Thursday, July 5, 2007

Help Save my Husband from my Killing him

My husband would be very thankful that I have this blog. That is, if he know about it. My writing this out before I head home will very likely save his life. Because at this very moment I could kill him.....slowly.

We are listing our house for sale. Tomorrow actually. So there has been a frenzy of activity in cleaning, minor repairs and organizing. I arranged for the rental of a storage unit and moved all of the storage containers (big rubbermaid tubs) out of the garage into storage. Things like, Daughter's outgrown clothes, my winter clothes, and all of the baby stuff that we might (hopefully) need again some day - like infant carseats, cradles, high chairs, etc. It made our garage clean and our closets look like real closets instead of piles of junk. I made sure that this task was one I completed. I had to do it myself. Otherwise, Husband would have gone through every bin and thrown out a ton of things. With the excuse that we would just replace it or buy a new one later. (when it comes time to buying a new one later, he always finds a reason we don't need one after all).

DH (and today it stands for "Darn Husband" instead of "Dear Husband") is an odd mix. With some things, he has to save every little item. He is a hunter. He saves the boxes that his guns come in, every receipt, and every piece of paper. I can not throw out old T-shirts or socks. He cuts them up into little squares for rags or gun cleaning. He saves any type of rope or twisty tie, in case we need it someday.

On other things, DH is opposite. He periodically purges the file cabinet. Goes through his drawers and throws things out. Why try to remove a stain when you can just throw out the item? Why try to clean the grease or burnt stuff of a kitchen pan? Just throw it out. And knick knacks - no way. There will be none in the house. They are thrown out. We have received many gifts of candles, picture frames and other knick knacks that have "disappeared" before I could even get them out of the box.

My mother-in-law has not a single spot of vacant space in her house. There are knick-knacks on every possible surface. The in-laws' basement is full of junk. Old magazines that "might be worth some money someday." They deal in cash and keep every receipt known to man. Stuffed in every drawer imaginable. My mother-in-law recently bought a new dresser for the guest room so she could store more knick-knacks and have another surface for her "set up stuff." I know some of my husband's aversion to clutter comes from his childhood. Mother-in-law is way over the top and, while I have no desire to be like her, I would like to have some things out on display (like pictures for instance).

I have informed DH over the years that he is welcome to throw out anything that is of a personal nature to him. However, my stuff is off-limits. Our walls are all cream. We have cream blinds on our windows. Draperies in two bedrooms only (one came with the house). DH thinks curtains are "too cluttered." I have one picture on my living room wall and one hanging candle decoration. I have 1 tiny corner shelf with our wedding picture, wedding candle and the telephone. Because it holds the telephone, it is "practical" and okay. We argued about the entertainment center. I wanted one with shelves. He did not. DH got rid of my bookshelves (without discussing it) one day and packed all my books up in boxes. He said, "books don't need to sit out." I threatened him with death that day. I unpacked every book, removed his toy tractors from his "set up case" (that was okay to collect because they would be "worth something" some day) and put my books in there. He apologized over and over and promised never to do it again.

We have had repeated discussions to "leave my shit alone." I have ranted and raved. I have threatened to go into the gun cabinet and start disposing of his guns, or at least, packing them up in boxes and relegating them to the attic. (by the way, a gun safe in both the bedroom and guest room is apparently okay - just not bookshelves or any knick knacks). We, I thought, had come to a truce. He left my stuff alone. I left his stuff alone. I did the dusting since he refuses to move knick-knacks (the very few that I have) and dust underneath. When we had my daughter, I told him to leave her stuff alone too. I keep it neat and organized and he tries to overlook it.

Now I'm not a packrat by any means. I go through my clothes with the change of every season. I regularly take things to a non-profit thrift store. However, with the listing of our house for sale, I have gone through our things with an extra fine eye. I did NOT dispose of anything belonging to DH. Anything that was remotely "marital" I discussed with him.

We wanted to get our lawn mowed and finish pressure washing the house before listing it tomorrow. However, it did not get done. Apparently this stressed DH out. Or at least that is his excuse for taking 1/2 day off from work and leaving at noon. He called to say he was going home. He told me he would mow and pressure wash. Last time DH took a day off to stay home (with our sick daughter), he went through our file cabinet. He pays the bills. He is supposed to file the bill info in the 2 drawer file cabinet so that I have the info later for taxes. The file cabinet that takes up 2 feet by 3 feet of space regardless of how full it is. Apparently it was too cluttered. DH cleaned it out. Bundled papers together and put them in storage. So when I needed something for tax purposes it was not there. I threatened him with death. I threatened to destroy his guns. He promised me he would never, ever do it again. He has promised this a lot through the years.

