Thursday, October 20, 2011

United in Stubbornness

This is an older post that I reworked for a point of view submission in the weekly I write for. When I first wrote it I know some of the blog readers thought I was a bit of a monster, so I'll preface the post this time with the fact that my writing is mostly all in good fun. I have to admit that this story is one of my all time favorites that makes me laugh, and I think this rewrite is even better than the first version. 

When my husband and I were engaged people gave me a lot of advice.

In 1999, three days before my wedding, a friend helpfully warned me about the pitfalls of marriage in a hushed tone. We were sitting at table tucked in a dark corner at the Half Penny Pub in Bay Shore.

"You know those things about him you absolutely love, those little 'quirks?' After you're married you will hate those things," she whispered.
I cringed, listing my husband’s quirks in my head, and my own, for that matter, because they are frighteningly similar. The worst one is his stubbornness. We are exactly matched in this area. Sometimes this shared trait is a very powerful asset, IF we're on the same team, so to speak. However, if we are fighting, well, then it makes for a very ugly encounter. (I'm talking Star Wars battle caliber face-offs over the most ridiculous things.) Usually, I win, (because he is kinder than I and apologizes like a sorry puppy). Sometimes, I just give up out of pure exhaustion. Then there are days when I use his stubbornness against him to manipulate him into doing me a favor. Some people think that’s cruel. I respectfully disagree; it’s genius.
Today is a case in point. I was working in my garden when I looked up and saw my husband walking across the backyard with the tiniest hand saw ever made, perhaps by prehistoric Cro-Magnon people. He bought it at a garage sale for an occasion such as this: trimming storm damaged trees with the wrong tool. Next he was looking up at the branches in deep thought, hand-saw-ready.

"What are you going to do with that?" I asked garden-gloved hands on hips. I was laughing because his saw was so small. He was laughing too and cursing me out simultaneously.

"You can't cut a big branch with that little razor blade. You need a chain saw, Dr. Christie." (It's so enjoyable to use his title while mocking him.)

That set him off on a mission. He climbed the tree and started whittling away at the branches.
"Call me if you discover fire." I said, and as I went inside to answer the ringing phone I could hear him grumbling.

From the window I couldn’t help but watch him cutting and I actually started to feel bad about teasing him when I noticed that he was beginning to sweat. My loving spouse had a look of focused determination on his face as if he were playing tennis, or imagining the branch was my neck. After much effort the wood cracked and fell to the ground.

 I nearly jumped out of my skin when I heard him shout, “HA!”

In a flash he was standing at the window, face pressed up to the glass, grinning at me and holding up that little saw. True, I made him Jack Nicholson mad, but at least he trimmed the trees. So I actually won this battle, but he thinks he did. It turns out my friend was wrong back then. This is marital bliss.

"A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you
control it." -- John Steinbeck

This post was reprinted as a point of view in the 10-20-11 issue of Islip Bulletin and the My Turn column in theNovember 10th issue of Long Island Advance.


Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

I'm laughing because we still cut huge branches down with tiny tree saws like that one!

Stefunkc said...

I love it!

jen said...

oh, that was good. and, my reaction would have been the same: "let me know when you discover fire."

Elisa said...

Ah, the blissful moments when everyone goes away happy :-)

rhymeswithplague said...
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rhymeswithplague said...
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Loren Christie said...

Hi Elisa, Jen, Stefunkc and Elizabeth. Thanks for stopping by.

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

Plague, I think comments should always be encouraging. Long ago mothers used to teach their kids, "If you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all." Loren you are not pathetic; you are honest. All of we wives have our own ways of getting our husbands to do things for us. I'm sure husbands have their own discussions on how to get the wives to do stuff for them too :)

Loren Christie said...

Rhymeswithplague misunderstood my pathetic humor. That can happen sometimes when you communicate throught comments and writing in general. My husband is really enjoying this.

Romy and Andrew said...

Milk Man told me all about his tree cutting this weekend....failing to mention the tiny butter knife he was using. Awesome! I bought Andrew the tiniest chain saw. It's fun (albeit slightly scary) to watch him use it!

Loren Christie said...

Hi Romy!
So nice to hear from you. Hope you're doing well and feeling good.

Dear Internet Traveler,

Welcome to my writer's blog, started about six years ago for fun. Over time, the writing I have posted has ranged from personal reflection, to Long Island history research, to tall tales for my own amusement, to feature articles for local newspapers. As you can see from topics listed here, I travel in many mental directions in regard to interests. Click on the tabs and labels to explore my strange mind which senses that you may be having a criss-cross day. If so, perhaps this blog will distract you. However, please note that if you tell me my blog is beautiful just to get me to advertise rhinoplasty surgery and cheap drugs from Canada in your comment, I will ask the gods to give you a tail that cannot be concealed.


Loren Christie

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