home, love, narcissists, relationships, TV

“I know he loves me… but…” (it’s not enough)

Happy Thursday, everybody. I’ve been waiting all week for today. It should be the last day of the home invasion. Once they’re out of my house, I can clean up the last of the mess and get back to a somewhat normal life. Tomorrow, we’ll be visited by a carpenter who will do some minor work, and then I can go back to being my usual, cheerful, plucky self, free to pursue all manner of happiness and spiritual fulfillment. Edited to add… I caught the invaders sitting outside with their feet up on my outside chairs, today. Maybe I should have learned a trade instead of going to college. Clearly, they aren’t expected to be professional or have basic manners when they work.

I’m being silly, of course. I’ll always have a gripe about something. It’s my nature. 😀 But, there’s one area where I have few complaints, and that would be in my choice of spouses. I truly adore my husband. No, he’s not perfect, but he’s pretty damned excellent. I often can’t believe how very fortunate we were to find each other. But I know I’ve mentioned it plenty of times in this blog, so I won’t go on with that topic today. There ain’t no need for that.

Today, I want to write about Ex. It’s been awhile since I last upbraided her, and we’re long overdue… and besides, writing about her will keep me from complaining about the window guys. I do know they’re working hard, and they do good work. I just get freaked out by strangers in my territory who step on boundaries. In that manner, I’m not unlike our recently departed beagle mix, Arran… however, I do manage to do my business where it belongs. The hot weather this week is reminding me that Arran never was the best at peeing outside.

Ex was recently on Twitter, posting once again about the wonders of Outlander, and its male star, Sam Heughan. Someone had uploaded a clip of the show, gushing about how romantic and beautiful it was. I didn’t watch the scene myself, because I don’t follow that show. However, I did take note of Ex’s comment, which was this:

“To have hubby stroke my face and love me with his eyes just like that… would be a dream come true! I know he loves me… but this is just pure tenderness and genuine intimacy!!!”

Mmm’kay… Now, I don’t pretend to know how deep the love and commitment levels are between Ex and #3. I’ve heard stories, though… and I kinda doubt that what they have is a love match. Whatever. That’s between the two of them. What I do want to comment on, however, is Ex’s tweet about a clip from the show, Outlander, and her declaration that her real life husband loves her… but what she’s seeing on a television show is “genuine intimacy”. She declares that she wants what she sees on TV, claiming that’s “genuine intimacy”, but the man who has, in real life, spent 21 years with her, dealing with her many, many financial, emotional, and mental health issues, does not show her his love in the way she wishes he would.

An appropriate song by The Who… “It’s Not Enough”. Nothing will ever be enough for Ex.

The above comment Ex publicly made to the masses on Twitter– expressing starry eyed admiration and appreciation for an actor’s depiction of “genuine intimacy”– is very familiar to me. You see, I’m married to Ex’s second husband, and he’s told me many stories about how nothing he did for her was ever enough. She was never satisfied with his efforts to please her, and, in fact, her requirements for happiness would change on a daily basis.

I’ve mentioned before that when she was married to Bill, Ex used music, books, and movies to try to “train” him on how to behave in the approved way. She weaponized other people’s creative pursuits in an attempt to mold her spouse into her perfect partner. Because Bill is neither an actor, nor perfect, he inevitably failed. Add the pressure of performing to Ex’s standards to the stress of working, paying the bills, raising the kids, and just basically living life, and you have an untenable situation. I wasn’t there when this was going on, but I can imagine that it must have been very, very stressful and difficult.

Ex often pontificates about who she wants her perfect partner to be and how she wants him to behave. Based on what I’ve seen– her choices in movies, books, TV shows, and music– Ex wants a sensitive, romantic, kind, caring man toward her, who is also strong, sexy, edgy, handsome, hard working with a large paycheck, but having plenty of time to lavish attention on her… until she gets tired of his attention and wants to be left alone. Then, if he doesn’t immediately turn off and go away, he’s “abusive”.

