Thursday, February 11, 2010

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Most of the day I shoveled snow. I shoveled my driveway as well as shoveling the driveways of my neighbors on both sides of my house.

As usual, my Other Half (my partner of 45 years) mocked me while I shoveled the driveways. He loves the snow. Ever since we moved down here he has whined about how he missed the snow. Now we have it and he is a happy man. That's wonderful.

I take the mocking in stride. That is his style. He loved the snow so much that I left snow removal job to him in PA. However, he is 81 years old now and not capable of such strenuous activity. So I go out this morning to shovel snow. I see the shovel is missing. I go out the garage door and there is Other Half helping my neighbor shovel his driveway. I go over to them and ask to take over. Later, after I finished, the Other Half tells me the only reason I help was because I wanted to work with my cute neighbor. No, not really. I wanted to help. Is that so hard to understand? But, as usual, I let this insult go.

Next, I shovel my driveway. The Other Half takes a video of me shoveling the driveway and says "I have to record this. I can't believe you're shoveling snow." Okay. He mocks my actions again. I let it go.

Then he urges me to shovel our other neighbor's driveway. I do and again I am mocked. Again, I let it go. It is his style not to give me credit for anything. I'm used to it. Usually it doesn't bother me.

But today was different. Today an incident happened that was the straw that broke the camel's back. Ever have one of those days when enough is enough? That happened today.

This is what happened. Later in the day, after I had taken my nap, I thought I would check to see if the road outside my driveway was plowed. It was. There was small amount of snow in my driveway. I decided to clear it out before dark and the temperatures dropped.

Almost as soon as I'm at the end of my driveway I see Alan, our HOA representative in charge of snow removal approach me. He asked me if I saw the guy with the plow. I told him he just went by. Alan asked me if I could get my car out of my garage. I told him I could. Alan lives at the end of our drive in a cul de sac and his area was hardly touched. He wanted to catch up with the driver of the plow truck so he could clean out the road in front of his house. There was too much distance to cover by walking to catch up with the driver of the plow.

Even though I didn't want to take my car out of the garage for fear of getting stuck I told him I would. Believe me, this is the last thing I wanted to do. I've already had several friends call with broad hints of coming to rescue them which was impossible for me to do because I couldn't even get out of my own development. And if I could, I did not want to risk getting stuck and stranded in the snow trying to rescue friends who wanted to get to work rather than call in like I did Sunday when I couldn't get out.

I back my car out of my garage. With Alan directing, we make the Grand Tour of the development. I went down every road. Of course we didn't find the snow plow truck until the end of the tour. We stop, Alan gets out, gives the snow plow driver directions to get to his place to plow the road. Alan gets back in the car and we head back to my place. On the way back, he wants to stop at another neighbor's place to tell him the snow plow truck is coming back for another swipe of the snow. I suggested to Alan to call that neighbor. I didn't want to push my luck in getting caught in the snow.

We arrive at my driveway and Alan gets out of my car, thanking me profusely for helping him. He said he could never have caught up with the snowplow driver if he had to walk. Good deed accomplished.

Now comes time for my punishment. First thing I hear when I walk into my house, even before I could get the words out of my mouth was "Well that was about the stupidest thing I've ever seen!" Note: my Other Half has a habit of calling me stupid. It's just his thing. I usually ignore it. I try to explain what happened. Another note: when you live with someone you have to explain every action. At least I do. The Other Half resents any questions and rarely answers my inquiries. I usually let it go.

The Other Half stops talking long enough to get the gist of what I was saying. Then he interrupts and says "Well, at least you did something right! But why did you turn down Robinson Drive?" Here we go again; he's looking for something to justify his first reaction. I try to explain that Alan asked me to drive down Robinson Drive because he was looking for the snow plow truck. The Other Half now realizes that all his assumptions are wrong and rather than hear anymore, because he may have to face the fact that he was wrong, he cuts me off with an "I don't want to hear anymore! Enough!" That was the straw that broke the camel's back. I responded by finishing what I was saying. The Other Half gets up and storms out spewing a string of obscenities at me (again, his usual practice when he is angry.) I never quite understood the spewing of obscenities because he is so straight laced about anyone else, including me, using an obscene word in conversation. But when he is mad, the obscene words pour out of his mouth like Niagara Falls.

