Today my lovely husband (the over returner) asked if I could return some undies he bought a little while ago at Costco.
“Sure. Where are they?”
He then hands me a plastic shopping bag with three pairs of used Calvin Klein undies. Clean but used. He’d only had them a few months when holes started appearing in the undercarriage area. I hesitate for a moment then grab the bag from him unsure of how I felt about it. I talked myself into it, he’s bought tampons for me over the years, he even rode my girl bike with flowers on the basket into the city to get it serviced. Now that’s love. Yes, I can do this.
I’m in line at the register. A guy with David on his name tag smiles. I walk up to him with my plastic bag of used husband undies. “Hi, I’ve got an embarrassing and bizarre return but I’m sure you have seen lots of weird returns over the years.” “OK,” says David hesitantly. “I’ve got a bag of undies my husband has asked me to return, but I promise they are clean.” David almost takes a step back from the register unsure if I’m joking around with him. “I’m completely serious. My husband bought these not long ago and holes have started appearing.” I open the bag to show him. He takes a peek but keeps his distance. No man wants to look at another strange man’s used undies. His uncomfortableness fills the gap over the counter between us.
David starts looking on his computer-register for the purchased undies. He can’t find them. That’s when I learned that even though my husband and I share the same Costco membership, we have different card numbers and the purchased undies where on his card. So David starts to scan my husbands card purchases.
“Are they XL?” David asks. I handle the undies looking for the tag that will reveal the size. Nothing. David is pointing and telling me where to look. Nothing. Finally I say, “How about we say they are XL.” “Done”, says David. And finally I can close the bag and we can forget the undies ever happened.
I make small talk as David does the paperwork for the return. “So what is the weirdest thing you’ve ever had returned?” I ask. “The return I just did.” We both laugh and I say I should have made my husband return them.
“Where is your husband?” at my son’s basketball training I tell him and I explain how I take my daughter to her ice skating lessons each Wednesday. “I would have made him take your daughter ice skating so he could do the return.” Then I tell him how my husband does lots of lovely things for me. Like purchase tampons. David said, “Buying tampons is nothing.” as he has me sign the receipt to complete the transaction after I tapped my card which made it heavier by $23.50. I thanked David and walked away from him with the image of my husband riding down Footscray rd passing other bikes on my baby blue vintage bike with flowers haloed on its basket. I smile. He loves me. I wish David the same sort of happiness in his relationship one day.
Once upon a time, there were two dirty words in our house. The sheer mention of them ignited tension between my husband and I. But before we get into that I want to tell you about what is happening this weekend in Melbourne.
Starting tomorrow before the sun comes up, (23 March 2018) 752 teams made up of four walkers will set off to conquer 100-kilometers in under 48 hours all in the name of charity. That is just over 3,000 walkers and thousands more made up of organizers, volunteers and support crews. It’s definitely a team effort. Many of them will not finish due to injuries, fatigue, or mental weakness. But this walk is anything but weak. As an almost 47-year-old woman, I know my limitations and the Oxfam Trailwalker is something I know I’m not physically or mentally strong enough for.
Last year a whopping $2.1 million was raised as a contribution to ‘Tackling Poverty Together’. This year the bar has been raised with the goal set for $3 million and I hope they hit it. This is something we donate to, not just financially but with my husband’s blood sweat and (my) tears and my minestrone soup.
Do you remember those people in school that never studied but always aced the tests? Well, my guy is one of them when it comes to physical activity. He can do anything and make it look easy. He is very mentally strong. But the Oxfam Trailwalker kicks his butt (but he’s fine by Monday…seriously, he is). I’ve never seen him as broken as he is when he walks over the finish line. I know him inside and out and his slow swaying stagger tells me just how bad he is hurting and every time my eyes well up with liquid pride for him.
This year, 2018, marks the first year out of the last six, that he is not participating and I’m just waiting for him to break the news to me…”Hon, I’ll be away this weekend. I just had a phone call from a friend and they have an injured walker so I’m filling in.”
Remember those dirty words I spoke of? Well, the first one is Oxfam.
