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Toll-gate revelations

July 3, 2017

On our way back from our parents town from a weekend trip, there were several locations where we had to pay toll. First time, the husband who was driving wasn’t paying attention and ended up behind a line of vehicles while the other lines were practically empty. The next time we paid close attention to all the gates and ended up in the shortest line with only one vehicle in front. Unfortunately that guy took forever to pay and we see that all the vehicles that came after us leave while we were still stuck behind this one vehicle. Then there was this time where there are huge lines of vehicles and we still tried to optimize. What do we know, the line we were in moves the slowest even after switching lanes twice.

And this folks is the story of our life. No matter what we do, we get the short end of the stick.

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40+ and still learning lessons

June 24, 2017

It’s amazing how we could turn 40 but are still in the process of learning life lessons. And at the same time feel stupid for not figuring out stuff that seems obvious to most people. It must be the adverse times that brought about these realizations. Would we have loved being happily ignorant??

Anyhoo, our biggest lesson today is “my money + your money != our money“. Do not be stupid enough to believe this no matter how close you are to the other person. There can be “no money” left when we need it. And most people seem to know this already <sigh>.

The second lesson is how only people who you care about the most and are closest to you have the power to hurt you the worst. As cliched as this statement sounds, it is also true. And is it any surprise that we didn’t realize this until it happened to us.

The last lesson for today is about how lucky we are to have supportive parents, parents who have your back no matter what, and parents who are alive period. We are happy to have figured this out even if it’s late, because there are plenty of people out there who still haven’t.

That time of the month

April 18, 2017

PMS is a bitch. This week I had

1) one almost sleepless night getting riled up over something or the other,

2) one night of getting really mad and saying stuff that I regret to the husband and crying for an hour before going to sleep,

3) yelling at the driver and almost on the verge of tears for being AWOL the day before (which is not unusual). Again words that I now regret.

4) 3 days of either trying not to yell or actually yelling at the kids.

I’m so annoyed at myself at the loss of self control, but at the same time couldn’t help being unreasonable. All the extra family stress is making it worse. Hope and pray that things will settle down for us this year.

Daddy’s girl

March 21, 2017

Exams are over and kids got their grades. The girl did not get good marks in 2 of her subjects. She came home and gave me a letter. In it, she goes “I’m so sorry about my marks. <lists her marks here> I feel bad that I did not do well and I couldn’t say them to you. Again so sorry”. As usual I went on my spiel saying there is no point worrying about it now, and that she should’ve thought about it and worked hard before the exams.

To be honest, we are not diligent about helping her with studying either. We (mostly dad) spends about a week before the exams. And these study sessions get intense because only then do we realize how little she knows. Obviously it’s not enough time to be ready for the exams.

At dinner, she was still sad and almost on the verge of tears. She goes “Amma please don’t tell my marks to Nanna. He worked so hard to help me study, and he will be really sad to see my marks”. I told her she might as well tell him and get it over with soon because he will know eventually anyway. When dad comes home from his business trip, we somehow managed to spill the beans. Here comes a Father-daughter senti scene straight out of a telugu movie. Daddy feels extremely bad for his hurting daughter. He hugs her and tells her not to worry about her marks. Consoles her saying they’ll work hard for the next exams so she’ll get good grades. And the girl sincerely agrees with the dad.

And when the next set of exams arrive, rinse and repeat the same story.

Being Thankful

February 13, 2017

Recently, we’ve made friends with a family and it’s so heartwarming to see the couple who are so tight. Slowly I’ve come to realize neither the wife or the husband have a good relationship with their parents. Husband is pretty much estranged from his parents although they talk occasionally. Wife’s relationship with her parents includes a lot of drama and emotional manipulation. The good thing that came of this is the strong bond between the couple. Another friend’s parents are so not worth discussing, my head hurts just thinking about her. On top of this, she has an abusive psycho of a husband whom she won’t leave. No emotional support whatsoever from any of her family. I try to do as much as I can by listening, but it doesn’t come close to supportive parents. And then there is the other end of the spectrum where the ultra loving parents interfere a bit too much in their adult kids lives.

