Monday, 9 September 2013

I am the Neck!

I realise I have been away for a while.  When it comes down to it, you can only take so much stress, then you begin to shut down.  To discover we have to wait until November, and still no actual date, for Dan to have more biopsies, stopped us in our tracks.  No valid excuse from the hospital, except they misplaced his file for a time!

We are also demented through prospective buyers viewing our barn.  When you've only moved once in thirty six years, and that was thirty one years ago, it gives you instant ulcers just to think about it!  Yet this is what we have been working for over the last ten years, as we first had plans drawn up, brought in a construction team, and then converted the barn into a home.  We have enjoyed living in it, but are drawn back to the farmhouse by happy memories and giant magnets.

Our much awaited new grandson has yet to make his appearance.  As his father is very tall, and his mother tiny, we were very anxious when we heard that he was back to front.  But hopefully the midwives have managed to turn him in the right direction, and we won't have the frightening blue-light experience we had the last time.  Certainly our daughter seems serene enough, even though she has long reached the waddling stage and needs to run to the loo every five minutes.  Her husband, who is even calmer, remarked quite happily that it can't be much different to birthing a sow!  We are just glad there will be one baby and not fifteen! She is used to getting bland remarks like this; it is the penalty of having married a farmer.  And they have already given the baby his name, but I am too superstitious to mention it before his birth.

My shoulder has also now reached the 'continually painful' stage.  It makes things very difficult as it is my right shoulder, and I am right-handed.  When we return from holiday I will be having it fixed involving what is called hydrodilatation.  Enough said.

TTWD has been a roller-coaster ride.  Sometimes I stop our particular car when it is at its highest point and take a look around the fairground.

It's easy to see the "rides" that have been around a long time.  They have a comfortable, worn-in look about them.  They are not boring.  They still have their little wobbles on the corners from time to time, and occasionally their gearing needs oiling due to a bit of friction here and there.  But on the whole, they are reliable, providing fun, safety and a consistent outcome for the participants.

Then there are the rides that have a whole list of rules printed up front, like the charts at Disney that say you have to be a certain height and a certain age before you are allowed on.  Maybe they work for some, but they are so stream-lined that there are no surprises. New rules are constantly being added, and unless you put you seat belt on and sit perfectly still whilst the ride is in motion, you will rue the consequences. Whilst some participants claim they can understand the purpose of having rides like these, they are not for us.  Too many seem to actively dislike them, and are always grumbling about how scary the rides become when the rules are disobeyed.

A whole lot of rides are new to the fairground.  Many of them seem to be in place in order to be tried out on the willing, or the not so willing. They have a tendency to get problems with gears, which lead to bumpy, inconsistent rides.  It can be observed that these rides often have a great many shiny gismos which can be employed to provide variety; but many of the older rides seem to do well, and keep functioning smoothly with a simple hands-on approach.

Finally there are the exciting and colourful rides that generally have little extras attached to them.  They are generally quite long, usually thrilling, go off in many unusual directions, are fun on the whole, but can have a serious side to them, and leave the participant,s for the main, breathless but satisfied. There are so many of these rides that it is good to try out several before returning to the ones you like the best.

We've not been doing too well.  Struggling if you like. It's a shame, because although we were slow, we were at least mostly moving forwards.  But gradually we ground to a halt.  It wasn't just the communication that was non-existent.  I think I've finally learned what "distancing" means.  Until it happens to you, you really have no idea how destructive it can become.

I have been trying my best to bottle up my stress, to hang on to my temper and to smile and nod like a little clockwork toy because I have been terrified of letting my attitude get the better of me.  Trying to keep it pegged down, and held in.  Going into automaton mode.  Not because I wanted to but because I had to.

Control is a funny thing.  Dan and I have shared control for so many years that from my point of view, it is a hard thing to concede that Dan is quite capable of doing the leading.  But as for needing my help. Well, of course he needs it.  I may have slipped down to 48 or even 47 per cent, but if I refuse him my opinion, refuse him the benefit of my knowledge about something, refuse to be there at his shoulder, he folds up like a pack of cards, turns back, and the ship wallows as if it has lost its propeller.

