Month Twenty-Seven

Dear Husband,
This last month as you know was my birthday month. And this year I think, it went pretty well. It was beginning to look a little sketchy around the time you started planning a dinner in celebration which was not my preference but once you came around to listening to me at the same time as talking to me regarding the day (two very different skills Dear Husband), we ended up with a brunch in our back yard that was fun. A dinner might actually have been fun too however my birthday is one of those things where I think experience has taught us that you either ask me what I want to do beforehand and we do that or you organise the whole thing and simply tell me what we’re doing on the day. At which point you probably also have to be prepared for the fact that I might not like it…
I swear I don’t mean to be difficult…or selfish (which is exactly how I’m sounding, I know)…but I get frustrated when you build up my special day and tell me in the lead up that the planning is all about me and you want me to have the best day ever and then we get to my birthday and you say “so what do you want to do?”. Because at that point, I’m like what happened to all the planning? You didn’t factor in that at some point we’d need to eat? You know I’m not pretty when I’m hungry…I’m not proud, I’m just saying…So we’ve worked out that if you’re going to ask me that then it had best be before my actual birthday and if I give you an answer then that probably means that I care. So if you completely ignore me, I’m going to be pissed. Therefore, for my birthday this year, after consultation, we had a mountain of delicious food, friends and family in the backyard for brunch. The weather held which was awesome…and you were totally vindicated in picking up the freebie carport-pergola thing that I originally thought was a waste of space. You now have my permission to say I told you so about the new shelter. It was indeed a good find. Especially since it served its purpose so well that we actually left it in place.
So you survived planning another one of my birthdays. You were even chuffed with yourself when you managed to buy me a gift that I 1) had not actually asked for or named  and 2) did actually appreciate. Now I can understand being pleased by such a find because, I will admit, I’m not the easiest person to buy for really, but apparently I did underestimate the significance of such a gift discovery. Or maybe the present hierarchy is just beyond my understanding. According to you it seems, there is apparently an unwritten hierarchy of gifts. I’m not 100% sure what it is or how many variants of gifts actually exist but I am assuming it looks a little like this:
Something she wants dearly but would never ask for = The Most Awesome Gift Ever = an L series lens or a rose gold teardrop pendant and necklace (which incidentally would also require us to have won lotto first)
Something she wants but hasn’t asked for yet = A Really Thoughtful Gift = the next book in a series she has been reading for years
Something she wants and has asked for = A Considerate Gift (because who are you to deny your love) = the next dvd set in the TV series we are currently watching
Something she kind of wants and asked you for when prompted = A Token Gift (because at least you didn’t go out and buy something tacky) = picture frames
Something she has not asked for because she would never actually want it in the first place = are you sure you’re not on the way to a divorce because this is A Completely Crap Gift = bath salts
(ps. For anyone else who happens to be reading this, the bath salts as a gift idea is a long running personal joke because I think they say the gift giver doesn’t know me at all and hasn’t put much effort in either – I don’t even take baths!)
Now I’m sure that there are a whole heap of levels including gifts that were not wanted but ultimately perceived as falling anywhere between surprise hits and total flunks etc. but the above contains the all important levels which correspond to the fact that the gift I didn’t ask for ranked way higher than a gift for which I had put in a request. So I’m figuring that either I just don’t get it (which is entirely possible) or this is “boy logic”, in which case – I still don’t get it (which I think is more likely).
Anyway, this month also held a mini getaway for me when work required that I travel up to the Gold Coast for two days. Whilst not quite the sun and sand that I was expecting, it didn’t actually rain and I managed to fit in a couple of walks on the beach. It was nice to see work people in a social setting as well. But what was good for me was not so good for you. I still struggle with the fact that you really don’t like it when I am away. Its hard to get excited that I’m doing something out of routine for a couple of days when you are being consumed by the fact that I’m not there. Hopefully its better now that we have the puppy and you’re not alone in the house but the fact that you can see no advantages to the change in circumstances is a shame. Especially when towards the beginning of the month, you had a bit of a health scare.
As far as we know, everything is ok and you are reasonably healthy. Of course you could afford to eat a little better. More vegetables and the like. You really didn’t need to go out and buy a second cache of candy for Halloween – I swear you only bought that one for yourself! It also might be an idea if we got back into some sort of regular exercise like, I don’t know, taking the dog for a walk now and then…It can be scary though when doctors start to ask you about the “C” word. When they begin to query if you have a history of cancer in your family or any other conditions that they should be concerned about. There was nothing much that you could actually tell them and in the end, there was not much they could tell you either but I know that for a while questions, concerns and worries were running rampant through your mind and stealing your sleep. Hopefully now that has eased and things are getting easier.
Always yours,
Your Loving Wife
* Photo taken of the Bird of Paradise flowers in our garden

