She sort of harrumphed and asked how long we’ve been married.
“Twenty-two years,” I said. Sheesh. That made me sound ancient. I did the math… Yup, about right.
“Well, good luck making it to twenty-three,” she said.
I’ve been surprised how people speculate less than I would have thought about Mike’s sanity in leaving an entire career, stable paycheck and benefits, to explore the joys of self-employment with me. Instead, people wonder about the impact of his decision on our marriage.
I guess I kind of get it. Couples have to adjust after kids come along and priorities shift. They go through another adjustment when the kids leave home, and they suddenly realize they hate nothing more than listening to each other chew breakfast cereal.
In between those milestones there may be any number of challenges. Like playground bullies, they’ll slam a relationship up against the wall on a regular basis to demand its lunch money. Promises of “forever” are regularly broken under this sort of constant assault. It happens.
This summer alone has marked the end of at least three marriages of friends of ours.
So, months ago, Mike and I went from our regular routine spending only a few harried minutes together in the morning and at night (much of that time trying to convince people around here to take a shower, clean their plate, remember to flush), to spending extended hours in each others’ company.
As in: Gobs of Quality Time. All. Day. Long.
Here are a few things we’ve learned:
- Mike can sense exactly when I’m deep in thought without even looking, which always coincides with his having a very pressing set of questions, or an attack of stream-of-consciousness-type crap to share.
- Apparently, heaving a huge sigh and throwing one’s hands in the air like she’s been startled are social cues indicating extreme annoyance at being interrupted in the middle of a thought.
- I apparently have more of a habit of watching cat videos on Facebook than I’d realized.
- There are people around here who will judge other people who can’t spare even a moment to listen to a barrage of inane questions, but still find the time for cat videos on Facebook.
Needless to say, after several months, we are still adjusting to working in the same space. Some days we do better than others.
This week Mike and I were co-presenters at a conference. We’ve each done a fair amount of presenting, so that wasn’t a source of anxiety. The subject was one on which I’ve given about a bazillion presentations, and with which I’m fairly comfortable.
Mike needed to be brought up to speed, though, so planner that he is, he blocked out time on the calendar to give us the opportunity to hash out who exactly was going to say what.
For my part, I spent a lot of time visualizing what I was going to wear, how I could wrap the topics of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Breakfast Club into my presentation, how the audience would respond with awe and amazement, and how word would quickly spread throughout the community about our status as the power couple of the decade.
I also spent a lot of time on other stuff that made it necessary to postpone many of our meetings.
I knew we’d get around to practicing. And that we would be fantastic.
… Or maybe sort of fantastic, given how life and my ability to procrastinate will get in the way of things like time blocked out for practicing a presentation. Ultimately I ended up put together an outline and foisting it on Mike to become familiar with on his own time.
… And then I may have changed a few things around without telling him.
And then we practiced it together and I discovered despite his ability to know exactly when to interrupt a train of thought, he can’t actually read my mind. This ended up being pretty infuriating, leading to a whole lot of no, no, no don’t say it like that, that’s not what that meant, this doesn’t make sense, why don’t we take more time to put stuff like this together? Nobody’s going to get the freaking point – GAH!
Come to think of it, this whole procrastinated presentation thing had the potential to be less fantastic, more craptastic. We both got a little anxious.
Which means there wasn’t a lot of productive sleeping or eating or working out this last week, and there may have been a couple of kids who were snapped at more often than usual.
Ultimately, we did fine, I think. And by fine, I mean I didn’t notice anyone getting up in the middle of the presentation and flipping us the bird before they left. That’s always good.
Of course, I wasn’t wearing my glasses, so there may have been an escapee or two I didn’t notice.
And I woke up this morning, after the conference was over and the stress had leaked out some time in the night, pooled on the floor and dissolved into thin air. I thought about how often past colleagues have casually noted my propensity for dancing on that fine line that separates normal people from those who are brutally murdered by co-workers.
And then I decided that my very patient husband is hereby “employee of the week.” A title which the dog only reluctantly conceded.
Let’s all take a minute to give Mr. Employee of the Week a hand, shall we? And then vote for my little blog for no other reason than I’ve yet to be bumped off by a coworker. Thank you.
Photo courtesy of jronaldlee.com