She wants a man who will be tough and rugged, with an exciting edge in the bedroom expertly mixed with tenderness and sweetness. But he can never threaten her in ANY way. He can be strong and edgy, but only to the exact point at which she still feels comfortable and safe. Beyond that, he’s an “abusive bastard”, and she will find some way to punish him. And that point of when she feels safe enough, from what I’ve seen and heard, changes daily with Ex’s moods.

In order to be Ex’s perfect husband, her partner has to be a great performer in all ways… but especially in acting. He must be Oscar worthy… but he can’t have ever actually won an Oscar, or any other award, because that would threaten Ex. She doesn’t like it when people around her overachieve or otherwise show her up in some way. She wants the trophy husband, but he can’t have any trophies… and he can’t be disloyal in any way, although she will proudly try to show him off, even as she cuts him down on a daily basis.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Ex considers a scene on a fiction TV show to be an example of “genuine intimacy”. I don’t think she’s ever actually seen or experienced anything akin to genuine intimacy. She just knows what she’s seen depicted on the big screen. Bill told me that he often tried to behave in ways that he thought Ex would appreciate. Sometimes he would get it right and she’d praise him, even effusively so. More often than not, he would somehow fall short in some way, and she’d be disappointed and try to punish him. Or she’d get a hair up her ass and decide to offer him a “training session” on how he should behave, using a song like “Have You Really Loved a Woman” by Bryan Adams to make her point. UGH… I’m sure #3 has suffered similarly, only with scenes from Outlander as Ex’s muse.

Acting is basically the process of presenting a false image in a convincing way. Acting is the opposite of “genuine”. For something to be genuine, it has to be real. Great actors cause people to believe something is real when it’s not. So how can a televised love scene between two people on TV be called “genuine intimacy”? I doubt Ex has ever really stopped to consider this point. In fact, it seems to me that she’d like for real life to be like it is on TV or in the movies. And as I write that, I actually feel a little sad for her… because it means that off screen reality can never be enough for her. Since real life will never be enough for her, Ex can never be contented with what she still has.

Yesterday, younger daughter told us about her middle child’s reaction to the birthday gift we recently sent to her. A couple of months ago, we sent the kids little gifts we picked up when we visited Hohenzollern Castle near Stuttgart. While we were visiting the gift shop, I noticed a “princess dress”. It was purple and white and had a metal hoop in it that made the dress splay out voluminously. She loved the dress. So, although I kind of hesitate to push the “princess” persona on girls, I decided to send her a little purple tiara for her birthday, along with a new copy of a book I had loved when I was a kid (the main character was a princess who finds a unicorn who needs her help).

Younger daughter said that when her daughter received the present, a couple of days after her actual birthday, her face lit up with joy. She and her siblings, like Bill and I, had been suffering from a cold. But she overcame the heaviness of the cold and said, “For me?!” There was no video to prove it, but it sounds like she was truly grateful for what she had received. It was “enough”!

I’ve been with Bill for going on 21 years myself. I’ve seen him “love me with his eyes” plenty of times. The first time I really noticed it was when we got our wedding photos. The photographer, who was a little eccentric, had snapped a picture of Bill listening to me sing. It wasn’t even a particularly good performance, as my nervousness that day had cursed me with a cough and the constant need to clear my throat. Nevertheless, the photographer had captured the look of sincere love and appreciation in his eyes, along with my late Aunt Betty resting her head on Bill’s shoulder with her eyes closed. I’ve seen that look of genuine love from Bill many times over the years. All it takes to receive it is a dose of reciprocal love, regard, and appreciation from me.

Granted, our relationship is different than Ex’s was when she was married to Bill. Bill and I are simply a better match on all levels. The fact that I’m more compatible with Bill than she was isn’t Ex’s fault. But I know Bill, and I know she complained about him not giving her enough love and attention. I know she wasn’t satisfied with anything he tried to do to make her believe that he loved her and was committed to making her happy.

