Friday, April 08, 2005

BIG FAT FIGHT

...with my husband this morning. Over houseguests.

This is the week of deadline hell, so I wasn’t all that thrilled when two of Adam’s grad school friends asked to stay with us on Tuesday night. But, hey – they’re exceptionally nice people, so who am I to be so selfish?

But then there was the strange matter of the apartment guide that turned up in our mail several weeks ago. Assuming it was junk, I started to recycle it. Adam stopped me, explaining that it was for the Korean post-doc. The Korean post-doc who had written him out of the blue last fall, and for whom he had volunteered to find housing.

I thought that was a generous thing to do — typical Adam. So I handed him the guide and forgot all about it.

Forgot all about it, that is, until two days ago, when Adam casually mentioned that M. is arriving here from Korea on Monday, and—oops!—he never did get around to finding her housing. So M. would be staying in the guest room (i.e., my workspace) for one night.

“Okaaay,” I said. “But how could she be staying here for only one night if she has no place to live?”

“She’s going to be here one night and one night only,” swore Adam. “After all, our friends N. and S. are coming the very next day.”

Fine. Whatever. Two nights of houseguests in this very hectic week made me secretly crabby, but I could deal with it.

In fact, I’ve barely been home lately. Instead, I’ve been working in our campus office all day, almost every day this week. On Wednesday night, I worked here until 2:30 a.m. Working for hours in this windowless box is challenging in the best of situations, but it’s been even harder since I realized (anew) that we have no control over the heat. It’s an unseasonable 70 degrees outside, and the heat is on full blast. Alas, the heat cannot be turned off (I’m told) until April 30th. Illogical, yes, and just what I would expect from this university. Fed up with sweating into my laptop, I told Adam that I probably would be working more at home this week.

Adam looked nervous. It turns out that M. from Korea is coming on Sunday, not Monday. (Adam insists this was always the case, and that he never told me otherwise.) And it turns out that M. does, in fact, need to stay with us more than just one night. (Adam further insists that I should have deduced as much. Wha?)

My husband is baffled by my irritation. Why am I so inhospitable to helping someone from another country? he wants to know. Why must I see myself as the victim? And why am I completely overreacting to this “little snag in our plans”?

Here is how I see it: The houseguest situation is not, and was never, “our” plan. I could be amenable to housing someone long-term IF I had been given fair warning and IF the timing were not quite so awful. At very least, I would like to have been told the truth of the situation from the beginning. AND NOT TWO DAYS BEFORE THIS WOMAN IS COMING TO LIVE WITH FOR AN INDEFINITE PERIOD OF TIME.

“You are becoming Chicken Little,” said Adam.

Funny. I didn’t feel like Chicken Little. I didn’t feel HYSTERICAL, Adam. But, now that you mention it, maybe I am. Maybe the fact that your concern for your work is “discipline” and my concern for my work is “overreacting” is making me so. Maybe the fact that I am about to stop being an academic, and I'm worried about what this will mean for our relationship, has me a trifle UPSET.

And by the way—maybe you shouldn’t have told me that you woke up twice during the night that I was in our campus office and that you worried then where I might be. Because even my Chicken Little brain might notice that you weren’t worried enough to pick up the phone.

Bah! I hate, hate, hate it when we fight.

4 Comments:

At 5:03 PM, Blogger ~profgrrrrl~ said...

my blood boils for you on this one ... I'd be totally irritated. The friends are one thing, but taking in the visitor until housing is found?

Don't let yourself be responsible for cooking/cleaning/entertaining. His guests, his work. 'Cause it sounds like you have enough of your own work right now.

 
At 9:37 PM, Blogger Anitsirc said...

Agree w/ profgrrrrl. Still, these fights, when you and him are on totally different pages, are the WORST. Hope you'll find some common ground there, soon.

 
At 1:21 PM, Blogger Manorama said...

Sorry to hear this, YelloCello. I hope your home will reach a state of balance again soon, where you can work and rest peacefully, in addition to having some understanding with Adam. I can really understand your frustration.

 
At 1:42 PM, Blogger What Now? said...

Oh dear--I'm so sorry to hear about these difficulties on the homefront. And given the extent to which your lives are about to change and the uncertainty in the future, I can imagine it must be even more distressing to feel that the two of you aren't communicating well. I'm so, so sorry.

 

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