My husband and celebrated our twelfth wedding anniversary this past February. In total, we’ve been together for 15 years. I don’t look upon it as a celebration of our wedding day so much as a celebration of making it through 4,382 days together, not including the 2 extra days for leap years, and still loving each other.
What I’ve learned throughout our marriage is this: It’s not the big things that will remove the magic from your relationship, it’s the little things. Rustling chip bags, dishwashers loaded incorrectly, toilet paper not put on the roll....these are the things that leave you feeling like you may want to strangle one another.
For the record, my husband always puts the toilet paper on the roll.
So what’s the trick for keeping the magic in your relationship? Making small switches. Chips can be eaten out of a bowl just as easily as a chip bag. Voila! The rustling is taken care of and you’re left snuggling with your guy instead of having visions of strangling him.
Don’t believe me? Let me explain how switching phones basically saved my marriage.
My husband is a frugal guy and I’m okay with that *mostly*.
But a few years ago, he bought some cordless phones for our house. I’m not going to name the brand but let’s just say if you were sitting around the table talking about phones, it’s not a brand that would come up – at all. The set came with three phones and three chargers. Perfect! One phone for my office, one for the kitchen and one for our family room. We don’t have a particularly large house but being three stories tall, it’s more vertical than horizontal.
The first inkling I had that the phones may be troublesome began when I would try to use the handset on the third floor. As soon as I entered my bedroom, the phone would start making a noise like the battery was dying and any call I was on would be dropped.
It took me awhile to figure out that the phone wasn’t coincidentally running out of batteries whenever I entered my room and that in fact, the phone was too far away from the charger. One floor below.
Approximately 25 feet away.
Thankfully I’m not a fussy person. Can’t use the phone in my bedroom? No problem.
No, the problems began when the batteries would die about 15 minutes into a conversation. No matter how long the phone had been charging. See how I bolded that sentence to convey my frustration?
And while most people don’t talk on the phone for more than 15 minutes at a time, I work from home so my whole day consists of talking on the phone for more than 15 minutes at a time. Are you following me here?
Do you have any idea how many times (a) Erica thought I’d hung up on her or (b) how often I would have to say to someone “My phone is dying, let me go grab another one and call you right back”.
If I had to take a guess I’d say about 50 kajillion.
But I kept plugging away with my battery dying phones, becoming more and more resentful of my *frugal* husband. The final straw came the day my son was sick and suddenly broke out in hives. I didn’t want to panic and rush him to the emergency room, instead I called our local Tele-health system where I was put on hold until a nurse was available.
Twenty minutes later, Son No. 2’s face was now covered in welts and my phone started to die. I was racing down the stairs to try and do the big switch to an un-dead phone when the nurse came on. All hope was lost.
When my husband came home that night to a sick child covered in hives and a wife at the end of her rope, he apparently made a decision in his head.
He would buy a new set of phones.
A week later, fully installed, was a new set of awesome phones that didn’t die at the blink of an eye. It not only changed my communication at home during the day business-wise, it made me want to communicate with him more. So I now call him at work more frequently.
And nobody is ever hung up on.
Unless it's on purpose.
It’s the little switches that make a big difference.
This blog is proudly sponsored by Cottonelle
Like most families, we have our morning routines. Nothing formal, more like habits that have developed over time. Hugs and kisses, back rubs, whispered jokes. Once the boys are awake, I make myself a coffee and bagel and sit at my desk reading emails.
From my chair I can see them make their way down the stairs. My younger son with his hair mussed and face still puffy with sleep.
My older son follows soon afterward fully dressed in a suit ready to take on the day.
Except for this day. This day he comes halfway down the stairs and stands there, fully dressed in a black suit and tie, but no socks upon his feet. I can’t take my eyes away from his feet and feel my eyes well with tears.
They are the feet of a grown boy. Gone are the tiny feet of babyhood and the chubby feet of a toddler learning to walk. The feet I used to smell after peeling off small, slightly wet socks, intoxicated by the mixture of sweetness and sweat.
These feet are the strong, stable feet of a boy who grew up before my eyes….and yet, somehow I didn’t even see it happen.
I stare at his feet feeling bittersweet. Why didn’t I enjoy it more? That elusive baby stage gone in the blink of an eye. I think of the times he napped on my chest while wishing I could transfer him to his crib so I could get things done. I’d give almost anything to go back in time and have one hour of this boy snuggled on top of me, mouth agape, leaving a small patch of drool upon my shirt.
But I can’t go back, there are no do-overs. Instead I ask him to sit on my lap, this boy who’s all long legs, arms and elbows. I wrap my arms around him and kiss the top of his head, savouring the moment.
All the while staring at his feet.
I wasn’t going to write about this because it’s humiliating on so many levels. Humiliating that I’m so fearful. Humiliating that I couldn’t overcome my fear. Humiliating that it’s now affecting my health.
I haven’t been to a dentist in 23 years.
And yes, I realize that if I now meet any of you in person you’ll be staring at my mouth.
Why am I so afraid? It was a combination of things. Dental surgery when I was in elementary school (done in a hospital where I was put under and they used dissolving stitches but nobody told me so on a Saturday morning as my parents slept and I watched cartoons, the stitches came out in my mouth and I thought my gums were splitting open), a bad experience getting a filling, my orthodontist confusing my records with someone else’s and sending me to have two teeth extracted and last but not least, me becoming an ortho-patient at the school of dentistry where the fourth year students practiced on me through two years of braces and retainers. And I’m not knocking fourth year dental students, they have to learn somewhere.
Just, you know, not on someone who’s already mentally dentally scarred.
So once my braces were removed and I was good to go with life sans retainer, I never went back.
Two summers ago I had to take Son No. 1 to the dentist to get some cavities filled. Just walking into the office left me feeling faint and fighting off a panic attack, while I simultaneously tried to calm my son and help him fight his fear. Irony much? Since then, it’s been my husband’s job to take both kids to the dentist.
A year and a half ago, I noticed the gums surrounding one tooth were starting to recede. I brushed diligently, flossed and even purchased a water pick. But to no avail. The gum recession is now so bad the root is exposed about ½ cm. And it’s starting to happen on other teeth as well. I can’t avoid it any more, going to a dentist is no longer an option, it’s a necessity. And yet even just typing this leaves me feeling panicked and in tears.
Part of it is fear and part of it is that I’m embarrassed. I can actually see the receding gums but I also know there’s probably a whole bunch of other stuff going on that I can’t see. My mouth is a mess and I’m embarrassed to have a dentist look at it because I can’t even imagine how horrified they’ll be.
And, of course, there’s also the money issue. My husband and I both work for ourselves so we have no coverage. I’m pretty sure there’s going to be dental surgery in my future and it’s not going to be cheap.
But I need to go because it’s not going to get any better. So today I thought I’d share my fear with you just in case there’s anyone else out there feeling the same way and you need to know you’re not alone.
And maybe you can tell me the same thing.