Snow fight – without balls
Q: As you probably already know, we had a horrible snow storm shortly after Christmas. “Janis” (my life partner) and I bought a snow blower for Christmas, which I thought would solve our snow removal problems, but unfortunately it is causing more problems. This is what happened: thinking I was being nice I got up and started snow blowing about 7:30 a.m. Janis was still asleep. Well, the blowing woke her up, and she informed me that it was not OK to snow blow before 8 a.m. in the morning because other people might be sleeping. I think this is a ridiculous rule, not all people have the same sleep schedule. I am usually up by 4 a.m.
Then she started complaining that I didn’t blow the snow correctly. After this she said I didn’t go over the driveway enough times to get down to the cement and needed to do another run. Also, she wanted me to shovel some areas that didn’t get as clear as she likes.
I pretty much told her what to do with the snow shovel and blower and left for the rest of the day. Janis has MS and shouldn’t be out shoveling snow as things like that make her MS worse, but guess what was she doing when I got home? You guessed it, shoveling snow by hand. The next three days she was in bed and she is still grimacing every time she moves. (She was diagnosed six months ago and has the type of MS that is fast moving.) I don’t know how bad she hurts or whether or not she is just trying to make me feel guilty. We only seem to speak to each other with anger. We have been together for 13 years and we never have been so angry with each other, though it seems like we have been ornery with each other more and more lately. But this takes the cake.
Anyway, I think she owes me an apology for being such a bitch about when and how I clean the sidewalks. I think she should just be grateful that I cleaned them off. Next, I am really pissed about what she did to her body by shoveling the snow. I try very hard to do all the heavy work so she doesn’t hurt herself and then she pulls a stunt like that. She thinks I owe her an apology for getting angry when all she was doing, according to her, was making suggestions on how to be a good neighbor and a few hints on cleaning off the snow. She says it was my fault that she had to go out and clean off the walks herself because I hadn’t done a good job, and that it was still snowing, and she didn’t think we would ever get it cleaned off.
How do I get her to see that she should appreciate all the hard work I do for her since she is unable to do any of it?
Busting My Butt
A: I can understand that Janis’ illness is a stressor in both of your lives. Having said that, I think you both need to spend some time listening to each other’s viewpoints, needs, concerns and feelings. It’s hard for you to have to do much of the work, but it is also hard for Janis to be ill and not be able to do it. It can make you feel overwhelmed and unappreciated and Janis feel like she’s not useful or pulling her weight. It makes a relationship feel lopsided, for both people.
But even more important, you both have not had much time dealing with Janis’ diagnosis and the ramifications for you both. I’m sure that you both are scared and haven’t talked about that. It’s like the elephant in your relationship that you are not dealing with.
For the time being, try setting aside your anger about the snow-blowing incident, go to Janis and invite her to talk about how scared she is about her illness. And let her know your fears as well. Listen to each other; it will be difficult but healing.
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