79: Welcome to Our World

79: Welcome to Our World

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Married Life!

Welcome to Our World

Never feel remorse for what you have thought about your wife;
she has thought much worse things about you.

~Jean Rostand

I am a planner and executer of plans. I teach time management skills. My husband, on the other hand, is an absentminded professor type who does not like to make decisions and managing time is not a priority.

I have known for years that he is not talented when it comes to planning trips, moves, etc. so I have taken on that role and have not minded it at all. Sometimes though, I really get tired of my role as “Lead Dog.” When he decided that he wanted to take a trip to visit his uncle in Alabama, I naively suggested that he be responsible for making the plans. He agreed to do that. Of course, I had to do a little nagging to get him to decide on a date, so I could arrange my plans accordingly, but he did decide. He announced that we would leave on Saturday, and would travel on I-85 to arrive on Sunday, which sounded like a good plan to me. I suggested that we could spend the night with relatives on our way and offered to make those calls, which I did. I also changed my appointments for the week we were to be gone.

About six days later, Fred announced that we might cancel our trip because Hurricane Bertha had formed and was projected to come our way. I did not tell you that he is a meteorologist, and a hurricane historian. In my warmest, wifeliest voice I said, “Fred, most people leave home when a hurricane is headed toward them.

His response was, “Well, not me.”

“And why is it that we have to be here?”

“I have to be here to protect the house.”

I took a deep breath and reminded myself that this was his trip, that he is a fine man who does not drink, smoke, or chase women and is very good to me. Then I said, “What can you do during the storm to protect the house that you can’t do before we go?”

“Just never you mind, I am going to be here if it comes this way.”

Three days later, the storm decided not to arrive at our doorstep so he announced that we could go. He also said that he did not want to go on I-85, but would rather go by way of I-95. So, after taking a deep breath, I reminded myself once again that this was his trip, that he is a fine man, does not drink, smoke or chase other women, and is very good to me. I called relatives to tell them that we would not be spending the night, but thanks anyway.

The evening before our trip I asked what time he wanted to leave. The answer was 10 a.m. At 10:15 I was ready to walk out the door. Fred, however, was stark naked, had not packed the car, had not changed the litter box, nor given instructions to our neighbor who was to be the cat’s nanny while we were gone. I took a very deep breath, and thought to myself, “Okay, this is his trip, do not nag or complain about the time.” I started cleaning the house, which it desperately needed, and said to myself, “This is not a bad thing and I am okay. I can keep my mouth shut.” At 11:45 we rolled out of the driveway and turned right instead of left. I asked, “Where are we going?”

“To the bank. How much money do you think we will need?”

“This is your trip. You decide, but we pass two banks on our way to 95 so, why are you going this way?”

“I like the downtown bank. Sometimes those two banks run out of money on weekends.”

I took a very deep breath and thought to myself, “I doubt very seriously that both of them would run out of money before lunch, but this is his trip and surely soon we will get on the road.” We got to the bank and while getting money he realized that he did not have his sunglasses. He began to fret because he remembered that he had them in his hands and maybe he had put them on top of the car when he put his golf clubs in the trunk. There was nothing else for us to do but go back and check to see if they fell off in the driveway.

I began gritting my teeth, taking multiple deep breaths and reminding myself that this was his trip and it did not really matter when we left. I also reminded myself that he is a fine man, does not drink, smoke, or chase women and is very good to me. We drove back to the house; he looked for his sunglasses in the driveway, the garage, and in the house and did not find them. He finally gave up and we started out again.

On our way out of town we planned to drop off some leftover food to a friend. So on our way to her house I said, “It is lunch time. Should we stop and eat something before we leave town?”

“That is a good idea. Where would you like to stop?”

I looked up and said, “There’s a Subway. We could stop there after we go to Linda’s or we could go to the diner which is right next to the highway.” He voted for the diner, so, being the planner I am, I began thinking about what I would order. I started looking forward to their toasted chicken salad and fries. We stopped at my friend’s, dropped off the food, turned around, and as he passed the shopping center, he turned into it and parked the car in front of the Subway. He cut off the ignition and looked over at me. He immediately saw that I was about to blow a gasket, and innocently asked, “What is wrong with you?”

“You are about to get on my last nerve.”

“What have I done?”

Repeating to myself what had now become my mantra — “He is a fine man, he does not drink, smoke or chase women and he is very good to me” — I took my deepest breath yet, held it for a second or two and said, “Absolutely nothing Fred, you are just being you, and I am just being me. Let’s get something to eat.”

The rest of our trip went wonderfully, and upon our arrival in Foley, Alabama, Fred found his sunglasses in the trunk where he put them when he packed his golf clubs. All’s well that ends well.

 

~Diane Henderson, LCSW

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