For Better - Or What?

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July 7, 2017

Solving An Annoying Habit

A reader asked for help with this annoying problem in her marriage.

She wrote: "My husband has a habit that I hate. He uses the toothpaste and never puts the cap back on. I have asked him about this many times. He says he will change but always after one day he goes back to the old habit. We have argued about it and he doesn't think it is a big deal but it really bothers me, it is so sloppy and inconsiderate. It has reached the point where just seeing the cap on the counter makes me want to scream. How can I get him to do this one thing?"

When our partners continue to do annoying things, it can seem as though they just don't care much about us. Why else would they refuse take a few simple actions to please us and make our lives easier? We start to feel neglected and resentful.

My husband used to get really annoyed with me because I couldn't seem to screw the lids back onto jars properly. He kept finding jars with loose lids, and it was driving him crazy.

I don't do it intentionally. For some reason, jar lids challenge me, and I prefer not to spend a lot of time struggling with them, so my attitude tends to be "close enough". As he complained more and more, I tried harder and harder to get the darn things lined up and screwed down. But I didn't always succeed. From his point of view, as he still ran into those loose lids, it seemed that I just wasn't paying attention. We both felt more and more frustrated.

Toothpaste caps. Jar lids. There are a million little things in the world that can annoy us. Or they can amuse us. Instead of growling because an otherwise competent adult can't seem to handle this one little thing, we can choose to smile about it, because every individual has little quirks and flaws that are part of the whole picture of who that person is. It's not so annoying when we see it as amusing, or endearing.

Finally, hubby and I had a clear discussion about jar lids, and we were able to let the issue go. I found this quotation from The 7 Best Things Happy Couples Do by John and Linda Friel:

"I used to get so mad at you because you left the tops off of everything. Now, when I reach for the juice and the cover falls off, I smile and think, 'Oh. She's been here recently. She's in my life. I'm so glad.'"

It's your choice.

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June 1, 2017

Letting Go

Starting a new way of life requires letting go of the old.

We knew we were serious when re-homed the cats. We were sad to say goodbye to them, but they couldn't stay with us, and they are very happy in their new location.

Friends and neighbors thought it was pretty interesting when we sold or donated most of the stuff we had collected over a couple of lifetimes. We put just a few things in storage.

When we sold the house we felt liberated. As much as we had once loved living there, we were ready to move on, and to be freed of the many responsibilities of home ownership.

Finally, we sold Steve's car. Driving that convertible with the top down was something he really enjoyed. But we only need one car for our trip, and it has to be the practical choice, the one with room for our luggage. From now on, it isn't "my car" and "your car" - it's just "the car".

This car is now somewhere else.

We have one suitcase each, a couple of small carry-on bags for incidentals, and our pillows.

We're on the road.

April 26, 2017

Done But Not Finished

Once we had packed up our possessions and moved out of our house, I was ready to leave it all behind and hit the road.

But it isn't that simple.

How Can I Miss You When you Won't Go Away

People keep asking us when we are leaving town, and a few people were under the impression we were already gone. That would be great! But there are just a few things still holding us back.

The good news is that our house sale is pending, and the better news is that escrow might closer sooner than originally predicted.

There is still plenty to do. The sale has required an amazing amount of paperwork (now mostly all completed). We need a termite inspection (and possibly some action based on the results). There are a few small repairs that need to be done. We are also stuck in town for a couple of extra weeks beyond escrow because I have a doctor appointment that just couldn't be scheduled any sooner.

A few months ago, we had a long, long list of things to do. That list is now pretty short. Although it has been difficult and frustrating at times, it is doable, and we are doing it.

Every time we check off something from our to-do list, Steve says, "One step closer." We feel closer to freedom each day.

April 15, 2017

Missing Link?

It appears that this blog's email subscribers who receive posts on mobile devices did not receive the link to a short video that was part of yesterday's post, a clip showing Steve at his retirement party. For those who missed it, here is the link:

April 14, 2017

"But Not For Lunch"

"For better or worse, but not for lunch."

It's a saying familiar to my mother's generation, a humorous way of suggesting that when a husband retires, his wife may not welcome having him home all the time.

After Steve and I announced our plan to retire and spend months or years traveling together, some people wondered if this might turn out to be too much of a good thing. Will being together "all the time" prove to be boring, irritating, or suffocating?

Not yet.

Maybe if we were sitting around doing nothing all day we would have a problem, but for the past few months we have been busier than ever, as we get ready for the next phase of our life together.

We couldn't stay in our house once we moved our possessions out. Everything was either stored, sold, or donated. We moved into temporary housing (a small, one-bedroom apartment) while preparing to sell the house.

We do spend a lot of time together, working on whatever project needs to be done to move forward with our plans, taking walks, and — yes — having lunch. We also have time to pursue our own interests. We agreed a long time ago that it's okay to have separate activities, or just to seek a little solitude.

Our biggest challenge is probably the bathroom. In our old house, we shared a large master bathroom with two sinks. Conveniently, there was another bathroom off the hallway, and a third one downstairs. Nobody ever had to wait.

Here, there is one small bathroom, with one sink. Additionally, the only mirror in the apartment is the one over the bathroom sink. We need to remember that getting ready in the morning will take a little extra time. And sometimes someone may have to wait a few minutes. But this no worse than normal vacation conditions. We've had to deal with smaller spaces than this one. If this is the biggest problem we face, we'll be okay.