All of this led me to think about my relationship with my parents.They are probably not the greatest of the parents or grandparents, and have never made big sacrifices for us. Our relationship has changed over the years, and I’m closest to my dad now more than ever. He calls me several times a day, just to say hello, discuss stocks, asks about kids etc. Throughout my relationship with them, there was never any drama. They’ve never demanded anything from us, financially or emotionally. They are financially independent and live their own lives. There is no emotional blackmail for anything – we did this for you and now it’s your turn – none of that crap. And if it comes to me against the world, I can totally count on their support.

My relationship with mother-in-law on the other hand is complicated. We have our ups and downs. In the past, she has manipulated the husband to do according to her bidding. She was widowed early in her life with 3 young kids, and has struggled to bring them up. Having said that she was also not the greatest of moms, having left the kids to pretty much make life decisions on their own. My husband says survival was key at the time, and she never had the time or energy to think about other stuff. Despite all this, she is there for her kids no matter what, and prioritizes her immediate family (including us daughters-in-laws) over everything else.

For both my parents and mother-in-law, their sons, daughters and their spouses come first no matter what. And I’m so thankful for having them in our lives.

Being Independent

January 21, 2017

Today I realized I am so independent that if we get divorced – I would have no trouble leading a life with kids on my own.

These days the man of the house is away on business a lot more than he is at home. For the past few months he was home for a sum total of about a week. And for the past five-six years, he is pretty much mentally checked out even if he is around. Given that he has his share of troubles and burdens, I give him a wide berth (although I stay away from his troubles for fear of getting dragged down). But there are days when I get extremely frustrated with the lack of support. Today kid# 1 needed a cast for his broken foot. All the running around emergency dept and getting x-rays to be told there is no fracture, and then the ortho follow-up and another set of x-rays happened only to find out that he did fracture his foot. Spending 4 hours at the hospital, and helping the kid who is almost my size on one foot is no fun (it was easier with a wheel-chair in the hospital). So at the end of the day, I’m still in a very bad mood, stewing at the husband.

He is perpetually busy with something. Flashback to when kid# 1 was born, he had a full-time job and was doing a full-time MBA. No time for the wife and newborn. Later we had job changes, being away in a different country for 6 months exploring business ideas and leaving me to fend for my 2 kids and juggle my job. And then came the beloved mother’s near-death and recovery, real-estate investments, business troubles etc. It’s a never ending story. During a recent one week vacation, I drove 6 hrs to my parents, did short 2 hr drives to in-laws place and my dads hometown, and back home all by myself with kids in tow.

My epiphany for today is that if we get divorced – I would have no trouble leading a life with kids on my own.  Not much change to affect the day-to-day life. If not for the fact that my kids (especially kid# 2) love their dad too much and he is an amazing father and a good husband (when he is around) and I still love him enough to seriously consider it.

New Year Reflections

January 20, 2017

2016 is a mixed bag, somewhat ok for me, but crappy for the husband. But when I look back on my resolutions for 2016, it was a complete failure.

  • Household chores (10%) – Curtains still dirty. One out of 2 balconies got cleaned though. Organized clothes closets out of necessity, but no progress with books and others stuff. I still don’t put away clothes regularly.
  • Growing plants (0%) – managed to get potting soil, but that was about it. My daughter took the soil and planted methi and coriander seeds. They sprouted and are ready to be plucked (zero contribution from me). Thank god for responsible kids.
  • Career (0%) – no job and no money of my own. This needs a post on its own.
  • Separate finances (5%) – I have my own account where I manage the money I get from my dad. But didn’t make any money this year, so not much done on this front.
  • Reason with kids (40%) – I don’t scream or yell at them as much (thanks to no job stress). They listen better, and I feel closer to them now than ever.
  • Kids Activities (25%) – Started basketball for son. None for the daughter. However, they are both addicted to screens more than ever.

I was a lot more relaxed this year, and spent time with kids, parents, friends, shopping, reading a lot, and other addictions (both good and bad). However I want to get back to work and not waste my time which is what it feels like most of the time. Husband’s business went from bad to worse with all sorts of problems. We are considering a major decision on which I’ll write a separate post. Don’t even want to make any resolutions since it will all depend on this decision of ours.