I don’t like #3 at all, but I have some compassion for his situation. It’s an impossible thing to try to do, appeasing Ex’s bottomless pit of need for unconditional positive love, regard, adoration, and what she thinks is “genuine intimacy”. To unlock that achievement is to do the impossible. She lacks the skill– the concept– of being contented and satisfied with what she has, and the efforts other people make to please her.

Maybe it’s time someone used music to “teach” Ex a thing or two…

Here are the lyrics to “It’s Not Enough” by The Who…

It’s not enough
Whatever you give

A little bit more
You always need
A little more man
A little more seed

It’s not enough
It’s not enough
Whatever I give
It’s never enough

I gave you cash
I gave you love
All that I heard
Was “It’s Not Enough”

I work so hard
It gets so tough
Whatever I give
Never feels like enough
It’s not enough
It’s not enough
Whatever I give
It’s never enough

When I’m on my knees
I keep taking your stuff
Make sure that you know
It’s never enough

You said you’d go as far
As to turn to my friend
Who once warned me of you
Said you’d hasten my end
Because I have lent
Every ounce of my juice
My essence is spent

You’ll always want
A little more pink
I’ll always need
A little more ink

It’s not enough
It’s not enough
Whatever I give
It’s never enough

However I praise
However I puff
Though you may smile
It won’t be enough

Right at the end
When I start to bluff
An’ the lift’s going down
An’ I start acting tough

It’s not enough
It’s not enough
Whatever I give
It’s never enough

I’ll find someone else
To finish filling me up
I’ll smile and admit
You were never quite enough

Like Brigitte Bardot
In Godard’s Les Mepris
I can’t love you enough
To make you complete
You appear in my dreams
With some new courtier
You need me there to see
What you need to convey

It’s not enough
It’s not enough
Whatever I give
It’ll never be enough

No hysterical scene
You will never play rough
I’m the one who will scream
But it won’t be enough

It’s never enough
It’s never enough

It’s not enough
It’s not enough
Whatever I give
It’ll never be enough

I’ll never hold you
How can I scold you?

It’s not enough
It’s not enough
Whatever I give
It’ll never be enough

animals, housekeeping tips, pests

All of the creepy crawlies in our midst today…

A little mood music…

Today is Bill’s birthday. I woke up at 5:30 AM, having had a very vivid dream involving Bill, an 80s era luxury hotel in Switzerland, and fighting with weird people. The one thing I remember about the hotel in my dream is that it was very pleasing to us and dog friendly, and it had cool features like tunnels you could slide through to get to the next room. Maybe I’ve been reading too much about mass market cruise lines.

Anyway, that’s not really the focus of today’s post. Today, I want to focus on something I learned yesterday. It involves learning how to kill the creepy crawlies that have taken up residence in our wine/rain barrel in the backyard.

You may be wondering how I got into this disgusting mess. Here’s the story of how we came to acquire the wine barrel.

When we first moved into this house, back in late 2018, there was an old barrel in the backyard that was being used for rain collection. Previous tenants had built sort of a makeshift/IKEA’esque shelter on the patio. I could tell they made it, because no German would have put up something with such half-assed, shoddy workmanship. It’s still standing today, but you can tell it’s sort of “jerry-rigged”. Anyway, the previous tenants went as far as to design a sort of drainage system on the shelter, which connected to a pipe that ran into the old barrel.

Well, over the past few years, the old barrel basically disintegrated. It got so that it wouldn’t hold any water, but then it just fell apart. I was sad about the eyesore, which is still in the backyard, but I also liked having a rain barrel, because it made watering my plants easier. We don’t have a spigot in the backyard; one exists in the garage, but we also don’t have a hose. And I just liked the idea and look of the old barrel, when it was still functioning.

