What’s wrong?

I met my husband when I was 19. I’m not 19 anymore. Which means I’ve been with him for a very very very long time. We’ve grown-up together. Built a life together. He likes to say that he knows me better than anyone (mostly true except when it comes to my coffee order, food order,  etc). In all seriousness he does know me well. He knows I don’t like restaurants with too many TVs, it gives me heart palpitations. He knows I prefer to end all good times by midnight or earlier. He knows I don’t like to PET animals. I like animals. I wish them well in the world. But I don’t like to touch them. He loves a good dog/cat rub. He’s saved me from appearing cold and heartless many times by blocking an oncoming pet. He loves me like that.

I think I know him really well too. For instance, I know that potholes bother him like inequality bothered Martin Luther King. I know that sounds like a massive exaggeration, but really it’s mostly true. Actually I’m not sure anything in the world bothers him like bad infrastructure. He’s fallen in love with dumpy towns simply based on clean, well-paved roads. The other love of his life – besides his wife, kids and good roads – is grass. No. Not weed. Actual grass. He loves a good bed of grass. Or yard of grass. Or whatever it’s called. Nothing makes him happier than new grass sprouts. He’s like a proud father.

But for all our mind-reading of each other’s habits, wants, like/dislikes, etc, he still insists on asking what I consider the worst question known to man-kind, “What’s Wrong?”.  I know that sounds like an exaggeration too. But it drives me bananas. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve asked that question to him….our entire marriage. I don’t have to ask. I know. I know because I listen. I see. I remember. That’s how I know.  I don’t know with everyone. I have to ask friends. I sometimes have to ask my kids. I also ask my co-workers. “What’s wrong?”. Fill me in. What have you been up to? What’s keeping you up at night? But usually, like 99.999% of the time, I know what’s wrong with my husband. It’s a work thing. Or a health thing. Or a schedule thing. I ask questions like, “does your knee still hurt?” or “What happened today with that _____?” filling in the blank of whatever work issue he’s told me about. You get it. And some of the time… wait for it….I don’t even ask! That’s right. You wanna know how to have a long marriage? If you sense your spouse is upset in any way, ignore it. Let him/her talk about it or let it blow over. I know this goes against most marriage advice you get from say…experts…but letting it blow over is a very powerful marriage tool, in my opinion.  Not good for all occasions, but it comes in handy sometimes. Your mate seems frustrated, irritated or moody? Go for a walk without them. Leave them alone for a bit. Works like a charm. Except when it doesn’t. In which case I go back to my earlier point, I’m no expert. You’re on your own.

If there is something wrong with me, there are only a handful of reasons for my salty mood. 1) Him. 2) Work. 3) He ordered my Chinese food incorrectly.  That’s about it folks. It really doesn’t get more interesting than that. Why doesn’t he know that? Him asking a broad, open-ended question like, “what’s wrong?” just makes me angrier, and I probably wasn’t even angry in the first place, just distracted or annoyed. Maybe I watched a commercial and now I’m sad thinking about how I never packed my kids a healthy bento box lunch. Maybe I heard the news and realized it was the end of the world. Or maybe I just ate tomato sauce too late in the day and now I’m paying for it. There’s too many ways to answer that question!  If he just narrowed it down a bit, it would be better. Or, even better, let it go. Let it blow over. The old blow-over technique that I’ve been trying to teach him for two decades. You see what I’m saying here?

What am I saying here? I don’t even know.  I think I’m just complaining. Or whining. See how easy it is to get me to open up? You didn’t even ask me anything.

 

 

 

 

Dysfunction Function

What happens when your family gets together?
Is it fun and stressful and crazy?
Do you debate which family vendetta to support and which to avoid?
Which side to pick in the fight du jour?
No? Just me?
In the last two weeks we’ve celebrated two big milestones.
My son’s communion and my daughter’s confirmation. A Catholic religious rite of passage, squared.
This is particularly interesting because I’m not Catholic and my husband is what I would consider a fair weather Catholic. Christmas time, he’s in. Easter mass? Ditto. Other than that? It’s a crap shoot.
Nevertheless, this was important to him. And I like to make him happy and ensure he and my children go to heaven. I plan on being reincarnated until I can finally live a life without Spanx – so they won’t see me for a bit in the afterlife.
Anyway it was two weekends full of fun. The kind of fun that could break out into a fight at any moment. The kind if fun that requires alcoholic beverages.
But it was also the kind of fun where you remember why you love your parents, uncles, aunts, sisters and cousins. You remember that you’re related to these loonies because you are a looney too. In fact you may be the king of the loonies.
God is good.

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Downer Abbey

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For all of those folks who haven’t caught up on this season’s episodes of Downton Abbey, please stop reading and go enjoy your short-lived happiness with the show. What I mean is…SPOILER ALERT. Meh.

Sorry, I’m pissed. I know it’s an English melodrama. I know it’s not real. But really? Really?

Must I be raked over the emotional coals on each character? The maid who has to give away her little Charlie…Edith and her endless basket of bad luck…and Cybil.  Oh lord do not even get me started on Cybil.  2 doctors in a room and she still dies while they look at each other by the fire. Even Thomas and his tortured, closeted life makes me sad.

And then last week they kill Matthew. No. Wait. They kill Matthew after he and Mary joyfully welcome a son. After Mary tells him over and over again that he is the only person who knows her. AFTER a speech from the Earl of Grantham about happiness finally coming to the abbey.  I know, I know. Contracts expire. Actors have to move on. Couldn’t they have done a switcheroo a la Darren on Bewitched? Or the older sister from Rosanne?

It’s really bad when you are praying for more time spent on O’Brien just to avoid the sadness.

I know I still have Bates and Anna. And maybe Mrs. Patmore will get lucky soon.

Sigh.