Tag Archives: Bento Box

Instant karma

I was driving to work today, and something unexpected happened: as I was getting on the freeway, this white jeep in front of me to my left blew its right rear tire. I heard it blow and watched a piece of rubber go flying into the air. Then the tire began to vibrate and bounce, and the back end of the jeep began to shake and look rather unstable. The other drivers around this vehicle seemed oblivious; some followed too closely, others just passed by. I decided to do something. I drove up beside the jeep — not the easiest feat, as the freeway was a bit busy, and the jeep was speeding (65 mph) — and honked my horn. The young lady behind the wheel looked over at me, and I pointed to her to pull over, trying to tell her that her tire had blown. I had my window down, but hers was rolled up, so she couldn’t hear what I was saying. At least she slowed down, and I got in front of her; at the next exit she signaled to pull over, and I pulled over with her onto the shoulder. I got out and so did she, and I told her that her tire had blown and that I saw the whole thing happen. She said, “so maybe that was why my car was shaking?” She said she heard it blow, but didn’t see any signs of anything wrong, except for the shaking of course. I showed her the tire, which hadn’t gone flat yet, but was totally misformed and bulging. She said she had an appointment to get to, but it wasn’t far away, so I let her drive off, as she had no time to change the tire, but told her to get it fixed ASAP. Karma points = +100,

Actually, they say in some Buddhist traditions that the first 15 days of the lunar new year are particularly auspicious, and the effects of positive and negative actions are multiplied by 100,000. If that’s true, then that would be karma points = 10,000,000. I don’t know if this is true, and I don’t know how many karma points you get for something like this for starters, but a guy can hope, anyway.

Thus I continued on my journey. I had actually left the house early today, so that I could stop by Daiso for some little goodies. If you’ve never been to or heard of this place, it’s basically like a Japanese dollar store, except that in Japan they’d be called 100-yen stores. In this country, Daiso sells a ton of little things, all of which sell for $1.50; there will also be a few larger items that cost more. But the general idea is that pretty much everything in the store sells for $1.50. I’m not buying aluminum foil anywhere else anymore, I think.

For my trip to Daiso today, I was on a hunt for one thing in particular: bento boxes. I wrote in my a previous post about a bento box lunch I had packed for my wife in anticipation of her latest trip to Camp Chickenshit. Apparently it was a hit. I did some more cooking last night and again had leftovers, but didn’t have an extra bento box since, well, that one I bought is currently up there at Camp Chickenshit and won’t make it back down here until maybe tomorrow. Daiso has a bunch of bento boxes, most of them small, and some so small that they’re only appropriate for children. I bought a pair of bento boxes by a company called “Lube Sheep.” I’m not kidding, that’s the actual name. These were pretty much the largest boxes they had, and would be appropriate for adults. You can see the ones I bought here; they are the “Urara” ones at the top of the page, one red (for her) and one blue (for me). I didn’t get the whole kit that they picture on this page, since they only sold the bento boxes themselves, plus a matching elastic band to hold the whole thing together. The price tag for these suckers: $1.50 each, plus $1.50 per elastic band, for a grand total of $6. I also got a few tiny plastic bottles to hold ponzu or other sauce, since I knew what I’d be packing in these boxes. Oh, and I also got an extra pair of plastic chopsticks, complete with case to hold them, again for $1.50. My grand total was just under $10. Karma points (for thoughtfulness) = +10.

After having had dinner at home tonight, I packed the bento box. I had made some salmon-shrimp cakes courtesy of a recipe by Harumi Kurihara, one of my wife’s favorite cookbook authors. In fact, I took the recipe from the cookbook I bought her. (She hasn’t even looked at it yet, really.) I packed those with some asparagus shiroae; the “shiroae” is a white sauce made of tofu, miso, soy sauce, a bit of sugar, and ground sesame seeds. You can see what it looks like here when applied to other vegetables. The bottom container held the rice, with a couple of umeboshi. (You do know what those are, right?) Karma points (again, for thoughtfulness) = +30.

Since I have no idea what time my wife will be traipsing into this house tomorrow, my plan is to have the lunchbox ready to leave for her before I go off to work. Her movements seem to be getting a bit predictable: she leaves on Friday afternoon, takes the dog, pretends like she’s going to her friends’ house a couple of blocks away, and then returns the following Tuesday. She knows when I’ll be at work, so she avoids coming home until then, if at all possible. Well, tomorrow she does have a rehearsal, so it might not be possible for her to avoid me, and in fact if she does come home earlier, I’ll offer to give her a lift, and then give her the lunch box. Karma points vary depending on the circumstance, maybe +10 to +50.

