I am basically happily married. Seriously. For someone who avoided any sort of romantic entanglement for decades and then had to be dragged kicking and screaming into a relationship, I am pretty damn contented. I love Bing and while I am not the best partner in the world, I do try. Much more than she knows. I think she sees me as always eying the door, but truly, I am committed to this.
But, I do get weary of the monotony of marriage, the lack of surprise. I have known Bing since I was 18 and we became dorm mates. She says that she fell in love me within one hour of our meeting but would have asked for a new roomie if she had known going in that I would take 28 years to finally fall in love with her.
I know her like I know the back of my hand. Before we were partners, we were best friends. She was the one who I called when I was almost date raped. I was the first person she called from the hospital when she was in a bad car wreck.
I know what she is going to say before she opens her mouth. I call them Bing-isms. And honestly? They sort of drive me nuts.
1) "Welcome to the world of fill-in-the-blank."
She says this about EVERYTHING. If I am bitching about a problem with our house, she says, "Welcome to the world of home ownership." If I am bitching about a problem I am having with Liv, she says, "Welcome to the world of parenting." If I am having trouble with my secretary at work, she says, "Welcome to the world of being the boss."
Sometimes when she starts saying, "Welcome to the world of...." I want to jump in and scream, "WELCOME to the world of living with a woman who sounds like some sort of folksy Jimmy Stewart movie."
2) "May I make a suggestion?"
Ugh. I HATE this one. This comes up when I am wearing high heels and it is icy outside. When I am baking anything. When I am loading the dishwasher.
I swear to sweet baby Hey Zeus that I hear her voice as a running soundtrack in my life. When I am teetering on heels on ice patches, I can hear her voice telling me that I should have worn sensible shoes. Or better yet: BOOTS. When I am baking cookies, I can hear her whispering that I am using that butter with too free a hand. When I am loading the dishwasher, I can hear her voice telling me that I am putting the silverware in incorrectly. The knives should go down. The spoons should go up.
I am not a practical rule-based person. I am an Aquarius (my bff would say and she knows this sort of shit) married to a Virgo. I kind of like slapping things in the dishwasher willy nilly. If I feel like wearing heels, I wear them. When I bake, a recipe is just a guide, not a dictation. Bing, on the other hand, has die hard rules that she follows to a T.
Swab down the faucets after every use.
Always be prepared to get stuck in the snow, have a bag of warm clothes in the back seat. Also salt.
Follow recipes to the letter. If it says to use a mixer, use a mixer. Don't decide that you don't feel like yanking down the mixer from the top shelf and you will just make a game with your daughter to see who can mix the hardest with the wooden spoon.
Read self help books religiously and make lists on how to improve yourself and your life.
Don't eat after seven p.m. Okay, once in a while if your spouse feels like having a bowl of ice cream while you watch Fringe together, give in. But then complain the next day that all that lactose made your boobs itch all night.
Save every piece of mail that you get. Who knows? That ad for Rogaine might come in handy for your cousin twice removed who is losing his hair.
Take five minute showers. Religiously. Try to enforce this rule with your wife and child too. Stand outside the shower when your wife is taking too long and remind her that she is not helping to save energy. Look shocked and hurt when she gives you the finger.
Regard junk food as the devil's play toys. When you see your wife eating a snickers bar, shake your head and remind her that this is not good for her blood sugar.
Always carry extra mittens. Your wife always forgets to put on gloves and she will sit hunched in the car with her hands up against the heaters, shivering. Sigh. Reach into the glove box and get the mittens out for her.
Have strict rules about how to water and feed plants. Chastise your wife when she over waters or feeds. Then frown when all of her plants do better than yours because this is illogical. She is not following the gardening rules! WHY do her plants thrive when yours don't?
Always remember to turn on the electric blanket an hour before bedtime so that it is warm when you turn in. When your wife sarcastically accuses you of wasting energy, tell her that you do it for HER. A loving gesture because you know how her feet are always cold.
Grocery shop like a fiend. Always have a stack of coupons. Even if your wife prefers Skippy Super Chunk peanut butter, buy Jif because it is on SALE and peanut butter is peanut butter. When your wife puts oreos in the cart, raise your eyebrow and read the list of ingredients OUT LOUD to her to show her how BAD these are for her. Try to convince her to put sprouts on her cheese sandwiches because seriously, broccoli sprouts are incredibly good for everyone.
Put all of your cds in alphabetical order according to the artist. When your wife feels like listening to your Sheryl Crow cd, remind her to put it back where it belongs. Don't even crack a smile when she says that she will put it back where it belongs if you remember to hang up your coat in the closet. And then shake your head when she listens to ONE song on the cd ("MISSISSIPPI") and then carelessly puts it back in the Sheryl Crow section but in the wrong order.
Each and every time it is supposed to snow, say, "It looks like there is a big one coming tonight, honey." Even if it is just supposed to be a dusting.
Eat Greek food and then try to kiss your wife even though she has told you 287 times that she DETESTS the way your breath smells after you eat Greek food.
Ok. Now. It would be easy for someone to think that I am unhappily married, wouldn't it? But, no. Actually, I have just come to the realization that
THIS IS MARRIAGE.
And I am not stupid. For every list of bitches I have concerning Bing, I could counter it with a list of things that I adore about her. And I know that she carries a list around in her head too about me.
I used to think that everyone else was blissfully in love with their spouse ALL THE TIME. And then one day, I sat in a diner with my bff and tearfully told her that I was having a very bad week with Bing and honestly, if she said, "May I make a suggestion?" one more freakin' time, I was going to throw a vase at her...Harriet, bff extraordinaire said:
"If I had a dollar for every time I wanted to slap my husband, I would be able to buy those new Ferragamo shoes."
And it hit me. THIS IS MARRIAGE.
You have the good: the times when she sits on the sofa and pulls your feet into her lap and gently rubs your bunions after a long day of work when you wore those heels that make your feet hurt.
And you have the bad: the times when she comes in the back door and leaves her god damn shoes ON THE RUG RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE DOOR SO THAT EVERYONE CAN TRIP ON THEM.
And it all comes down to this:
You put up with the bad parts because you acknowledge that this person is human and so are you. And the perk is that you have someone next to you to walk through this confusing world with, side by side, hand in hand and they will look over at you and smile.
Because honestly, you are so so lucky. And so is she. Or he. And you both know it.
So, now...time to get ready to go to Liv's basketball game. I know that Bing will ask me 46 times if we remembered to shut the garage door as we drive to the game. She will also ask me 12 times if the game is at Kiewit school even though it is ALWAYS there.
And if my hands get cold, she will sigh, shake her head and pull out extra mittens for me....