Altering Habits

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2007-10-25, 4:16 p.m.

Day 1159

Thatís the right term, isnít it? Isnít denouement the stage after the climax where all the little details are wrapped up (or not, if a sequel is planned), and the story line sorta relaxes? The post coital smoke, if you will?

Thatís what it feels like after yesterdays counseling session. Heard what Cindy needs for our marriage to continue. No surprises there. She also heard what I needed. Again Ė no surprise. Then we traded our 5 likes. Well, she had 4, I had 6. We traded as long as we could, then I finished.

Her likes? Sense of humor, respect for my accomplishments (weight, smoking, cholesterol), my cooking/gardening domestic skilz, oh, and something else, I donít recall. Suffice it to say I was pleasantly surprised.

My likes of her? Her loyalty/dedication, mothering skills, cooking skills (and letting me cook too), dedication to her job, organizational skills, and her starting to learn to listen to people.

Her dislikes? (at least those I remember) I procrastinate, I avoid conflict (Iíve admitted that here), I spend too much time on the computer, I can be Ďabsentí while in the same with her or others (Iíll defend this in a bit), I have turned into an eating (nibbling) machine (ugh Ė all too true)

My dislikes? She smokes. Got that whole ashtray breath thing working. She gets down on herself, then lets it snowball, overly committed o her job, tries to be controlling, asks obvious, seemingly rhetoric questions but still expects answers (examples forthcoming), conservatism in Ďextra curricularí activities. (This got misconstrued, but worked out ok anyhow. I meant bedroom aerobics, but let it extend to all Ďcouples activitiesí (to avoid conflict dontcha know))

We bantered back & forth about these, got them aired out some and had fun with it. I donít think feelings were hurt, areas needing work were identified, and we burned up a good 40 minutes of our meeting going over it all. Definitely not a waste of time. We have more homework too. We both did a sensory sensitivity survey. Annette is expecting us to grade out to different ends of that spectrum. Sheís thinking Cindy might be slightly overly sensitive to external stimuli while I may require extra stimulus just to stay interested in or even notice things. (Itís a guy thing). I canít disagree with that assessment Ė and it leads to the defense of my absent-ness. Usually, when I get accused of this absent-minded-professorness, itís because Iím involved in something. Reading a book, doing a crossword, even intently watching something on TV. Regardless, Iíll be doing something that requires concentration. Cindy will call my name, asking me to take a look at something, or offer up an opinion on something, or listen to something she wants to read from the paper or a magazine and I may not respond. Because Iím concentrating on something else and donít really want to divert my attention at that specific moment in time. Iíd like to finish a paragraph, wait for a commercial, or finish writing letters in little squares before I declare my life long dedication to some particular fucking shade of burnt red to be used in the living room. (or some other such critical-to-life type decision)

Cindyís example of this phenomenon was how I could sit and read a book while the boys were carrying on an argument that evolved into an angry wrestling match not 3 feet from where I was. My defense? There was no bloodshed, no missing or loose body parts. I grew up in a house of all boys. This is how things are settled. If it gets serious, Iíll react. Till then Ė let Ďem work it out. Thatís how it is.

Iím sure similar dynamics exist in relationships all over. Itís just the way people handle those dynamics that make each relationship a little different from the next.

Speaking of relationships, and I was, I am just now getting back from my very own one-on-one with Annette. The same Annette that is our couples therapist. Bit of a conflict for me there, but in the long run, I think sheíll help to keep me on the straight & narrow. Like how I actually (foolishly?) admitted to her that Ms. CL has still been contacting me, even though last week we agreed that we had to put an end to things. It hasnít been every day, quite, but there has been contact. From her end. Weíve agreed that #1 - I need to tell Cindy that Ms. CL is still initiating contact and #2 - Iím earnestly working to terminate that contact, to the point of flat out ignoring those advances. Thereís also one (big) red flag about Ms. CL that bugs Annette (Circe will recognize this one too) and that is that she left her daughters behind. Circeís argument (and Annetteís) is that no matter how bad, hard, difficult or impossible a situation seems to be, a mother will always take her kids with her, regardless of school, money, housing, floods, locusts, what ever. If the mother believes she is leaving a bad situation, she takes the kids. Annette feels that thereís a little more to the story there than IĎve been told and she fears it may reflect poorly on Ms. CL. Another reason to be sure and terminate.

On to happier news. Actally, I need to do a little work on that happier news first. Lets just say that perhaps as soon as tomorrow there will be a significant announcement. A happy announcement. An announcement I will be thrilled to make, but first, I gotta prepare properly. Pictures people, I need pictures.

Speaking of pictures, hereís one of a new fangled scarecrow I found in the veggie garden one fine day last month.

I think this guy would scare crows, chipmunks, maybe woodchucks even. Since we live on the southern shore of Lake Ontario (ok, 15 miles south, but still . . .) we get loads of raptors like this coming through every spring & fall on their migration route. Since the lake is a wee bit too large to cross in one shot, the birds tend to congregate at the shore and work their way around rather than trying the straight shot across. At least the smart ones do. Not sure what kind of hawk this is, or if maybe itís a peregrine falcon even (we get them nesting on the Kodak Tower every year Ė check out links to the Kodak Bird cam)

Bowling tonight. Canít wait. Again. Threw one horrible game last week, but the other two showed real promise. (196 & 222 scores get me a little excited!!) If I can just eliminate that one bad game . . .

If I remember, Iíll search for the pictures I need tonight. Then I can do up tomorrowís big announcement. Itís very, very cool news. Canít wait to share.

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old habits - new tricks