She has gotten a bit careless with her life these days, by the way. She recently began posting on her blog again, but not in any way that would really indicate where she’s taking the pictures, although I know where they are coming from. We had a tiny bit of snow yesterday morning, mixed mostly with hail, but there was no accumulation here whatsoever. Camp Chickenshit is 40 miles to the north in a convergence zone; it tends to be much colder up there, and they will get several inches of snow when we get none. Her blog post this morning was of a picture she took yesterday of a tree with a bit of snow on it. Wow. This totally leaves her open for a well-placed comment, should I wish not to hold my tongue. I know her friends don’t have a tree that looks anything like the one she took the photo of, and further there was not enough snow here for any tree to look anything like that one did. I’m not sure I’ll say anything, actually, but I could casually hint that I’d seen her blog and that they must have gotten a lot more snow at her friend’s house one block north of here. On second thought, I think I’ll hold my tongue. I actually do pay the ISP hosting fees for that blog; perhaps she has forgotten that. Karma points: for her, -500; for me: 0 (holding my tongue) to -50 (for saying stupid things). Maybe I get slight positive karma points, e.g. +5, if my comments help to bring about the end of her affair, but that’s impossible to judge.

Anyway, I am looking forward to the opportunity to do a bit of giving and generally to have the chance to connect and attempt to work toward reconciliation some more. Things move a lot more slowly when your spouse has decided to disconnect from you and is making every effort to try to evade you. Still, she sends me nice texts on occasion, so it’s not a total wall of ice. Consistency is my friend, though. The more I do things, the more she’ll realize that I’m dedicated and will persevere. She has been advised by the “energy worker” to be patient and help me heal, so she will have a hard time rejecting these things if she wants to take that advice seriously. I’ve had high hopes in the past for her affair running its course and being over and done with much sooner, but it still appears to be going strong at the moment. She does need the weekends at Camp Chickenshit to experience the full range of emotions and experiences that relationship can provide, as these will lead to its inevitable demise. Why am I so certain of this? Well, for starters, my wife is absolutely no smarter about relationships now than she was 6 months ago. I, however, am about 10000% smarter and better informed. I know what to do to keep a relationship healthy, and have a learned and developed a number of skills that are very powerful. She has none of these. This means that, when that relationship hits rocky ground as it likely already has done, and as it most certainly will do in the near future, she’ll have no recourse other than to go down the tried and true route of arguing, complaining, nagging, giving ultimatums, and fighting.That approach didn’t work for us, and it certainly won’t work for them. That man likely has zero relationship skills anyway, as he has never managed to stay successfully married, and somehow believes that adultery can work out. I do know that she finds his language too direct and insensitive at times. None of this makes for a good or successful recipe. Karma points, +100 for consistency; unlimited negatives for her affair and any and all of its components.

As the tension builds between the two of them, which it certainly will due to a number of factors — her dissertation, her unsettled living situation, her diminishing bank balance, and, of course, me — there will be more and more opportunities for disagreements, arguments, heated exchanges, and, yes, fights to erupt. I do believe that they are just one good argument away from ending that relationship. All she needs to have is one really good barn-burner that puts her out to sleeping on his couch and she’ll begin to rethink that whole situation, and fast. She is still in fantasy land right now, in the bubble that is the affair and its attendant fog, but that bubble is very fragile and fit to pop at any moment. Now, if only I could find the right needle to pop it… Actually, I could just let my karma points take care of that, most likely.

My scarcest commodity

My scarcest commodity right now? That would be face time with my wife. She has really done her best this past week to try to disengage from me and take space. She returned home on Tuesday, made sure I wasn’t around, and left the dog in the house. Then she returned for a couple of hours on Wednesday to teach a student. I did not see her at all on Thursday, and yesterday (Friday) she briefly resurfaced for about a half an hour or so. She was here just long enough to get a few clothes, do her makeup a bit, and then take the dog. She did at least ask permission to take her.

Of course, I assented. I had thought about trying to leave the house with the dog as I did last week, but then just thought that to be rather selfish. Instead, I did a bunch of cooking the night before, and tried out a few recipes from a Japanese cookbook I had bought her for Christmas. I also went down to the local Japanese grocer and got her a stainless steel bento box, and made her a lunch box that she could take along to Camp Chickenshit. The recipes were great, by the way, and I packet that bento box full of them, and made it look like the kind of bento box a spouse might prepare for his/her partner, with things thoughtfully and artfully arranged. I put this in a bag with some things for the dog. When she told me she was going, I gave her the bag and off she went.

Now here’s where things got interesting: I then went out to get some coffee. There’s a little coffee shop about a block from here that actually is inside a church. It’s the closest place to go; all the other places are at least 10 minutes away, and this place takes me about 2 minutes to get there. But I do have to drive by my wife’s friends’ house — the place she has been staying. So, while I’m driving to this place, I notice what looks like the adulterer’s truck turning down our street. I don’t know that he normally does this. There was a ladder in the back of his truck. As I drove home after getting coffee, I saw the adulterer’s truck in my wife’s friends’ driveway — the ladder was there, so it was indeed him — and she was loading up her stuff. While she was doing this, and this all happened in the space of a few seconds as I was clearing the intersection, husband of my wife’s friend drove into the driveway. He already knows the adulterer, and that has been established from his Facebook page. Some people have no shame.

