In my ongoing quest to educate all single men on the perils, joys, and complexities of marriage, allow me to pass along lesson number 42: Marriage Is Work.
While I realize many of you have heard this particular phrase before, it usually refers to the time, effort, and – if you’re a male – money you need to put into the actual relationship in order to keep things healthy, fresh, and entertaining.
My lesson is much more literal than that.
Marriage involves hundreds of hours of manual labor. The twist being this labor of love tends to occur at the least expected and most inopportune times.
Example #1: Saturday morning I took the boys to karate with the idea that I would work out in the connected gym while they did their lessons. Instead I wound up talking to a guy I get along with (who just so happens to be one of the co-creators of the ‘Verification Weekend’).
When I get back to the house, I tell wifey I’m heading to the real gym since I didn’t have time to work out at the karate place. She is upstairs cleaning the bedroom and exchanging her summer clothes for winter clothes. It’s another of those strange female rituals that make me glad I'm fueled by testosterone. My summer clothes simply go to the bottom of the same drawer my winter clothes share. Wifey has enormous Tupperware containers full of clothing that needs to be swapped every six months.
Basically, her enormous dresser is too small for all the outfits she owns.
As I’m lacing up the sneakers, I hear wifey call down, ‘OH! Can you come up here? QUICK!’
I run up the stairs thinking her winter clothes may have toppled on top of her and she has mere seconds before being suffocating. Instead I find her in the bathroom using towels in a vain attempt to stop the toilet from leaking all over the floor. I assess that the water is running from the tank and not the toilet and quickly flush it to empty the water out while telling Wifey to hold up the bobber so it won’t refill.
I struggle with the water shut off before I get it to spin shut Wondering aloud why it was so hard to turn Wifey answers ‘It feels like it’s clogged with hair spray’. Women!
I ask her what happened and she rattles off – barely taking a breath, ‘I was trying to tighten the seat and noticed that one of the bolts underneath was really rusty so I tried to scrap some of it off and the nut broke off and water started gushing out of it’.
The damage was minor but it required heading to Home Depot, getting the properly sized screws and replacing them so the leaking would stop. A solid 2 hours spent repairing something that, as of that morning, didn't need repairing.
Beware when your wife/girlfriend decides to tackle a project. Chances (approximately 100%) are that project will become yours.
Example #2: Sunday (exactly 24 hours after ‘The Toilet Incident’), Wifey decides she’s going to hang the new curtains. They’re basic cream colored drapes that pull back and forth as needed. I’m a big natural light guy and want the sun coming in as often as possible, but I also understand the need for night privacy. These pull backs provide both options easily.
Sidenote: Women around the world need to understand something – guys don’t care what kind of curtains or shades or sheers go over windows. Wifey kept asking for my input so incessantly that I finally said ‘You know what? As long as they can open and close and don’t have flowers all over them, I’m good’.
Wifey went out that morning to get the new curtain rods and proceeded to get things together for her next project. I should take this opportunity to point out she decided to do this right in the middle of the Patriots – Ravens game. I should also point out that the room she was putting them up would be in the same room I was watching said game.
I know what you’re thinking, but this will become a huge benefit to me very soon. Please refer to the ‘Her projects become yours’ theme from earlier.
Things start off swimmingly. She measures, puts up the rod and marks on the wall where she’ll screw the thing to the wall. Even better, she’s not in the way of the television. We both win!!
Then comes the actual screwing into the wall part. If, at the beginning of this story, you envisioned me up on a stool, drilling sixteen holes in the wall, pausing every now and then to see what was happening with the game, then score one for you. I even wound up putting the screws in myself since she had a hard time reaching and wasn’t even close to having the strength to get everything tight.
All this for a five pound curtain. By the time I was done, I could have done pull ups on the stupid rod. You know…if I could actually do a pull up.
Today's sublesson, therefore, is to recommend all males to cordon off a block of time whenever wife/girlfriend says to you ‘I’m going to ______ today’. Your response will likely be ‘Do you need me to help?’, to which she will respond, ‘No, I can do it’.
Three to five hours should cover it.
As an addendum, when this happens in your relationship (and it WILL happen) make sure you do not say ‘Hey, why do your projects always become MY projects?’ or generally bitch about the sudden turn of events. If you keep your mouth shut, say things like ‘It’s ok, I don’t mind’ while cleaning up her messes you may find her willing to service you in other – much more pleasant – ways.
Today’s distraction: My new addiction is named Bubble Spinner. Apologies in advance.