Shades Of Grey

less-than-50-shades-of-greyDear Husband,

In case you were wondering, this letter has nothing to do with 50 Shades of Grey. I’ll just put that out there now. It is however about communication between men and women, or perhaps just you and me.

Apparently, I see the world in shades of grey and you see…orange. We discovered this the other day when I made reference to the grey backpack and you had no idea what I was talking about. So I clarified my statement by mentioning it was the Kathmandu backpack. The one we have occasionally put the dog things in when we travel…To which you replied that we don’t have a grey backpack. We only have an orange one. This one.

grey

Now I am prepared to concede that this backpack is not completely grey. But in my opinion it is certainly no more orange than this tennis ball is white!

Tennis-ball-007I freely admit that our backpack is in fact grey and orange. But come on, it has a grey back, it has grey straps and it has grey on the front. It is in fact undeniably more grey than orange. See…

grey-2

So it appears that I see some things in shades of grey and now I have a Billy Joel song running through my head:

Shades of grey wherever I go
The more I find out the less that I know
There ain’t no rainbow shining on me
Shades of grey are the colors I see

It does seem somewhat applicable to you and me…I do think however that I should be forgiven for calling the backpack grey. I’m just saying.

Colourfully yours,

Your Loving Wife

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Births, Deaths & Marriages

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Dear Husband,

I think we had a slight communication breakdown regarding the form for births, deaths and marriages. You decided that you wanted to fill this in at the hospital and I was fine with that. You filled out all of our personal details correctly of course but then you got to the back page which was regarding the application for a birth certificate.

This page stated that you had to pay for a birth certificate and that you could either get a standard birth certificate or you could order the commemorative pack which consisted of a “pretty” birth certificate ie. one with baby footprints, pastel colored designs or cute zoo animals and a standard birth certificate. This page was also full of pictures of each of the commemorative certificates on offer which is what you held up to show me when you asked something along the lines of do we want to order one of these.

My reply to this was something along the lines of no, we really don’t need to spend that much money and there isn’t really any point in getting one. I meant the cutsie certificate. So when you got back in the car after submitting the form and said yeah, the guy at the counter thought it was a bit strange and said are you sure you don’t want a birth certificate but I assured him we didn’t, my response was of course we do! Why on Earth would we not want a birth certificate for our daughter!?!

You then got very defensive and said that you had actually asked me and I had said no. It didn’t occur to you that when you held up the page full of commemorative certificate pictures that i might assume you were referring to those. It didn’t occur to me that you would actually ask whether we needed a birth certificate at all.

Without a birth certificate, our daughter has no form of identification. This would mean that we couldn’t open a bank account for her, we couldn’t get a passport for her and we would probably have trouble enrolling her in school when the time came. Which is why I figured that a certificate was kind of essential, even if we did have to pay for it. So you asked if I wanted you to back in and order one and I said yes! After which you huffed off in the heat to make sure that in the future, we can prove the Geniebean is a real person.

Officially yours,

Your Loving Wife

So Very Ber!

Dear Husband,

You are really funny when you’re drunk. Or perhaps not merely drunk so much as completely and utterly rat-arsed, hammered, toasted, legless, sloshed and wasted. Like you were the other night. This week, you attended a client Christmas party at the Opera Bar and from what I gather, you really enjoyed yourself. And I’m really glad. So this is not going to be an I can’t believe you went and got drunk letter although I have to say, I can’t believe you initially thought you wouldn’t get drunk! As if that was ever going to happen.

When the invitation came up and it was obviously close to my due date, you were all I’d really like to go but I’m not sure if I should. Then you were like ok, I’ll go but I’ll only have a couple so I can come home if needed and get you to the hospital. The party went from 4-7 officially and by the time you rang to check on me some time past 6, you were getting tipsy. Since it was all quiet on the western front however, I assured you that it was really ok to go ahead and enjoy yourself which is precisely what you did.

So much so in fact that you called me later, after 7 when the event was “officially” over, to tell me that the party was great and that you were definitely drunk. You did however think that you probably had a couple more in you so if I was still good then you were going to stay. I was fine and so you went back to the festivities and I didn’t hear from you again till about 8:30 when you rang me to say you were coming home. After you had gotten something to eat. And by the way – was it bad that you could see two of everything?? Giggling and snickering ensued (giggling on your part, snickering on mine) and I told you I thought food was a really good idea but please take care and remember that you need to get on two different trains from Circular Quay to get home.

