sans ruth

I originally asked for enough child support for Othello’s groceries. Zelda did her thing, and, in the end, irritated my lawyer enough that she stepped up and requested the court award support in accordance with normal guidelines, backdated to the date of filing — more than double what I’d asked for.

That hasn’t been paid. I’ve been … all right with that. Zelda will view her non-compliance as an axe I hold over her, and will behave as her fear dictates. She has, in fact, been very quiet. That should make me very pleased; quiet & absent is the best she’s been for years.

And yet. I rousted myself from the warmth and comfort of my willful inertia, took me down to the DA’s office, and spent hours filling out the stack of papers necessary to forcibly collect the monies. Othello’s education is going to require more cash than I will be able to muster. I know I will need outside assistance to get him there.

I could ask her to help. Then I could have the conversation with her that would include the sparring and recriminations. Then we could spend some weeks or months going back and forth over who should be doing what in exchange for what was or wasn’t done over the last 20 years. And in the end, I would file the papers and stage the collections or bend and tell Othello that he will not be graduating, he will need to find a no-money way to get on with his life.

I knew where this would go. So I agonized for most of a year and wrote endless journal entries, wept with remorse over … no, I didn’t. I just quietly got on with the paperwork.

Working gently together has never worked for Zelda and I. Politeness has only worked to my detriment between Zelda and I. So, the paperwork.

Then days on end of breast-beating for my sin of doing what I felt was appropriate but didn’t like doing.


*** *** ***

Jumping sidewise to another track, Bridgette has been stacking up the Ridiculous Task List for this year. She dreams big, I like the dreams or modify them, then we strive and fall short of achieving anything meaningful in those directions, but spend much time and effort in our failure.

This year, as she notes (for instance) that she would like the property uprooted and turned 90 degrees to enlarge our Eastern exposure, I (smilingly) say, “no.”


Scott Shanks, professional wimp, years of experience in bowing to whatever wind is blowing nearest and overextending himself, said “no”, and expanded on that with an explanation of priorities of work and reasonable expectation of energies and time available.


*** *** ***

I appear to have found some modicum of spine. Something that, suddenly, makes it all right for me to shield myself from foolish exposure to the sometimes malicious whims of others — even my wife. I just don’t know how else to read the results.

13 thoughts on “sans ruth”

    1. Thank you. (Also, you’re welcome! I’m mildly appalled that it took a year to actually purchase the damned thing…and that it took multiple tries through Amazon to utterly fail to gift wrap it.

      (I will, of course, need to borrow that.)

    1. *hands near collar bones, palms up, brows raised*

      But why the step function? Not that I’m complaining, mind you, but…odd.

  1. Bravo on both counts!

    I know how difficult it is to run counter to your training and just do what you feel needs to be done. Often it feels wrong. If it does turn out to be a mistake, then oh well, it’s your mistake. We all make them; it is how we deal with the mistakes that matters.

    1. *beams*

      You and I will have to form a club, or a support group or…something. We can cluster ’round and smile and nod and agree fully and break ourselves against the jagged rocks of Reality as we try to accept, support, and attain Impossible Goals for Foolish Notions.

      Er. Or perhaps we can just congratulate one anothe on getting so much better than we were. Yeah, that.

  2. Well if you are too lazy to enlarge your Eastern exposure (a magnificent view, as you know) then you could (whining) “at least” expand your porch and strengthen it.

    …and maybe equip it with flotation devices.

    I am not sure I believe in gradual change.

    1. In fact, the porch will be strengthened and strengthening by mid-summer, and quickening to the souls of those who dwell thereon. Floatation devices will, in a fit of optimism, be left out.

      I think that internal changes are the product of gradually changing pressures. Behavioral changes are a product of internal changes. There are threshholds of change that may cause the appearance of abrupt change, but the underlying forces build gradually.

      O’course, if we are measuring changes solely on behavior and entirely discounting the internal landscape on which the behaviors are predicated, then you are utterly correct; all change would, then, be abrupt.

      1. Great, I’ll play Gould to your Ernst Mayer (hoping I remember Mayer’s viewpoint correctly).

        I do think the behaviorists have a good point, to change to a more accurate metaphor. Actually that’s not a metaphor, is it?

        1. No, behaviorist’s points are almost always used as punishment, and are solid and quite sharp. Mean behaviorists.

          Actually, Bridgette is a behaviorist, and trains by positive reinforcement. She’s quite good at it, too. Frighteningly.

        2. Hrm. I’m not certain that I am willing to posit that emotional/behavioral evolution and biological evolution are sufficiently analogous to permit Gould & Mayr into the discussion.

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