While in the garage gathering trash, I look around, and the garage is a freakin' mess (I lie, no, I didn't just notice it, I notice it all the time. The garage is the bain of my existence. I am always harassing someone to clean up the garage). Garage cleaning is on the repertoire of my monthly cleaning activities. I clean, someone else does this:
This is Ryan's "project" table:
Curiously, I had had a conversation with Ed on Saturday about what a mess the garage was. I impressed how tired I was of the mess and how we can't even park a car in the garage. Not to mention the holes in the drywall caused by an "experimental" dowel shooting gun and the holes caused by BB's. I reminded Ed of Ryan's failure to comply with some basic rules, 1. No fire in the garage. 2. No shooting of any kind in the garage. 3. Clean up after yourself. 4. No property damage. (From the evidence in the garage, Ryan had violated 3 out of 4 rules). Ed calmed me down, cause I was pretty worked up, he assured me that he and Ryan would work on cleaning the garage and he would talk to Ryan about the rules.
Fast forward to Wednesday, back to my story. So I look around and it is clear to see that my conversation with Ed on Saturday has done nothing for the garage. So now I start to feel my blood slowly starting to boil. I start moving things around, sweeping, trying to put things away, I am starting to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the disaster in there. Besides the fact that it is 7 am, I am in my pajamas, the garage is like 90 degrees. I remember my plea for a call to action from Ed on Saturday and my blood starts to boil hotter. This enrages me more, so I really start to get in there and move stuff around. Finally I am overcome by the thought that I am sweating my guts out and I am cleaning the garage in my favorite pajamas..... whoa...what's wrong with me?!?!
I go back inside, throw my pajamas in the laundry room and head to the closet to change. Ed is in the shower getting ready for work. I sit on the edge of the tub contemplating my strategy. Should I give Ed the silent treatment? Tempting.... and my standard protocol, but after 2 years of therapy, I have moved beyond that, but it does tempt me and beckon me to rejoin the dark side. Then it occurs to me that I was upset about something else (not important to anyone else but myself) that had been eating at me since the night before. The mess in the garage triggered an emotional reaction and my action to clean it, is kind of a coping mechanism. Not a healthy one. Sure it gets the garage cleaned, but what it does is it gives me more "justification" to be madder. Not a good thing. Essentially, I am creating more reasons for me to be mad and be victimized. Lightbulb moment!!!! So you know how I was just saying that old habits die hard, that we are tempted to keep doing our bad behavior and go back to the dark side? Boy is it hard, because just as I was sitting there having my "lightbulb moment", I am sitting there looking at the baseboard in the bathroom that I have been asking Ed to paint for about 3 years, then I start looking around at the nail hole on the door frame, that hasn't been filled and I start thinking about the small section of unfinished moulding that I can only see when I am in the shower....and slowly my blood begins to boil again and there I am again, looking and finding more reasons to be mad. Uh, "lightbulb" moment a-gain!
So what's my new and improved modus operandi? Just talking about it. I told Ed about my frustration(s). Then told him about the "lightbulb" moment(s), he laughed with me and said I was very "self-aware". He apologized about the garage (I have a feeling, I am still going to end up cleaning it, that's how we roll in this family, but at least it will be because I want to).