I found a comment on a blog that validated a bit of my nuttiness. Sarah, the mom at www.memoriesoncloverlane.com, wrote this: "I get annoyed at my husband sometimes. Mostly for absolutely nothing. When he walks in the door after work, sometimes I'm a tad bit grouchy. You know the witching hours with kids are between 4 and 6? He gets home at the tail end of that and I've tapped out."
Preach it, sister.
Before I read this, I thought something in me was broken because I sometimes fantasize about pushing my husband back into his car when he arrives home and rolling his car down the driveway. Then I'd want to run back into the house and hide in a corner. Of course, I want to do this for his protection. It's either that or he has to see me frothing at the mouth because I've been holding in the crazy all day and he's the only person I can unleash on. When that happens, I feel a little bad. Or, a lot of bad.
For example, upon arrival he asks, "Hi, Honey, how was your day?"
In return, I hiss.
What I meant to say, however, was, "The dog went treasure hunting in the cat's litter box and then spewed in the dining room. I had to pick it up while the kids whined at me for their thirteenth snack of the day. They fought, they yelled, and stapled the wall. And for all that, I didn't raise my voice, but so help me if you, husband, leave your shirt on the counter stool one more time, I will skin you alive because I'm transferring my angst onto you."
So yes, I am that crazy wife who turns purple over a discarded shirt hanging on a stool, and often that's the only part my husband sees as the root of my outburst. That is, of course, because I neglected to tell him about the spew. And the staples in the wall.
When I read Sarah's admission on her blog, as well as her explanation of it being the witching hour, it started to make more sense to me. I started pondering possible solutions to the problem because pushing the husband's car back down the driveway might serve only to complicate matters. I mean, what if he stays away? Who will take out the trash or kill that spider I made the kids trap under a Dixie cup? In that event, it seems I'd go from Code Level Red to Code Level My Head Pops Off.
Thus, I still need a way to vent the angst without any collateral damage. But how? I considered a combat dummy that I could pull out from the hall closet about 20 minutes before my husband arrives home. To really get me going quickly, it would need an automated response where it looked at the explosion of toys and puzzle pieces in the living room and asked, "Geesh, what have you been doing all day?"
My rationale is that after I've obliterated the combat dummy, I'd be able to greet my husband with open arms and a rosy tint to my cheeks -- on account of the defenseless combat that had recently occurred with the dummy.
Hmm . . . it just occurred to me there is a major snafu with this plan. The possession of said dummy would entail the act of getting it out and putting it back. If I were any good at that part, neither my husband nor the combat dummy would be unimpressed with the state of my living room at 6 p.m.
I guess that leaves me with good old self-control and misplaced rants on Facebook.
Then again, perhaps some husbands deserve it from time to time. The shirt on the counter stool is getting pretty old. I suppose I'm setting myself up for failure in that regard if I'm expecting anything different. I did find my husband living in a 120-square-foot environment when we met. He could roll over on his bed and have his arm in the closet. It was my idea to move into a bigger place because I wanted kids and all that other jazz. If I look at it from that perspective, it truly is a mighty trek down the hall to our bedroom. Ten, maybe 12 feet of a carpeted, tunnel-like abyss.
Oh, well. I'll try my best to bite my tongue and chalk up the frustration to the witching hour like Sarah suggests. And then, I'll tell my husband it was the witch that threw his shirt on the front lawn. That's right, the witch did it.
-- Heather Ijames is one of three community columnists whose work appears here every Saturday. These are the opinions of Ijames, not necessarily The Californian. Send email to her at email@example.com. Next week: Inga Barks.