One year ago today, I woke up to a living room that looked like this:
Fortunately, it’s considerably less cluttered today:
Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of Tara moving in. We were well aware of the date, and periodically throughout the day would recall where we were and what we were doing one year earlier. April 14, 2012 was an exciting day, and marked a new adventure for us both. Other than my kids, who are with me every other week, I hadn’t lived with anybody in more than 5 years. I was worried that might be a difficult adjustment, but I told Tara this morning, “Living with you is a breeze. It always felt natural and easy. Every day is fun!” It truly has been a great year, and the best is still to come: when we wake up five months from today, we’ll be husband and wife. Wow.
While it has been fun and easy, there are certain lessons I have learned over the past year about living with your partner, a few eye-opening rules, if you will. I wrote about some of those changes a week after she’d moved in, but that was just the sudden shock of suddenly having another person there. I’ve long since gotten used to having eight different bottles of shampoo and lotions in the shower. Now that the dust has settled, I thought I’d talk about them. Speaking of dust…
5 Rules for Peaceful Cohabitation
- When you are asked “to dust,” do not commit the cardinal sin of actually using a duster. This one threw me for a loop. We were cleaning the house, a task that Tara takes very seriously, and she asked me to dust. So naturally, I grabbed the duster from the garage. This is an implement designed for one specific purpose – to dust. It’s right there in the name. So imagine my surprise when she said, “No, no, no. Not with that.” She insisted I use furniture polish and a rag instead. Something about the duster just pushing the dust around. I don’t care if it pushes the dust around – as long as it pushes it off the surface I’m dusting, y’know? In my mind, this is akin to her asking me to make toast and saying, but don’t use the toaster.
- Get used to clean sheets and towels once a week, at least. This is one of the better aspects of Cohabitating-In-Sin. I will admit, in my bachelor days, the sheets only got changed once every lunar cycle or so. My thought process was, “Full moon already? Must be time to strip the bed again!” But I like having clean sheets. Feels so good to crawl into bed with them. As for the towels, I didn’t wait a month to change them, but – ahem – they still hung on the rack longer than they had any business doing.
- When it comes to the thermostat, learn to compromise. It seems like men and women are always at odds with their body temperatures. There are times when I’m sitting on the couch in shorts and fanning myself, while Tara is wrapped in a blanket up to her chin and shivering. Other times I’ll catch her stealthily kicking up the heat a few degrees when she thinks I’m not paying attention, but that’s okay: I turn it down a few degrees when I think she isn’t paying attention. As a general rule, the house is usually a couple of degrees warmer than I’d prefer, but a couple of degrees cooler than she’d like. Which, I suppose, is fair.
- Egg shells don’t go in the trash can, silly! One day shortly after Tara moved in, I reached for the carton of eggs, and discovered broken shells in there. Some of them contained yolk. “Honey!” I said. “The store sold us defective eggs!” Only we didn’t actually buy them that way: turns out when Tara cracks open an egg, she sticks the shell back in the carton and puts the whole thing in the fridge. To this day I have no idea why, but it’s just one of those little quirks I’ve gotten used to. She probably thinks it odd that I dump used cooking oil into a jar and store it under the sink, and we both marvel over the fact that she only uses the bottom white portion of green onions, while I use the long green stalk. Which brings me to the last one…
- There is no right or wrong. But she’s always right. I say this sincerely, minus any sarcasm. If there’s one big lesson I’ve learned over the past year, it’s to never question Tara when it comes to…umm, anything. Because anytime she says something that I disagree with or suggest an alternate method to, when all is said and done she’s always right in the end. It’s uncanny. If I were a baseball player, I’d have a perfect batting average: 0.000. Which is why I didn’t really question the whole “don’t dust with a duster” thing (at least not out loud). She’s probably right. In fact, I just now posed that question to Google – “Should you use a duster to dust?” – and got this result: feather dusters tend to scatter dust back into the air. See what I mean?
Truly, I love living with her. Even though she sometimes tickles me mercilessly and flicks water on me after showering and gives me grief over my dusting skills. Not a day goes by where we don’t make each other laugh at least once, and we celebrate our many similarities while embracing our differences. Plus, we talk. About anything and everything, and we never have to worry about saying the wrong thing. No topic is off limits, and there is no right or wrong answer. I believe these things are key to happily-ever-after (or at least until the lease expires).
Happy Co-Habitating, Living-in-Sin, Having-the-Time-of-My-Life Anniversary, darling!