This all passed through my mind when he called and mentioned he would be home, at the house, alone all afternoon. However, I thought I was over-reacting to be worried. Surely it would take the rest of the afternoon to mow, weed eat and pressure wash. Surely he would not have time to do any damage.

In between meetings I checked my messages. I received a nice long rambling message from him that he was going to pick up pine straw for the front of the house (finally). He had gone through the attic and house (alarm bells went off) and found some stuff to take to storage (okay, I know this is stuff I probably need, but at least he didn't throw it out), and by the way, is it okay if he gets rid of x, y and z. (NO, I think. But he's asking so we'll just talk about it later). I go into my next meeting and call him back a few hours later.

He's dead. That's all there is too it. First, he took stuff to storage that I use. That I could live with. He was being nice and cleaning the house. I would have let that go. He swears that we discussed throwing out my daughter's sandbox (one of those plastic turtle ones) because it gets water in it and spiders like to live there. As I recall, we discussed building a new sandbox, decided to wait until we moved, and agreed to use the current one for now. Either way, I know for a fact that I use it as a "rinse your feet off pool" and have within the last few months. I was upset that DH took that to charity but since I couldn't remember the exact conversation, I would have let it go. However, he took more stuff too. My DD's little tykes picnic table. The one she sits at whenever we have adults at our picnic table. The one we use all the time. The one I told him to leave alone. I don't know what else he took. It all went fuzzy after he told me that. I gritted my teeth and told him I was "not happy." I told him we had discussed his not "doing this sort of thing" when we got into the moving process. That we had talked about the fact that anything thrown out or given away had to be discussed first. He said, "I'm sorry. I won't do it again." At that point I said, "That is what you say every time."

I wonder if our local charity takes hunting equipment and firearms...........

EDITED TO ADD - I was driving home, ready to commit murder, when it finally hit me upside the head as to WHY this bothers me so much. When my parents separated, Sister and I were sent to stay with my grandparents for 2 weeks. When we got home, we had moved. Mom had gone through our stuff and "weeded through it." I don't remember what happened when we moved to the house. I left my room as it was when I left for college. My mom and Toilet made plans to move out of the house and I asked Mom about getting some of my childhood things. She said she was "sorry" but she had gotten rid of most. She didn't think I wanted them. She heard that I was upset on the phone and said, "don't worry, I saved the important stuff." That was, she saved her version of the important stuff. Both times we moved, we "lost" our pets.

I tried to explain to DH why I was so mad when I got home. He wasn't getting it. Kept making excuses and saying it was not a big deal. So I told him the above. He said, "Well why didn't you tell me that before?" That made me madder. I shouldn't have to have some reason for asking that he leave my stuff alone. Or for insisting that he keep his promise not to do it again. So......anyone want to volunteer to help me move a gun safe?


Lynn said...

Maybe he could understand your reasons if you started... "Hey honey, you know how you can't stand to have 'clutter' around because you want our home to be different from your mother's home? Well I..."

My husband and I both have baggage. It always seems to float to the surface in domestic matters such as what you have descibed here. We had a major meltdown in January over pretty much the same issues. I feel for you.

Beauty said...

Blah, I left a lengthy comment on here yesterday and I see that it didn't go through.

wolfbaby said...

I think I would have gone slightly balistic... Ohh that would not go over well at all at all. I have very similar issues and have become somewhat of a pac rat and not only do I not want it thrown out but I also don't want my stacks moved. Simialar reasons you have. Now my pack rat ness isn't that bad. I don't have nick nacks all over the houst just three little wall shelves but enough ya know? Mostly though I have pics of my family everywhere. My hubs would be beaten down a path to get OUT of the house if he did something like that... Im so sorry yours did that. take care

austin said...

I see two people dealing with extremes. You deal with loss of property and control and he is dealing with the extreme clutter issues he grew up with. You remember the loss, he remembers the upset clutter caused him. You are both dealing with past issues.

One of the things I do is make sure my house DOES NOT look like my mother's house. It was filthy. I go to the extreme to make sure it doesn't look like her house. Perhaps DH is going to the extreme so as to never feel strangled by clutter again the way I go to the extreme to not feel overwhelmed by filth.

I know your issues of loss have got to really compound since you are a survivor. I know very well the situation is a serious struggle for you.

Basically I'm trying to say that what I see is two people dealing with issues due to extreme conditions while growing up. It may be hard for him to see past his issue of clutter to clearly understand your issues of loss. Somehow someone has to see into the other person's side so that you can meet someplace in the middle.

Whether its abuse, filth, clutter or OCD clean, extreme conditions in childhood often lead to extreme reactions in adulthood. Boy does that suck.