The List (not quite The Notebook)

My husband and I have been married for 25 years. While that sounds like a major feat, it doesn’t result in improved communication skills. Despite knowing one another’s needs and having the ability to finish each other’s sentences, we are often challenged by the art of conversation.

I start talking to him from the other room. He begins a discussion as we leave the vehicle we’ve been silently riding in for the past hour. I enter his world of television and ask “what’s on tonight?” and he responds, “what’s on too tight?” If something was on too tight, he wouldn’t even notice … unless it was a noose.

Humor aside, we do work on our communido repertoire by leaving notes about where we are and when we left or by creating lists for weekend activities and chores. However, even the most basic tools, like a weekly grocery list, can trip us up from time-to-time.

Me anyway. When there IS communication and its actually received, I still find the ability to misunderstand or interpret incorrectly. Father’s Day was a great example. He was spending the day in various ways with our girls, so I offered to do his chores.

I know, right?

It’s even more impressive when I explain that one of those two chores was cleaning the bathroom sink drain. Unclogging a drain where three girls with long hair cohabitate with a man whose beard would make Santa Claus jealous, is no small task. When he saw me getting the plumbing underway he said, “I don’t want to watch, smell it or see whatever makes up that clog.” He proceeded to close the door laughing and happily leave me with my job at hand.

While that was worth some kudos on my part, I diverted from the list. Chore 2 of 2.

Grocery shopping, any shopping, is not something I enjoy. Even with a list there are too many choices, I don’t like spending money and there are a thousand other things I’d rather be doing. So, when I shop I try not to stray from the needs on the list.

I was as drained as my untangled bathroom sink after getting home and putting away said groceries. But I was glad I did it. Until my husband decided to put me through an unanticipated audit.

Did you get the filters?


The #2’s? We were all out.

Yes. It was on the list. 

Why did you buy baking soda?

Because it was on the list. I wouldn’t have thought to buy it otherwise.

No it wasn’t.

Dead-tired stare. 

Unlike me, his face lit up with an Aha! moment. He walked into the bathroom and returned with the toothpaste I’d just put away.

It wasn’t baking soda toothpaste.

25 years of humor, humility and  room for improvement.

A gal’s gotta smile.

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