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Calling Time

I’m Calling Time.

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AS this is my very first post on my very first blog, you will excuse the presentation (I have no idea what I’m doing!).

This is an idea I have been toying with recently, after searching for other people’s stories and experiences on this subject and finding none (again, I have no idea what I’m doing!). Therefore, I have decided to write own and one day someone else may come across it and find it helpful.

And so I begin.

I am married to a man who has a drink problem.

I’ll refer to him as J.

I would like to say he is an alcoholic but I’m not sure-the lines are blurry.  When does someone who drinks too much become classed as an alcoholic? How much does someone have to drink each day to be classed as an alcoholic?  How often does someone have to drink to excess to be classed as an alcoholic?

It’s early evening. He is out cold on the sofa, still dressed in his interview suit. He walked in less than an hour ago smelling of booze but firmly denied having had anything to drink.

Our kids just carry on with their business around him, one watching TV and one on social media. This is nothing new to them, it’s just how things are in our family.

At this point it is essential to add that he is not a violent man, he loves them dearly and would never intentionally harm them. Unintentionally-well that’s another story for another time.

We are all tired, we were woken past midnight when my husband’s friend called to me from hour hallway having carried him home from the pub.  As I went downstairs   I could see blood trickling down J’s cheek from below his ear. He was clinging to the end of the bannister, swaying and trying to stay upright.

Not unusual for a boys night out you might say-but his friend was almost in tears and clearly shocked at the state of J, swearing they’d only had three pints.

I love his friend to bits but I was glad he had finally seen the reality of J’s problem and I could see he was horrified.  I know the tricks, the hidden drinking, the masked breath, the acting sober. I’m hoping the friend will now understand why I’m divorcing J.

This blog is about moving forward, putting an end to this life of not being able to  control what comes through the door and what trouble may follow it.

I’m Calling Time.

 

Out of the mouths of babes.

It’s 5 weeks since my husband moved out.

We’ve seen him briefly on only a few occasions, as we pick up or drop off  things between the two homes.

So far he has not made any attempt to spend time with my youngest. That suits me because I know she is safer in my care but I also know that, despite everything, he is her father and it is important for her to continue to have a relationship with him.

Ive bought her a phone for her birthday, earlier in her life than I had planned to. She was thrilled to bits, she chats to her friends and her sister who is away at Uni, sends me messages filled with love hearts and photos of the two of us. She thinks it’s because she’s ready to have one and because all her friends have one.

Really, I bought it so she can contact me if she needs me. It gives me peace of mind.

My daughter and I went round to his house recently with some of his belongings; the door was unlocked but chained. We knocked and called out but he didn’t respond.

I lied of course and said he was probably asleep or in the bath and couldn’t hear us but my daughter said no, he’d looked at her through the window as we came up the street. They’d looked at each other.

Before school started again he made a big deal about having her round for a day and watching films with her.

As the day approached he didn’t ring to make arrangements and he didn’t turn up for her on the morning.

She just said “He’s not bothered is he Mummy?”

That simple sentence broke my heart.

No, he isn’t bothered.

I’m calling Time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balm for the soul.

It’s early in the morning and I can hear the world outside awakening.

As I sit here writing this I’m alone in my new bed, bedding and decorated room.

It’s marvellous.

I feel a sense of calm and contentment.

If  only I could go back in time by a couple of years and bring some of this to the me of then. The me who was living in daily despair; the me worrying about trouble coming to knock on the door; the worthless doormat my husband wiped his feet on as he stumbled and staggered over the threshold; the me who wasn’t me at all.

I’d give myself a big hug, sit myself down and tell myself not to wait the 8 months between first taking legal advice and beginning divorce proceedings; that it was going to be a long and difficult path ahead of me which was full of obstacles trying to bar my way but that I would grow on that journey into the woman I am today; that he would not change and there was no point waiting in hope that he would; that life is too short to be unhappy with your situation; that one day it would come good.

I asked him over this week to discuss some financial details before our divorce is finalised in court. I thought that in the few weeks he has been alone he would contemplate and reflect on his behaviour, what he has lost and he would be ready to move forward amicably and maturely. I hoped that we could salvage some kind of friendship out of  the tattered remains of our marriage, both for the children’s sake and because of all the years we have shared our lives.

