Monday, January 30, 2012

Gratitude: My "Perfect" Husband image
I am trying to think of what to write for tonight.  My husband says that he would like me to take this opportunity to expound on his many virtues.  (I am reading my words aloud as I type.)  Now he says he doesn't want me to write about him.  He needs to keep his mouth shut, says he.  This is what he gets for giving me a hard time.  Ha ha.

Oh, how I LOVE my husband.  Let me count the ways:

1.  He makes me laugh.  A LOT.  Often.
2.  ummmmm....

Just kidding.  He takes out the trash and recycling without being reminded.  Sometimes.  Except the times he doesn't, then I load the brimming recycle bin in the car and drive to somewhere in the neighborhood that hasn't had theirs picked up yet and leave my bin in front of a stranger's house, to be picked up later, empty.

3.  He is good with helping around the house in general:  He puts dishes away, often does his laundry, makes the bed sometimes, vacuums occasionally, and often clears the table from dinner.
OK, he says this is not a list of how I love him, but a list of how he does housekeeping.  He's right.  Let's start again.
  1. He tells me he loves me every day and shows me by doing stuff for me all the time, like running things up and down the stairs to save my knees (my cartilage is worn out), calling to check on me, making time to have lunch with me when I'm freaking out because of my anxiety about being alone with the kids, etc. 
  2. He makes me laugh.  A LOT.  Often.  Usually daily. <---Keeping that one from above.
  3. He listens to me if I ever need to talk about anything, including when I rant and rave and bitch and moan and complain and whine, and then he still loves me anyway.  I am never going to be the person about whom people say, "She endured all this stuff and never complained."  (I joke he just doesn't know any better.)
  4. He would drop everything if I really needed him to tend to me. 
  5. He easily and openly acknowledges that staying home with the kids is actually work, even on days when I've spent the morning on the couch in a funk and the afternoon avoiding being in the house because I'm overwhelmed by the detritus of our lives and feel guilty for not keeping house like my mother did.  HE'S the feminist!
  6. He is willing to do housework even after coming home after a day at work and doesn't consider himself (out loud to me anyway) to be doing "my" work.  He says we're a team.  I usually feel guilty but let him do it anyway.
  7. He steps-up when things need to be done, where I'll often be passive and let him do this (not a behavior I'm thrilled to admit).
  8. He's fantastic with kids in general and is a wonderful father to our kids.  This cannot be overemphasized.
  9. He still loves me after putting up with my crap for these past... something like 18 years.  Here are just some of the things that I can think of off the top of my head that he could give me crap about and yet he never has:
      1. 1995 - (We started dating sophomore year of college.)  After graduation, I cramped his style by moving to Iowa a year after he did, after my graduate work at the University of Minnesota did not work out. I found a graduate advisor at Iowa State University, where he was working on his PhD in astrophysics.  He was having fun being out on his own.
      2. 1996–7 - I had anxiety and a major depressive episode while he was studying for the qualifying exams over these summers and was really a mess.  He was the one who got me to get medical help.  If he hadn't I might have done something very regrettable.
      3. 1997 - I fought with his father while he (my husband) was recovering from brain surgery.
      4. 1998 - I was not home when I said I would be home and missed his call to tell me that his mother had died just after he had gotten home.  (She had brain cancer and he'd gone home in hopes of being there before she passed.)  I forget why.  I think it had to do with teaching a lab or something at ISU.  I lost track of time or forgot or something equally negligent.
      5. 1998 - I was again a mental mess while trying to finish my thesis and called him, sobbing, after being up all night trying to get a draft finished for submission by a deadline and I couldn't think anymore.  This was shortly after his surgery.  He rode his bike in the rain to come help me.  Can you believe this guy?
      6. 2000 - My parents (and I) rejected his suggestion of a DJ he knew in favor of a band doing the music for our wedding. 
      7. 2001 - He took a job at Goddard Space Flight Center so we could move back from Iowa to near Delaware so that I could be near my parents (my mother was in serious decline from M.S.) and so he could be near his dad.  But it was more about me I think.  If he'd taken a post-doc in California his career would have more closely followed his interest in cosmology.
      8. 2005 - Post-partum depression,  which improved after two months of absolute hell, but not really ever completely.
      9. 2008 - Second round of post-partum depression.