When I didn’t hear back from you over the next hour, I decided to give you a call to check up and you were a LOT more subdued. The buzz seemed to have worn off and you sounded really tired. You were on the train though and I could overhear an announcement saying that you were at Strathfield with the next stop being Granville so you were at least heading in the right direction. You told me you’d let me know when to pick you up and then hung up on me. I got an sms shortly thereafter though to let me know you’d be in at 5 to 10. So I got ready to pick you up at the station and I was waiting there for you at 9:55pm. I was still waiting for you at the station at 10:05pm, at 10:15pm and at 10:25pm. I didn’t know where you were and your phone was going straight to voicemail so I figured it was dead. I hate your phone.

I wasn’t freaking out like I did in Egypt when you were off the grid as far as I was concerned which was a good thing. I also wasn’t overly worried for your safety which is probably also a good thing for a really pregnant woman but I was concerned. I figured you were somewhere in Western Sydney (hoped like hell you weren’t in the mountains) but I didn’t know where or what had happened. I didn’t know if you’d had to run off the train somewhere to throw up so you were still coming from the East. I didn’t know if you had slept past the stop so you were now training in from the West. I didn’t know whether you were so tired that you figured you’d catch a cab home from wherever you ended up rather than training back and I’d get a phone call saying you were home once you’d plugged in your phone. I didn’t know whether you’d head home and pass out before you managed to call me and I’d find you there if I left the station. I wasn’t sure if I should check the other side of the station and if I did, whether you’d arrive, come out the side I was currently and start walking home cause I wasn’t there. I just didn’t know.

I sent you a couple of texts and I kept trying to call. I checked for you amongst the passengers that I could see from the trains coming in and I waited. I waited till 10:30pm thinking that I would leave after that and then I stayed 5 extra minutes just in case. At 10:35pm I figured I’d been there for forty minutes so it was fair enough that I left to look for you elsewhere. I had the puppy in the back of the car and he was bored too. I was literally about 30 seconds away from pulling out of the parking spot when you walked down the stairs. Apparently you’d slept past the stop and woke up at the end of Western Sydney, just shy of ending up in the mountains. You were pretty sheepish.

So I brought you home and undressed you when you passed out in bed. I then laughed at you when you surfaced shortly thereafter and started your drunken ramblings. You assured me slurringly that you had only had a little to drink that night and you were really sober. Totally sober, in fact. “So very ber!” as it were. And when I asked if you had spent any money buying drinks since the party finished at 7pm and you had not left till 8:30pm you assured me that you “flirted with the bartender and used [your] hotness to get the free booze”. Well done, Dear Husband, well done.

Now I wasn’t mad that night at all. I was glad that I could get you home safely. I was happy that you had the opportunity to go out and enjoy yourself before bub comes. I was pleased that you were doing something for you. But I did wait at the station for you for forty minutes without knowing where you were so you get this letter as a permanent reminder that I think you’re funny when you’re drunk.

Soberly yours,

Your Loving Wife

* Photo taken at this year’s Sculptures By The Sea

To-Do List

Dear Husband,

I think you’re cheating. Not on me. That’s not what I meant. But adding things to the to-do list that probably weren’t really meant to be done in the first place to make it look like you have accomplished more than you actually have is kind of like cheating.

I constantly have a list of things I need to do going round my head. Do the washing, do the washing up, fold the washing, vacuum, tidy, clean, clear out the fridge etc. A lot of things come into my mind cause I actually look at the house as I walk around it. I don’t boy-look. Or perhaps it is that I care what I’m looking at as I walk around it. Whatever the case, it is reasonably clear that you don’t see or mind the same things as I do so I have to ask a truckload of times when I want to you to do anything. I am used to this.

Some things I have to ask for over several months and others I need to ask for over several weeks but you told me previously that you didn’t require me to physically write out a list. You do however get petulant with me when you finally do something and I respond with hey, thats great, thanks for that, are you able to do this for me too? Its like I’m supposed to believe that guys are only capable of one domestic chore per day and I’m coming close to wrecking the space-time continuum by expecting anything more. Or maybe its the event boundary thing rearing its ugly head meaning you were in that moment of triumph that something had been completed, totally unaware that there was anything else that needed doing. So it was like I sprung it on you out of nowhere purely to crush your dreams of a beer and a kip. Like the horrible wife that I am.