As he makes his retreat to his bedroom with the requisite slamming of the door, I shout after him "The next time get your facts straight before making all your accusations!" This is a big No-No for me because the unwritten law around here is that the Other Half is always right and I'm the stupid one. But, every now and then the worm turns. Today was such a day.

There are some days when I just have had enough. Today was one of those days also.

Unfortunately my Partner-In-Life has that malady in which he is incapable of every acknowledging or admitting he is ever wrong. I know other people like this. The first time I was confronted with this cognitive disability in a person, I was unbelieving. But now I realize it is fairly common. Even one of our former presidents, George W. Bush, has this character disorder. That simply cannot ever admit that they make a mistake. Whatever happens is always someone else’s fault. They never accept responsibility.

There is a lot that I cannot do but one thing I can do is admit a mistake. I can take a lot of crap too. But sometimes, I have just had enough. Then I blast back.

Thinking about it, the last time I had enough was a similar situation. It was with a friend of mine who made the mistake of thinking I was impatient because my restaurant meal wasn’t delivered on time. The meal wasn’t delivered on time but I wasn’t upset about it. I already had to martinis and thus I wasn’t concerned whether I got my hamburger or not. However, my dining partner and friend made the assumption that I wasn’t being supportive enough to the waiter who screwed up and shot me a “Get over it Mary!” remark. I responded back “Bullshit!” That exchange went back and forth a few times until I finally made my point but not without causing a great deal of discomfort for our other dining partners. I find it very interesting that my friend has the same cognitive problem as my Other Half. He can never admit error. Everything and anything that happens to him is always someone else’s fault. He never accepts responsibility for his actions. Like my Other Half, he is incapable of accepting that responsibility.

Usually I let this character deficiency go over my head but sometimes I have just had enough. Of course, both of them will say it’s my fault. Some things never change.

I’m sick of this snow and I’m sick of fighting with people just because I’m trying to do the right thing. I have to remind myself that No Good Deed Goes Unpunished. Maybe someday I’ll figure that one out. Right now I just want to take some time off for myself.

Now if we can get the mail running again I can catch up on my Netflix movies. Watching a good movie always relaxes me. Maybe then Mr. Hyde will go away.


  1. Anonymous9:21 AM

    Hi Ron,

    It sounds like the snow is bringing out the best & worst in some people. If I were you I would have got your "other half" to step outside & then bombarded him with snowballs. If he really loves snow so much maybe he would have joined in & both of you could release some of your tension. Try it next time!

    I decided today I'm not going to complain about the snow. I'm going out & make a snow woman. I need to release the kid in me to cope with being house bound.


  2. Fran,

    I too decided not to complain any more about the snow. I'm going to shovel the walk in front of the house.

    The Other Half is alright. He just has that quirk that sometimes catches me at the wrong time. I did too much shoveling yesterday to put up with his nonsense. I'm the first to admit that I'm not that easy to live with but at least I can acknowledge my own mistakes and move on.

    You're right in that this snow is bringing out the best (my neighbors) and the worst (one of my FORMER friends) in some people. For a long time I've suspected this "friend" of mine only called when he needed something. This past snow emergency has confirmed that. He called several times when he wanted someone to rescue him but now that he is rescued I won't hear from him again until he needs something else from me. Yes, I am an enabler and I will correct that situation with this individual now. So something good will have come out of this snow storm.

    It's always good to hear from you Fran. You are always positive and uplifting. I too want to "release the kid in me to cope with being house bound." Even if I discovered this morning that one of my USB drives is dead now. Normally that would send me into another funk but I'm not going to permit that to happen.

    The sun is out and the temperature is up. Time to move on and look at the bright side of life.



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