No Escape from My Husband’s Yelling and the Condemnation of My Inner Critic

In addition to the absence of storage space and our 10 foot high bedroom window that magnifies the sun’s light and heat by 700-percent, I’m discovering that this house has minimal insulation… specifically the noise reducing kind.

Until living here, I’d never realized that one of my husband’s major job functions is to lead painfully long conference calls with large groups of nearly deaf coworkers and clients. I can’t figure out if they’re actually hearing impaired or if their offices are located in underground caves with 1930’s telephone wiring. Or quite possibly they’re all ADHD second graders who had Kool-Aid and Pixie Sticks for breakfast.

Whatever the case may be, from 10 am to noon every day, there is no escaping the discord of James’ overly enunciated barks into the phone, each of which he has to slowly repeat at least thrice. His tone resonates agitation covered by a flimsy mask of politeness. Even with all doors closed, it’s like enduring two hours of Charlie Brown’s angry, barking father on full blast.

When the call finally ends, James’ facial expression reminds me of Lloyd Bridges in the movie Airplane, lamenting “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.”

JAMES: “Honey, before you hit ‘publish,’ you might want to add some factual information about who’s the loudest around here. That being you.”

ME: “Yes, but that doesn’t make for good reading.”

Ordinarily I’d find his calls more amusing than agitating, except for the fact that I’m trying to write in the next room. A book, actually. Yep, I said a book. A real book. Not a photo collage book I’ll have printed at CVS for my in-laws’ Christmas present. It’s a humorous parents’ guide to the world of travel baseball. Please, no one steal my idea because I score disconcertingly high in vengeance on personality tests.

Ever since the kids went back to school on Tuesday, I’ve been working on this book project for two hours each morning. And by working I mean staring at a blank computer screen, questioning my self worth and recalling every project I’ve started but failed to finish since childhood. As soon as it’s time to write, I suddenly have an overwhelming urge to clean out the garage. But I force myself to sit here and at least try to generate one sentence worth keeping. After a couple of false starts, I notice the sweater of dust on my living room ceiling fan. I should really get up and take care of that. But I resist the distraction and come up with what I consider a decent paragraph. Upon reading it a second time, the words sound forced and cliche.

I begin to question what business I have trying to be a writer anyway, I’m just wasting time on a project that’ll never come to fruition. The word fruition reminds me that we’re out of strawberries. And dog food. And I haven’t planned dinner yet. And Andrew’s baseball pants need to be washed before tomorrow. How can I sit here wiling away the hours when there are important chores to be done?

But, what was that? Washing baseball pants. With Iron Out, the miracle cleaner, even though it’s probably alters your DNA. That’s something a new baseball parent would need to know. I should write that down before the condemning voices in my head return from their coffee break.

A quick side note, the boys have had a good week in their new schools so far. Thanks so much for all the supportive calls, texts and FB messages. Here’s what they had to say after day one.

ANDREW: “We learned greetings in Spanish today.”

ME: “Like what?”

ANDREW: “Aloha.”

JACK: “I met this kid named Silas in our class. He’s very undomesticated.”

ME: “You mean he’s wild?”

JACK: “Yes, but I’m trying to use vocabulary words.”

Alright, back to the book. What was I saying about Iron Out?

This entry was posted in home insulation, how to clean baseball pants, Iron Out, my inner critic, speaker phone conference calls and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to No Escape from My Husband’s Yelling and the Condemnation of My Inner Critic

  1. My husband talks to those deaf coworkers, too!!!


  2. Nancy Hill says:

    Oh yes, yes, yes… No I'm not channeling Meg Ryan in Harry Met Sally. I'm just so on board with you when you say, “And by working I mean staring at a blank computer screen, questioning my self worth and recalling every project I've started but failed to finish since childhood.” We writers are so neurotic! 🙂


  3. So glad you feel my pain, Carol. Empathy is a good thing.


  4. I am laughing so hard but am very happy you somehow managed to write this post! I totally relate all around!


  5. Darlene Daniel says:

    Hilarious!! (Why didn't I know about Iron Out? Luke obviously didn't mind having red clay stains on his baseball pants.)


  6. Kim Dalferes says:

    Love your book idea – is probably applicable for many different sports. Good luck!


  7. Wendys Hat says:

    Funny stuff! I love this! At least you're writing at all. I've had that dream/plan forever but spend my time staring at the screen or cleaning up after someone.


  8. Elaine says:

    Your family conversations could be used in a sit-com. I can relate.


  9. kim tackett says:

    This is me staring at a blank screen and not writing, and being annoyed by my husband's breathing in the next room. Yes, just breathing.


  10. OMGoodness I do a lot of that staring at a blank screen too. When that happens I grab a notebook and a pen and sit outside.
    I also found it helps me to write an outline first. A paragraph or two on each chapter and then going back to expand on those paragraphs.
    My husband is too loud too:(


  11. Haha! I just spent a weekend with 4 90 year-olds and there was quite a bit of shouting and repeating things!


  12. Lol, just breathing, huh.


  13. Darlene, I don't mind clay stains on baseball pants at all. It's just that darn mom peer pressure. Who set the bar so high?


  14. Thanks! I think so too.


  15. Thanks, Nancy. It's so good to know that others can relate to my writer's neurosis.


  16. I really hope so. There needs to be some kind of guide.


  17. Oh my gosh, yep, cleaning up after someone. I can very much relate.


  18. Outlining first is such a good idea. I should remember that when I get stuck.


  19. Yep. Lots of repeating needed. Lol


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