on the sofa and start to watch sports claiming too tired to do anything. I would not have the holiday ruined for me and the girls so we got up and out everyday. When we would come home he would usually be in bed.

It was at this point that I told Mort that I was unhappy in the marriage and in non-too subtle a term…that he had better get his shit together. He apologized profusely and started to partake and we put on happy smiles for our friends. But there were several occasions where I woke in the middle of the night to realize that he was out in the tv room on the sofa with the 24 hour sports channel blaring. I couldn’t be bothered to go investigate, frankly I was happy with the separation and slept diagonal in the bed.

Shakes and tremors

15 09 2012

At the end of 2009, we took the girls and flew to stay for 4 days with an old school friend of mine, her husband and baby.  Spent some time during the days to go off and do our own touristy things with Clare & Maddie.  At night we would do a bbq and catch up over a couple bottles of wine.

Towards the end of the 4 days, Clare asked Mort to open a new toy for her, I watched with astonishment as he took the package and his hands were shaking so violently that he couldn’t open it.   I immediately thought of the DT’s….I didn’t know exactly what that meant but knew that it was referred to with alcoholics going through withdrawal.  I realised that staying with friends he really hadn’t had a moment to himself and they did not keep a stock-pile of alcohol on hand, we would just buy the wine each night as we drank it.

I cornered him and asked “just exactly how much the f*ck are you drinking at home?’ (sorry first blog swearing …….and not the last)

His answer was probably too much and that this was a wake-up call to him to cut-back.  Well it was a wake-up call to me as well because from what we drank together, I wouldn’t have put it in the ‘too much’ category, which meant that there was stuff going on behind my back.

After we got home he went and saw his doctor and reported that yes, his doctor confirmed he was drinking too much.  So define too much I pushed, knowing that the medical speak was no more than 2-3 glasses a night, with roughly three AFD (alcohol-free days).  Some answer came out, but I sniffed the thinnest whisper of deceit, and so I watched him like a hawk for the next few weeks….when I was awake that is.

The gangs all here

12 09 2012

When Clare started school, we met some like-minded parents with kids in similar age brackets.  I always remember my parents saying that we would meet some of our greatest friends when our kids started school.  They weren’t wrong.

It is very rare in life that as a couple, you meet another couple that you really get along with.  I mean it is a common scenario where the wives get along and the husbands nod politely at each other, or the husbands bond around the grill plate while the wives are left to fill the void with small talk.   So to meet not only one great couple, but several through the school was amazing.

What also totally worked was that all our kids got along.  Happy children, happy parents was my motto.  So getting together was always easy and comfortable.  This tight group spent a lot of time with Mort and me, so what started to play out at the end of 2010 absolutely floored them all. The actions were varied; hugs, tears, gasps…but the reaction was universal – sheer disbelief.

Sheets and cats

11 09 2012

Another quick waltz through time, over the next few years there were up’s & down’s, as with most relationships, be they marriages or not.  Mort’s mother unexpectedly passed away in 2006.  I miss the Saturday morning calls.

Just after Maddie was born Mort was head-hunted by one of the top firms in his industry.  He really struggled with the decision to take the job as he greatly enjoyed the people that he was working with.  But there were strong behind the scenes whispers that the little company was not going to survive…..so although it was a tough choice, it wasn’t really.

So going to work with the ‘big boys’ meant alot of the b.s. that goes along with it……people staying late just to look as though they were working harder and alot of back-stabbing politics.  Something that became apparent in this time was that Mort did not deal with stress well.  He wore it.  And I mean that literally.  Mort had eczema and living where we did, in a very dry heat he would sometimes flare up.  With the stress it became even worse.  I realized a few years later how much vodka can also exacerbate the skin affliction.

We always had dark brown or grey sheets on the bed as when his eczema was flared up, and he would scratch in the night, there would often be little blood smears on the sheets. Although I was fairly sympathetic, it always drove me crazy and I hated those ugly sheets.

During our marriage I would jest that when we split up the first thing I would do is get cream sheets and cats…..I now have both.

Extra snippet

4 09 2012

this is a p.s. for my previous post….

1) I went to bed feeling bad that I gave Maddie such a bum rap for the first year or so of her life….can’t deny she was a total stinker BUT I think all that screaming stretched her mouth because she now has the broadest, most radiant smile for those she chooses to share it with.  Also those many hours that she was rocked (yes, again wailing) in arms, she must have sensed the embrace as she now has a boundless daily quota of hugs for me.

2) I met some of the cast of The Bold and the Beautiful back in the early nineties…another story for another time!