There is a public-information campaign for the U.S. Military that aims to help servicemembers returning from long deployments adjust to living with their loved ones again. The gist of it is, shit may have changed while you were gone, stop being an asshat and deal with it.
In simpler terms, “expect change.”
I’ve, in a previous life, deployed twice in service to my country (as has my wife) and I fully realize that this sort of information is both needed and useful.
Things do change when you’re away for a year or more, and that’s OK.
But — and this “but” is an all-capital-letters BUT — how the fuck does my wife expect me to predict the level of fuckallery that she inflicts upon our house every time I’ve gone on a trip that lasts more than two hours.
I travel a moderate amount for work. I used to travel all the time. There have been six-month periods that I was away on business trips more than I was home. Thankfully that’s slowed down a lot and now I’m only gone a few weeks every two or three months.
Still though, the decisions made while I’m gone for 10 days are baffling, shocking and bizarre to me. I don’t know about your marriage (or domestic union, or shack up, or polygamist cult), but generally in my household decisions that affect both participants are a committee kind of decision. An idea is put forth. If there is opposition, a counter argument is made and, generally, I do whatever the fuck she wants me to do.
I’m not talking about decisions to buy a new tablecloth or replace the towels with a new pattern, (actually our towel collection should really, really be donated to a home for the blind and mentally disturbed. It’s a mishmash of vomit, earth tones and some sort of cloth weaved by a not-very interested person in a refugee camp circa 1820) those kinds of decisions I could give a fuck about because I have a penis.
Really, during this most recent trip, my wife replaced a lot of our dinner plates. My interest registered on the “husband gives a fuck” scale at a two. Something scientists in a famous 1978 study defined as, “Is she happy with the decision? If yes, shut the hell up.” She showed me the new plates and I asked myself the following: Will the plate hold food? Yes. Is she happy with the plate? Yes. Therefore the plate is fucking great. If it were not for her I would be eating cold Frosted Flakes out of the box, happy I had remembered to buy Frosted Flakes in the first place.
So, by change, I don’t mean the simple changes that serve to turn the feces-strewn, half-naked-poster-girl-riddled cardboard box the single me would call home, into the comfortable, charming place I now live in because of my wife’s awesomeness.
Oh no, I mean the completely irrational, logic-defying, who-in-their-right-mind-would-consider-this-an-improvement kind of change.
Changes that make no fucking sense whatsoever kind of changes.
Which are my favorite kind of changes.
You probably want examples. I would too, honestly. I mean, a guy can’t just make wild claims about his wife making these kinds of changes and not back it up with a few examples can he?
Lucky for you I have examples*.
We no longer have a trash can.
I don’t mean the little ones you and I all have in the bathroom that collects tissue and cotton swabs. Nor do I mean the ones we all keep in our bedroom collects “Oh that’s fucking GROSS, NO!” I mean missing into the abyss was the central trashcan of the house. Yours is likely in the kitchen as is ours … as WAS ours.
While I was gone the decision was made that all refuge will be place in little
convenience store bags (of which we have eight million stored) and then when full (and they are always full) they will be removed from the house.
Now look, in addition to being a major contributor to the house’s trash-making capability (beer cans), I am also the authority on taking out the trash because she decreed it so eons ago. That part is fine, it’s not a household chore I mind and really it’s pretty easy. I’ve even been taught to check the liner after the bag is removed and, if dirty, to spray it with cleaning solution and wipe with a paper towel.
I mean I have this shit down.
So how was this decision made? Saying nothing about recycling. How did we go from having a respectable clean receptacle for our trashcan to using 7-Eleven type bags? That’s like deciding not to use the dishwasher when you have a working dishwasher.
Yeah. We’re no longer using the dishwasher.
I’m pretty sure my wife was abused by a dishwasher as a child. I suspect it’s a repressed memory. Nothing else describes her fear and loathing of the dishwasher doing its job. Its been an ongoing battle.
“Honey, just use the dishwasher,” I’d say.
“I like doing them by hand, it’s relaxing,” would be the reply.
Then two weeks later when it becomes more aggravating than relaxing (which in my stunning brilliance I predicted) I get, “Can you help me wash the dishes?”
Yes, honey, yes I can, by loading the dishwasher.
* I could write a book with examples and may still…