I certainly hit “pay dirt” when I met my husband thirty-two years ago. I could never have anticipated that the sexy man in the disco pants and silky shirt had so many unique talents. These gifts complement our family and me personally, in so many ways.
For starters, I jokingly refer to him as the “human calculator.” While I lack any ability to render equations of any level off the top of my head or otherwise, he quickly comes up with the answer. If any item is discounted, I need only look his way and he spouts off the adjusted price without hesitation. As far as helping the kids with their math homework, he is their go-to guy from theorems to statistics.
When it comes to doing the dishes, he really doesn’t mind at all. In fact, he has developed a method for loading the dishwasher that surpasses my own. However, nothing drives me crazier than when he reloads my work. Back when I catered part-time, I would rush off for a delivery leaving the counters littered with pots, pans, and bowls reminiscent of a cooking battlefield. I always came home to find everything cleaned and put away. My hero!
Mark has raised the bar on grocery shopping to the professional level. I realize for him in particular, that it is all about the “hunt.” Maximizing the value of a dollar, he comes armed with coupons and an attack plan rooted in military warfare classes. Sometimes we actually get items for free due to his strategic techniques and well thought out tactics. I remember a few years back at the checkout, he handed a pile of coupons to the sweet lady from Jamaica. When she finished the final tally she looked up at him in awe and said, “you da coupon king fo’ sure.” It was like awarding him the highest honor in shopping history. He stood taller and prouder that day on.
These super powers of his, however, do not extend to remembering certain simple details. While he can recall the price of milk in the summer of 1973, he can’t remember our neighbor’s name for anything. We have lived down the street from them for fourteen years. He just calls them whatever name he thinks is theirs. Personally, I am horrified if I can’t remember someone’s name and have developed a number of techniques to discover their true identity rather than admit I forgot their name, or heaven forbid, call them the wrong name. He, however, just laughs it all off.
As this sweet, generous, “ying to my yang” ages, I have seen him develop some rather interesting habits that cause me to bite my tongue until it practically bleeds. While you might applaud my ability to hold my tongue, it is not without uselessly commenting on these things for years and getting nowhere, that I do it.
We love going to the discount movie theater. Armed with popcorn and beverage we take our seats. That man of mine, can make more noise out of a single kernel of popcorn than I thought humanly possible. I’d swear he takes three bites out of each kernel. For over thirty years I have had to remind him to just “pop it in your mouth.” When the popcorn bag is empty he starts on the ice- Ahhhh!
A couple of years ago when the price of gas soared, he took to driving the inside lane whenever possible to save gas and miles. Okay, I am no engineer, mathematician or coupon king, but this seems slightly bizarre to me. I told him I am going to send this one into the Myth Busters and see if it has any merit at all. Gees, I am all for saving gas, but this idea borders more on making the old lady whacko than true conservation of resources.
In any situation of long-term, close contact with another human, it is always easy to find annoying habits that can be a source of frustration and conflict. I am aware that choosing my battles is a critical factor in finding peace and harmony in our marriage. I would shudder to think what annoying habits of mine he gladly overlooks daily.
At home or work, with friends or family, focusing on the good qualities of others can make all the difference between love and war. My husband is a fine example to me of the ability to just love and seek the good in another.
As we age, we both continue to develop quirky habits that can bring out the best or worst in each of us. That popcorn thing however has got to go. Maybe when he gets dentures twenty years from now I will conveniently hide them before we go to the movie. Then again, I just might need that annoying crunch to act as a homing signal so I don’t get lost when returning from the bathroom.