where do I go from here?


-- चार हजार एक सौ साठ --

Maybe I don't have to go anywhere after all. It took a couple of days of thinking to realize this. It will make my finances tighter than they have been since I was unemployed in 2002, but it may be possible. All I have to do is lower my 401(k) contribution to either 5% or maybe even 0%; filter pretty much every dollar I currently send to my savings account, and make sure I have rent revenue from a roommate. Combining those three things, there's a fair chance I could pay for the mortgage in the condo I currently live in on my own.

I'm not yet convinced it's going to come to this. But I am thinking about it with a seriousness I haven't had about it since probably, I don't know, 2010? I'm pretty sure Shobhit is legitimately depressed right now. I do feel he needs support. But how can I support him when he's not only refusing to acknowledge a need to alter his behavior, but doubling down on that behavior? He literally shrugs when I tell him I can't tolerate it. What am I supposed to do with that? Where do I draw the line?

I keep thinking about the logistics of moving out, finding an apartment, and it's overwhelming. I don't especially want to upset Ivan's living situation any sooner than it needs to be either. Maybe he would move into another place with me? I don't know how much he would weigh, for instance, having his own private bathroom where he is now -- which he would certainly not get if he had to move again -- with, for example, going to where Shanti is. Mentioning the cat might seem trivial but I actually think being around the cats, and especially Shanti, would make a difference to him. Maybe living with me rather than Shobhit too, if he were forced to choose between living with just one of us.

I really love this condo. I love living there and I've loved living there since we moved in ten years ago -- ten years ago next month. I've loved living there with Shobhit, and I've loved living there without him, when we were in a long distance relationship. It only occurred to me this morning: who says I have to be the one to move, if it comes to that? He's the one who mentioned the idea of moving away from Seattle, not me. And since we're married, the condo is legally as much mine as it is his. Why should I be the one to leave, when he's the one making decisions that are potentially tearing us apart?

I want to be clear. I don't want him to leave. I don't want this relationship to end. I want Shobhit's life to get better, but he won't be open to so much as seeing a therapist -- alone or, which is my preference, as a couple. Instead he wants to double down on not only treating me with little to no respect, but now, doing it with my friends. Don't I have to draw the line somewhere?

Given our history, I feel like in all likelihood, we will eventually get through this and still wind up together indefinitely. On the other hand, there's a first time for everything. He's depressed and my heart is breaking. I don't even know for sure how imminent any huge changes are. I'm terrified by any such prospects. I've always been one for taking the path of least resistance, whatever is easiest. I'm at a point where staying with him isn't easy and leaving him isn't easy either. Or maybe he'll be a lot more tolerable again in a few days, a week, whatever, and I'll change my mind about all this. It's happened before. Do I want to keep going through this at regular intervals for the rest of my life?

I'm very close to choosing to end either all, or nearly all, of my 401(k) contributions, in order to cover either all of or most of the mortgage. Shobhit never wants me to do this, because he knows how badly it will hurt my long-term savings in the 401(k) account. But this is the thing: if we wind up splitting up, I'm bound to have to do that anyway. So what difference does it make? Even if we don't separate, I can start covering a lot of the mortgage payments that are taking virtually all of his current income (which is roughly half what I make currently), and it can take some of the stress off of his finances. We could just consider it temporary. Shobhit might think it's not worth the stress of knowing how badly it affects my long term 401(k) plan, but I can't see how that would be any more stressful than his own financial situation is anyway. I'm seriously considering making this move on my 401(k) whether he likes it or not. The choices will then be: either he can move out and leave the mortgage to me, or he can stay and allow me to cover more of the mortgage than I do now.

Also I have to wonder: could I do a refinance of my own, and thus lower the monthly mortgage payments? Just something to think about, I guess. We could revisit refinancing together, if we could just get our shit together as a couple first.

