This week has been filled with some weird obstacles and semi-frustrating challenges much of which has left me somewhat scratching my head. My husband has been relatively in a good mood, much of which I am not sure how to (a.) react to (b) makes me feel suspicious of him and then (c) has me somewhat torn inside because I know any minute he is going to blow. I really hate that we get so used to having our Veterans in bad moods that when they do come, we really don't know how to accept the good stuff. I know my ex-therapist would probably have a book he would tell me to read or maybe tell me to just enjoy it. Easier said than done. However, I know my "PTSD Pod Person" like the back of my hand. Some of the time, yes, the "beast" throws me a curve ball. Overall though? I somewhat have him figured out. Usually when the good moods hit, he has done something or wants something as he can be very manipulating when he wants to be. It's been that way since 2007. I probably really need to talk to someone new about my issues now. I know I am not crazy, but he sure has given me one hell of a good start!
The OCD I had mentioned previously has been in full force with such ferocity that he isn't able to focus on much else. This is what frustrates me because he can be so obsessed about a fishing rod that he wanted to submit for competition through Project Healing Waters, yet leaves his socks and underwear on the floor or other tasks unattended to. He will literally walk on top of this dirty clothes, not listen, not focus or have any attention on any other matters. He focuses solely on one thing until it's done and is pretty much all he can talk about. We can be talking about upcoming projects or the kids, then out of the blue...he has the look on his face. I ask "What's wrong?" He replies "Oh I was just thinking about that string that has come undone on my rod and if I will be able to finish it before Tuesday".
I am sure as family members, you can probably understand the term "deflate" when you realize then he hasn't heard one single thing you have said. Little things like that I should be used to by now, but with the fifth year in bringing new issues and other problems....things like this really bother me and slightly hurt. The other issue that I am seeing is the conflict of OCD fighting it out with the lack of focus, attention and of course, frustration. This can become a challenging battlefield to walk across with my Veteran and one that must be tread lightly upon. He finally finished his rod to turn in today which I am relieved over. I am extremely proud of his efforts and all the attention he put into it as it is indeed a beautiful piece of work. However, I will not miss the ranting and raving over one little tiny place that even the sharp eyes of our children couldn't see. I do regret all the attention he spent on it and such focus, that he forgot about his family.
"Keeping up with the Jones'" has become another challenge here as of late. It has been with good humor and out of love in the past for our elderly neighbors, to joke about who is mowing first. Now you must realize that we live out in moo-cow town with only three houses near by. We are sandwiched in between two elderly Veterans, one with PTSD as well. Bright and early with the roosters crowing (literally) you hear the lawn mowers begin. Since the Spring has come early and with warmer weather, the grass of course has taken on the attention of the men folk in our area. One neighbor mows, then maybe a few hours pass, the next neighbor mows. That creates a domino affect in which all of us then must mow so all of our yards are completely mowed. It is with deep concern that they then all convene and discuss mower issues, the latest John Deere mower parts or products and what should be the correct length in grass to be cut.
Now our elderly neighbors have tons of time on their hands and mowing, well seems to keep them preoccupied. I honestly wonder by Summer how it is they have grass at all. My husband and I just mowed and since the building of this house, we are still attempting to get grass growing in the back yard in some bare areas where the construction equipment laid. The yard looked great to me but when the firing of the motors began, my husband was itching. It started by him peering out the window shades every five minutes. He talked about the grass for four hours that day, debating why we shouldn't go out in the middle of an afternoon thunderstorm so our yard is just as mowed as the others. Don't get me started on the topic of dandelions.
I have to admit. I was kind of pissed. I really at this moment wanted to rattle his teeth, drive him out in the middle of nowhere and leave him, or maybe just walk away. I don't know why this bothered me so badly but damn, I have SO much to do here and trying to tackle it all on my own. I am tired, still fighting staph infection and trying to get things caught up and done. I guess I wished that focus was split up on other things than just the stupid yard or a fly fishing rod. I in the end, lost the battle and we mowed the yard anyway. It's like watching NASCAR racing on lawn mowers here and sometimes I just want to say "you know what? Screw the yard". I know its been hard on him being considered disabled and not allowed/able to work anymore so am trying very hard with my patience...but days like this can be the ones that make you cry and wish things were normal again. Days where he becomes frantic in motions, words and thoughts are the days that remind you how much you miss your "real" husband. Since getting the letter stating he was now 100% permanent and total, little things like this have turned into really big problems for him.
