Posted by: Marie | July 2, 2014

(945) Lessons in renegotiation – Part 1 of 7

Post #945
[Private journal entry written near bedtime on Saturday, September 1, 2012]

Melodie is talking with her husband on the phone. I’m glad for the time by myself . . . I need to journal . . . I need an outlet for sorting through my thoughts . . .

It has been an interesting day, for sure . . .

First thing this morning, we put our chicken for this evening’s meal in the oven. We figured the smartest thing to do was to cook it in the morning while it was cool enough to have the doors and windows wide open. We figured we could just heat it up at suppertime in the microwave (which can operate at the same time as the air conditioner) . . . which is what we did, by the way . . .

But anyway, over breakfast, we talked about what we would like to do today. I was telling Melodie about the museums and tours that were available in the town, mostly relating to Willa Cather. I told her we might see if we could find some of the spots depicted in Richard Schilling’s watercolor book . . . maybe she could try to take a photograph that aligned with the painting . . . I thought it was something she might like to do . . .

But, no . . . she made a face and stated that none of that really interested her.

I was a bit confused . . . I mean, I thought she knew what kind of stuff was around Red Cloud for us to do . . . she seemed to have been onboard with the plan just a week or two ago . . . I wondered what had changed . . . ??

I soon got my answer . . .

She said that she had found some really cool ghost towns on the internet . . . it would be so cool for us to go see them . . .

I took a deep breath before I dared to ask how far away they were from Red Cloud . . .

“Oh, they aren’t that far!”

“How far?”

“I don’t know . . . “

And she began to list off a bunch of towns with which I was not familiar . . . and she began describing all the cool buildings that could be found in these towns . . .

I took a few more deep breaths before I responded . . .

“I thought we agreed that we were going to do stuff in and around Red Cloud rather than driving a lot of miles to go see ghost towns.”

“But these are really cool towns . . . they have really neat buildings! We’ve got to go see them! You’ll love it!”

“I’m sure we can find some really neat abandoned buildings right around here . . . in fact, I saw some as I was driving in . . . “

“But they aren’t ghost towns.”

“So, what defines a ghost town?”

“Well, there’s a website that lists all the towns that are ghost towns . . . and those towns are listed on that website as ghost towns.”

“Okay . . . what criteria did they meet in order to be on that website?”

“You know . . . they are abandoned towns.”

“Does that mean that no one lives in the towns anymore, or that there are a lot of abandoned buildings in a town that is still occupied?”

“I guess that means the town is dead . . . that no one lives there.”

I didn’t speak for a moment . . . I was sorting through my thoughts to find the most appropriate response . . .

“Well . . . um . . . I’m going to go take my shower now . . . let me think about this while I’m showering . . . “

As I showered, I thought very carefully about how I wanted to respond to this change in direction . . .

One option was for me to insist that we stick to the plan I had crafted. I mean, I put a lot of work into researching what all was available in this area . . . it has an abundance of documented and preserved history nearby so we wouldn’t have to drive all over the country.

If she didn’t like what I had pulled together, she could have told me that earlier so I could have found something else. Or, if she never wanted to do anything beyond ghost towns and she never intended to follow any of my suggestions, it would have been nice to know that from the start . . . then I wouldn’t have put so much effort into planning something . . . I would have plopped us down in any ole’ town with minimal forethought.

I know that, if I insist on sticking to the plan I created, Melodie will take every opportunity to remind me that she is letting me have my way . . . she will take on the role of a martyr . . . and it will be a miserable weekend.

If I let her manipulate me in that way, am participating in this relationship in an unhealthy way? It is disrespectful of her to blow off what I had planned and to insist upon doing exactly what we had agreed we wouldn’t do. If I allow that, am I teaching her that it is okay to treat me disrespectfully?

Maybe the answer is to stand up for myself and talk to her about her disrespect . . . maybe she needs someone to tell her about that. Is it my place to teach her about that? If she hasn’t figured it out by now, in her late 40’s, is she ever going to learn it? Maybe she doesn’t care . . . maybe she is doing what works for her and she likes the results she is getting . . .

Maybe I don’t care to invest anything more in a relationship with someone who is that disrespectful. Should I then just suck it up and get through this weekend and then never go on another trip with her? Or maybe I should just pack up and leave right now . . . ??

(Um, nix that last option . . . it seems a bit too dramatic and immature . . . )

On the other hand, it’s not like it is super important to me to do what I had planned for us to do . . . I mean, the only reason I picked the Willa Cather stuff is because my mom suggested it and it seemed like a great fit for this trip. It wasn’t like I had been waiting all my life to go see this stuff . . . I didn’t even know it existed until a year ago. My life won’t be any different if I don’t see it. Although, I was looking forward to it . . . I thought it would be very interesting.

I do enjoy visiting the ghost towns . . . I enjoy the history and I love to poke around old buildings. So, it’s not that I’m opposed to going to ghost towns, or even to driving long distances to do it . . . the only part I am opposed to is spending money on fuel and on eating in restaurants when we have such cool stuff so close to Red Cloud and when we have perfectly good food sitting here in the cottage. I don’t want to spend my money that way . . . I really need to save it to get ready for the CASA training.

So, it seems that, for me, the issue is really the money and not much else.

I hate that it comes down to the money for me.

We are only together every two years. It would cost me about $30 for my part of a road trip . . . do I really want to deny her what she really wants to do – which happens to be something I also enjoy – just to save $30? What is more important? And, I didn’t have to buy an air mattress . . . I could take that money and use it for this . . . I’d still be within my budget . . .

Furthermore, will I feel good about myself when, in a year from now, I look back and say to myself, “Yeah, I denied my best friend what she really wanted, but, by golly, I saved $30!!!” . . . ??

When did hanging out with Melodie become this complicated? It used to be so easy . . .

[Continued in the next post . . . ]



  1. Interesting.

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