I’ll Take You Driving…

Dear Husband,
Now that we have a dog, we need a new car. Or in my words, now that we have a dog who is going to grow into a small horse in the not too distant future, we will eventually need a new car to accommodate us taking him places that require motorised transportation. But I know that one of the differences between you and I, is that I will use about twenty-seven words when two will suffice so to make sure my main sentence is perfectly clear to both of us: now that we have a dog, we will eventually need a new car.
See those two words I added in there? The ones you seem to consider silent? Whilst they don’t technically change…something I probably learnt in linguistics a while ago which equates to the “us needing” bit, semantically, as a whole, they are oh so different. Especially in regards to the natural progression from that statement. Because this is the difference between us actually buying something in the near future, this year, this month maybe, by the time that ebay sale ends in seven days, now, as opposed to, you know, not now. Sometime next year. When the puppy is not a puppy anymore and no longer fits in the car we own. When we get money from this financial year’s tax refunds. Later.
Now there are a lot of good reasons for waiting till “later”. The aforementioned money I thought was a pretty good one. And then theres the fact that we don’t actually know what we want. That I think is a pretty good one too. I mean do we replace the car we have now with a large family car with a big boot? Do we buy an average 2nd car for interstate travel and trips to the dog park? Do we downgrade our small car to buy a nicer 2nd car for interstate travel and trips to the dog park? Do we buy a 4WD as the dog car? Could he even jump up to get in a car higher off the ground than ours? Could he do it when he was old? Is a wagon a better option in that case? Would he fit in a wagon sitting up or only lying down? Does that matter? And just when you thought you were running out of questions, what happens when you throw kids into the mix? Car seats? Strollers? Port-a-cots? Are we going to need a tow bar and a trailer just to haul all the crap that we can’t bear to leave behind any time we go more than 30kms from the house??
It can’t possibly be this complicated. I’m sure there are plenty of people who own pets that don’t even have a car. Right now though Dear Husband, we don’t need a new car. We don’t even need a different car. There is nothing wrong with looking of course. Doing your research and finding what is around. I have seen you looking though and I can notice the signs. If I’m not careful, this will turn into the house all over again, I know it. Back then you were looking online, just looking! You told me you had no intention of doing anything which is why you weren’t speaking to banks and what happened? A month or two later we bought a house! Ok, so that worked out well and I like the house but still, I got ready by the time we had to sign on the dotted line. Right now? Not ready to buy a car.
Now granted, you are somewhat limited in your ability to just go out and buy any car you want by several hundred thousand dollars worth of debt. You also have a healthy dose of fear that your wife would kill you (or at least make you sleep on the crappy sofa for a while) if you made such a purchase without her consent but I see you when you show me one of the ugliest cars I have ever seen on ebay. I hear you tell me so reasonably that its really quite affordable and you could even work on it yourself. I know you want a shiny new toy that I’m convinced will quickly lose it lustre…
Its possible I am being totally unfair but really, if you’re selling this car to me on the premise that you can work on it yourself, you’re also going to have to make me believe that this won’t be like the DIY guitar rack thats sitting in the garage unpainted or like the dog kennel you built thats sitting on the porch with scrunched up lino in the base and little protection against the elements. You have to convince me that you have time in addition to that which you have advised me you want to start spending at the gym and doing obedience training with the puppy. In this case, you would also have to get me to come around to the idea of an “ugly” car (crappy, I’m pretty fine with, ugly, not so much). So please, Dear Husband, try not to get so offended when I’m not super excited by your finds online and I’m not telling you to buy now before we miss it.
When you married me you knew I was going to be the logical one and I’m just not ready to buy a car.
A Libran and yours,
Your Loving Wife
* Photo of the puppy who fits just fine in our car at 19 weeks