The next challenge we have had to face is dum dum duuuuummmm.....family vacation. Yes, the Mistress is about to embark on her family's first vacation together. An anonymous donor wanted to give two caregivers who were burned out (don't ask me how they know. I must really look bad these days) in our local area a weeks long vacation in Orlando, FL with all expenses paid. I am super excited for my children, super thrilled that we get to go...but damn, what am I getting myself into? The point of this is to relieve the tension and stress of the Caregiver. Yeah, go ahead and snicker while you ponder on that for a minute. 11 hours and 15 minutes will be the drive. The mileage is 666 miles (going to have to change that somehow), and then add in a paranoid, OCD, severe PTSD Veteran in the car with three kids and a service dog not to mention the "extremely burned out Caregiver" leading the crew. To me, its a recipe for disaster just because all the above mentioned but we are going to attempt it anyway. I am more worried about taking my husband than I am my small children and pre-teen. We won't be doing the big theme parks but decided to hit Lego Land as we are all fans, and Sea World through the week, ending with a ride up to Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral . I am hoping that my husband can behave and not ruin it. I hate to say that, but God, my children and I need this soooo badly. Every moment, every holiday, every good time, every laugh the kids mention "well until dad blew up" or "well, it was fun til dad screwed it up". For once, I really want this to go well and can only hope that my husband realizes this will probably be our first and only vacation with our children. He has missed so much already.
I want to wallow in their pleasure of seeing Sea World. I want to bathe in the sunshine and in their laughter. I want to see my husband in the pool with my kids and well, just be happy. Just once without any spells or incidents. With this trip, it has brought on more paranoid thoughts from him of leaving the house, people breaking in, tornadoes, more than likely the yard not being mowed for a week, and then of course the complete lack of focus on what needs to be done before we take this trip. I have had to pay bills, do a home visit by the VA, still have to get to the store, pick up medicines, pack for a family of five, make arrangements for my other little dog, lock up the house, clean and get the car ready. Then we must make sure all is packed, no one is going to kill each other in the car and making sure we have the FL VA information before we go just in case. All I can think of is "Please God...don't let us be the family that gets escorted out by Sea World Security" although that would make a hell of a blog wouldn't it? I am going to have faith though in him and try to be patient. With this trip, I have planned stops, breaks and plenty of down time as not to overwhelm him. So we are just going to have to see how it goes. I will be happy with a grumpy person than one who is constantly talking about what could go wrong for almost 12 hours.
This is the count down week as we go on Saturday and of course, the Army decides after four years...to start sending us paperwork to fill out for the PEB. I laughed out loud when I read the "I need this back in 2-5 business days". Readers, I have to tell you that I really wanted to email him back and say "I will get this completed in the next four years like you have made us wait. Get in Line buddy and take a number". With the lack of focus on my husband's part, every bit of this has me stressed out and already wore out...we haven't even left yet.
The PEB paperwork has me pretty scared especially since once reviewing carefully, this smart cookie figured out they had it all screwed up. I was nice enough to let our PEBLO know that I can be a thorn in someone's side and will ask a lot of questions after he sounded miffed that I called out the mistakes. Hey, he can't fault me for being honest but I realized this week you have got to stand up, not be afraid to confront and ask a lot of questions because they will screw you in a heartbeat. Now that our PEBLO and I are on a mutual understanding, I am freaking out a little because I don't know what I am doing at this point. It's easy to be firm, question and then confirm answers...but really kind of not sure of yourself on the inside. Paperwork was fixed but now its more confusing than it was before. I am to the point of turning off the computer and just waiting until I get back from our trip.
So with all that, I must close this post out and do some gathering for suitcases. I always tell myself that we will get things done ahead of time and this once, I was bound and determined to do it. The biggest obstacle right now preventing me from doing it is my husband and his cooperation. Am keeping positive thoughts in my head, fighting out the questionable and the "yeah right" thoughts of his "I really want to go" and just this once? I am going to not worry about the damn yard. See you all in a little over a week as this Mistress will be reporting how it all went!
I am really not going to rattle his teeth or drive him out to the middle of nowhere and leave him,