      10. 2010 - Exacerbation of depression probably because I was trying different medications to try to be sane and still have some semblance of a libido.
      11. YEARS of my having libido issues ranging from being grossed-out and repulsed by sex to tolerating it to now being mostly better, but still having physical issues.  He had to try to "not take it personally."  Right.  No problem.  That's easy.
      12. 2010–2011 - Massive mood swings, anger, anxiety, depression, passive suicidality, LOTS of bitching, whining, crying, sleeping, oversleeping, more sleeping, etc. while messing with meds.
      13. Lots of half-finished household projects: 1/2 painted stairwell and basement corner needing painting since 2005, two bannisters needing staining and finishing since 2005, kitchen backsplashes 1/2 done since 2009, kitchen paneling 1/3 finished since early 2010, bathrooms never repainted since 2001 and they REALLY need it.
      14. 2005–present - Inadequate completion of housework: cleaning, clothes washing/folding/distributing, breakfast, packing lunches, dinner.
  10. He does not blame me for my mental illness.
  11. He loves my dog and how much I love my dog (it's been rather intense).
  12. He is one of the more laid back people you will ever meet, which is quite a good foil to my drama.  This also means that he gets along with pretty much everyone, even the people that annoy most other people.  He is kind.
  13. He has a positive attitude toward menstruation.  OK, this is a running inside joke that stemmed from some Kids In The Hall TV episode where they did a sketch about this.  But he does.
  14. He doesn't drink or smoke or do any other drugs.  He's not evangelical about it, it's just the way he's always been.  He just doesn't want to.  I get drunk maybe once or twice annually and he doesn't laugh at me or give me a hard time while I'm praying to the porcelain god.
  15. He supports me in every possible way.  When I decided I needed to run a marathon, he ran with me up to something like 12 (?) miles and then carried water for me on his bike.  He would make camel sounds just to make me laugh.  (Careful, they spit.)  He +1s my blog entries and encouraged me to do this project even though he knew at some point I might write about him.  
  16. He also spoils me rotten (iPad2 for 2010 Mother's Day).
  17. He likes my singing voice.
  18. He has a terrible time sleeping if I'm not there with him, which I think is adorable...and occasionally annoying.
  19. He wants what is best for me, no matter what.  When what was best for me was getting my entire dentition reconstructed to the tune of $30,000+ he was the one to be most OK with it and refinanced our house without (to my knowledge) any resentment.  He has never once held that over my head.
  20. He writes me notes and makes me cards for holidays because he knows how important it is to me to have tangible reminders of everything and in spite of the fact that he ABHORS writing.
  21. He has never called me fat or said anything about the acne I have or the crummy clothes I wear every day.  I am such a contestant for What Not To Wear.  I never wear make-up.  My hair is always in a ponytail that's all curly and frizzed out.  My face is very unsymmetrical.  I have cankles.  Etc.  What I'm saying if I shame him he never admits it.
  22. He puts up with my thoughtlessness.  For example, I have this behavior that I don't like where I will find myself making a joke occasionally at his expense just to be funny.  I always feel terrible about it and apologize profusely and I really do intend not to do it, but then sometimes I do.  He's just not insecure. 
  23. He loved my mother and misses her too (she passed away in 2009).
  24. He is an excellent son and calls his dad every day.  He left graduate school temporarily to go home and take care of his dad when he needed him.  Family is important to him.
  25. He thinks I'm smart and we have great conversations together.  One time we were in a bagel shop and discussing something...probably some mixture of physics and I think native american culture or something.  I forget.  Anyway, when we were about to leave, a woman asked if we were teachers because she wanted to take whatever class we were discussing.  He loves my mind and cares about my opinions.
Now of course he's not actually perfect (like my father or my son---a family joke).  He's human.  He can have a temper that he squelches until he blows. There are times he's said hurtful things in anger.  He's a big nerd and insists I'm a nerd in my own right when I contend that I'm a nerd by association.  He gets all up in arms about pseudoscience and yells at the Discovery Channel the way other people yell at sports or politicians.  But when the other wives get together and bitch about how their husbands don't do this and don't do that, I've got nothing to say.  I've got no real complaints.  He's as close to perfect as they come.  I lucked-out.

Except for the snoring.  "Hey!  Cut it out!"  <shove>

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