Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Little Birdie Told Me

10:00 Wednesday morning: I'm rummaging in the fridge and cabinets for something to eat before going to work. All I find is a box of instant generic macaroni & cheese. How did this get in my cupboard? This is nothing but fat and empty calories in a box. There is no nutritional value whatsoever. Oh yes, Spouse went to the grocery on Monday. It's part of his economizing scheme. I can't believe he would bring garbage like this into our home. I eat it anyway.

I was never a big believer in marriage. I always thought it was a bit of a rotten deal. When I met Spouse, it was like one of those giant cartoon hammers bonked me on the head and little yellow birds circled round me twittering "Marry him! Marry him!" Not being one to trust the advice of little yellow birds, I stepped very cautiously. Upon accepting his proposal, I subjected poor future spouse to a two year engagement, also known as the two year interrogation.

I grilled him about finances, religion, child rearing, elder parent care, anything that might possibly come up in the course of a marriage. There was just one thing I never thought to ask him about. We never discussed the distribution of household chores. I came from a traditional two parent family with a stay at home mother. Dad handled minor household repairs, auto maintenance and the lawn. Mum handled everything else including the household finances. I just assumed my married life would be the same.

Spouse came from another place entirely. His two parent family was not so traditional when it came to running their home. Both of his parents worked outside the home. Because of their schedules, his father was the primary caregiver and handled all the cooking and cleaning on weekdays. His mother handled the weekends. Spouse assumed we would have an equitable share of the chores when we married.

Sounds idyllic, doesn't it? Let me tell you, nineteen years later it still freaks me out. I have this irrational fear of him encroaching on "my territory". I do not like sharing any of the household decisions from flooring to toilet paper with him. I do not like sharing the daily tasks with someone who puts papers in neat piles when I would throw them in the trash. I do not want to share conversations about household budgets with someone who keeps the bills in a folder instead of in a file. When I come home from work and he has dinner in the oven, and a pitcher of martinis ready while looking cool and gorgeous, I feel, well, inadequate.

At times like this there is only one thing to do. I go in the bathroom, look at the grungy toilet and the soap scummy sink and I smirk. Ha! He needs me after all. I then go back into the living room, enjoy my martini and think to myself, "Ahh, this is what marriage is all about."

Today I give thanks for my spouse and the parents who raised him.