Thursday, December 20, 2012

Anti-Holiday Husbeast

It is hard to be a holiday person when married to an anti-holiday person.  Don't get me wrong, The Husbeast LIKES holidays, he just doesn't want to do anything to make holidays special. 

If I ask him to bake holiday cookies, I get a "maybe" in the tone of voice that means "I'll never actually get to it, I'm just humouring you." 

If I mention that I would like to run presents around to some of our friends, I get a "I suppose." in that same tone of voice which means I'll either end up doing it by myself (which just isn't as fun) or it won't get done at all.

I have to nag for the tree to come down from the attic, and if I want decorations on it, well, that means I'd better plan on doing it myself.

As for lights on the outside of our house?  Yeaaaahhhh...never going to happen.

It really does make me sad because when I was growing up the holidays were a pretty festive time of year.  Mom would have Dad get out the decorations and we would all spend a weekend putting them up.  Garland would go around the banisters on the stairs, we would spray the fake snow stuff on the picture window in the living room, those fake plug-in candles would go on every window sill, and we would decorate the tree.

Decorating the tree was almost a ritual, really.  We would finish dinner, we would help Dad untangle and test the lights, and then the ornaments would come out.  Mom would sit on the couch and lovingly unwrap each one from its tissue paper, and alternate handing them to my brother and myself.  We would tell stories about each one, remembering how it had come to be in our collection.  Some we had made, some were bought to commemorate important events in our lives, and some just were always there.  The final step was always the icicles, those strips of silver tinsel that are like the decorative icing on a cake.  Mom and Dad would always make us put it on a few strands at a time, and whenever they weren't looking, my brother and I would just randomly throw handfuls at the tree to see where it landed.

I've always loved just sitting in the living room with the lights off, watching the tree lights twinkle and shine, catching the ornaments and reflecting the colors around the room.  For some reason those times have always been among the most peaceful of my life.  It is like everything stops for those precious minutes, the world calms down and just breathes, and I know that everything will be all right.

I think that's part of why it is so frustrating to be married to an Anti-Holiday Husbeast, because even the years when the tree somehow makes it up, that's all there is.  No other decorations, no sense of peace or comfort, no feeling of home.  And it makes me sad. 

Overall I'm pretty lucky.  He's a good man, and he loves me, and I love him.  I know that this isn't a major roadblock in our lives.  It is just a small difference.

I have to admit, though, I wish that it were different.  I wish that he enjoyed it all as much as I do, and that we could share that joy and that brief feeling of peace together instead of him feeling nagged and me feeling pushy and ignored.

But we don't, so all that I can do is create as much of the holiday as I can on my own and settle for that.

I think I'm going to go into the living room now.  The tree is up and has lights, but the ornaments are still in the attic.  They probably won't come out this year.  But I have a tree...and lights...and for a little while I can turn out the living room lights and just watch the tree-lights twinkle in the darkness, and hopefully feel a little peace.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Taking a day off when you're unemployed

Being long-term unemployed is an insidious thing, really.  It wears away at you in a number of ways.  You start to lose self-worth because your emotional response to the situation is that you aren't contributing to the household and are just a drain on resources.  It isn't true, of course, at least for most people.  Most people spend the time getting things done around the house in between sending out resumes and (hopefully) going on interviews.  Dishes, laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, all of the things that would normally be crammed into the two days of the weekend are now able to be spread out and completed more thoroughly and without feeling rushed or like you never get to relax.

The irony is, though, that it is very easy to refuse to allow yourself a day off when you're unemployed.  The mind starts twisting it, saying that you're home all week so you have no right to just relax on a Saturday or Sunday, that you should treat them like every other day and Do All The Things!  Even when you let yourself have a lazy day with your spouse or even just on your own, guilt tends to make itself known, ruining any enjoyment that you may get out of giving yourself time to unwind.

I have been fighting that battle recently.  In October I didn't have weekends because we were working the haunted house, and even though we were home on Sunday, we weren't awake til afternoon due to not getting home until 4 or 5 in the morning.  We got up, had food, and collapsed for a few hours before going back to bed and starting the week over.  Those few hours were a haze, really, but even that haze was filled with "I shoulds".  I should be doing laundry.  I should unpack the car.  I should pull the dirty clothes out of my duffelbag.  I should, I should, I should.

October ended, and we regained our weekends, but did we?  Not really.  The first weekend after haunt ended was spent quite enjoyably (yet exhaustingly) at a convention as panelists.  It was a wonderful experience, we met awesome people and got to know some other awesome people better than we'd been able to before.  But it wasn't relaxing by any means.

Then, the weekends after that were spent in a whirlwind, desperately trying to get the house ready for Thanksgiving.  We have an open house that day, and anyone that we know who doesn't have other plans for the day is welcome to come and bring a dish to pass and share time with other holiday orphans.  Of course this requires that the house be up to standards for having people over.  As my standards differ greatly from my husband's standards in regards to 'clean enough', there is usually some added stress there as well.  But in the end the house was mostly ready, the people came, the food was eaten, and I hope that a good time was had by all.

Still no relaxing.

Today the husband had plans to be out of the house the whole day, and I decided that finally I was going to allow myself to have a day of relaxation and NOT allow myself to spend it seeing all of the things that I should be doing and feeling guilty that I wasn't doing them.  Even the unemployed need a day off now and then, and I had reached the end of my endurance. 

So I did it.

I have spent my day so far watching movies, scritching purring kitty cats, and knitting.  Once I finish this entry, I will then go online and play some Facebook games and then sign on to Star Wars: The Old Republic (tm) and spend a few hours either saving or conquering the galaxy (depending on my mood).  And it feels good.  There have been a few times when I have started to think to myself that I should be doing something, and I have made myself stop, put that thought aside, and just let it go.  Tomorrow there will be should be's.  Today there is only yarn winding through my fingers, soft fur against my cheek, and the hum of my lightsaber.  And it is good.