Month Twenty-Six

Dear Husband,
This month, we two became three. Not the quasi three where you’re still really only two or even two-and-a-half (before you wait 9 months and then one of you opens up like a Russian doll of course, which now that I think on it, women don’t actually do – that would be excessive…and most likely fatal…the natural way is often best or a c-section if the first option isn’t possible…). ANYWAY, back on topic, we welcomed a new member into our family this month raising the inhabitants of the house by 50% and the number of legs by 100%. Since we moved into a home with a yard, we have wanted to live with a furry friend and so in the quest for such an addition, you finally wore me down we decided that the time was right to become the proud owners of a puppy. A very big puppy. Who knew a great dane was going to grow quite that fast?
So this month was definitely not uneventful and I have now confirmed several things:
·       You are so not going to be the hard-ass parent and I will get stuck being bad cop more often than not. The first night we had the puppy, I had two big babies crying in distress. This was definitely not conducive to a good night’s sleep. Sorry if you think that is an unmanly thing for me to have written about you but perhaps choose to look at it as…evidence of the depth of your compassion (or perhaps that was empathy) for other living things…
·       Our couch is flipping uncomfortable to sleep on for a whole night. This was an unfortunate realisation brought about by repeated experience since someone had to make sure that the puppy couldn’t simply push past the 3rd makeshift barricade which kept him from full access to furniture, shoes, remote controls and other attractive (yet distressing for us) chew toys. And since you were sick…again…for a couple of days, that someone was mostly me.
·       I am never getting my old life back again. Its kinda true when they say that getting a puppy is like having a child. You shouldn’t leave them unsupervised (although at least with a dog they’re often ok outside), you have to train them to go to the toilet in an appropriate place, you must teach them how to behave…you start talking for them as much as to them when others are around, you show off photos of them to your friends and family, your conversations become quite singularly focussed and your ability to be spontaneous and simply go with the flow is somewhat impeded. It’s a very involved process this pet ownership thing. No more spending the entire weekend out of the house just because. At least not if you still want a yard when you get back.
But then this has been a real learning curve for the both of us. You for example have learnt the valuable lesson, much to your dismay, that even though we now have a dog, you do not necessarily always have someone to blame for your farts. I will not deny that the pup is equally as able to let off a stinker that has me clamouring for the nearest door, window or exhaust fan but just so as you are aware, when your fart is vibrating through the couch I happen to be sharing with you, it is pitiful when you blame the dog who is lying quietly on his mat. And just because you smile sweetly at me does not mean that I will forgive you either. You after all should know better.
So this month hasn’t quite been like any other. It has certainly been an adjustment to have a canine in the house but on the plus side, he has been great. He doesn’t bark excessively, any “accidents” were due to our lack of timely action (he can’t after all open the back door himself) and he is more than happy to jump into the car for three minutes or three hours. We will of course have to buy a bigger car to accommodate the dog at some point (he just gets more and more expensive…) which has had you scouring the 2nd had car lists and me going “mmm hmm” every time you show me another one and expound on its advantages (I’m not ready to get excited about a new car yet) but it only took him about 4 nights to learn to sleep through by himself without whining and he seems to play nicely with everyone (animals and people alike) without getting aggressive. Rowdy perhaps but not aggressive. All in all he is definitely the gentle giant. And he’s cute. And I’m sorry that in a highly sleep deprived and emotional moment I lost it because I wasn’t sure we’d done the right thing and were ready for a dog. It was clearly not one of my saner moments.
Otherwise this month, despite the obviously permanent change to our routines there were a couple of other highlights:
·       One of my best friends and her husband flew in from South Africa and spent the evening with us. It felt like no time had passed at all and it was a great night. It also didn’t hurt that we finally got to crack open the bottle of champagne that had been burning a hole in our fridge so to speak, the bottle they had brought with them went down a treat and the two bottles of red, sherry, port and scotch that followed were all well received. We weren’t necessarily firing on all cylinders the next day but we haven’t had a night like that in ages.
·       The washing machine broke. Normally this would not be a highlight and it may sound strange to list it as one but the washing machine going kaput was the perfect excuse to finally get a front loader which incidentally made it possible to fit the dryer into the laundry. As you will recall, right after we moved I said I loved my clothesline…when it rains however, I love my clothes dryer!
·       We went shopping. Normally this would not be a highlight either as we have previously established that under normal circumstances, we do not shop well together. Or rather, I have come to this conclusion and you are still somewhat bewildered as to why I have a problem with your constant need to know when, where, for how long and for what…exactly. For the first time in months however (now that we have our tax refund money back), I got to spend money on myself to buy things that I wanted but didn’t necessarily need. Both of us went out together and I came back with bags…BAGS!…of bargains and it was such a guilty pleasure. Apparently it was also hard work for you but I just wanted to mention that I did appreciate it.
And that was pretty much the month. There was also a brunch at the pastor’s, a trip down to my parents’, an excursion to the theatre to see Avenue Q and some catching up with family closer to home. We got to see my sister’s new pad (she is finally getting ready to move out of home and rent!) and I think you did a bit of soul searching when you heard Reggie Dabbs who reminded you of your social conscience. I had my review at work which was as expected if not a little heavy on the “you’re doing fine but you’re really not living up to your potential” but you’ve been doing such a great job that your workplace offered you permanence. I think we have managed to keep fairly occupied for once.
Busily yours,
Your Loving Wife
* Photo of the puppy at 15 weeks