He arrived drunk.

He sat smirking at me the whole time.

I asked him to leave.

That felt good.

I’m calling Time

 

 

All change….

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been slowly transforming the bedroom my husband has recently vacated into a smart, welcoming and plain lovely, new girl pad.

When he first went I looked at it in despair. It hadn’t been vacuumed since I moved out of it well over a year and a half ago; there was debris all over the room which he just walked out and left for me to clear up: rotting scabs from his gammy legs; stale food, bags full of papers he’d never again look at but would never let me throw away; soiled plasters and wound dressings; plastic bags, boxes and receipts from long ago purchases; clothing and shoes he would find an excuse to come back for or just didn’t want; ominous looking stains on the carpet and finally a mattress so soiled I wouldn’t allow a stray dog to sleep on it.

And dust.

So much dust.

Symbolic of the layer which had settled on our marriage and on my life,  building over a long period of time and just waiting for me to come and wipe it all away, revealing the fresh, clean new me.

The old me.

Ironically, the only thing he didn’t leave behind were his empties, no bottles or cans rolling around under the bed or in the bedside cabinet.

It took me three days to vacuum the carpet. This I had to do it in stages because it was so bad it set off my dust allergy and made me ill.  I don’t know how he was able to sleep in there.

Phase 1 complete, I set about stripping the wardrobes of all his remaining belongings; washing them down and refilling them with my own things, discarding to the charity bag anything which no longer gives me pleasure.

In two day I repainted with walls with carefully selected colours in blush tones (what would I do without Pinterest?). Light and airy, I have a pale canvass on which to build my dream room.

My daughter and I spent fun times in various bed shops, rolling around on mattresses grading them for comfort, firmness and cost and the chosen one arrives tomorrow.

Today is payday (thankfully) so I’m heading into Town for a new duvet, bedding, pillows, curtains and a crystal light pendant. I’m planning fairy lights and flowers to wrap around my bed frame and beautiful artwork or wall hangings to dress the walls.  They say the devil’s in the detail, in this instance it’s the pleasure that’s in the detail.

Giddy with head spinning excitement,  I can’t wait till it’s all together and I can spend my first solo night in there after so long. The first of many happy nights to come.

Im still waiting for the Decree Absolute but I’m finally feeling that I’m moving on.

It’s all about me now.

I’m calling Time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On and on…

And so it continues.

Ive had my locks changed.  This is my home and I say who comes in and out.

J asked if he could come round last night.

Correction: he told me he was coming round last night.

I had friends coming so asked him not to. He came anyway.

Drove to my house drunk and caused a scene.

I had family there to support me and he left without getting in.

He rang me a few times after but could hardly put two words together he was so drunk.

I’m usually tough but last night I felt vulnerable.

It’s not supposed to be like this.

I’m in a period of limbo until the divorce comes through, only then will I feel truly free. It should only be a few more weeks.

Im calling Time.

 

 

 

 

 

Trust issues.

So we are back from our week away, my littlest chick and I and what a lovely time we have had. It was hot, hot, hot as Europe sat clutched in the grip of a heatwave and we made the most of it before our return to the cold, wet UK.

I wasn’t at all concerned about travelling alone with my child, I rather enjoyed it, to be able to completely relax with out constantly looking over my shoulder as with previous holidays.

Just her and I, doing what we wanted. Being happy and having fun. Fun in the sea, fun in the pool, fun on the sand, fun at the evening entertainment show, fun by just lying in the sun and reading book after book.

As I sat on the beach and watched her running carefree into the waves it struck me that this little girl has complete and absolute trust in me. She knew that we would be fine, just her and I, in this foreign country, that I had all the bases covered and she was free to enjoy herself without any worries. No fretting about how we could cope alone because that is how I have raised my girls, alone. She has trust in her mother.

Meanwhile, back home things were a little more difficult.

I hadn’t told my husband that we were going away. It would have caused a whole host of complications which I just didn’t need.  Naively, I thought that once he’d moved out, just 2 days before we set off, my home would be my own and would be safe from accidental or purposeful damage, whilst I was away.

Wrong.

On finding us missing he bombarded me, my family and friends with messages for me to get in touch. Just to be clear, this wasn’t to check that we were ok or to ask when he could see our daughter, it was to find out where we were and what he was missing out on.