So anyway, the nothing happening wasn’t working for me recently and neither were the insinuations that I was coming up with random things out of nowhere to make your life difficult. So I wrote a list. It was a list of things that needed doing of which I could do some as well but most required at least your participation. Whilst technically possible to get everything done in one weekend, I really didn’t expect that this was going to be the case because your time management skills have a curious habit of breaking down without monetary incentive. And I can’t afford to pay you. But still, I wrote a list so you couldn’t say you weren’t forewarned or forearmed.

I just thought I’d mention that “paint garage floor” and “paint Karlos” as tasks that you could then cross off this list is kind of cheating.

It was kind of funny though.

Notably yours,

Your Loving Wife

A Kind Word

Dear Husband,

One of the Ashleigh Brilliant books that I own is called “All I want is a warm bed, a kind word and unlimited power”. It’s a kind of glib statement and its meant to be humerous but I think its also true enough for the most part, at least for some of us. And the value of a kind word should not be underrated…

I was thinking about this recently because one day last week, I did not have a good day. It wasn’t an especially bad day on the whole but a number of things kind of snuck up on me till they were all right behind me and ready to bash me over the head at the same time. I didn’t enjoy that. So this turned into a day that I was “not ok”. The majority of the time though, just so as you know, I really am ok. Sometimes I have enough sleep and I feel positively empowered and like I can accomplish anything. I even start to wonder how hard can this parenting gig really be…(and right about now, every parent who could see me write that would think I’m an idiot). I know it won’t be easy but what I’m trying to say is that there are times when I’m really optimistic (as opposed to slightly more realistic). So don’t think I’m covering up for lots of days like I had last week or hiding them from you because I’m not.

That day though, I just lost it. As you may recall it was not in the getting mad, throwing a tanty and channelling a fishwife kind of way.  It was more in the way that you finally realise that you are trying to push shit uphill. And no matter how good a shit-pusher you are, this action is incredibly inconvenient and you inevitably come to the conclusion that you don’t in fact have all your shit together. Which is just plain depressing. Its also partly why I spent 15 minutes on the kitchen floor in tears the minute you went out the door. Now I’m not trying to get you to feel bad or to have a go at you or even make out that you’re a bad husband (though this may unfortunately be exactly what it feels like to you). I’m just trying to say that this happens in marriages and sometimes I need a little TLC too.

There are a lot of things that I can deal with when I’m on top of everything. I understand that you may not want to talk about your day as soon as you pick me up. That sometimes it may have been “shit” and you don’t feel the need to relive it as soon as you see me. I usually know what your café shifts are ahead of time so its hardly surprising when I don’t have access to the car whilst you’re working. I’m also aware that for a person who loves good food, you can be remarkably unconcerned about where your next meal is coming from and therefore even less concerned about the origin of my next meal. That day last week though, I just wasn’t coping. Or accommodating.

There was no warm greeting when you picked me up and I got the impression that my trying to be over-cheerful in compensation was just irritating. When we got home, I walked in the door and everything was just as I had left it that morning. Which was hardly unusual of course, yet the volume of day to day tasks (like the washing up) on top of the baby preparation tasks (like clearing space) has been starting to stress me out as we are draw ever nearer to “B” day. Not that we know when the actual birth day will be of course but we are clearly moving towards it and there is an end point at which we won’t be allowed to just wait it out any longer. Then as you were gathering together the last things you needed for your cafe shift, I realised that there was nothing that would qualify as dinner for either myself or the puppy and not much more that could even be considered a snack for either of us. When I pointed this out, you seemed remarkably put out that you would need to go to the shops and back before going to work since you would be taking my means of transport required to reasonably fend for myself.

I wasn’t angry though, or irritated. I wasn’t feeling indignant or resentful. I was upset and I was hurt. Despite the fact that I know for a fact that it was never your intention, I let myself feel crushed as though you didn’t care enough to spare a thought for me in your day. As though it didn’t matter whether I could eat dinner or not, whether I was happy or sad or whether I needed help. You had something more interesting to do than think about me. You even seemed to have more good cheer and concern when you spoke to the dog than when you spoke to me. Unlike the dog perhaps, I was no doubt expected to understand if you were not congenial and to make allowances. I wasn’t worth your extra effort. Or at least it wasn’t really necessary with me. If I had seemed a little put out, I was bound to just get over it and there wasn’t much point expending additional energy right then to do anything about it.

