Monday, September 24, 2012

We Are Living The Cartoon

I’m not sure if toasting each other over a plate of weenies strictly counted as a celebration, but back in August Dean and I celebrated 40 years of marriage.  I started to type “40 years of marital bliss” but that would just be lying and I pride myself on always telling the truth not exaggerating much even if it reflects poorly on me Dean.  I’m not saying there weren’t stretches of marital bliss during the past 40 years, especially during the early years when we looked upon each other with starry-eyed adoration.  “We’re soul mates” we said to each other.  “You’re perfect” we each sighed.   Oh sure, there were moments, weeks, and sometimes even years of our marriage where it felt like we were barely holding on to a frayed string as we were thrown in and out of a tiny kayak which was riding up on a swelling wave only to drop into a chasm, in a hurricane, out in the middle of the ocean, without Dramamine, but that just made those blissful times that much sweeter.  

As the years passed our vision became less clouded by those stars and we each began to notice small flaws in each other.  You might think we managed to stay married to each other for 40 years because we ignored those slight imperfections and just learned to live with them – or – even learned to love them.  You would be wrong.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned over 40 years of marital-sometimes-bliss it’s that when something makes you feel like fingernails on a blackboard, it's imperative that you 1.   point out the offense, and 2.  see that it's taken care of.  So early on we learned it was important not to stew about the things that annoyed us but to deal with them, even if that meant not waiting longer than three days for Dean to read my mind.

Our marriage experience has served us well during our adjustment period with the home because our relationship with this Little Bit O’ Country has been very similar to our 40 years together.  During the honeymoon stage we, okay I, gazed on the home with stars in my eyes.  We weren’t blind to the flaws but they seemed small and insignificant.  However, as with any marriage, soon those small defects became more difficult to ignore.  As I mentioned in my last post, we became less enamored of the home.  We wondered if we’d made a mistake.  We regretted our hasty decision and wished for a way out.  We were exhausted from all the work we’d put into it and needed a trial separation.  We needed time to remember why we’d begun the relationship to begin with and we needed to decide if we wanted to continue.  I, for one, went through a period of mourning for the retirement future I thought we’d lost.

Finally after six weekends in a row of painting, carpet removing, foam scraping, wall washing, ceiling washing, leak fixing and wallpaper scraping, on the seventh weekend we stayed away and rested.  And last weekend when we went back, the painter had come and gone and what looked like this before 

now looked like this.

And this

now looks like this 

We are cautiously letting our hearts open up to the home again even though our anniversary dinner was mashed meat in a skin because we were so exhausted from working on it we could barely lift a fork let alone sit upright in a restaurant.   (Although a leaking kitchen sink – again! this weekend didn’t make it easy.)   I wish the list of things we need to do was completed but it isn’t.  Unfortunately, we’ve added to that list with even more things we want to do.  I've come to the conclusion there’s always going to be something we’ll need or want to fix, improve or change.  I’m just hopeful that the major issues have been dealt with, the exhausting part of this relationship is over, and once the wood floors are put in we’ll only be left with small things that annoy us ... kind of like our marriage. 

Oh, and in the interest of complete honesty … that whole part about telling each other we were soul mates, etc., … we didn’t need to say them … we just knew.  Deep sigh….  Kidding.  If Dean ever said that to me I’d snort whatever weenie-paired wine I was drinking at the time right out my nose.  Which is one of the perks of being married for 40 years.  You can do that without even being embarrassed.  Not that I have.  I’m just saying you could.



Jerry said...

Next time have a bottle of wine..

Abby said...

A little white paint and you went from a house that was fahionable when you were becoming soul mates to modernity, champagne snorting included.

Art Elser said...

Now where in the world did you find that much rough water in the middle of Nebraska, or anywhere in Nebraska for that matter. And if you meant Wyoming, that's even a further stretch. You could put your kayak into the Platte and not even get the bottom wet. Of course, with enough wine, perhaps it seemed like the water was rough.

Congratulations on 40 years. Kath and I just celebrated 31 years on Wednesday. We lasted even with Al in the mix.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

You describe your journey through life together just as I expect most of us who have chosen to keep riding out the rough patches might have. And to add the house make over o the picture just makes all the sweeter and more real.
Enjoy what's yet to come. Congratulations.
Our 43rd comes up on 01.11.