He spent most of his free time in my home doing his laundry, watching TV, sleeping, cooking , drinking.  Especially drinking.  Probably with every light on all night just to spite me.

My sister came every day to check my home and found him here most days. But still she messaged me everyday to reassure me my home was OK. She had my back as sisters do and I’m so thankful to her. I have trust in my family.

He rang my friend who he thought I’d gone to stay with (who was actually on holiday abroad herself) looking for me. She realised straight away and made up an excuse as to why I couldn’t come to the phone. I have trust in my friends.

On my return from holiday in the middle of the night, I found him laid on my (urine soaked) sofa in his dressing gown, his dirty and smelly work clothes scattered around my furniture,  grinning from ear to ear like the Cheshire Cat. Wine bottles and beer cans fulling my recycling bin. He was soon sent packing.

I have no trust in him to move on or to accept that our relationship is over. I have no trust in him to treat me, our children or our home with respect.  I have no trust in him to sort himself out and try to control his drinking.

And so I am having the locks changed. I have no trust that he won’t come round and let himself in and abuse my home again. I’ve spent the two days since my return cleaning and clearing my house of him.  My home.

I should have done it years ago.

I’m calling Time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almost there.

He has gone.

This morning, I cleaned his new house and this afternoon he moved in.

Even after everything he put me through, I feel sad. I feel guilty. I feel I have done a bad thing.

I know this is for the best, that from this point on my girls and I are secure in our future and that I have given chance after chance after chance.

As a Catholic I am meant to forgive, offer up my suffering and put up with whatever life throws at me but I just can’t.

This is the first day of the rest of my life.

I wish him well.

I’m calling Time.

 

 

 

 

 

Mummy mode.

The day he finally moves out is approaching.  His house purchase completed a week ago yet he is still here.  This is my fault because I am too soft. He has the house but it contains no furniture, no crockery, no TV, no bed, no electrical devices, not even a pair of curtains.

A team of friends has been drafted to move all these things in for him on Sunday, his next day off work. I have offered to go and clean it today so that it is ready to move in to.  I have two motives for this.

Firstly, to speed the process along, once cleaned I can start to fill it with his stuff that is cluttering up my home, the home I am desperate to  reclaim for myself and my girls.

Secondly, because my youngest will be spending time there -until the novelty and restrictions of parenting wears off for him -and I want it to be a safe place for her.

There is another reason.  He is my third child. I’m only doing what I would do for any of my other children.

After close to 30 years together I feel I owe him this. As angry, upset, frustrated and desperate as he has made me feel I want to see him settled in a clean, tidy, healthy and organised environment.

After close to 30 years together I’m his Mummy, not his wife.

Happily and without any reservations, he has handed me the key to his new home so I can go sort it before he moves in.

Thats me: the Sorter.

I don’t give myself enough credit.  It shocks me that I’m in my mid 40s, I feel 16 in my head and I often view difficult tasks with trepidation; I’m overwhelmed and doubt myself before really thinking things through. I see my faults rather than my qualities.

When she was about my age, my Mum said to me that she felt like a child playing house. That surprised me, she was the most amazing woman, a sorter like me.  She was our mother, the iron rod holding up our family, there wasn’t anything she couldn’t do. It’s only now I understand how she felt.

In Mummy mode it’s easier to get a grip on situations, to be the sorter, to be level headed and wise and to deal with whatever is being thrown at you.  You are the one they look to to “sort it”-and you do.

It helps that I am the eldest of three sisters and in the absence of our late and much loved and missed mother, I am the one in charge, the one they come to, the top of the tree, the confidant, the decision maker, the carer, the problem solver, the lover, the giver, the dryer of tears and the comforter.

No, I really don’t give myself enough credit. I’ve been on a long journey to get to this point and I’ve carried heavy load.  I’ve carried it alone.

I am a strong, wise, respected and accomplished woman.

I am a Lady.

I am a Queen.

I need to remember that.

My husband is suggesting that after moving in to his new house on Sunday he will still be living here in my house, part time, until his TV is connected.

I think not.

Mummy to my manchild no more.

I’m cutting the cord.

I’m dropping the load.

I’m calling Time.