Still, I resisted replacing the barrel for a couple of years. I was afraid of the logistics of getting it into the backyard, and everything else that goes with having rain barrels. Then, during the spring of ’23, I got the urge to spruce up the backyard a bit. We spend a lot of time out there during the warmer months. I bought a barrel and we put it where the old one had been rotting. Click here to get to a post about the barrel when it was new. There, you can see a picture of the two barrels side by side. The new one is a vast improvement.

Slowly, I filled up the new barrel, either with rain water, or water from our kitchen tap. It smelled of wine, but I didn’t mind. I like the smell of wine. Then, as the weather got warmer, I started noticing certain critters taking up residence in the water. I expected there would be mosquitoes, but I hadn’t considered there would be worms with long, stringy tails. I watched them grow, trying to oust the ones I could see. Then we went on vacation for over two weeks.

When we got home the other day, I was horrified to see that the rain barrel had come alive with disgusting pests! So, I immediately went off to Google to see what I could do about the problem. I then found out that the worms were actually red tailed maggots– larvae of the drone fly! Eeeew! But according to Wikipedia, they do have a practical purpose. They can be used as fish bait.

In any case, I determined that useful or not, I didn’t want these pests living in my rain barrel. So I purchased some pills that were designed to target and kill mosquitoes. The product is a type of bacillus that makes the water uninhabitable for mosquitoes. When we used it the other day, it did have a noticeable effect on the mosquitoes. Most of the mature ones disappeared. I also noticed that a big spider had helpfully set up a web in the shelter put up by the last tenants.

Good , environmentally friendly method for getting rid of mosquitoes and such…

But… even though we were seeing significant progress, it wasn’t working fast enough to get rid of the pests. It also didn’t seem to be killing off the disgusting maggots in the wine barrel–which, by the way, we also often see in our trash cans during the summer. So last night, I took action again. Enter Dawn dishwashing liquid!

I swear, that stuff is a wonder drug. It’s great for cleaning dishes, but it also does a great job of cleaning everything else, especially when it’s paired with hydrogen-peroxide or baking soda. And, if you have maggots in your wine/rain barrel, it’ll very quickly and effectively take care of those little fuckers, too. Another solution is vegetable oil, which, like Dawn, ruins the surface tension on the water and makes it inhospitable to waterborne pests. I don’t like the idea of using oil, though.

I squeezed about a tablespoon of straight blue Dawn into the water. Not only did it help make the water smell less rancid, but last night, it also put an end to quite a few maggot lives. This morning, I found a whole bunch of them floating on top of the water. I spent several minutes fishing them out. I do have a cover for the barrel and will start covering it up, and/or invest in a fly screen, to prevent this infestation from happening again. Or, at least prevent such a severe infestation. Sheesh!

I’ve also finally started to drain the water for use in the garden, as it was originally intended. This article informs me that I can also get some fragrant plants that mosquitoes find unbearable. We already have a basil plant, but we can easily get other varieties that will also serve a purpose of proving herbs for foods and drinks.

I know many people would find having to cope with these pests pretty unbearable. I grew up around horses, so I’m pretty used to dealing with pesky insects, rodents, snakes, and arachnids. And while I don’t generally enjoy killing things, I do get some joy out of killing mosquitoes and flies, since they spread disease and filth. Mosquitoes are pretty much the most dangerous creature known to man.

I just went downstairs to turn on the dishwasher and noticed a big black bird in the backyard. I’m sure it found a ready feast of the maggots back there.

Since I’ve been living in Germany, I’ve learned all kinds of practical, environmentally friendly solutions to pest control problems. We also have ants in our house, because there are parts of the kitchen that need to be regrouted. I learned that a good way to repel them safely is to sprinkle cinnamon near where they live. It isn’t a perfect solution, but it does cut down on the number of them invading the house, and I don’t have to worry about Noyzi coming into contact with poison. Pretty soon, they’ll disappear again, as the weather gets colder.

