Home Renovations

Dear Husband,
Just to continue with the bathroom theme of showers and organisation etc., it wasn’t that long ago that we were discussing potential renovations for the littlest room in the house. Which is in fact probably not the littlest room in our house because I believe that the laundry has that distinction but you get my meaning. That place where you find a lot of plumbing and we make calls of nature and clean ourselves. Now, as is your way, you like to make elaborate plans with all the money that we don’t have (the split level garage, the louvered pergola, the concrete wine cellar) so you started to redesign our bathroom. You didn’t go overboard and start factoring in marble vanities and claw footed tubs or anything like that but you did get quite absorbed in the process. You also got quite pissed with me when I didn’t like what you had designed.
This may come as a surprise to you Dear Husband but I do actually want to have a say on how our house looks and on what we spend our money. The functionality is also important to me because I use that room just as much as you do. Therefore, when you don’t consult me at all and come up with solutions that do not address my problems (and even create some for me), you really shouldn’t be surprised that I am not singing your praises and extolling your virtues when you present me with your ideas. And its not as if when you did convey your ideas I told you that they were so overwhelmingly horrendous as to be likened to a second Titanic or the next Hindenburg. No, I just said: 
·        I’d like to keep the bath. We plan on having a family eventually but even if we can’t, I still see the potential for children in the house that need a bath. Sure, babies might fit in the kitchen sink before they perhaps graduate to the laundry tub but after that, the shower is it (unless you want to hose them down outside) and I can tell you that I am not going to jump in the shower to wash a kid every time they need to be scrubbed down. Plus, baths are really good for soaking things like king bed comforters that don’t really fit in the washing machine.
·        I don’t think you should open a shower door onto a shower head. I just think this makes common sense. You run the risk of cracking or scratching the door if the head is in the way or getting the outside of the door wet (if the head is higher) when you nip out of a running shower to get that extra towel or bottle of shampoo that you forgot. If the shower is over the bath, why not put the door at the other end to the running water? Although I happen to think that this becomes a slightly moot point because…
·        It might make more sense to have multiple sliding doors to create a wider opening. And now I’m back to the kids thing again and perhaps the dog too. If you are going to be lifting shorter things than you in and out of the bath, wouldn’t you want to make it as convenient as possible? I can tell you now that getting a skittish 80kg Great Dane into the bath through an opening less than a metre wide is so not my idea of fun.
·        I like natural light. We have a window in the bathroom. It is small but its there. We also get natural light through it at the moment which is actually quite helpful. Especially when applying makeup. This is more my issue than yours, sure, but the overhead light casts shadows and hues over the skin and that is not an optimal solution. Therefore I would seek to maximise the use of natural light in the room rather than sticking a whopping great opaque wall in front of it.
·        I HATE BI-FOLD DOORS. Ok, so I didn’t need to write that all in caps and I don’t hate bi-fold doors but seriously, bi-fold doors to the bathroom? Bi-fold doors can be shower doors or room dividers or even those café doors that open out onto patios but for bedrooms and bathrooms, they would never be my first choice. Which you know. Or at least you should have. Despite having had the conversation previously however, you seemed shocked (again) that I could possibly have an issue with this – which just goes to show that despite what you say, you do not always listen to me when I’m talking to you (or do not care to make the effort to remember). Or perhaps its in one ear and out the other when I am disagreeing with you?
So I had a few issues with your suggested bathroom designs. I thought I was very nice about it at the time, not raising my voice or attacking you etc. I tried to gently offer some constructive criticism and suggest that maybe you hadn’t taken quite enough factors into your design as might be necessary for a long term solution. Apparently though I was still doing my rousing impersonation of Captain Killjoy and crapping all over your creative genius which just made you pissed. You did kind of say sorry to me later so I think you figured out that I wasn’t trying to ruin your life after all but still, I promise it won’t kill you to ask “Hey, I’m think about redesigning this – is there anything you’d like me to take into consideration?”.
Consideringly yours,
Your Loving Wife
* Photo taken of a rose in our front garden – spring brings all sorts of surprises.
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Bathroom Musings

