“Love is blind (and eager to make an exit),” I thought to myself as my beloved husband, my death do us part, my “you complete me” love of my life made what appeared to be a concerted and conscious decision to step over three bags of garbage I had piled by the front door, leaving me in a trail of WTF and where have all the cowboys gone? Can they take the garbage out for me?
“Definitely blind,” I said to the baby on my hip as “you complete me” drove off into the sunset, leaving me heady with exhaust fumes, fuming and exhausted, silently acknowledging that old John Wayne adage that life is hard but definitely harder when you’re stupid. I know I’m not stupid but I can’t help feeling like an idiot every time he pushes the long jump record over those garbage bags.
We’re trying our best here but this isn’t exactly a Disney romance lately and I’m not exactly Snow White singing to the birds and squirrels every morning as I schlepp out to the birdfeeder, yelling at my dear, sweet hubby to swing by Wilton Hardware and pick up more sand for the driveway so I don’t break my neck because if I do fall and become suddenly incapacitated, he’d really be John Wayne without a horse and I’m convinced these birds would definitely starve.
I’ve tried bribing. I’ve tried cajoling. I’ve tried laying it on thick. I’ve tried (shamefully) shaming. (I’m shameless, I know). I can’t blame him entirely; guilt immunity, it’s not something you’re born with. I’d like to take a moment here to personally thank my MIL; but in fairness he does chew with his mouth closed so I guess she did something right.
Ah, the pandemic…doesn’t it just bring out the best in people? Myself, included. I’m like the emo version of Snow White (which, side note: my girls had to sit down and explain to me, has nothing to do with a bird). This made more sense in retrospect than being the cousin of an ostrich. Goth phase or not, we’ve still hit a major impasse on the whole division of labor thing. I birthed his children, laboring for many hours and he still steps over my garbage. No Words.
Lately I’ve resorted to lists. My mother is a huge list maker and every time I do this I’m reminded again and again what a terrific waste of time it is because, the fact of the matter is that while these things, these tasks and trivial little items like taking the trash out or sanding the walkway or changing the light bulbs or the batteries in the smoke alarm are all important to me, they are not important to the man who completes me because what would (without hesitation) complete my husband is living in a yurt. Truly, I think nothing would thrill him more than to make camp, preferably at the farm where he could be free of my honey-do lists, griping and incessant nagging to empty the trash, take his muddy boots off or stop texting during dinner.
Is there a Disney movie depicting a middle aged housewife who’s married to a teenage boy? Think something along the lines of The Graduate meets The Grapes of Wrath, with less sex and more food.
I want to lose my resentment. I want to shake it off, Taylor Swift-like, and feel empowered; like I’m making some sort of a statement, like I’m taking a stand to shovel the sidewalk or clean the snow off my own car or take the garbage out (again) because who says that’s my husband’s job.
But I can’t get there. I just can’t quite resign myself and it’s not because I’m waiting for a Disney miracle or because I think somehow I can find a loophole in that Ketubah (surely there must be some fine print about garbage or snow removal), or because I actually think nothing would be better foreplay right now than getting that loose floorboard fixed in the kitchen but because let’s be honest, isn’t it the good fight that keeps the spark alive?
No. I didn’t believe it, not even for a second. Even as I typed the words, I could feel John Wayne shaking his head, Snow White burying her head in the snow and Paula Cole…where’d she go anyway?
Maybe this is my penance–the trash, the loose floorboard, the smoke alarm that continues to chirp; maybe it’s the small concessions for getting hitched to the big mensch that is my husband. Taking the good with the garbage, isn’t that what it’s all about anyway? Said the girl who continued to order too much Asian Fusion food, equated love with acts of service and had mildly concerning delusions The Duke might just rise from the dead, horse and all and take those three bags of garbage to their great reward for her. (Yeah, I’m no peach either).
Expecting great things in the domestic department right now is like expecting John Wayne to show up on his horse and change those light bulbs for me. Ain’t no such thing, princess. Maybe I’m old fashioned. Maybe I’m just old. Maybe I should get a horse? Maybe not. Love is blind. At least he chews with his mouth closed.
Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful to the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.