I’ve also learned a good way of getting rid of slugs. Put out a bowl of beer, and they’ll crawl in, get drunk, and drown. But I hate to waste good beer on slugs, even though there’s a whole lot of it in Germany.

This is just another life form we’ve found in the yard… to include mice, marders, hedgehogs, bumblebees, and a large variety of insects and arachnids. My biology teachers would be so proud. 😉

I just threw some more detergent into the barrel. I’m fixing to order a fish net for aquariums. That will make it easier to scoop up the dead maggots as they inevitably meet doom. Mwhahaahahahaaha…

Well, on that note, I’m going to write another post and get to work on making that birthday cake for Bill… after I’ve washed up, of course!


We won’t get screwed again…

Okay… this song is “Won’t Get Fooled Again”… but the sentiment is the same.

As the last days until the election loom ahead, I’m feeling kind of hopeful. I feel this way, even though Germany has now ordered a new partial lockdown for the next month. Supposedly, this is being done to “save” Christmas. Christmas is a big deal in Deutschland. Unfortunately, this year most of the markets have been cancelled. Or, at least I haven’t heard of any going on.

The news of the partial lockdown means that our 18th wedding anniversary will not be spent in a hotel. Hotels and restaurants will be closed to anyone traveling for leisure purposes. Shops, schools, and churches will remain open, but no one can get their nails done. I guess I’ll have to clip Bill’s hair for him again. Good thing I got plenty of practice over the spring. He’ll be teleworking again, too.

All in all, I can’t complain too much. I don’t mind being locked down with Bill. At least we like being together. Thank God we managed to get down to Slovenia to get Noyzi, too. He’s a welcome addition to our home. Every day, I get to see his progress. He’s not the same dog he was on October 4th, when we picked him up in Kranjska Gora. He can now walk on the leash like a gentleman (most of the time, anyway). He does his business outside and often sits on command. He’s learned that the leash and harness aren’t torture devices, and he even had his very first bath in his whole life. He’s still a bit scared of Bill, but he’s getting better.

This is the truth!

I don’t know what the results of the election will be, but I did my part. Weeks ago, Bill and I both sent in straight blue tickets for Democrats. I’ve gotten some shitty comments from infantile men who are angry about my choices. I’ve gladly advised them to go fuck themselves. It’s been a lot of fun. Maybe Trump will win again, but I have hope that he won’t. I don’t love everything about Biden, but I think he’s got to be a better leader than Trump is. So I have hope that he will win…

I have to admit that I really enjoyed this op-ed in The Washington Post. Political analyst Philip Bump introduced me to the term “Trumpsplained”. Bump made me laugh as he wrote about how Trump hopes to appeal to suburban White women by telling them that he’s going to get their husbands back to work. Trump obviously isn’t living in the real world. He thinks it’s the 1950s. It’s been entertaining, infuriating, and downright scary to watch Trump’s increasing desperation to appeal to people he so obviously disdains. Some people still support him as rabidly as ever, but a whole lot of people are jumping ship.

And finally, it looks like a big pain in the ass that we have been dealing with for about two years is about to be resolved at long last. Justice was done. We learned a lot of valuable lessons. And now it looks like we will be able to close the book on this chapter very soon.

So I’m feeling alright today… hopeful for the future. Even if “Won’t Get Fooled Again” is a cynical song, the energy of it resonates with me today, even though it’s Thursday and that is when I do my least favorite chore. Got to get the vacuum cleaner out and suck up all the dog hair on the rugs…

And since we can’t go somewhere for our anniversary, maybe I’ll spend some money on something frivolous, like a lightweight cordless vacuum that I don’t have to haul up and down the steps. Or maybe I’ll buy an electric guitar. Or two… Why not? Since we’re going to be locked down, I’ll have more time to become a better guitar player. So will Bill.

Maybe I’ll even learn to play this on guitar.