A Change in the Status QuobyOccamspiledriver©
There is no sex in this story; hence it is the non-erotic section.
A double burger with bacon and cheese, a side of fries and a large coke. Now that is how one celebrates a birthday. OK, as birthday meals go a good steak would have been better but it was not in the plans even though it was my birthday. It sure as hell beat the "eclectic" place my wife had dragged me to earlier. Happy Birthday number 38 to me. Yup, it is my birthday and while I am not big on celebrating it you would think I could at least eat at a place of my choosing. However I am married and as most married men know your life is not your own. You get married and it almost like being a kid again with somebody trying to tell you how to dress what to eat, how to behave etc. Well maybe not as bad a as that but damn close.
My name is Charles Alexander, Chuck to my few friends and acquaintances. My age you already know, the other vital statistics are 6 foot tall, 170lbs, blond and blue 20-20 vision. I don't smoke and rarely drink. My occupation is that of a maintenance technician at a local factory. Basically I maintain and repair the manufacturing equipment. My main hobbies or interests are hunting, fly fishing and trail running but I am also an avid reader.
In my spare time if I am not running or fishing I am reading or suffering the net. The books I read are mostly history related but I am and information junkie when it comes to the internet; current events, politics, science, sports, entertainment and, of course a little porn. If am not doing any of that stuff there is a "honey do" list to be take care of. Actually reverse that; if there not something on the "honey do" list to take care I am doing the other stuff.
I like to think I am honest with myself, after all to borrow a quote, "a man has got to know his limitation". I am not what you would call attractive. Nobody every called me handsome or good looking except my mom and my wife but there is a law that requires moms to say that to their children. As for my wife she is either just being nice when she says it or as they say "love is blind". It is not that I think I am hideous but I am fortunate that I do not make a living by my looks, I would be starving.
Well, it is my birthday and a man should in engage in a little reflection and self evaluation on such a day. I like to think I am a good person. I believe in giving a day's work for a day's pay. I have never called in sick and never been late to work, something I am quite proud of. I do not believe anybody owes many anything nor do I have "entitlement" to other people's money; I make my own way.
This does not mean I am without fault. I am stubborn and have been told I lack the ability to empathize. I am not much of a people person. I feel uncomfortable interacting with people, one on one or crowds it does not make a difference. I also have a low tolerance for them and the sexual, social and political games they play. To put it bluntly most people suck. Many would sell out their best friend to get laid or walk over their own mother to get a promotion. That is why I have so few friends. I guess I just don't trust people after seeing what they would do to each other. I much prefer dealing with equipment than people. I am not even that close to my family. The one exception to this has been my wife. She has been my one true friend. Some use the term soul mate. I don't know much about that but without her I would really be alone. The thing is except for her I would really not mind it.
This lack of people skills has hampered me in my career somewhat as I have passed on promotions that would move me up into management because it meant having to deal with people and their often silly assed excuses as to why they could not get their jobs done, show to work on time etc. I like being responsible for just me and not having to answer for the actions of others. Some people hate managers and supervisors. Not, me unless he or she happens to be a real ass. I sort of admire them for being willing to take on a job where their success is really measured by how well those under them perform. My success is based on how will I do my job.
Now before you consider me some type of hard ass I am far harder on myself than others. My wife says that this is my biggest fault. I am willing to cut other people a little slack for an honest mistake but I beat myself up over my own errors. I do not see this as a fault. If people demanded more of themselves the world would be a better place. I am not some ogre. I give to charities but I take a dim view of grown healthy adults who end up on long term assistance.
Ok, I guess that is a pretty good view of me now on to my wife. Rebecca is four years younger than me and works as an executive in a medical supply company. The company I work for is in a related business as we actually manufacture medical devices among other things. She was still in college when we met and got married. I worked a lot of overtime and, on occasion, a part time job, to hold down her college debts as she got her MBA. I did not have any college debt as I went to trade school after spending some time in the military. She is what you might consider the American dream girl. 5' 6 "Blonde, blue with curves I the right places. She refuses to tell me her weight and I never would hazard a guess in front of her as matter self-preservation.
In most ways we are complete opposites. A former high school cheerleader she is a social animal, outgoing popular with a lot of friends. In fact "our" friends are her friends. She runs our social life and I am content to let her as it is something I would just as soon not bother with it.
I am always amazed that we ended up together as she is out of my league but on reflection she was the one who pursued me. To put herself through college she was working at a restaurant that I frequented. I often found myself being seated in her section on the days she worked. Turns out that she arranged to have me seated in her section and after some flirting and stuff she asked me out.
Yes, at first I wondered what the initial attraction to me was, she could certainly do better. Maybe it was because I was over 21 and I could buy beer. She said it was my quite maturity as opposed to the drunken frat boy crowd she was always around. I thought it might be because I had a regular job, money in a savings account and a car. Well pickup truck actually. Eventually she convinced me she liked, even loved, me for me and to cut a long story short we ended up getting married 8 months later. To be honest I am still amazed if not suspicious as to why she chose me. Yes, I believe she loves me but why? I am totally in love with her but as of late she seems to be testing that love.