Now I know that this was unfair. I expected you to know things I hadn’t told you. It was also at least a little self-pitying on my part because I honestly believe that you never meant to hurt me or ignore me or take me for granted. And like I said, I am not trying to make you feel bad or attack you by writing this. I’m trying to let you know that sometimes, a kind word will go a long way. I’m trying to remind both of us that sometimes, we still need to work on our communication with each other. I’m also trying make a note to myself that sometimes, a bad day is just a day. When I have a good day, and there are good days, nothing is that terrible. When I have a bad day, even if its right beside another bad day, its still just a day. No matter how awful things look at the time, they will get better. They will get easier. I will cope and we will get past it. Preferably together. Because that will be easier.

Always yours,

Your Loving Wife

* Photo taken at the Medieval Fayre this year

A Word Or Two

Dear Husband,

You’re kind of funny when you’re tired, you know that? And I can always tell when you’re really tired because you get kind of goofy. The “dad jokes” start to come out a lot more frequently, conversations get a whole lot sillier and spoken grammar becomes a completely unnecessary requirement in the face of the sheer level of effort expenditure required. When you are “ex of the horse dead” as opposed to exhausted, you apparently conserve as many as possible of your still firing brain cells for far more important things than communication.

What I didn’t realise until today however was that your state of “exhaustion” also seems to directly affect your ability to spell and other brain to pen impulses. Which I discovered whilst we were discussing the items that needed to be picked up on your imminent trip to the stupidmarket. I had to laugh when I happened to have a read over of your shopping list to check you hadn’t missed anything…I believe you and I were discussing pears and apples – did you really just write those down as “froot”!?! And in consideration of what you were going to take to work to eat during the week, it was clear you had no idea yet…but did you really just refer to yourself by a nickname and in the third person?? Good job.

Only slightly more grammatically yours,

Your Loving Wife

Pearls Of Wisdom

Dear Husband,

Not sure what it is about the last couple of weeks but you seem to be dishing out the pearls of wisdom on an ongoing basis. So of course, I like to keep a note of these titbits because I wouldn’t want them to go unnoticed. Or to waste. That would be a travesty. These things should be saved for posterity:

1.      Every time I do something wrong, its just your hormones.

Of course, why didn’t I think of that! Although I did point out to you that, by your own admission, you just put forward the premise (all by yourself I might add) that you are actually doing “wrong” in the first place. Its not my fault therefore that you are causing me to be upset / annoyed / disconcerted and various other things besides.

You then proposed however that “wrong” was completely subjective notion and it was really only “wrong” because I thought it was wrong. You also supposed that I was indeed erroneous in “thinking” that you were wrong and that I was only thinking that way due to my hormones. Because of course, all capability for rational thought in females disappears once elevated levels of hormones are present ie. in pregnancy. So you were actually not wrong after all. Genius. It obviously takes a male to figure this out.

2.      I’m not lazy, I’m energy efficient.

This seems to be your new catch cry. And your reason for not getting out of bed to turn the light off when some other sucker will do it (ie. me). Or your reason for asking the pregnant lady to get up off her chair in the dining room to walk past you in the kitchen in order to take something out of the fridge which is less than a metre away from you as a “favour” to you while you are just standing there. Why do I suddenly have the feeling of déjà vu? I think we’ve been here before. And just so as you know, energy efficient is not the term I’d use…

3.      I can’t come to work today because I am pre-sick.

I think everyone has those days when its really hard to get motivated in the morning. When we don’t feel our best and we’d just prefer to roll over and go back to sleep rather than get up and face the day. We both had one of those mornings recently and you told me that I should just stay home because at least I had an excuse. I advised that having a baby is not an excuse to not go to work and that I was just a little tired – also not a legitimate reason not to go to work. According to you though, being tired is sometimes worse than being sick at work and if you’re tired then that probably means that you’re getting sick therefore you are really “pre-sick” and should probably take the day off anyway as a precaution.

So those little gems were from the last couple of weeks but who knows what is waiting just around the corner. I can’t wait for you to (try and) bamboozle me with your next piece of brilliance.

Awaitingly yours,

Your Loving Wife

* Photo taken at Sculptures By The Sea