Dear Husband,
It would occasionally be nice to think that you and I were like Eric and Annie Camden and we were living in 7th Heaven. You know, all love and forgiveness and understanding and those other fluffy things. Not that we don’t actually have those things now of course. And by likening them to fluffy I am not trying to say that I don’t think they are important because they are. Its just that when I think of you and I and where we are at right now, I think we are a little rougher around the edges. I think we’re a little more Dan and Roseanne of the no last name required.
I was thinking this thought this morning as I stared at the tub of hair gel that was sitting on the edge of the vanity in the bathroom. The tub that I have been waiting over a couple of weeks for you (at sometime) to put a lid on when you’re not using it. The tub I can foresee falling off and oozing all over the tile floor if the puppy got a bit boisterous when you were trying to get him into the shower. The tub that may well be at wagging tail height if the great dane were no longer a pup but a dog. The same tub that could easily succumb to gravity if you knocked it off the edge whilst shuffling past half asleep at some obscene hour of the morning to pee. The tub that I can see potentially speckled with the dying bugs that have snuck into bathroom and gotten caught. The bugs who continually find their way through the flyscreen on the window that has remained slightly open ever since we bought the house because I’m pretty sure it was painted that way. Or perhaps I should say the tub that slowly absorbs bits of spittle and toothpaste as we clean our teeth every day (the vanity is really not that large) or splashes of water as we wash our hands and faces in the sink (did I mention that the vanity wasn’t very large?). Anyway, lets just say that I can envisage a whole host of things that would I assume not be desirable to one who actually uses the product.
And I thought this, that we were a lot more like Dan and Roseanne, when I looked at your open tub of hair gel because I was reminded of an old episode. When I looked at that tub that I had no intention of closing myself in order to potentially avoid any of the aforementioned undesirable occurrences, I was reminded of the time when DJ was pointing at Darlene. Being a typical younger brother, DJ was trying to get a rise out of Darlene at the kitchen table by continuing to hold his index finger pointed at her about an inch from her body. She of course tired of the situation quite quickly and turned around and thumped him one. It was at this point that DJ let out the wail of the maligned younger child and went crying to Dan complaining that “she hit me and I didn’t even touch her!”. Dan of course had been sitting at the kitchen table the whole time reading a newspaper but knew exactly what was going on and replied back without missing a beat “well it was hardly worth it then was it?”.
That’s kind of what I was thinking if something ever happened to your hair gel.
Lovingly yours,
Your Loving Wife
* Photo taken at Sculptures By The Sea 2011

Just the Same Only Different

Dear Husband,
You know how you have those light bulb moments when you go “Oh, so this is how the other person feels when I’m busy getting mad at them for being inconvenient”? Yes? No? Only I do that? Well anyway, I had one of those the other day.  Actually, it was probably a series of moments but they were all related to going to the gym and they all happened to follow after we left to go to this place of torture.
Finally, on the weekend, we managed to get ourselves together and head back to a gym. Or rather, you finally got tired of me asking you to do something about the coupons for membership that you bought because I couldn’t do anything without them. Anyway, there was a general consensus (possibly arrived at by each of us in varying timeframes, yours was later than mine of course) to push some strength back into our slack frames, or in my case, shake some of the laziness out. Zumba is quite good for that. So we got up in the morning, made sure to walk the dog first, got our workout gear together and headed off.
Now I assumed (and there was my first asinine move because we all know what they say about the word assume – makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’ that’s for sure) that this would be straightforward. That is, we’d drive to the gym, fill out whatever paperwork was necessary, I’d do a class, you’d do…whatever boys do at the gym and we’d drive home. The extension of this was of course that I would then be able to jump in the shower immediately and wash my hair which was currently not going to win me any beauty awards. Or any cleanliness awards for that matter either. I knew that would mean that I’d have to sit in the car being slightly skanky and sweaty but I was:
a) not going to wash my hair at the gym because it takes too long,
b) not going to have a shower at the gym if I was only going to have jump in one again when I got home,
c) not that worried about offending you with my malodorous form because quite frankly, you’ve gotten into the car smelling worse before and so has the dog, and
d) not intending on being there that long anyway.
So, given my assumption, it is perhaps pertinent to also mention here that I did not take a towel to the gym because I felt I would have no need of one. Which is basically why I was not impressed in the slightest to learn that you assumed we would not be going home directly after the gym. You were planning on going straight to the meat market to buy some food supplies for the rest of the week after which you were planning to attend a meeting with someone who was selling their business. Both activities which, I will admit, did have time constraints but which meant that I’d be out for over an hour. But this was something that I learned after you knew that I not only was planning not to shower at the gym but that I couldn’t really because I had no towel. I’m not sure whether you were thinking about the fact that whilst I don’t mind subjecting you to 5-10 minutes of BO (because lets face it, after marrying me, you’re stuck with me for better or for worse), I’m really not that comfortable subjecting the unknowing public to the same thing.
I had this idea in my head that the morning would go a certain way and I was quite happy with that but then you wanted to change everything and put me out. Which in a way I imagine is just how you feel when I announce that I have to go away for work or I am planning on not coming home at the regular time. Unknowingly you build this expectation which suddenly gets steamrolled flat and you don’t see it coming. You Dear Husband are not the only one who gets “hardly done by” however as a result of the seeming high-handedness of a partner calling the shots without consultation (which is just a dramatic way of saying making a decision without you). Now I get it. So I thought I’d point out that its just the same when you do it to me so you needn’t get so peeved that I wasn’t impressed. Its just the same in reverse….except for the fact that I think the two are completely different because in my case I couldn’t do what I had planned anywhere else and was going to be uncomfortable in public and in yours, you could still do exactly what I thought you would have done with me – watch tv at home with the laptop on your lap and ignore me. I’m just saying.
Still lovingly yours,
Your Loving Wife
* Photo taken at Sculptures by the sea 2011

