Thursday, November 01, 2007

Our the middle of our street

I read an article written by a woman who doesn't live with her husband. She was making a case for "living together separately." There are many practical reasons they have this arrangement (they live in Manhattan, where the rents are huge and the living spaces aren't), he likes uptown and she likes downtown, he's a neatnik and she's a slob, etc. She also had some emotional reasons (they fight, like all couples, and when they do, one can just leave and go home, which is somewhere other than where the fight occurred), every couple needs space, blah blah blah. And, before you think, well, that sounds reasonable, keep this in mind while you ponder the idea: they have twin six-year-old boys.

Now, call me crazy, but the whole reason I looked forward to getting married was to, you know, actually live with my husband. Even though sometimes he makes me want to scream in utter frustration, I love living with him and couldn't imagine living apart.

I, just like the woman above, have my practical reasons. M is my bug squisher and my light bulb changer, and lately, my dishwasher emptier. He changes the furnace filter and keeps the sump pump back-up battery charged. He is anal-retentive about the lawn (whereas I'd be perfectly content to let it become one of those wildlife reclaimation areas), which keeps us in good with the neighbors.

I like to think he's got practical reasons for keeping me around, too, namely that I can find everything he can't (which is, actually, everything) and that I can change poopy diapers without gagging.

But there are lots of emotional reasons, too. I love that he still willingly lives with me despite my hairbrained ideas. Like when we suspected we had a mouse and I insisted that we purchase the more expensive, no-kill traps. As much as the thought of having a mouse in the house disgusted me, the thought of finding a dead mouse in a trap, his head at some cockeyed angle, disgusted me more. And even though he said it wasn't a good idea (for obvious reasons, not the least of which being that in order for it to be a no-kill trap, you have to check it regularly, which he knew I wouldn't do), he still indulged me. And then a week later, when I finally remembered to check the no-kill trap, only to discover that it is indeed perfectly capable of killing a mouse when the mouse goes in there and then is stuck for a week, and then squealed in horror and disgust, he grimly disposed of the mouse (and the trap) and just gamely shook his head. And then bought the old-fashioned kind of traps.

I love that I know that no matter what time I go to bed, late or early, he'll either be there waiting for me or will join me later. Either way, I wake up with him in the morning.

I love that our home is our home, and has been created in a loving spirit of compromise. We still have a few things here and there that are holdovers from the pre-marriage days (the dining room table he bought when he got his first job and moved to Arkansas that he loves, and that I abhor and call The Sam's Dining Room Table with Wagon Wheel Chairs with great disdain, and my cats that I love despite the fact that they are purely ornamental (see need to purchase mouse traps above) and that he barely tolerates due to their cat-like habits of spreading fur, food crumbles and kitty litter rocks around the house), but by and large, our house is a good reflection of us, as a couple. Not just me. Not just him. But us.

I like looking around our home and seeing the things we picked out together, that we chose to surround ourselves with. They are physical representations of our union, our choice to truly share our lives, every aspect, good and bad. We have our niches: he's owner of the garage and all its contents, and he's now sole proprietor of the BAS, and I have carved out my corner of the living room for my digital darkroom and antique camera collection.

Even though he considers the library half his, we all know that it's really like 95% mine and only 5% his. That one little section of shelves where he keeps his old textbooks, all his Corvette and train books, his Guiness Books of World Records, and his I Am Spock Leonard Nimoy autobiography entitle him to the 5%. Although, given the toys that are now in there, it's more like 95% Zoe's, 4% mine and 1% his.

I guess what I'm saying is that while living apart seems to work for the woman in New York, I know it could never work for me. To each her own, and I'll keep mine right there with me, in the house that we built, thankyouverymuch.


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