My mother and I walk together as often as we can, and like many good Newfoundland women, we move our mouths as much or more than our legs each time we head out.
I know I’m in for an enthusiastic ear full (which always makes a walk go faster) when mom’s jaws starts flappin’ before the door even closes behind her. In those instances, the topic is usually my father. Risking a tongue lashing of my own for sharing secrets, the last walk yarn we had started something like this;
“Mr. Anal Retentive is taping today. Going to start painting, he says. By the time he gets every corner taped – just so – we’ll be into next week. And then he’ll start. Swish, swash, swish, swash. He’ll go over every spot a thousand times with that damn roller. Swish, swash, swish, swash. I’ll have to run up to your place when he starts, otherwise the roller might end up up his ….”
I dare you
Few married folk would blame her for wanting to shove something somewhere dark. Haven’t we all been there? After almost 50 years of mostly/sometimes wedded bliss, both my parents are entitled to their jam-it-where-the-sun-don’t-shine moments with one another. Bring up (I dare you) the topic of driving with either of them sometime. Both are convinced the other is the worst driver on the face of the earth, and they will vigorously defend their point. Better than a concert, if a concert involved bulging veins and mouth spittle.
But then every married couple have their guaranteed to start a racket topics. My husband and I can’t grocery shop together. Between sparing over which grocery store has the better whatever, to sales vs value vs points vs airmiles; when we venture into the grocery isles together, guaranteed one of us (him) will be walking home.
He hates how I load dishes into the sink before poking them into the dishwasher. He also loathes how I load the dishwasher – playing Jenga again, he’ll snarl. He also despises how I overflow the garbage before taking it out. He’s also ready (if he hasn’t made the call already) to have me committed for planning for the Apocalypse – judging from our jammed kitchen cupboards and over packed freezers.
Honey don’t list
No worries, I have my honey don’t list too. I hate how, when he’s home, he puts everything on the planet on the kitchen table. I also wish he’d learn what a hanger is for, understand the concept of a movable toilet seat (if it goes up, it must come down!) and learn that sugar belongs in his coffee cup, not on the floor and counter top. And just because you carry the laundry basket up from the laundry room, doesn’t mean you actually did the laundry. It also takes him six hours to do what I can have done in one. And I’m just gettin’ started!
After our last walk was over mom grabbed my arm. “Oh, I almost forgot,” she said. “Your father has a doctor appointment on Monday at 3, so I can’t get Elia off the bus. I worry about him, you know, and I want to be there to make sure everything is good.”
I smiled, told her I understood, and then watched her walk into the house to be reunited with Mr. Anal Retentive.
On March 9th my husband and I will celebrate 26 years of marriage. Trust me, both our “justifiable reasons to shove something somewhere” lists are long. But really, they’re also filled with mostly petty complaints, so I’m willing to bet there’ll be a year 27. Maybe even a 28 – as long as we don’t venture inside a grocery store together, that is. After all, a shopping cart simply wouldn’t fit where I’d want it to end up.