The Boy Who Cried Foul

Dear Husband,
It’s a small thing really, although it depends on which way you’re looking at it I guess. Which truth be told, is a somewhat dodgy pun but you will not yet understand this of course for I haven’t finished my first thought. My first thought being that I think you and I should have a chat about perspective. And when I say “perspective”, I am talking about individual views on a single event such as:
·        I just got a raise which is totally awesome because it wasn’t solicited and the money would come in real handy, as opposed to
·        my wife just got a raise which is good for her but means she’s now earning more than me again which sucks eggs majorly and I can’t stop thinking about it
I am also talking about views on events in relation to other events such as:
·        I just got a food stain on my shirt and it totally ruined my day, as opposed to
·        I just got fired which totally ruined my day
Now there are many people who might perceive the total ruination of their day as a direct result of acquiring a food stain on their clothes. I believe however, that most of those same people would consider that occurrence to be small potatoes in comparison to the event of losing their source of regular employment. And perhaps you would be one of those individuals who feel this way also but in that case I feel that I would have to proffer the question – how the hell would I know?
But perhaps I am starting this discussion in the middle rather than at the beginning so I would like to draw your mind back to one day last week. On this particular day, you picked me up in the afternoon and immediately I could tell that something was wrong. There was no smile in greeting and barely a grunt in response to my salutation. I was met with the face of a thundercloud and faced with the aggressive driving of one who would seemingly rather be anywhere than where they were. I tried to probe subtly to see if I could solicit a response which would tell me what was wrong but my efforts garnered nothing but a series of monosyllabic answers and a sarcastic tone of voice. After several attempts, there was obviously no way that I could deftly identify the issue so after the string of dead ends (and heightening levels of frustration) I became more blunt and less courteous. This however made no discernible impact either unless you count the fact that by this point you weren’t really talking to me at all.
I think I managed to get out of you that you had experienced a “crap” day but that was it. After that, you clammed up. I of course was assuming the worst. What was it that was so bad you couldn’t tell me? Maybe you had received a severe dressing down at work and you were concerned for your job. Maybe someone delivered a debilitating character assassination and you were concerned about returning to your job. Maybe it wasn’t to do with your job at all and you had received a phone call with terrible news such as someone you cared about was terminally ill. Something truly awful must have happened because judging by your response, the gravity of the situation was immense. You were obviously physically ok but I was given the impression that your world was crumbling down around your ears and you felt helpless to stop it. I thought something truly traumatic had happened to you but as it turned out no, you were just disappointed.
I’m sorry to sound so glib. When you eventually got round to talking to me about it and telling me the “why” as opposed to merely telling me the basic “what” I began to understand a little more. Initially however, all I could think about was that you were carrying on like a pork chop because when you cut to the chase, a job that you didn’t have but thought you might like to do in the next year or so didn’t pay as much as you’d hoped. That was it. You had a neat little plan in your head that went something like in 12 months my ship is going to sail in but instead, someone downsized your ship to a ferry. And you weren’t happy. Now that I have all the information I also know that in finding out this particular “fact”, you once again were the recipient of differing information from management and peers in your workplace. Since this particular situation was also at the root of the reasons for leaving your previous job, the association brought back some very painful memories. Then, to add insult to injury, you did somewhat receive a distressing phone call complete with a dressing down and character assassination (in a mild form) from a single person – a parent. All up, a number of things contributed to a bad day.
Here’s the thing though. I still think that this was a bad day. I don’t think it was an awful or a horrendous day. I don’t think it was particularly agonising, heartbreaking or distressing (although you may wish to apply all three). I don’t think it was the WORST DAY EVER. I just think it was a bad day. You’re not a child anymore to live minute by minute, unable to rationalise out that even when things are crap, they can get better again. Just possibly, the five minute wait for food to a three-year-old that promotes a tantrum is like the 12 month wait to a better salary for an adult. Not what you wanted but not the end of the world either. Because here’s the other thing, whilst you are not a child, you are still young. For the sixty-year-old looking for that retirement money or that final career goal, there isn’t a lot of time left. Waiting another year or two for that next opportunity might not be an easy option to swallow. For you, I think you can handle it.
I know that you have many wonderful strengths and talents. It just happens to be that patience isn’t really one of them. Its probably not one of mine either which is why I find the rollercoaster ride of your emotions difficult to respond to on occasion. I also find it confusing when you keep on moving the goal posts. I might learn to read you better if you say got angry, defensive and withdrawn when you broke a nail but you yelled, swore and hit inanimate objects when you were really upset but you don’t. You use one or a combination of these seemingly indiscriminately to express your displeasure. And a situation that inspires a level ten reaction on one day could elicit a level five on another. Its confusing. And hard for me to get my head around. And since I don’t really understand, I was hoping that maybe you might like to help me out in future.
Its extremely hard to determine the appropriate level of sympathy, comfort, sensitivity and compassion to express when I’m not sure whether in the grand scheme of things you’re just blowing off steam because you think someone cut you off or you are actually dying inside. Maybe you could tell me what you want from me in advance. Maybe we could make up some severity cue cards so if you’re screaming bloody murder because you just forgot to record my tv shows, you can hold up a “3” so I’ll know you just have to get over kicking yourself in your own time and I don’t have to call in the cavalry. Maybe though you could have a second think about the things that are bothering you when they do, a think all the things we have together and a think about all the things some people will never have and figure that you’re day is really no so bad after all. Because maybe its just a matter of perspective.
Fortunately yours,
Your Loving Wife
PS. This does not mean that I can practice what I preach and never be irritated again by the fact that you leave doors and drawers open around the house.
* Photo taken on our honeymoon