However, he did inform me that the First Mate is an extremely important member of a ship's crew, and probably contributes as much to the running of the ship, if not more, than the Captain.

He's a very perceptive man is my Starman.  Out of pure cussedness I try to play mind games with him. Strangely, he knows me so well, he always wins. And Dan being Dan, he always says "I told you so!"

So I was watching an old film lately.  My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  Remember it?  Well in that film the Greek Orthodox girl finally meets the man of her dreams, and he is neither Orthodox nor Greek.  A dilemma, because Greek daddies tend to be the Heads of their Households.

So our heroine is sitting talking with her mother and father and trying to get her father to permit her to date this guy, and Father is being pretty adamant about her not doing so.  Father and Daughter are at loggerheads and fast reaching an impasse.

"I am the Head of the Household and you will do as you are told and marry a good Greek boy" says Father. Naturally Daughter is distraught.  Father strides off in a temper leaving Mother and Daughter sitting at the table.

Mother pats Daughter's hand.  "Don't you worry" she says to Daughter. "You leave your Father to me."

"But Mother, he says he is the Head of the Household" sobs Daughter broken-heartedly.

"Look here" says Mother looking into Daughter's eyes.

"He may be the Head of the Household.  That is true.

But,"she says looking knowingly at her daughter, "I am the Neck!"

This last few weeks I felt I wasn't even the neck.  I have had more meltdowns than some people have hot dinners.  Very violent, noisy, dramatic, tearful meltdowns.  On the whole Dan has fielded each one like an errant cricket ball.  But the real problem here is that I always seem to have to tell him what I need and suggest that he may like to deal with the situation in time-honoured fashion.  Despite it having been nine months since we began this thing, he still seems to need prompting.

So exactly nine days ago after a spanking that he stopped too soon, before I had reach the softening, going limp stage, simply because I was howling and shouting "Enough!" at the top of my lungs, I decided that I was too controlling and would never in future deliver any prompts to him.

Things got more and more on top of me.  So in time-honoured fashion the downward spiral increased its speed and I could see Bitch/Troll smirking at me from the bottom of the pit where I had booted her after her last little reign of terror.  She was using a metal rasp nail file to sharpen her talons, and the gleam in her eyes told me that I had very little time to get this mess turned around as she would be clawing her way up the sides of her abyss in a relatively short time.  I so needed my Starman to become the biggest Billygoat Gruff and butt her back down to where she belonged!

I thought about it for ages.  I have several long, convoluted discussions and emails with nearly every bloggy friend I could think of who had suffered similar debacles, (Especially one of them!  Ha!) and I was at a loss.

Then, despite not wanting to go anywhere near Blogland as it was making me both jealous and homesick, I ventured to read our dear Susie's latest words of wisdom.  Wow!  They could have been written not only about us, but for us!  (I re-read it several times Susie!)

So I knew what I had to do.  I had to take the Bull by the Horns!

Now, bare with me whilst I back-track just a little.

When Ami does distancing she does distancing with great verve and aplomb! She distances to the very best of her ability.  She takes no prisoners.  In fact, from never having distanced particularly knowingly in her life before, she would just about be ready for a Diploma in it!

Dan had a very hard week.  He worked away for four days, leaving the middle day like the filling in a sandwich.  That day was the one where the temperatures shot up to 31 degrees C with the highest humidity levels anyone round here can remember in their lifetimes.  We were all like little grease-spots.  (And that was the day I decided to take Daughter and Grandson for an end of the summer picnic to a nearby beauty spot! And believe me, you don't want to know just how many wasps came with us just in order to swell the resident wasp population for the day!)

All that week I was having not only meltdowns due to the heat, but also meltdowns due to no action on behalf of Dan.  And I was absolutely determine not to try to take his control away, whilst doing a Willie and stuffing my feelings as far down inside they were practically leaking out of my toes!

