In Sickness

When sick in my family, there was a mantra: drink plenty of fluids and rest. Pretty simple, really.

When sick in my family, there was a mantra: drink plenty of fluids and rest. Pretty simple, really.

Miles run yesterday: 4.5

Presents wrapped for Christmas (not counting the ones we shipped): 0

People home sick: 2

Are you good at being sick?

I mean, really think about it: do people rush out of the house to get away from you when you’re sick… and not because of the germs?

I have come to believe that there are two things that challenge a marriage because we are raised with our own set of expectations:

1. Food

2. Illness

You might say the rather predictable money, but if you die first, maybe money isn’t your biggest issue.

I can’t tell you how often food procurement and preparation or lack thereof haunts my friends and their families. Sometimes, I find myself siding with their spouses. If you grew up in a foodie-type family, then there is an expectation of regular grocery shopping, hot meals and recipe scouring.

If you were brought up in a scavenging sort of household, a bowl of cold cereal or tub of popcorn might suit you just fine… and you wonder why your spouse gets so bent out of shape about boring stuff like eating. I mean, survival-level nutrition shouldn’t be such a big deal, you think.

So, too, with illness.

My husband stinks at being sick.

I mean, he’s really bad at it.

In my family, when you were sick, you were told to drape yourself over the couch, watch TV, and request that things be brought to you. People stopped by to kiss you but generally let you get on with your mopey, bedridden self.

My husband does not subscribe to this manner of being sick. He is certain that other people delight in being ill, positively relish it. That when other people’s skin feels like it’s going to fall off and their joints ache and they have a fever and feel foggy, they are well-suited to it.

I try to disabuse him of this viewpoint, but he closes his ears and does a silent “Nananana… I’m not listening” in his head. At least, that’s what it looks like.

When I ask if he wants something from the grocery store, anything at all, he says, “Noooo.” Then he tries to think of reasons he needs to run out to the store to get something. Anything.

When I get home from the store, I say I’m going to make myself some fried eggs; would he like some, too?

Him: Ergh. That doesn’t sound remotely good. Okay. But let me flip mine.

Me: I can flip them.

Him: But they’ll only be good if the yolk is still runny.

Me: So I’ll leave the yolk runny.

Him: But you might not. And then I won’t eat it.

Me: You’re very bad at being sick.

If I were sick, I would be very happy, nay, gloriously blissful, if someone offered to make me an egg or two and bring it to me.

My husband says this is because other people (like me) are content to be still. He is wiggling on the couch while he says this.

I decide to take my stillness and walk it very quickly out of the room.

How about you? Are you a calm, good-natured and still person when you’re sick? Do you allow others to help you? Or are you grumpy and wish everyone would just leave you to your own fried eggs which will be flipped in precisely the most perfect manner? Not that I’m passing judgment.

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Before Match.com… How Did We Do It?

Valentines my great aunt sent me from the 1930s

Reasons my husband and I should not be together: 42

Years we’ve been married: 14

Number of ways ignorance and naivete can help: 167

Let me preface this post by saying that I know several couples who are happily together because of match.com or some similar service, including my sister and brother-in-law. I think it is a worthwhile service that has brought some very cute couples together.

That said, I am very glad online matchmaking services were not the way I met my husband. (Mostly because the Internet itself was in its infancy at that time, a fact that our kids are still astonished about.)

First of all, any dating service where I could get annoyed by the use of your instead of you’re, its instead of it’s, utilize instead of good ol’ use, or Ann instead of Anne (seriously, my name is spelled correctly right there, people… do a copy and paste) would get things off to a sort of negative start. Okay. I’ve had my rant for the day.

One of my friends was mentioning the other day that she was glad her date with a match.com guy had been cancelled. She happened to see a politically-motivated statement exactly the opposite of her view posted on his Facebook page. We joked with her about how intolerant of intolerance she was, and just like that, that poor guy was deleted from a future life of fun with my friend.

Another friend, who has been married for 43 years, said the little things that used to bother her have faded away as the years have gone by. I think my husband would agree that we’re not to that point yet.

Here are a few reasons why we did not look good together on paper (or wouldn’t have on match.com either):

1. He didn’t have a car. Yes, you heard me. That alone should have made me run the other way. Our first phone conversation went something like this:

Him: How about Tuesday night?

Me: Sounds good.

Him: Can you pick me up? All I have is a motorcycle.

Me: Sure! No problem!

What a difference 16 years makes. Don’t judge me. I had just graduated from a phase where I realized that men with long hair were not actually sexy, super-successful musicians like Eddie Vedder but boys who were not interested in finding jobs. The car thing simply didn’t register.

2. He spent more time on his hair than I did. Remember Jason Priestly, of 90210 fame? My future husband’s hair looked just like that. And trust me, it took a lot of work to look that good. When I arrived at his apartment to pick him up, I had to spend some time chatting up his alcoholic roommate while my future husband spent some quality time with the hair gel.

3. I liked music, he liked… a few bars of rhythmic mayhem. I had played piano and violin for years, acted as groupie for the university’s a capella group and loved going to rock concerts. My future husband enthusiastically played a measure or two of several “songs” he called “jungle,” which I’m going to guess sound much better under the influence of illegal drugs. He hated concerts because you couldn’t talk.

4. My bedroom freaked him out. In my defense, shabby chic was in. And I was poor. Shabby chic is perfect when you’re poor. But what they don’t tell you is that you can only achieve the chic part if you have money and tons of decorating expertise. When he walked through my tiny apartment to use the attached bathroom, he almost ran from the place screaming.

5. My mom thought he was going out with me to get a green card. And boy, he sure has put in way too much time with me for something that insignificant. I love the United States and all, but 14 years of marriage to stay here may be taking things too far. It also shows what a catch my mom thought I was.

And here are the reasons I liked him:

1. He was hot.

2. He had a great accent.

3. I wanted to kiss him.

I am so very glad that I did not have to decide whether to stick around with him in an era of match.com. Talk about complicated.

And… he’s still hot.