Shobhit is acting like he has nothing left to lose, which is blatantly ridiculous: he has the condo to lose, and far more importantly, he has me to lose. He's teetering on the brink of losing me right now. He seems to want to just resign himself to that possibility, instead of doing any work on fighting to keep me. I want to talk about how shitty that makes me feel, but I'm inclined to cut him some slack because of how depressed he clearly is. That may or not be so healthy a move on my part, I don't really know.

He literally said to me yesterday, "From my perspective, my life is over." He brought up the state of the country, the way the hope and possibility this country represented to him when he moved here as an immigrant has, in his mind, disappeared. He's working jobs that aren't on the level he had before moving to New York in 2010; he's having a difficult time breaking back into his field; "there's ageism in the industry," he says -- all things, to my mind, that are just excuses he is using for his own self-pity. It's still been less than a year since he moved back. He actually has options; we have options, but for some reason he is willfully ignoring that fact. And I suspect he is also saying these things at least in part because for some reason he has no interest in taking accountability for his behavior, this earnest disregard for other people's feelings. To me, it's obvious his life is not over. It's not that dire. He sure seems to be making decisions that take him incrementally closer to it being that dire, however.

And the thing is, my love for him remains as strong as it ever was. Love alone is never enough. How do I deal with a person this depressed? We had this conversation yesterday that went south almost immediately, and it semi-ended with me feeling like he was just waiting for me to make a move: will I leave him, or not? Well, I'm inclined to force him to make some tough decisions of his own. I'm ready and willing to find ways to work it out. But that can't happen as long as he's saying shitty things to my friends, and then literally shrugging when I call him out on it. What should I do, then? Separate? Stick it out for a while, and just hide him away from my friends? I literally feel like I'm at a point where I have to protect them from him -- or at least, protect myself from how I feel when he engages in such fundamentally inconsiderate behavior.

He should call Faith. Maybe they can talk a little about this. He always cared more about her opinion than he did anyone else's. She might actually talk some sense into him.

-- चार हजार एक सौ साठ --


-- चार हजार एक सौ साठ --

Things were going well enough at first on Friday. I had a mobile coupon for a free sundae at Old School Frozen Custard and suggested to Shobhit that we go redeem it. It made him happy that he'd get a Social Review point. We shared a hot fudge sundae with two scoops of frozen custard, one horchata and butter pecan. The whole thing was surprisingly delicious, as neither of those flavors are really my favorites. I guess whipped cream and hot fudge can make all the difference.

He would have gotten a point that evening anyway, since Danielle came over to hang out for a couple of hours. She was in Seattle for a funeral. A good friend she works with had her husband die in a terrible car accident earlier in the week. He wasn't wearing a seat belt, which made us all feel immediately exasperated. Wear your fucking seat belt! Danielle said her friend said the accident was so bad he probably would have died even with the seat belt. But, maybe not.

She was hungry and Shobhit made her some flatbread from scratch. To his credit, that was very nice of him. Shobhit loves to cook and he loves to cook for people. But then Danielle mentioned this friend is moving back to her hometown of Dallas, and Shobhit actually said, "My sympathy for her just went down a little." Why? Just because she's from Texas. (Aside: that was enough for me to make another $10 contribution to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.)

Are you fucking kidding me? He says this to Danielle -- who he had literally just told to her face he loves more than almost all of my friends -- about her close friend's husband, right after she came to our place from his funeral. I said to him that very night, "That was a really shitty thing to say, Shobhit." He gave no indication that he cared. Danielle shrugged it off for the sake of decorum, but when I walked her out to her car, she talked about his insensitivity. "I know he didn't wear a seat belt," she said. "But he's dead." Clearly what Shobhit said hurt her feelings. I think it may still have angered me more than it did her, but that doesn't change how inappropriate it was.