Then -

Around 7.30 the Wednesday morning, as I was (as had become my norm) back to Dan, nearly over-balancing to get away from him and falling out of bed, and trying to be asleep at the same time, a hand started stroking my left hip.  It stroked and stroked.  I was having none of it.  I swatted it furiously away and informed him in no uncertain terms that I wasn't in the mood.  All he did was turn back over on his back and laugh softly.  RED RAG TO A BULL!

"You don't fool me Ami" he sniggered.  SNIGGERED!

I reached for the clock and studied the dial rubbing sleep from my eyes.

"Oh hell, I've got to get up.  I have a picnic to pack and I promised to pick them up by 10!  What do you want for breakfast?!"

I galloped around looking for my robe and did one of the best Charlie Chaplin turns you've ever seen as I leapt down the dog-leg staircase and into the kitchen.

Around 6.30 on the Thursday morning the same hand was back.  This time it stroked my hip a few times and then the bed shifted as Dan got up and went off to shower.  I drifted back to sleep.  The rattle of a coffee mug being placed next to me woke me up and Dan bent over me and "buzzed" me in my ear.

"Gotta go.  See you later.  You're still not fooling me you know.  Not one little bit."  He walked off chuckling to himself!  CHUCKLING!

Exactly the same scenario was repeated on the Friday morning.

"Bloody hell it's getting like Groundhog Day around here!" I muttered at him.

"You are so funny" he retorted.

I opened my eyes a crack, just in time to see him saunter out of the room.  SAUNTER!

This is where I humbly apologise to all my friends who had to suffer long convoluted emails of distress from me for each and every one of those days!  Grovel, grovel!

Around 7.30 Saturday morning the hand was stroking not only my left hip, but also my left butt cheek.

"Are you awake?"

"I am now."

"Make me a cup of tea."

(Intermission whilst my totally non-submissive self had a quick bare-knuckle fight with the part of me who has always tried her best to please her man over all these years.)

I groaned, heaved myself up and putting my robe on staggered slowly down the stairs this time, still trying to be asleep.  (Have you noticed?  Women are particularly good at this.  Especially in the middle of the night when they need to pee.  They never open their eyes hardly once!  And they never get pee on the seat either!)

When I arrived back in the bedroom with his tea, and a coffee for me, he still lay, eyes closed, looking distinctly corpse-like.

I sat and sipped my coffee.

Then I felt his hand on my left thigh.



"Do you think you could please me a little?"


I turned to look at him.  He still had his eyes shut and he was grinning from ear to ear.

"You're a wonderful wife, Ami."


"Come on Ami...."



My coffee nearly shot up in the air and I started to choke.

"Ami?         !!!!???"

This is where there is a longer, Dan-enforced intermission.  Actually I felt better with a mug of coffee inside me, and as he tucked me under his right armpit, as is his wont, afterwards, we talked.

And this is where Susie's blog post comes into it.  I stole a good half of it, that I had more or less memorised, and tried to explain to him how we had been at this for nine months and he still didn't seem to want to take the initiative. It was a difficult conversation, necessarily quite one-sided.  I did my very best to convey how needy I felt, how ignored and taken for granted, how everyone and everything else seemed to take precedence.  But I also tried to convey that I didn't want to fight him for control, or dictate when or how he should do things.  I simply wanted him to notice and act!  He had my consent. So how difficult could that be?!

"But, Ami, I haven't noticed anything untoward this week.  In fact, I think you've done well under so much pressure.  And anyway, I've been away four out of five days haven't I?  It doesn't usually happen these days does it?"

He looked at his watch.  He always wears the blessed thing in bed!  Why for goodness sake!  It's huge and it's scratchy!

"Crap!  I've got to get up, I've got a couple of electricians coming!"

This time he galloped off out and across the landing.

I clenched my teeth and sighed!  And then slowly followed.

It was a lovely sunny day yet again, although rain had been forecast.  We certainly never got it.  I carried on doing all the things I do on a Saturday.  We were due to be out for dinner with friends in the evening, and I had been asked to take a pudding.  (For the more curious amongst you, I took one of our favourites "Grandma Poppet's Lemon Meringue Pie".)