I have to say my wife had been my one true friend and despite my complaints I really love being married to her; at least up until this past year. I still see her as my friend and lover but I have come to doubt that she does.
As the years passed we seemed to drift apart which I guess is how it is with most married couples. In the early years her job required a lot of travel and I worked, still do as a matter of fact, a split shift, twelve hours a day, three days one week and four days the next. I worked every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and every other Wednesday. Some people may think twelve hour shifts are a little rough but those three and four day weekends are great and it would be hard to go back to having only two day weekends. That is one of the reasons I never wanted a management job as most of them were nine to five Monday thru Friday. On Fridays the nine to fivers use to try and kid me about having to work on Saturday but I would just tell them that Friday meant that they were just that much closer to Monday.
In the early days we made an effort to spend as much time together as we could. I would try to take days off if she was returning from a business trip on my work day and we would try to meet for lunch at least once a week plus a monthly date night. Funny thing is, or perhaps not so funny, since she got promoted her job required less travel we are spending less time together. She now supervises those who were supposed to do all the traveling and make the sales calls. This meant longer hours including some weekends in the office. Meeting for lunch became harder as most of her lunches were also business meetings.
For the past year it seemed like we stopped making the effort. On my part I know it was because I got tired of her answer always being no. I used to send her flowers for no reason in particular but she just did not seem to appreciate the effort. When I failed to even get a thank you for the last ones I sent I just stopped. I could not really say what her reasons were maybe she was she getting overwhelmed by work or maybe she was taking me for granted.
Since I had so much time off I took care of most thing s around the condo. The cleaning I mean. We each took care of our own laundry. She had too much special care stuff and I told her she was just going to have to take care of that herself. If it requires a gentle cycle or hand washing I do not deal with it. We had discussed buying a house but I objected as I hate doing yard work. My philosophy is that life is too short to waste too much time doing things you hate. I know I sure would like to have all those hours I spent behind a lawn mower as a kid back to do something else with. So we bought the condo. See, I get my way on some things. I also handle all the joint finances. We have a joint account to which we each contribute to handle household expenses and savings. Neither of us cooks much since it is just the two of us that is a non issue. But on at least one of my days off I would try to put a good meal together, but I stopped that after since she was always going to be working late.
We decided against kids in favor of her career. I did not have a problem with that as long as she understood I was not going to get a vasectomy. Never can tell when we might change our minds.
Then there is the subject of our sex life. I like to think it was good up until a year ago then it went to hell. She was almost always tired or had to get up early etc. So I just stopped trying if it happened it happened. If not well there is always internet porn and my hand. It is not as if I was silent on the matter. I remember one Sunday afternoon she had come home from shopping and I attempted to get her to engage in some conjugal relations. After being rebuffed I commented she had every woman's dream marriage; lots of shopping and no sex. Well she went off on some rant about her money, me being a hormone driven teenager etc, etc, etc. Another time I casually mentioned my celibate lifestyle and she blew up once again. Of course we would then talk about. We would both try harder and things would get better for a short time then it would slip back.
I should add at this point I usually do not do a lot yelling and stuff even when mad. I am a believer in the Kipling poem "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you,.... Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, and - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!" At times my calm demeanour would make her even madder.
I also noticed that she did not seem to want me to go with her on a lot of her company get-togethers. It was not that big a deal because I normally had to take a day off to attend and there were other things I would have preferred to do with that time. It is not that I disliked the people she worked with. Some of them were OK but just not my type after her big promotion. I used to try to attend as many as I could, you know be there for her.
After her promotion I had only attended a few events one was for her a couple of other people's promotion. It was a meet a greet type of an affair that was not too bad. I was able to talk sports with some of the guys my age and some of the older men shared my interest in hunting and fishing but that was about it.
The second event was what might be concerned the turning point in our relationship or at least brought her opinion of me and our relationship into sharp focus. It was a purely social event at one of her colleague's home. I had stuck pretty close to Rebecca at first. That was until she had more than a couple of drinks. She was talking with a group of wives and the subject of finding a good housekeeper came up; it seemed some of them had maids. Rebecca giggled and stated "I already have good housekeeper in Chucky here" as he rubbed my arm. Some of the women giggled with her while one of the older women stated it was nice that she had a husband who helped out. Rebecca replied that "it's not like he has much else to do." I held my tongue and kept my cool. One of them asked what I did for a living they did not seem too impressed with my response as they were or were the wives of business executives , lawyers and a couple of doctors.
As I said before with my schedule it was easier for me to take care of things around the house but I did consider my time valuable. I thought I worked hard and deserved my time off. While she might have considered by hobbies a waste of time I never criticized the time she spent looking for old furniture and knick-knacks. I excused myself and went to cool down. If she knew I was mad she gave no indication. I stood on the back patio and gave the matter some serious thought. Had I really become just a housekeeper to her who had nothing better to do? Of course where in the hell did this"Chucky" thing come from? Never ever before had she called me "Chucky".
