It was a Sunday night and I was going out to a birthday dinner with my girlfriends from college. We had managed to all stay in touch over the years. We had been friends throughout college, marriages and divorces. These are friends that know your history and you can not lie to them! We have so much dirt on each other that I would not even consider writing a story about them for fear of them writing about what I most likely forgot about.
We would plan at least one dinner every month or two to celebrate the birthdays in each month. The group has grown over the years and now there are more than 10 of us. It is funny, as I get older, I still like to hear our old stories over and over. Maybe my memory is going.
I left my home at 5:30 PM to meet them at a nice restaurant. The girls whose birthday month it was got to decide on the restaurant location. Sometimes this required me to stop at a drive through to get some real food after some of these restaurants. Why do people not understand that an expensive restaurant does not always equate to good food? We have a few “foodies” in the group and they insist on going to restaurants that require me to ask the server what “with a reduction” means.
As I was leaving the house, I told my husband to feed our 2 dogs’ dinner at 6:30 PM. I also stated that this was one hour from now, as I was leaving. I was hoping that this positive reinforcement would ensure that he was timely with feeding the dogs. His response was, “OK, Bye, Bye” and waved me off. I already knew this was not going to go well, but I thought I would give it a try. They were not going to starve if not fed on time. However, this was an opportunity for my husband to prove he could take care of things around the house while I was gone. Bless my heart.
At the dinner with my friends, we all discussed our husbands/boyfriends and joked about things that happen to all of us. Most of us were either married or in committed relationships, so we all had stories to share. Sometimes, you just need to hang with the girls and laugh at what you have in common. Now, my husband and I had not been married too long, at this point. The “new car smell” of the relationship had not worn off. This is where I laid my optimism that he would follow through on my one request to feed the dogs. What a dreamer.
I joked with my girlfriends that my husband would probably be exactly where I left him on the couch when I arrived back home. (Am I psychic or what?) I really did think I was joking at the time. I thought he would take a second to go to the bathroom, then feed the dogs. I knew he would be on the couch when I got back.
Prior to leaving the restaurant, I planned where I was going to stop to get something to bring home for my husband to have for dinner. Yes, I went and got him take out. I am a thoughtful and caring wife, right?
I stop at our favorite burrito/taco joint. I ordered his favorite items AND I remembered the exact combinations of the contents of each item AND I remembered to get the chipotle side sauce from the condiments bar, which he loves. I am outstanding. I have memorized exactly what he like at this place and how his food is to be prepared. I head straight home to make sure his food is still hot when I get there.
I arrive home at 8:45 PM. I walk in the door and I see no plates or bowls of food on the floor for the dogs. I attempt to remain positive and think maybe he already picked up the plates of food. (What an optimist!) I did say I attempted to stay positive, right? No reward here.
I take a long, deep breath and put on my cheery, wife face. I walk into the living room, (yes, he is right where I left him 3 hours ago) and I said, “Honey, how much did the puppies eat?” Did I mention that I already knew the answer? I was just letting him “stew in his own juice” for a minute. I wanted to prolong the situation in order to hear the litany of excuses that were about to follow as to why he did not feed the dogs. Doesn’t the TV have a pause button? You could have built TEVO time. It’s not like he had to cook a meal or anything. I was wondering if he in fact did leave the couch to go to the bathroom or just inserted a catheter line, so as not to have to get up.
With a look of shock, horror, and split-second realization of his error, my husband points to the television and waves his hands in the air and says, “UUHH, UUUHH, Carlito’s Way…”, “It’s the movie…..”, “We both like Al Pacino.”
I, of course, fail to make any connection with his statement and continue to stare blankly at him. What is Carlito’s Way, pray tell? Oh wait, do I care about the answer? I think not. All I know is that all you had to do was sling down two bowls of food for our two hungry dogs. If we have a kid, I will have to hire a sitter next time I go out. I will have to ask the sitter to feed the baby, then get her to show my husband how to pause his show in order to go potty.
The answer I wanted to hear was, “why yes honey, I did take 8 seconds to put down two bowls of dog food.” This would have ended the conversation peacefully and without further ado. (With a French accent, “but of course” it did not end that way)
My husband continues by saying, “I mean, it is an Al Pacino marathon on TV and I have been watching the movies back to back…”, “It has all the old movies and you can watch them in order.” “I was just about to get up and feed the dogs, right now.” Then it was blah, blah, blah, so I just stopped listening. He continues to talk, but I have already moved on into “pissed off land.”
I continued to fail to see how this had anything to do with feeding the puppies. The rest of his babble was irrelevant and futile. I am now wondering if he has moved at all since I left the house. I am sure he had to pee at least one, right? This would have caused him to pass by the kitchen and maybe remember to feed the dogs. Evidently, I was wrong, again.
He immediately jumps up from the couch and starts fixing the puppies dinner. At that point, he has lost all credibility. Now, he is in such a hurry that he is flinging food everywhere. It falls on the floor and all over the counter, in which I will be the one to clean it up. So, I make him stop and feed the dogs myself. If you want something done right or on time, do not ask my husband. Unless it involves rebuilding a carburetor, welding metals, or use of flammable materials.
He continues to try to speak to me in an exasperated tone, as if he had just run a marathon or climbed Mount Everest. To me, his words became drivel. I was not really angry, more disappointed. OK, I was pissed.
I guess you just have to hire a sitter when you leave your husband at home to feed anything. It is a good thing we did not have any kids at that point or they would have starved to death. If the kid started to cry, he would probably just turn up the TV volume until he could not hear it anymore.
Fast forward 15 years. I now live with one of the original dogs, one new dog, same husband and one daughter. This past situation is not that big of a deal to me now. When I first got married, everything seemed to matter so much. I always wanted to “get it right.” I wanted to be Donna Reed and June Cleaver, but without the apron.
I guess I thought it was so important to “make a family.” What I learned was that we did make a family, all the clumsy, tumbley way down the road.
Take a “fresh’ look at yourself in the mirror. Forgive yourself for all your imperfections and faults. Once you do this, you will be able to forgive others much easier. I had to learn to forgive myself.
Now, a missed shower, a meal missed or not on time, going to bed late or not taking the trash out does not bother me so much anymore. Well, maybe the trash.
When we are young, we are taught about princesses/princes, fairy tales, fables and magic that was to be our lives as adults. Let me help you out. It is not like that at all.
I have learned that you have to create your own magic. No one is a princess or a prince. That would be tough to live up to every day and I do not have the wardrobe. Who wants to live with someone who is perfect?
Live your life on your terms. Be bold, be brave and most important, be kind to yourself. Learn to forgive.
What I see now are 2 dog faces and 2 human faces that share my space and my life with me every single day. Thank you, Mr. Pacino, for helping me see what is really important in my life.