I despised Oxfam because of the bad experience one of my good friends had with it many years ago. It was not Oxfam’s fault but I needed to channel my anger and frustration somewhere. She was hurting and someone, something needed to take the blame.
In my mind, her signing up for this crazy 100-kilometer walk in 48 hours and killing herself to complete it, left her body riddled with insomnia washing down addicted sleeping pills with a glass of wine. She suffered from a big bout of anxiety that took hold of her body and left her lifeless for longer than we all expected. I hated seeing what was happening to her and like I said, I blamed Oxfam.
This happened years before my husband came home talking about doing it himself. As you can imagine, I was not supportive.
Last year when he didn’t start recruiting others to be on his team of four, I sat silently not questioning it, like my nine-year-old does when we forget to get him to read to us as part of his homework. Of course, it’s for a good cause but the effort my husband puts into this walk exhausts me. It’s completely unfair for me to say this but if I’m being honest, it’s true. I love that he is doing something, I love that it’s for charity, and I love that it’s healthy and keeps him fit. But what I don’t enjoy is the long 6 hour plus weekend walks that take him away from his family. He becomes totally obsessed with walking, and selfishly I have to share my 6am workout time with him so he can train.
I’ll never forget his first walk five years ago in 2013–coincidentally the year he turned forty–we were on some rocky terrain and it was important that he felt nothing but 100% support from me. Now before I go on I just want to say that my husband has always, always been 100% supportive of my short list of sporting aspirations. He is my biggest cheerleader. But I exhausted myself trying to keep up with the whole cheerleader thing because he entered what seemed like monthly races in preparation for his big 100K walk; 10k runs, half marathons, marathons, mini triathlons, and triathlons which all happened to be on Sundays.
Sundays were my busiest day being the Primary President at the time. I would wake early, get ready for church, and be the only person completely overdressed at the finish line in my heels as I cheered him on being amazing. I was so proud of him and his achievements while my heart, a little split, knowing I was breaking my own Sabbath rules. My juggling act started to crack and run me down. After watching him cross the finish line, I would then race to church a little tardy needing to teach, sing, and have my full energy ready on hand so I could look after the primary children. Usually, my own children missing out on church that day or having Grandpa drop them off to me at church. I remember those Primary President days needing to de-child–spending an hour after church away from all including my own children summonsing my human side again.
Church the other dirty word. Back in 1998, my husband married a Mormon, but a dormant one. In 2010, with dirt, slivers and broken nails, I scratched my way back to the surface of my life and started breathing again. Shy and scared, I found myself sitting in the congregation of an LDS church in Yarraville, coming out of a twenty-year plus inactivity streak. I was broken and bruised, it was hard for my husband to understand. He didn’t grow up in the Mormon church like I had. He wanted to fix it but this time his love was not enough. “It” being that ugly black fog that kept consuming me dragging me under and making my eyes stare out from an empty vessel.
I wanted to go to church, I NEEDED TO GO TO CHURCH and he was afraid I would force him to come with me. That’s what usually happens, I talk him into my crazy hairbrained ideas and I frequently get my way. But not this time. He was stomping his size 12 down and asserting himself in the best way he knew how…a good old fashioned quarrel. He didn’t want to go and didn’t want me to go either. But it was more complicated than that…our daughter was asking to go to church. He was worried that everything we had would change. He was right. It did change but only for the better.
With extra time on his hands, while we were at church, he threw himself into massive training mode and we seemed to find some balance to our unbalance. I was the cheerful little homemaker who was more than happy look after the kids, take care of the house and make dinners as I was not working at the time. He would ride his bike 14-kilometers home after a long day at work, eat dinner and then take off to walk, swim or run.
But with all of that said the dirty words are no longer dirty or hurtful and we’ve both grown a great deal.
So this weekend we will miss the rush we feel standing there proud as his family, waiting on the other side of the finish line cheering him on as he takes his final steps stinky, dirty, sweaty, in dire need of a shower, a warm bed, and sleep.