Home Away From Home

Dear Husband,
So, I asked you something this morning which I am reasonably sure that you promptly forgot within the short drive home from dropping me off at the train station. So its not exactly  that my request potentially fell on deaf ears but rather that my request might not have been awarded the significance that brings forth the “retention” command from your brain in addition to that of “comprehension”. Or perhaps it is merely that after a couple of years of marriage I am still asking the wrong question. Can you do a lot of things I ask you to do? Of course you can. Will you? That is another matter entirely.
And my request today was very similar to one I made a few days ago. One which definitely did go in one ear and out the other because nothing has changed since. These are not big things that I have asked though, or at least I don’t think they are. They also seem to me to be something akin to common sense to me or at the very least common courtesy given what we share. I am talking about our car of course and the fact that I wish you would not treat it like your own private home away from home.
A home where the boot serves as the closet. The place where you can shove all sorts of paraphernalia in a haphazard sort of way and then close it off from human sight. A space that could be neatly ordered with a place for everything and everything in its place but unless you’re my mother, it probably isn’t. A home where the back seat serves as the yard and the garage all rolled into one. The space now reserved for the dog and everything that doesn’t fit in the house. Where you can keep those things you don’t want to or haven’t gotten around to throwing out yet. A Trash ‘n Treasure of sorts. A home where the passenger seat serves as the spare room where you put your occasional guests. Where you find a convenient surface that’s both handy and out of your way which is coincidentally also the repository for clutter most recently discarded. A place that probably should be a bit more organised but then its not as if anyone is there full time or permanently except that yes, I am. Permanent that is.
Every working day you drop me off at the station and those same days, you pick me up. On the weekends we frequently go out together as well so its really not as though I’m never there. And I’m getting a little sick of the plank of wood that is apparently supposed to fulfil some purpose not in the car, when it eventually makes it out of course. I am getting tired of the newspapers, junk mail, CD cases, letters and receipts that litter the space at my feet. I am totally over the discarded ties, empty packets and the heavy duty cable (whose purpose and raison d’être in our lives I don’t completely understand) which have totally clogged both foot wells in the back seat. Don’t even get me started on the boot and to top it all off, I am frustrated by the fact that there are numerous dirty food storage containers strewn throughout the car growing God knows what.
This is what I asked you this morning. If you could take them out of the car and put them in the washing up. The washing up which you don’t even have to do because its my job. I can’t tell you how delightful it is to open these food containers which have been repeatedly heated by a car in full sun and cooled by evening rain. Where the smell is almost overpowering and the mould has taken over and is practically its own little eco-system. I suppose that I shouldn’t admit that I even let it get to that point. That I see this debris and I leave it there. That I don’t simply go through the car each day like a mother rifles through a son’s school backpack looking for anything that shouldn’t still be in there but then I’m not your mother. I’m your wife. And I’ll be damned if I never make you do anything reasonable that I ask of you. So if you happen to read this today, will you please clear out the car and put the food containers in the washing up pile?
Potentially gratefully yours,
Your Loving Wife
* Photo taken of the Globe Bar on our anniversary