Son and Son's girlfriend decided to go out for the day. They went off shopping into town and then went off to the coast to have cod and chips in a little old fisherman's cafe surrounded by fishing boats and artists' studios, that we all frequent whenever we can.

The electricians had finished by midday.  The day stayed gloriously sunny.  I finished not only my pudding to take with us that evening, but also one for Sunday when we had ten family members for lunch.

And suddenly there it was.  My Eureka moment.

1  It was peaceful and quiet.

2  We were completely on our own.

3  We were not expecting anyone.

4  We had finished all necessary chores for the day.

I girded my loins.

I peered around Dan's office door into the gloomy depths. Dan was playing on his computer.  He had music going and was researching houses on the Isle of Wight!!!  (Why the flipping Isle of Wight?!!!)

I frowned.

Then I glared.

I caught Dan's attention and he looked up.

I lifted my eyebrows as high as I possibly could.

"I am now going into the house," I informed him haughtily, "and I am going to sulk!"

I turned and sticking my nose and my chin into the air I made for the kitchen.

It wasn't long till Dan followed me.

He was laughing to loud I could have gladly throttled him!

"And what's this about?" he asked.  "As if I couldn't already guess."

"Well you are always saying there is no time.  Or we are not alone.  Or someone might hear.  Well I think you've run clean out of excuses, Buster!"

He was laughing like a drain.

"But Ami, it isn't Spanky Doodle Day you know."

My breath caught in my throat and I did a double flip. "I beg your pardon."

"Yeah.  Spanky Doodle Dandy."  He roared with laughter.

For a minute, only a very skinny minute, I thought, dear bloggers, that he had been reading some blog posts. I very nearly told him about Ana's Spanky Doodle Day, but then I thought it would burst his little bubble.

"Look, Dan.  I don't want to be controlling.  But it's been two weeks now.  And you just don't seem to want to bother unless I remind you.  Just once it would be nice if you would take me unawares and not wait for me to prompt."

"It's been nine days, not two weeks, Ami.  And are you suggesting I could have done something by remote control?"

"Well do you hate my bottom or something?"

"I love your bottom.  I'm sure it's firmer now than it used to be."

"So are you saying it used to be floppy?"

"Er, no.  But it isn't as firm as it was when you used to ride every day."

I glared at him.  He grinned like a Cheshire Cat.

"Oh come on then. Get upstairs and take your knickers off!"

(Aside - Now that is what I would like to hear on a regular basis!!!)

He followed me up the stairs in his big brown work boots.

"You needn't think I am taking them off because I'm not.  I can still spank you whilst wearing my work boots!"

I was still glaring, but I removed my jeans but left my knickers at half mast. And then stood mystified as Dan sorted through my underwear drawer.

"What are you doing?"

"Looking for the paddle."

An explosion of delicate lingerie floated upwards, and then down on to the floor.  A pale lilac bra wrapped its way around his left work boot.  And he tried to kick it off whilst still searching for the paddle.

In the end I couldn't stand it any more.  My drawer was a wreck.  I elbowed him aside, reached in and handed him the paddle.

He looked at his watch.

"Hurry up, they're doing the lap timings for the Grand Prix grid.  Get over the footboard."

"Look, Dan.  Do you think we could do it a bit different this time?  If you sit in the chair, I could try going over you knee.  Properly.  Just this once?"

He oomphed and sat down.  The chair is pretty low, and like all armchairs, well, it has arms!  I saw the problem immediately.  Especially as he had relaxed back into it.

"No, no.  You'll have to sit forwards, and upright.  The arms are in the way."

He shuffled forward.  It still looked difficult, and I hadn't realised how low the chair was.

I waddled over to him feeling pinioned by my own knickers. Just getting down and over his knees was like scaling the north face of the Eiger.

I was too tall.  My feet tried to fold on the floor one side, and my head hit the floor the other side.  I wriggled and wriggled, trying to get comfortable.

"Oh bugger, my knee's gone.  Oh ow!  You're killing me woman!  My knees are going dead now!"

He moaned so much I burst out laughing, and then he laughed too.

"You weigh too much.  My knees can't stand it.  I've got a completely dead leg."

