There are two things about my marriage that seem to keep us working well together. First, we do nice things for each other. Not grand gestures or presents, just nice things. We bring each other a cup of coffee, doctored up right. We fix each other a plate of dessert at parties. We say please or thank you. We are generally courteous to each other. While it sounds so basic, or insignificant, it isn't. When he stubs his toe I ask, "You ok?" Even though I can clearly see that he is in fact ok. Generally being courteous makes the day pass with a happy tone. I like happy tones.
The second thing is that we accept the pet peeves we have about one another. For instance, I shed like a black lab. Having just had a baby, its more unpleasant right now. What is worse? I plaster the hairs that come out of my head in the shower all over the shower wall. It is disgusting. I mean really, really gross. As I sit here typing this, I know its nasty, I know I shouldn't do it anymore, I know I know I know. I asked my husband what he would suggest I do with the hair that I plaster on the wall in the shower because he seemed a little bit miffed when I said I was occasionally rinsing the hairs down the drain. "Well that's just going to clog the drain - we'll need stock in Drano..." Point taken. He then suggested I take a tissue after the shower and wipe the hair off the wall, then either throw the tissue in the garbage or flush it down the toilet. So I'm trying. I'm 33 years old and finally trying to get my act together with the hair plastering nonsense.
About a week ago his behavior that is my pet peeve flared its ugly head at 5 a.m. My husband goes to work very early in the morning. I can sense, from my post in bed, how his morning is going by the way he moves through the house: the pattern of his breathing, and the weight of his footsteps. If I am not awakened at all, he got out of the house gliche free. If he is late, he moves in a rushed and uncomfortably huffy way to the bathroom to pee, then to the kitchen to make coffee, back to the bathroom to shower, then into the room to dress, and finally back to the kitchen and out the garage to work. I don't even have to open my eyes, if I'm sort of awake I can just tell. I've spent many years perfecting this art of reading my husband's early a.m. movements. Now I must note, this is not irritating to me. I like that I can read his mood from his behavior. Its like what husbands and wives are supposed to be able to do.
Some mornings though once he's already headed into the garage to put on his boots or maybe he's even gotten past the boots and is at the truck - this I can't be sure because he is actually out of the house for a few minutes. Nonetheless, at one of these two points of his morning he realizes "I need to trim my fingernails immediately." Here is where, my friends, the pet peeve kicks in: the man takes my nail clippers out of the house to clip his nails and I never see the clippers again.
That morning, he came back into the house, up two flights of stairs and into our bathroom looking for nail clippers. He looks first in the medicine cabinet in our bathroom for "his" clippers. They are never there because he always loses "his" clippers whilst clipping his nails in his truck, on the side of the road, or in the garage. He then goes from that medicine cabinet to the other bathroom closet where I keep "my" nail clippers. "My" nail clippers are always in the same spot - sliver carrying case in a box of nail supplies: polish, polish remover, files, cuticle cream.
On this particular morning about a week ago, "my" nail clippers weren't where they normally are. The silver carrying case wasn't even in the bathroom closet. I could hear my husbands frustration rising as he huffed and puffed around the bathroom. He opened every drawer searching furiously and then shut them with a dramatic sigh. Finally, after he exhausted himself in the bathroom he quite nearly stormed the bedroom. The conversation went like this:
"Where are your nail clippers?" He angrily whispered.
"I don't know. Well wait... 'my' nail clippers are in the silver carrying case in the baby's room. Don't you remember seeing me clipping his nails last night?" I sleepily replied.
"NO! I don't...yes, yes, I remember, but I didn't REALIZE you would NEED the ENTIRE CASE to clip his TINY NAILS!" He snorted.
That was the last I saw of him that morning. And certainly, I thought, the last I'd ever see of those nail clippers. Alas, at the age of 34 he too is trying to get his act together with the missing nail clippers nonsense.
"Generally courteous" rares its happy head again...