Tag Archives: Cooking

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.

“Separation,” day 4

Again, I put the term in quotes, and with good reason.

My wife came home late this morning, right around 11:00 a.m. She looked terrible: puffy eyes, exhausted expression, generally appearing like she had not slept well, and may have been crying as well. I can understand the not sleeping well, as I have had maybe 2 or 3 good nights of sleep since this whole madness started. It does take a toll, you know, and I also lost 19 pounds over the first 2 months.

Her behavior is the coldest I’ve seen yet. She was curt with me, not really wanting to talk, avoiding touches, and so on. I had made some juice this morning (apple-orange, freshly pressed) for breakfast, and had also gone to our favorite bakery for some croissants — one chocolate for her, 2 plain for me. She told me she had already had breakfast. I gave her the juice and the croissant, telling her she could eat the latter as a snack. She did drink the juice, at least.

I had to go to work soon thereafter, so I didn’t see her again until this evening. She has a client whose kids she teaches at home, and they live a bit far from here, so normally I pick her up on my way home from work. Not any more. Mrs. I-Want-To-Be-Independent never asked, so I called her and told her that I could give her a ride. About 15 minutes later I get at text saying, “I’ll be home in 10 minutes.” As a matter of principle, I will not text my wife back, I just call. The same goes for email: if she sends me one, I call her back. This time she actually answered her cell, something she has not done for nearly 3 months. She said she was just a couple of minutes away on the bus. I noticed, by the way, that she appeared to have made absolutely no headway with her packing.

I had just finished cooking dinner when she got home. I offered her some, and she declined, in favor of a bowl of rice with virtually no nutrition added. She did sit at the table with me, was visibly uncomfortable, avoided eye contact, did not want to talk, and was generally very cold. She finished her meal and went back into her office. This has been her refuge where she’s spent most of her waking moments since the whole crisis started 3 months ago. Basically all she does in there is surf the internet, and that’s about it. She had put some water on to boil, so I offered to make her tea, and asked her what kind she wanted. She said, “that’s okay, I’ll do it, you don’t need to care about me.” She looked visibly annoyed. I made the tea anyway and brought it to her.

Then she told me that she’d be spending the night, since she had to leave at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow for a hair appointment. The salon she goes to is a 2-hour bus ride from here, but it’s only about 20 minutes by car. I offered to give her a lift, as I’ve done this many times — she doesn’t know how to drive, after all — but she declined. 2 hours there, 2 hours back. That sounds like quite a needless waste of time, but she wants to be independent, I guess. Can’t fault a guy for asking. I did tell her I was just trying to be considerate.

Then she went to take her evening bath. While she was still sleeping here, I’d draw the bath for her, put essential oils in it, sometimes light some candles, whatever. She beat me to the punch on filling the tub, but I did make her bed, as was my custom for the past 3 months. And, as per custom, I’d get her aromatherapy diffuser going, leave some hot tea, and so forth. I then went to the grocery store to pick up some items for the morning. I got no thank you from her for any of this, just a curt “good night.”

So here’s what I think is going on. She’s frustrated. Possibly very frustrated. Her plans just aren’t working out. She was supposed to be rid of me by January 1st, and attached to him (the adulterer), and moved into his place. None of that has come to pass, and, as mentioned in an earlier post, it appears as though he’s stalling on the whole move-in thing. She’s making an asymmetrical sacrifice. She has opted to move out, but actually has nowhere to go. She is only living on the good graces of friends. I know this woman very well, of course, and I know that it really bothers her to impinge on others in this way. Whenever we would go visit my family, she would feel uncomfortable about staying with them because she felt like she was impinging, even though they wanted us as house guests. I often felt like she actually just wanted us to get a hotel room, although that would really offend my family. So, you can imagine how she feels staying with friends that she doesn’t really know that well. That’s why she’s coming home to shower, eat, and so forth. She has a little bit of psychological distance, but that’s it.

I honestly don’t think she can hack it. She’s looking at 3 more weeks of this at this friend’s house, and then after that another 4 weeks living with a student of hers with whom she really isn’t friends. That latter situation will likely be very uncomfortable for her. She can’t afford her own place, not at all, and the lover won’t let her move in. She gets maybe to spend the odd weekend with him and maybe a weeknight every now and then, but that’s about it.

Did you get that folks? Do you understand what that last sentence meant? I didn’t get it until I thought about it tonight: he wants to date, but she wants to be a full-time live-in partner. Maybe she’s willing, short-term, to assent to “dating” with the hopes that the more permanent situation will happen (it won’t), but she has to sacrifice pretty much everything just to do that. To my knowledge, he is the one who wanted her to disentangle from me, via divorce or at least separation, so he could clear his conscience. So far she’s been willing to oblige. I just wonder how much longer she’ll do so. I suspect the tension will build, and it will trigger a fight. Then there will be some fun days when that happens.