"This is hopeless isn't it.  How do people manage?  Just hang on and I'll go and get the quilt, I can't lean over that wooden footboard without some padding."

I went to the spare room and retrieved the eiderdown quilt.  Then I put a pillow on the bed to muffle my yelps - and to chew!

Eventually I was in position.

Dan started rubbing my cheeks and giving me a few half hearted swats with his hand.  He has discovered that if he starts off slowly with lots of rubbing in between, that he can "warm up his hand" as well as my butt.

"You can talk to me you know".  (Sorry, I know I was prompting again.  But what's a girl to do?)

"What do you want me to say?"

The swats were getting firmer and more snappy at this point.

"You could tell me how you are feeling.  You could say anything if you like.  I'm in the best position to listen, aren't I?"

"But, Ami, I'm the strong silent type."

"Humph!  Ow!"

The swats were very hard now and he had slipped in a boing with the paddle!  And then another!

"Sheesh, Mr Starsong, your hand feels like a paddle itself!"

Another couple of paddle swats - Ow!  Ow!  (He swings that blessed thing so high and it really, really hurts!)

He moved around to the other side and used his left hand.  My Starman hates to think he is not being equally "swatty" to both cheeks these days.

He has been so busy with the garden and doing all sorts of manual jobs that his hands have toughened up terrifically.  I hadn't realised.

I began my usual crawl forwards.  He changed sides again and his left hand rested firmly on my lower back.

"No you don't."

I tried hard not to kick out, but that simply led to a staccato beat on our oak floorboards.

"That's really burning, Dan!"

"Hmmm.  It's a lovely shade of red, Ami."  Swat, swat, swat.

"Oh ow!!!"

He gave me a quick rub.  I had muffled my face in the pillow.  My eyes were watering and my mascara was running.

"How on earth (swat, swat, swat) we are going to (swat, swat, swat) do this on board a ship (swat, swat, swat) I really don't know."

Blessed release came, and I was able to cry.

He stopped and rubbed once more.

"And don't even think of taking that stupid flogger you bought.  Feathers would be more effective!"

The burn was a raging furnace.  I went limp and sobbed out my stress like opening floodgates.  It hurt like hell but it felt so good.  (I can't explain that any other way.)

He stopped immediately.

"That's enough, love" he said.

He helped me up and I nuzzled into his chest and he hugged me.  I cried loudly, and he imitated my howls.

He was so funny I burst into a hiccuping laugh myself.

"Feel better?  You should see your bottom.  Come and look."

He dragged me in front of our full length mirror and backed me up to it, worriedly.

I gazed at my scarlet cheeks.  But he now understands the paddle and is more careful about the hard edges where the stitching is.  Not a single bruise! Yay!

It felt extremely hot.

I adjusted my knickers, put my jeans back on and followed him downstairs.

I took hold of his hand.

"Feel this."  I held the back of his hand against my bottom.

"I think I can do a better job when you lean over the footboard," was his comment.

He may be right, but I do like going over his lap when he sits up in bed.  It feels more intimate.

But going over the footboard does tend to focus me more.  There are no (ahem!) distractions.

And we had a lovely evening out with our friends.  I was glad they had soft seats to their dining chairs, but by the time we got home around midnight, most of the redness had gone and apart from a slightly warm glow, my rear was back to normal.

What a difference a day makes!

I am so much more cheerful it's as if someone has waved a magic wand over my head.

And I have to include a little addendum.

Yesterday we had a family lunch and I worked flat out to have it ready early as my SIL and her husband were off somewhere else in the late afternoon.

Whilst we were eating and chatting around the table, which was outside due to yet another sunny day, Dan paid me not one, but TWO compliments, in front of everyone!

After the second one, I just sat open-mouthed staring at him, while he grinned back at me, and his sister looked at him completely gobsmacked!  (She knows her brother well, too!)

As one had to do with my age and appearance, and the other had to do with my cooking ability, I was rendered speechless.  I have never, repeat NEVER, to my knowledge anyway, been paid compliments like it in front of any members of is family. Not ever!  And it was sooooo nice!