Washed not washed up

August 4, 2015

2015-07-23 09.43.58
Look, I ain’t gonna kid you.

Marriage is hard.

It just is.

Two completely different people living together for years and years? Hard.  And the only saving grace are those little moments that bring an unexpected smile to your lips. Like this note, left by my husband after he washed the potatoes.  It cracked me up. And don’t you like how 1) he used repurposed paper for his note and 2) the note is artistically centered between the two spuds? He’s a funny guy and fun to have around.

If it weren’t for humor I doubt the institution of marriage would have survived this long. One or the other would have been long dead, killed by the petty irritations that living together brings about.

When I was younger and worked all day, I’d laugh at stories about stay-at-home wives having to contend with all-of-a-sudden-home retired husbands.  I’m not laughing now. Two people sharing the same place all day and night? It’s unnatural.

It’s a little harder for me, I think, because by nature I require more “alone time” than I get, now that we are both home 24/7.

I’m not exactly complaining. My husband is an incredible partner, better than I am at it.  It’s just that he loves being at home and so do I. His hobbies are watching sports on TV, reading and doing the New York Times crossword puzzle.  Since he’s new to California, he doesn’t have an infrastructure of like-minded friends.

My hobbies are writing, watching films and hanging with my girlfriends. Two out of three are done at home.

And while we enjoy each other’s company, 24/7 is way too much.

We’re not ready for shuffleboard yet. But it would be nice to find some independent activities that we can do … independently.

Would love to hear any ideas you have. Marital tips, but not in the traditional sense. Anybody like me, needing more alone time than retirement allows? How do you deal with that? Hollah!


19 comments on “Washed not washed up
  1. We are both at home too, both freelancing our careers. Plus our son is finishing up his last semester at college (he transferred freshman year and has an extra semester before graduating in December) with mostly online courses. So three is the magic number! Somehow it works, but there are times when I miss the quiet of the house. I write and read better in absolutely quiet. The trick? Separate rooms, separate printers.

  2. Hi Carol, we take separate vacations. My husband loves motorcycling and recently went away for 3 weeks. I love international travel (he, not so much); so I often travel on my own and enjoy it. We also take a day every so often, to run errands on our own and do exactly the things we want to do rather than having to accommodate each other.

  3. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    I hear you. I crave alone time, and I mostly have it since my husband is still working. I’m not thinking about the day when we will both be home full-time — there will definitely be an adjustment period.

  4. I hear you. We’ve been married for almost 34 years and, no matter how much you love someone, 24/7 is too much! It may be one of the reasons I’ve become more of a travel writer now!

  5. Souds a lot like us, Carol! For the first few years of our marriage, I would frequently travel to Secunderabad to visit my parents, thus ensuring that we both got a break. Now that we’ve both moved to Secunderabad, I keep nudging Jose to go to Mumbai! 😉

  6. Debbie D. says:

    Here’s the problem: “he doesn’t have an infrastructure of like-minded friends.” Although my husband isn’t retired yet, we were together most of the time in 2009 when he was laid off and got on each others’ nerves a lot! It was not a pleasant time, made worse by the stress of financial difficulties. Fortunately, hubby has always had a strong bond with his buddies and they all belong to the local Italian Club. He hung out there quite a bit and that saved us from killing each other.

    If your house is big enough for separate offices, that would probably help. Separate vacations might be good too. I often flew down to California alone, to visit my parents. The time apart made us appreciate each other more.

  7. Haralee says:

    Both of us are home a great deal at the same time. Hobbies/Interests that take us out of the same rooms is helpful. My husband just picked up a new hobby about a year ago, scrapping metal. Between working in the garden and the scrapping, in the side yard he is busy when home. Before scrapping he volunteered 2 mornings a week at Meal on Wheels.

  8. This could be a problem for the happiest of couples. My husband is one of those people who always needs to be going, doing, fixing, etc. I do not. This keeps us on track most of the time.

  9. Janie Emaus says:

    I have no answer for you. I have the same interests as you. One thing which keeps my husband busy is cooking and I stay out of the kitchen!

  10. Roz Warren says:

    Marriage was so hard for me that I bailed after two decades with my ex. So I’ve got no tips or hints about making-it-last. That being said, I LOVE that little potato note. Not only is it cute and funny, but to me it says that your guy is not only into doing stuff around the house + that he’s into communicating with you. And that he’s amusing. And creative. Sounds like a very cool dude. So I guess my only making-it-last advice would be: make sure you marry the right guy! (Looks like you did.)

  11. My husband and I lived apart (only weekends) for 23 years. It was glorious! Now, we live together full time… and he’s not retired yet. I’m used to having my day open. I shudder to think how he will react to retirement- following me around the house maybe?

  12. Ah yes, I hear you….we are both retired now too, and I told my husband once that he needed to find a hobby and that hobby couldn’t be me!
    Luckily he has always been the cook and grocery shopper so we don’t collide in the kitchen – and I swim and do yoga so that gets me out of the house at least five times a week.
    He likes to read blogs….so I sit beside him and knit.
    We actually are quite comfortable in each others company – but you are right – he still can make me laugh – and he has the loveliest voice. I told him many times that if he was in the dog house all he has to do his telephone me – I still, after 38 years, melt at the sound of his voice.

    He still needs a hobby though…..

  13. Lisa Froman says:

    I need more alone time than my partner does. Thankfully, we both work, but most evenings we are together in front of the TV. I try to see friends one night out of every week or two and then run errands by myself for a couple of hours on the weekend. I really love having a quiet hour when he leaves in the morning and I am getting ready for work. Thankfully, I get that, but that time evaporates quickly. Lol.
    He has hobbies but doesn’t spend a lot of time on them so we spend most of the weekend together. I love my man but I really love my own company — as in by myself– so I can recharge. Wish I could balance our togetherness with more alone time, but at least I get some. I think I might have to start being more proactive to get more.

  14. Senior College! It’s hosted at land grant universities here. It’s a chance to get out to do what you enjoy with others who enjoy the same things. Or for him to get out to enjoy – without you.

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about “you can’t miss me if I’m not away.” Away time is vital to our marriage. We’re great partners as long as we’re great individuals.

  15. I agree that humor is essential! When I lose my humor about marital disagreements, I know that I’m in trouble. I’m trying to be better about changing course asap when I see my funny bone is buried in the back yard. I love that note with the potatoes. Super cute! PS We take separate vacations, too. After trial-and-error, we discovered it works better for us. Why dispute results?

  16. Estelle says:

    Carol, Your hubby’s potato note is the best. As for me, my hubby works outside of the home most of the time, but he also travels for work. With a little one around I like when he’s around more.

  17. Carolann says:

    We are home together 24/7 too. I always say thank goodness he loves playing poker with his friends lol. It’s amazing how well we do home together all the time. I really love having him around all the time too. Love the spuds note…so very cute!

  18. Theresa Wiza says:

    I require a LOT of alone time, which may be one reason I’m not suitable for a relationship. Hmm, that explains a lot 😉

  19. Sandy Nelson says:

    I’m with Cathy Chester–separate rooms. My husband needs a lot of social contacts. Me? No so much.

    He volunteers at our church and is gone several hours a day while I remain in my office writing or reading. When he is home, he’s in the family room on the other side of our home. I’m in my home office 8 hours a day. We typically don’t see each other until dinner and then we enjoy the evening together.

    We respect what each of us need.

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