Sunday, 4 March 2018

Day Two - eerily calm, updated to add a STORM


The non-drinking today was pretty uneventful.  The Professor (Prof, my other half, he who can drink and stop) asked if I wanted a beer with lunch and I just said no and got mineral water instead.

I haven't told him yet, because I feel self-conscious and a bit superstitious about jinxing myself to failure.

There is only one person who knows. An old friend, Gem, who recently posted on Facebook that she was 500 days without a drink ('first 499 are the hardest, ha ha') and who had never struck me as a big drinker.  I messaged her late on Day One and she came back super-supportive and is now definitely part of my plan: if in doubt, message Gem.

Thanks for being in my corner, lovey.



I just had the biggest screaming match I have ever had in my life with the Prof.  I don't know if I can even go there, but I sort of want to record it so:
  • kitchen clean up is supposed to be shared by the three resident non-cooks, which usually means not me
  • the teens both know what they are supposed to do (unpack, pack dishwasher, put stuff away, wipe benches) and the Prof usually checks the dishwasher (because nobody does it right) and does any hand-washing of big stuff or delicates (my knives are precious).
  • things rarely go smoothly, largely because the Prof changes the rules all the time and for 10 years (since they were five and their big sister nine) has been - sorry but true - fucking with their minds by also chucking a big male tantrum if they don't skip merrily to the chore
  • I get his frustration, but I also get that kids are unlikely ever to skip merrily to a chore, at least, not since about 1963, in black and white, with Bryl cream and hair bobbles.
  • I also DO NOT get his frustration because there's a really simple way to deal with this situation which I have explained until I WANT TO VOMIT THE WORDS.  Be consistent, don't do the job for them, make it enjoyable. It's what I do for jobs and it works about 87.5% of the time, which I consider a major parenting win.
  • I decided about seven of those 10 years ago that I could not be the breadwinner (he'd retired), AND the mother, AND the wife, AND still do his share of domestic admin for him. So I generally try not to get involved (other than the occasional above mentioned word-vomit - often but not always fuelled by wine)
  • Besides, after dinner is me-time. I'm usually nearly at the end of the first bottle of wine by then and don't I just deserve it? I've worked, I've cooked, I've been there for people. 
  • except last night there was no wine and had not been any wine for almost 48 hours... And he started chucking his big male nobody-but-me-ever-cleans-up tantie at Sparkle (girl twin) and she told him to Shut Up (not condoned by me) and he shouted she was NeverToSpeakToHimThatWayAgain, and  I got involved.

Bad thing: 

I was, as Sober Mummy says in her excellent book (see Day One) The Sober Diaries, 

feeling all the feels.

Good thing:

I knew I was actually feeling the feels and had no little voice in my head saying 

'shut up shut up shut up you're drunk and over-reacting'.

Bad thing:

Feeling utterly justified in feeling the feels and letting loose my unholy judgment upon the situation.

Seriously? I shouted at him so hard I was spitting. It was disgusting. I was disgusted with myself as I was doing it.

The little voice that would normally tell me I was drunk was instead trying desperately to shush me because

for god's sake woman the neighbours will hear you

even though we live in the middle of one acre.  Yes. It was that loud.

Another bad thing:

The Prof is not a backing down kind of guy.  When cornered by, say, a bizarrely sober and furious woman who is making an argument to which he has no answer, he will come out swinging.  Generally this means high-rotation subject changes to keep me off balance.

See if you can spot the switcheroos:

Me: you would NOT have this argument all the time if you just stuck to one set of rules instead of changing routine all the time and pretending it's normal
Him: SPATULAS get washed up by hand!
Me: You've never said utensils had to be left out, when did that rule begin?
Him: ALWAYS, it's ALWAYS been the rule. And I don't have to put up with this rudeness!
Me: She should not have said what she did but I get why she's frustrated when you're blaming her for something she hadn't had a chance to do yet.
Him: Every night, every night I have to put your cooking things away too.
Me: what are you talking about? 
Him: (waves top of the food chopper wand thing) THIS - you NEVER put this away, I do it EVERY time.
Me: you have no idea how often I use that and that's because I put it away most of the time and anyway for god's sake it's a two second job...

And on it went.  Except that - being sober and over reacting is different to being drunk and overreacting.  I snatched the Food Chopper Wand Thingo and gave it a good air swing to emphasise whatever point I was making at the time, and the cord end whacked me on the back of the skull (which bloody hurt but I wasn't going to say so).

The pain broke my need to scream, though, so I put away the Food Chopper Wandy Thingo that never gets put away, and told him I WASN'T GOING TO LET HIM MAKE ME ANGRY and I stormed to the bathroom and slammed the door.  Which wasn't enough, so I slammed it again.

After five slams it felt about right so I stood and cried and thought, as I have thought so many times when we have fought loudly, about the kids.

Because arguments are loud but apologies are soft, and too often they haven't heard the apology part.

Moving on though...

I had another thought: a big fat self-gratifying thought.

"He can't say I'm just drunk tonight."

Wowsers.  That is massive.

I don't know when it began exactly (because, drunk) but a few years ago, we had a terrible argument and the Prof was probably trying to shut it down and he said - why don't you just go and have another drink?

And it's happened a few times since.  And a couple of times the kids have said it too.  Not constant. But pretty terrifying to my drunk-not-drunk brain.  And always answered with my most twisty, smartarse replies about the argument having nothing to do with drinking and how dare the person try and weasel out of it that way.

I'm a word person - did I mention that yet?


No need for that this night.
And even though it was a terrible argument and even though I felt horrible for the kids being spectators, a part of me, a little, newly sober, part of me, felt truly, fucking, awesome.


PS - we made up, and he even apologised and I did too.  But I still haven't told him about the not drinking.


  1. You certainly are a word person. I am really enjoying your writing.

    1. Thank you Chris - it can be a two-edged sword as per the above! It's lovely to know you've enjoyed it, though.


Day 49 - the art of keeping quiet plus TWO tests at free bars and my appy-appy-joy-joy

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