His two proud kids will miss running toward him as he finds that last surge of energy to pick them both up in his arms and carry them over the finish line. He’ll have completed not just his own 100k’s but usually lending a hand to help his own teammates get over the line too.
I will miss having my time to shine when he
100%. relies. on. me.
I drive my nearly broken man the hour and a half home while he can barely move as his muscles start to cramp up and has a little bit of shut-eye between the stopping and going because of red lights. Once I get him home, I help him up the stairs, run his bath and fold his long limbs into the water for a soak. He’s just too weak and tired to stand in the shower. I give him some food and we chat while he gives me the highlights and checks his messages. Then I check on the kids and give him space while I secretly spy on him through the cracked bathroom door to make sure he doesn’t fall asleep in the bathtub–Him falling asleep in the tub is no risk of drowning just a kinked neck as his head never touches the water…he’s just too tall. Before he falls asleep, I help him to bed and keep the kids on low volume while he sleeps for the first time since the start line.
I have never seen him like that before and I doubt I will ever again…
Guy your family is proud of you!
Here’s a little shout out to all the men and women who will be pushing themselves to their ultimate limits this weekend and to the people who love them. Good On You!
My husband, of eighteen years, understands this and he does things like…
me. “Honey, you made the bed! Doesn’t it look great made?”
him. “I couldn’t care less actually, I only do it because I know it makes you happy.”
me. “Let’s organize the garage today.”
him. big sigh, “ok.”
me, after we are finished, “Oh my gosh, doesn’t it just make you happy to have all this organized?
him. “Not really, it never bothered me. I only do this because I know it makes you happy.”
It’s getting COLD here in Australia burr...
The days are getting shorter (June 1st was the first day of winter here) and over the last few days especially, it seems like someone flipped the winter switch to ‘on’…all of the sudden, jackets are not enough, but only last week it was warm in the sun—still feeling spring in the air.
During the week, after W and I have done our million things for the day and kids are tucked up in bed, it’s our time. We snuggle up under a blanket together on the couch. W always feels my feet. If my feet are cold, he takes off his warm socks and puts them on my cold feet…is that love or what?
Back when my grandparents were newlyweds, in the wintertime, my grandpa use to take the blow torch to the outhouse toilet seat (must have been metal), and warmed it up for my grandma’s bum…now is that love or what?
I have always hated getting my hands dirty. Sounds weird but it’s true. When I was only two years old, I was in the hospital for a couple of weeks—they were worried about my kidneys. My mom told me this hilarious story about my stay in the hospital (also this hospital visit are my earliest memories). Other kids were finger painting and I really wanted to paint too, however, I would put my fingers in the paint then wash it off. I did this about 3 or 4 times before they finally stopped me. The paint never made it to the paper.
Motherhood has helped with this OCD-like trait that I have. I remember when two good friends (and their three kids) came from Alaska to visit us in Australia. I had been a mom for about six years by this stage. Anyway, I was getting dinner ready while talking to them both and at one stage I turned around to look at them and they both looked like a deer in headlights.
“What?” I said.
“You’re getting your hands dirty.” They said completely shocked.
“Oh that, yeah, well kids have softened me I guess”
So, I can get my hands dirty but it’s hard for me…Maybe that’s my SLUDGE B?
Where do you buy your meat?
I buy our ground beef (mincemeat for you Aussie’s) from Costco in a big portion then freeze in small portions. It’s a dirty job and I dislike doing it, but because I like things the way I like them… I weigh out small meal size portions, put them into Ziploc baggies, push them flat and freeze them. After they are frozen I stand them up on end and line them up under a little shelf I have in my freezer. Phew! Yes, I know.
My beautiful husband has watched and learned how to do the meat… for me…
exactly. the. way. i. like. it. done.
…because he loves me. There is no other explanation for it. Who would do something like this for someone else, when…
He could care less about the organization of the freezer.
Why weigh them out and not just stuff them in the Ziploc baggies?
He knows I will do it because I’m anal like that, but he still does.
Even though there are things he does that drive me batty, I love him unconditionally because my Heavenly Father sent him to me.