Last weekend I needed to use Zoe's car, drop her off somewhere, and run another errand, so I got into the driver's seat. I had somewhat forgotten about the criticism I get from her whenever I drive. When I first put the car into motion, I was a bit heavy on the gas, and the car jerked. Zoe immediately complained. "Zoe!" I said with some exasperation (how nice to start the trip with her criticizing my driving!) "I'm not used to driving your car. It has a lot more power than mine does." "Don't rebel against my suggestions," she said. Sure enough, after the next stop, I was able to take off smoothly. Then, at the next stop light, I stopped about four feet behind the car in front of me, and Zoe thought that was too close. "What if a car hits us from behind? You would hit the car in front of you." Then I drove 45 in a 40 MPH zone, and Zoe complained about that. When I slowed down to 40, people started passing us on the right. So I got in the right lane, and Zoe wasn't happy with that either. "You'll get in the way of people who want to turn right. If people want to go over the speed limit, that's their problem. You could drive 25 here, I wouldn't mind." When I dropped her off, I turned to give her a hug. She just glared at me, got out of the car, and told me to "Hurry up!" Rather ironic, given that 1. she had just lectured me about going over the speed limit, and 2. there was absolutely no need to hurry to complete my remaining errand.
The next day, Zoe was standing at the top of the stairway in our home talking to me, and I was downstairs looking up at her. She sat down on the top step, as if she was going to continue talking for a while. So I went up the stairs and sat next to her. I was feeling... a bit less loving than other times, so I didn't try to put my arm around her. I just listened politely. After a couple minutes she stopped talking, got up and walked away.
If there is one cheerful note in this blog entry, this is it: maybe I have found a way to make Zoe stop talking - just sit down next to her!
In the last several months, Zoe has been buying stuff for the house - cooking paraphernalia (that she rarely uses), bed coverings, decorations... On the one hand, it's encouraging. Apparently she is planning to stick around for a while. On the other hand, it seems like she is trying to fill a void in her life with material things. She just bought a $3000 washer/dryer set (on credit), she is talking about getting a $1000 ventilator for the kitchen (I have visions of a ventilator so powerful it causes all the windows in the house to implode when it is turned on!), and a few days ago I got a follow-up call from a car dealer. Apparently Zoe is looking at new cars.
It seems as if there is never a good time for me to approach Zoe to talk about anything. I work days, she works nights, so when we cross paths usually one of us has to rush off to work. I was hoping this Thanksgiving holiday might be a good time to talk.
Last night, Zoe told me she mentioned to our son that when we were old (and poor), we might have to live with him. Again, I thought that was encouraging in a way, because she said WE would live with him. This morning, after she had had a night's sleep, I went to talk to her. She was busy sorting out some papers and didn't look very approachable, so I didn't try to sit next to her and put my arm around her. On the other hand, it's difficult to find opportunities to talk, and there was no guarantee that I could find a better time, so I talked to her then. I asked her if we would sleep in the same room if we lived with our son. She immediately jumped back to the subject of money and said, "When you've payed back the money you owe me, then we can talk about that." I asked, "Can we actually sleep together then, or just 'talk about it'? When I repay you, are you going to have some other requirements before we can sleep together? As long as I'm making progress paying you back, can't we sleep together now?" I also said, "I'm not chasing you to have sex with you. I know you don't like that. Things are a lot different now. I just want to hold you and sleep with you, not have sex. I think a husband and wife should have a bit of love for each other, not be like strangers." Zoe was adamant: "When you've payed me back every penny, then we can talk about it."
That doesn't give me much incentive to pay back in installments, does it? Maybe I'll just save it all up until I can pay the whole amount, and then "we can talk about it." Well, that's how I'm feeling about it right now. Kinda grumpy and discouraged.