Later that evening, I got a text from my wife thanking me for the lunch box. She said the food was great, and it tasted exactly like some of the things her mother cooked for her when she was a child. This is a good sign. I have no idea whether she ate the food in the presence of the adulterer or not, but I am pretty sure that, if he knew about it, he’d be bothered by it. Perhaps not visibly bothered, and in fact his outward reaction might be to show encouragement to my wife to show concern and gratitude toward me, but on some level it’s got to bug him. I’m not backing off. I am showing her (and by extension, him) that she is my wife, and that I do care for her and will take care of her. I am also showing him that I know her far better than he does, and far better than he ever will. Basically he’ll begin to see eventually that he really doesn’t have a chance, and he may very well get insecure and jealous. These are all things that, little by little, will help to end that highly inappropriate relationship. Every time something like this happens, he is reminded that the woman he is with actually is married.

I also learned a couple of things that piqued my interest. I heard through the grapevine that last month my wife came very close to ending her relationship with this man. Actually this was the second time I’d heard of this, but the situation was different this time. The first time, she’d told some friends (that’s how things get to me) that she was thinking of putting the “relationship” on hold while she works on her dissertation, since it was an energy drain and she needed to make her academic obligations her first priority. Heh – that never happened. This second time, she apparently got despondent during the heavy weather we had in January. We had about 10 days of snow, at times quite heavy, and this was followed by rain for another week at least. The adulterer is a gardener, and he lives 40 miles away where they get a lot more snow, and so he just didn’t come into town for something like 3 weeks. So she didn’t get to see him. She even stayed here one or two nights, I think, and she seemed pretty bummed out. Apparently, she wrote him a pretty lengthy letter that was sort of like a farewell letter, and this kind of turned him around. For now, at least. Shortly thereafter, she met his daughter and son-in-law, his brother and his family (including his daughter and son-in-law), his ex-wife, I think, and so on. Then there was some sort of teary conversation in which she was invited to move in. Hijinks ensued.

So that was one thing. The other thing was the hijinks, and yes, I’m being facetious. She had another session with the energy worker, and apparently her energy was totally messed up, to the point that this woman could tell that bad stuff was going to come out. And I guess it did. I don’t exactly know what transpired, beyond the advice that she was given not to move in with that man at this point. There was a process of healing that needed to take place first.

Now what, pray tell, might that involve? Once again, it appears to mean expressing gratitude to me, and being patient in trying to heal my heart to the point (ostensibly) where I’d let go and assent to whatever the hell it is my wife wants. Seriously, this is the advice this woman gives: do this stuff with an ulterior motive, and no, it’s not going to seem manipulative at all. The first time she tried the gratitude routine with me it lasted about 5 days. Thus far this time I’ve seen very little of it, but then again I’ve seen very little of her. The other component is that she was instructed to make prayers of supplication to my family and family ancestors, again expressing gratitude, and asking for forgiveness. I find this very distasteful, but have held my tongue. It’s really nothing more than spiritual materialism to think that praying to ancestors with an ulterior motive — and one of betrayal and abandonment at that — is somehow a virtuous or worthwhile thing, or that it’s not a totally ego-centric and selfish activity. Yet it seems that this is exactly what she’s been instructed to do.

I’m sure by now you see the problem with this course of action: You can make all the supplications you want, you can make endless expressions of gratitude and vow to be patient in order to get your way in the end, but when your actions are immoral, there will never be any relief! That’s just how it is. I do know that she is having panic attacks. I’ve seen these before, and they’re kind of random, but the fact that they have returned is almost certainly attributable to the continued immorality of her behavior. Some people just don’t learn, or it just takes them a while.

So yes, this may take a while for the reality of this situation to dawn on her. She is going increasingly public with the affair: there’s the crap she’s putting on her Facebook page (I’ve been blocked, so I can only catch a limited glimpse via a secondary page that I happen to have) and also the new blog posts she’s writing. She has a blog that she’s kept for about 5 years now, mainly for family and friends overseas, and thus far she has not posted about the adulterer but has hinted that there were some “turning points” or other in her life. Today there were pictures taken at his place. Nothing that would identify it as such, but rather close-range pictures taken of buds in a greenhouse, and  a picture of a hummingbird she took. She didn’t say much about where they were taken or anything like that. But this will very likely backfire on her, especially if she becomes more open in her posting. By the way, I do pay for the hosting for this blog, the domain-name registration fees, and so on. Perhaps she has forgotten about that, like she’s forgotten about a whole host of other things I do for her.

The reality is and likely will remain that, despite the distance she professes to be taking, our lives are intertwined, and there’s just no denying that.