When I came back inside, I sat on the couch and told him, "Your capacity for insensitivity is beyond the pale." Maybe not the most productive way to start a conversation, I suppose. And then I suggested we might want to get couples counseling -- something Danielle had just said outside was probably a good idea. (I still think it's a good idea.) Shobhit just looked at me with an expression that I can only describe as dismissive, almost amused. It was infuriating, and then I nearly broke down crying -- not that Shobhit ever gives a shit when I cry. I did cry a tiny bit yesterday. Anyway, I just gave up right then: "You're obviously not taking me seriously," and I grabbed my phone and charger cord and went to bed, walking away from him as he said something stupid like "I'm going to be dead soon anyway." That wasn't a threat of suicide, just a lame attempt at deflection by referring to his own perceived poor health.

And since he had an early morning shift following by a second shift at the second job that did not end until 5:00, which was when I let Laney at the Light Rail station to head downtown, I did not see Shobhit at all on Saturday. He was in bed and asleep by the time I got home, having yet another early shift yesterday. This made Saturday particularly unusual between us: we not only never spoke, he didn't even text me. Not even his weight in the morning, which we do every morning. He did text me his weight yesterday morning.

Both Saturday morning and Sunday morning he left for work without kissing me goodbye as he usually does. Both days he fed the cats though, which actually allowed me to sleep in without them waking me up at 6:45 (although I still woke up soon thereafter, as I keep going to bed early). I couldn't tell you what he was thinking over those couple of days, from late Friday evening through yesterday afternoon. He may have fed the cats at least partially out of consideration for me, and if so, I appreciate it. What I need is for him to be considerate with others as well. Why can't he get that?

In the meantime, I didn't see Ivan all day on Saturday either. We barely missed each other a couple of times in the late morning after he woke up. I went to the store and came back; I even took Light Rail down to the Columbia City PCC to pick up just a few things in lieu of shopping the previous weekend, which Shobhit and I otherwise skipped. I was interested in seeing what the store looked like after our overnight rebranding on Wednesday.

Honestly I found myself wondering if there was really enough return on investment there, in terms of doing so much literally overnight, having tons of office staff (not including me, thank God) work graveyard the night before to help prepare. At the store level, very little was noticeably different. There was magnetic sign stand, something now being used in place of old A-frame sign boards, showing the new logo and company colors; and I did see all the PCC branded milk cartons with the new logo all over them. Otherwise, though, the store looked exactly the same -- most notably the sign out front, which still shows the old branded logo with the green leaf. All store signs will be replaced by the end of the year, but that was one thing that did not happen overnight, and it's one of the most noticeable things there is about a store. There are new shelf tag designs as well -- which I hate, for the record -- but that's also a several-day endeavor that was not one of the things that occurred overnight.

I did notice the new logo on the label for the smoked mozzarella pasta I bought -- which I need to stop buying. It's nowhere near as good now that they shred the cheese rather than cube it. You can't even detect the smoke flavor anymore. Erica told me last week, "Maybe one day for your birthday we'll have a special batch of it made with it cubed for you." Yes please!

On top of that -- and this was why I wanted to go on Saturday -- it was the "PCC Community Fair," which was advertised as having all kinds of fun stuff. And maybe there was more than I realized; after all, I got there within the hour after the "fair" was to be underway. I know the stores with classrooms were to have demonstrations, and I never bothered to look there. All I did see was a table with information and samples on it -- coffee and blueberry muffins. Nothing terribly exciting, to be honest. But, as I said, maybe there was more to see later in the day. Actually, there was: I already fielded a customer question about who the DJ was that played at around 2pm -- at the Columbia City store! So, clearly it was more hopping later in the day than when I was there.

A woman at the deli counter whose name I can't remember and who used to work in the office recognized me. "I haven't seen you in a while!" she said. She asked if I was helping out for the Community Fair. Nope! Just shopping. I grabbed a frozen pizza, some hamburger buns, frozen veggie "chik patties" and veggie ham, and I was on my way back home again.

