Thursday, June 11, 2009

Some things we'll NEVER get right

A few years ago, I was the driver on a road trip. My customers were a long-married couple. We had fun touring the Midwest and I learned a lot, as one will do when confined for hours and days to an automobile.

Throughout the trip, I noted that these folks fussed at each other...nothing major...over HIS driving and HER decisions about money. (I was driving and making those decisions.) I remember noting that apparently, even in good, long marriages, such topics may never reach resolution.

And that gives me permission to confess that there are some things we, Mike and Lynne, will never get right.

We cannot make up a bed together. As our ‘rule’ is last-one-up and that’s usually the hub, this is no big deal. However, the occasional weekend partner-try results in frustration.

My method is to pull up the sheet and blanket, pull up the spread and then fold it down to place the pillows. I then tuck the folded part up and over the pillows. Mike likes to pull up the sheet and blanket, place the pillows and then pull up the spread, tucking under at the pillow line. I cannot make a bed using his method. And he’s…well he’s not only left-handed; he’s the eldest child…so HIS method is THE method.

We have bickered about this and as we are now both at home during the bed ritual, the issue occasionally rears its pillowed head, as it were. So, I must either cringe and do it his way, tell him to leave it to me, or walk away. The difference between early years and now is that I can smile. And so can he…but he’s still right.

We also cannot load the dishwasher together. I try to put items where they will best be washed AND protected. (glassware on top and not touching, etc.) HIS method gets everything in and the machine closed as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon to find glasses broken and scattered from the bottom shelf.

Is this small? Well, yes. But…………

So while I’m quick to move away from bed making, I’m equally quick in taking over this task.

Of course, NOBODY in the house wants to empty the dishwasher but again, my method is to put things in the general areas that they belong. Mike wants everything put away ASAP so should he do this task, I’ll later ask, “Where’s that large Pyrex measuring cup?” and he will shrug.

That’s also a challenge when we deal with the clutter issue. I tolerate a lot more clutter than does the hub. Actually I LIKE clutter in a nesting sort of way. If my stuff is out and I can see it, I can keep track of it. He likes blank, empty horizontal surfaces and then can’t find things.

We’ve made peace with each other’s stuff management…I try to keep mine in check and in only a few places and he tries not to look at it.

It was difficult in those early years when we were more stressed out from graduate school. More than once, I would walk into the apartment and pass a horizontal ledge at eye level and realize that is was cleared of whatever decoration I had left on it. “Uh, where is the cut glass wedding gift vase from Tiffany’s.”


I did not need to check the bottom shelf of the dishwasher because we did not have one in those days. I just needed to search all drawers for the vase.

There are also some special challenges when we team up to lift, move, or turn over something large…planks of wood, small sail boats, book cases. This took a while to figure out, but as a south paw, Mike will turn things in the opposite direction than a right-hander would. As team items are just heavy enough that a slip would result in a drop, we have to remind each other which way we’re going or a mini disaster might occur.

And folding large sheets or towels? Don’t even ask. Even if we had another 10, 20, 30 years, I doubt we would ever get some things right.

So many of the quibbles that make up the day-to-day of our marriage are small. The trick is to keep them trivial. And as we face the future with our arms around each other, we are tossing the trivial.


  1. Lynne,

    I love your blog. I read it several times a week. I smiled the whole time I read this one. I can relate 100% with this one. Morgan & I will never get some things right either. It is nice to be able to smile about it (most days, but don't even get me started about "our" dishwasher saga).

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. They are genuine, thoughtful, funny, sad, & leave me feeling better for having read them. You are a very talented writer. I look forward to your book. ~Sandra Young

  2. How funny, Lynne. Ken and I are SO opposite in so many areas, including ALL the ones you mentioned here. Of course, since I'm a first-born, we KNOW who's right (haha)! And, yes, keeping the trivial as trivial is so crucial -- no matter what you're currently walking through. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Lynne, I'm risking a comment, even though my computer seems to go crazy berserk when I do... this is too good to go uncommented. I never realized (as a first born, left hander myself, you will recall) that I did things backwards... of course I don't, because I'm a first born.. you all are wrong. Thanks for the good reminder about the important things in life.. love, janis