Relationships are hard

Trena Eiden, local commentary
Posted 8/12/21

Gar and I are still married after 42 years, even after spending two winters in a 30-foot camper.

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Relationships are hard


Gar and I are still married after 42 years, even after spending two winters in a 30-foot camper. I’m guessing, the only thing that keeps us from murdering each other is neither one wants to clean up the mess. I think we’ll make it another year or two, but there’s no guarantees. Not that we’re in ill health, no, it’s more sinister than that. Sometimes when he asks what’s for dinner, visions of sugarplums dance in my head, but in actuality, it’s his head bobbing without a body, because I’ve about had it with him not learning how to cook now that he’s semi-retired. And I’ll tell you another thing for free; he has the audacity to make quips like, “This potato salad is a little mustardy.” Like he has a food prep opinion I value.

I know I get on his last nerve too because the other night we had an argument about who is the worst multitasker. It wasn’t even about who’s best at it. Women have always been superior in this arena, but someone couldn’t quite bring himself to admit it. It’s never easy being wrong. I used to be very good at simultaneously doing dozens of things, but those days have long passed the expiration date. Now, while on the phone, I close my eyes to keep from being distracted and when I’m on hold, and sometimes when I’m not on hold, my mind flits around trying to remember if I turned off the water, sent the insurance check, bought cheese for the recipe, or if the guy with whom I’m supposed to be conversing is gone for good. Gar thinks he’s far better at doing multiple things at once. Actually, he didn’t say that; he said I was no good at doing multiple things at once. I told him, while it’s true that I’m not as good as I used to be, I’m still lightyears ahead of him. It was a stalemate.

I don’t think Gar and I argue any less than when we were young, it’s just that now it’s about dumber things. We used to argue about money, the lack of it, and who was spending more. Those are discussions requiring spreadsheets and semi-intelligence. We rarely argue about that anymore. We can’t find the spreadsheets and I think I’ve made the intelligence topic crystal clear. Sadly, or maybe not, I don’t remember most of what we used to get so upset over. I do know there’s a valid reason we’re still together, at least I know why Gar hasn’t un-clicked my chain; I’m not retired, and I still work no matter where we go. In Wyoming, I’m a caregiver, which is a bit nutty because quite obviously, I need a caregiver. Actually, what I really need is a personal assistant. I can still clean my own hiney, but I need a go-to gal with skills to locate all the things I’ve lost, spend hours researching ways to survive without cooking, and who can run all l the errands on my list without stopping to chat with everyone, so she can get back to the farm in time to actually get something done.

Last winter in Florida, I was employed at a CPA firm, which I enjoyed because everyone had a good sense of humor and they made me feel valued, which is ludicrous. I don’t even know which way is east. Obviously, they were in tragic need of assistance and weren’t real picky about help. One day Gar was fishing with squid, which isn’t cheap, and as he reeled in, he saw that a fish had stolen it off the lure. Musing, Gar asked if I was happy with my job? I said I was and asked if he was happy I had a job? Nodding, he deadpanned, “Ya, it pays for my bait.” When I left my employment to head north for the summer, my boss told me to come work for him whenever I came south again. I said, “Obviously, we’re still on our honeymoon and you don’t know me, and you’re probably better for it.” He laughed and gave me a hug. He thought I was joking.

It’s a weird time to be alive, with all the world’s oddities, but I remember my Grammy saying, “Things were simpler ‘back then,’ but there never was the ‘good old days.’” And yet, she and Gramps stayed married nearly six decades; probably, and I’m only guessing, because they didn’t murder each other.      

Trena Eiden