After a bit I decided to get something to snack on. I reentered the house and was trying to locate where they had all the good munchies when I heard my wife calling "hey Chucky." I turned to look at her and she held up her empty drink class and tapped her finger nail against the side. I just stood and stared at her for a few seconds. I did not smile I just tried to keep my expression blank. The group she was with was watching as I simply pointed toward the drink bar and said "it's over there." I then turned a walked away leaving her with a bit of a stunned look on her face. Her companions shared the same expression.
We had a big fight over that one when we got home; she claimed I had embarrassed her while I accused her of getting drunk and treating me like a servant. Then the same thing happened; we apologized to each other and promised to do better. After that she would only mention upcoming business functions but explain that it was not necessary for me to attend most of them. Happy to let off the hook I did not think too much about it. That was until this week and I received a call from her boss, but more on that later.
Now at this point I guess a normal person would have suspected an affair. But even when she was travelling a lot I did not think she would cheat on me and I did not think she was doing so now with less travel. I just think our marriage had slipped down a notch or three on her list of priorities. Perhaps at the same time so did her opinion of me. She was now a big shot company executive with reserved parking an office and administrative assistant. I was still an hourly employee who had to get to work a little early if I wanted a parking spot near the plant entrance.
Now how did I end up at a burger joint eating by myself for my birthday? I would say that with most married couples the wife controls a lot of things. Now you can try to pull all that macho stuff but from home décor to the restaurants and movies you go to the wife is probably calling the shots. As an example one of wife's favorite things is looking for antiques and I have endured many a Sunday walking through antique shops with her. Now I like some old stuff like those old service stations signs. I wanted to get one but was told he would not go with the rest of our stuff. Yup, she said "our stuff" even though my opinion was not asked for when she bought it.
Movies are another example. We almost always go to some artsy movie or a chick flick. I go to movies to be entertained preferably action adventure. I don't want to go to movies for some message unless it is a message about the bad guys dying in big explosions. Rebecca says the other types of movies will broaden my horizons. She did not seem to have a problem with my horizons when we got married.
Anyway for my birthday my wife decided we should go out to eat at some place that is described as eclectic. Now I don't know about most people but what I am eating should not include eclectic in the description. I barely tolerate the word fusion in its description and it has to be the right type of fusion like my favorite steak place has a steak and enchilada combo. To tell the truth I was surprised she remembered my birthday given as busy as she has been and the lack of interaction we have had. The down side was that she was going to have to make one of those rare business trips the next day so as she put It "it would be an early evening." I figured this was code for don't count on getting laid even if it was my birthday.
I sucked it up put on my suit and tie as the place had a dress code. A place with wheatgrass on the menu should not have a dress code and exactly who thought that a pear sauce and peppers stuffed with something would be a good appetizer? Anyway Rebecca looked good as always. She was wearing the seemingly ubiquitous little black dress, short just as I like it. Also 4 inch heels, hair high and off the neck, I love her neck.
Somewhat disconcerting was an expensive looking necklace I had not seen before. Now just because I don't really care about some things, like fashion and jewelry, I try to pay attention and I notice to what my wife wears. When I asked her about she said she bought a while ago as a promotion present to herself. We kept separate accounts but had a joint the one for common household expenses and savings. We each agreed to contribute a percentage of our income into it. We also agreed to discuss any major expenses even if it did not come out of the joint account. I did not want to get into a her money vs. our money argument so I let it slide but I did wonder just how big a pay raise she did get and was she keeping to our agreement on the amount that went into the joint accounts?
We took my pickup truck to the restaurant. I preferred to drive (what man doesn't?) and driving her BMW would have meant readjusting the seats and mirrors. Besides in this state pickups are an acceptable form of transportation even to high scale events. The drive to the restaurant was pleasant as we talked about our jobs and when we could take time off for a vacation together. We arrived and were seated at our table promptly. We ordered our drinks which was always a problem for me at these types of restaurants.
Now as a rule I never drink much since I am the one normally driving and this lets Rebecca enjoy more than a couple of adult beverages but I do like to have at least one beer with my meal . I was never much of a wine drinker and only occasionally drink it out of politeness at some social setting. The problem here was how they served the beer. I really preferred my beer ice cold straight from the bottle, not in a glass or from a can. As you can imagine drinking beer from a bottle would not be acceptable in this restaurant so I just ordered a soft drink while Rebecca ordered some type of wine.
The waiter had just left to get our drinks while we looked over the menu (as I suspected not a T-bone or Rib Eye to be had) when a woman stopped by our table. She was apparently an old friend of Rebecca's. I never got the name as we were not introduced. There was the normal high pitched "Oh my Gods", and other squeals women seem to always engage in when surprised to see each other regardless of age. I always wondered if they reached frequencies only dogs could hear. Near as I could tell they had not seen each other in while. It was then that this woman said "You simply must come and say hello to Janice and the others in the lounge." It was then that my presence was acknowledged by Rebecca as she got up. She stated "I am just going to say hello to some old friends, I will be right back" then her and her friend left the table. I nodded wondering who Janice and these old friends were while I watched my wife walk away.