So then I met Laney, as I said, at 5:00 at the Capitol Hill Light Rail Station. We got to The Triple Door early to meet some other friends of hers for drinks in the bar before the house opened at 6:30, for an 8:00 show of the small ensemble groups of the Seattle Men's Chorus and the Seattle Women's Chorus -- respectively, Captain Smartypants and Sensible Shoes. I guess they ran out of S's for the marquee so it actually read "Sensible 5Hoes." Five hoes! Ha! We had a good laugh about that.

Laney used to be in the Shoes and quit not long ago because the work involved was overwhelming her. This was the first show of theirs she had been to where she was not actually part of the group. We had a very good time, even though I was very disappointed that they no longer offer pad thai on their menu. The one vegetarian full plate was very cauliflower heavy and I wanted none of that shit. That stupid plate cost $24 anyway, so two starter plates that were $10 each were still cheaper. And totally worth it! I don't care for kale either, but the waitress sold me on that salad; it had a wonderful peanut dressing on it and it was the least bitter kale I had ever tasted. The salad was so good I cleaned the plate. The other plate I had was of three samosas, which I knew would be nowhere near as good as Shobhit's, but -- they may very well be the best I've ever had at a restaurant. Although that may be only because of the dipping sauce provided, which was super tasty.

And that brings us back to yesterday, which I spent sort of waiting to find out how it would go once Shobhit got home from work around 2:00. Until then, I hung out in the living room, reading my library book and/or chatting with Ivan. He lucked out and finally got his package that UPS had said was delivered on Friday, but there were no packages to be found on either Friday or Saturday. And then a bunch just showed up yesterday around 12:30, which was very odd. I think a lot of mail theft is happening and Ivan seems to have barely gotten his package in the midst of it. (UPDATE: I finally found out that packages are being left inside the gym that's right off the lobby, out of sight from potential thieves. So that's good.)

Shobhit came home not long after Ivan left for work, and I preferred Ivan be gone for this anyway. I knew I was going to have to talk to Shobhit, and it would be unpleasant. At first he was kind of acting like nothing was wrong, and then when I brought it all up again once he had made himself a late lunch, he basically just shut down. It rained yesterday and I was thrilled by that; I later went for a walk in it. When I got back Shobhit actually said, "What did you decide?" I just said, "Decide?" I never gave any indication that I was going to make any major decisions while on that walk. I just wanted to get out in the rain, and was legitimately thrilled to be able to -- it was more rain in three hours than we had in the previous two and a half months combined.

I still haven't made any major decisions. It may be nothing, ultimately, like it usually tends to be in the end. We just keep going forward. Until we don't.

We did wind up watching the Emmy Awards together. We worked on the New York Times crossword. Again, systematically he just goes on as though nothing is wrong. At least he texted me yesterday morning, and he kissed me goodbye when he left for work this morning. I won't see him for most of the evening tonight as I'm meeting Laney again right after work. Hayley and Thayer are in town visiting friends and apparently when Henny, their daughter who inexplicably has always just loved me, found out Laney would be coming for a dinner with them and friends in Woodinville, Henny asked if I would be coming. And so when Laney was telling me about this on Saturday, she asked if I was free on Monday and I said yes.

I did say Shobhit probably would not like me being gone all evening on an evening he is not working. She mentioned that the kids will need to go to bed early so we likely won't be out any later than about 8:00. I don't know how long it will take to get back; I really don't know for sure when I'll get home. I did say that either I could ride with her in her car, or if Shobhit would like to come, he and I could drive ourselves. In the end, after this weekend, I decided it best if Shobhit did not come -- but I still wanted to. This is an unusual circumstance and it's not something that can be scheduled for another day. Shobhit doesn't really know any of these people besides Laney anyway.

For now, I'm just giving it all some time. It may be that's all Shobhit needs. I don't know. I did email Marianne today at work to ask for an estimate of my take-home pay if I lower my 401(k) contribution to either 5% or 0%. She's working on payroll and can't get me the answer until Wednesday, which is fine.

-- चार हजार एक सौ साठ --