Mom of one, wife, writer, former flack. Cultural observer, book devourer, news junkie, non-sucky music lover, celebrity watcher, social media time-waster, junk food eater. I live inside the Beltway, but don’t hold it against me. Read about my parenting adventures at!

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Husbands, for Better or for Worse

My husband surprised me the other day with a decorative door hanging.  Although the words “Joe” and “decorative door hanging” seem about as mismatched as “Heidi Montag” and “talented performer,” this was not the most jaw-dropping aspect of the act.  That part came when he announced proudly, “I got it at Rite Aid.”

Now, I don’t mean to sound like a snob, and I’ve certainly purchased many tacky knick knacks in my day (I’m a sucker for cute little Easter bunnies atop … well, anything). But in theory, I cannot bring myself to put a piece of kitsch from a drug store on my front door.  I say “in theory” because the look on my husband’s face was so earnest, so pitifully proud, that well, I just couldn’t crush his groove.

So, up went the horrifying “Welcome” sign, looking sort of like a bird’s nest affixed to a wooden star held together by Elmer’s glue, encrusted with stars cut out by preschoolers.  Oh, and topped with a bow made out of someone’s old tablecloth.  I imagine I’ll keep it up for a couple of days until he gets focused on the Nationals or something, and then the thing will “mysteriously” go away.

In retrospect, the episode seemed to be a fitting way to end the week.  We celebrated our 8-year wedding anniversary last Tuesday, and in light of all the reminiscing I’ve done over the last few days, I’ve realized that the wooden knickknack fiasco was just another quirky Joe-ism that I’ve learned to tolerate appreciate over the years.

Back in the day, when we were dating, Joe used to charm me with amusing nonsequitirs – he is, to be sure, a very funny guy.  For example, his way of detemining a good night of revelry used to be whether or not you wound up “with food in your bed.” A random observation? Not at all.  These days, finding crumbs in our bed is something I’ve come to expect.  The low point came when K. and I returned from a weekend at my parents’. I settled back into our bed that night, looking forward to a good night’s sleep, when suddenly I found … barbeque potato chip remnants.  Sign of a true bachelor weekend.  Ah, home sweet home.

Back when we moved in together, about a year before getting married, I discovered Big Quirk #2: napping in the shower.  To Joe, taking a morning shower is just a more comfortable way to hit the snooze bar.  He gets the water really warm, lays down a washcloth “pillow” at the back of the tub, and makes himself comfortable.  After a good 15, 20, 30 minutes or so, he wakes up, washes up, and gets out.  I am not making this up.  I’m dreadfully ashamed about the amount of water we are wasting, and I’ve dropped several eco-friendly hints over the years, but to no avail. I rationalize by telling myself a non-grumpy husband is worth it, although I realize how lame that sounds.

I’ve also grown accustomed to the little reminders that I’m living with a human tornado.  There are the cereal box liners that he has never been able to open properly.  (Rather than pulling the bags open at the seams, he tears into them as if infused with the Fear of God, leaving a gaping hole in the middle of the bag and Good Friends Kashi chunks all over the kitchen counter and floor.) Or the bites he’ll take out of communal food, and then put the food back.  (I never leave him with a box of chocolates for exactly this reason.)

There are also the more amusing quirks, like his tendency to over-program the car stereo so that we have access to every possible song ever downloaded off iTunes, but he spends so much time selecting the perfect song for a trip that it takes us 10 times longer to get to our destination.  Or, the random TV shows to which he declares his allegiance. Like Malcolm in the Middle reruns. Or Yo Gabba Gabba (he knew DJ Lance when he lived in St. Louis). Or, my favorite, The Real Housewives of Orange County (this addiction emerged during another “Bachelor Weekend” when he clearly had nothing better to do than lie on the couch, semi-comatose, watching a Bravo marathon.)

You’ve no doubt read all the articles that say marriage requires commitment and compromise. Well, that’s true.  But those articles are usually talking about adapting to each other’s needs regarding things like communication, parenting, or money.  I’d bet there’s a market for how-to guides about adapting to each other’s quirks.  And maybe I should start writing those.

After all, while my husband takes the cake for quirkiness in my book, I have my fair share of peculiarities and foibles, too.  Such as my obsession with subscribing to random magazines (when Boating World was once mailed to us by mistake, Joe hit the roof), or my own shameful method of cleaning the house (ie, stuffing everything into the closets when we have company over).  Our ability to love and understand each other prevails, despite all of these wacky habits. It’s the embodiment of “for better or for worse.”  And that’s what a good marriage should be all about, right?

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