Saturday 19 February 2011

When Being Gorgeous Is Not Enough

My husband is gorgeous, wonderful and a whole host of other superlatives, but it is not enough: he can be infuriating. Although highly intelligent and mentally well organised, he is happy to live in physical chaos.
The 2 car garage, minus the cars, is his official Shed in which he works, or at least spends a few hours per week when he wants to lie low.
The roller door to his secret world is opened at one’s own peril, as it is more than likely that some object, often large and heavy, will lunge at you from an unsuspected angle. This door is the only entrance to the Husband’s sanctuary as the other thresholds can no longer be crossed due to the machinery and clutter which abut them. To enter this chamber of confusion, one has to shuffle in sideways along planks of wood which lie on the floor. At the far end of The Shed there is a cleared space, about 1 m square, in which sits a stool in front of a pile of tools that hide the work bench: husband’s bliss, wife’s nightmare.
Being an engineer, the Husband is a great problem-solver: he is a “hard worker”, enjoys physically challenges and can do anything around the house - with direction. And this is where we become “unstuck”.
Dust and clutter don’t appear on his “radar” and his tendency to put his belongings down anywhere in the house adds to our domestic mayhem. Batteries are recharged on our bedroom floor; accounts and important papers are dumped in the bottom of his wardrobe, squirreled under his side of the bed or mounded on our dressing table. There are computer parts and tool boxes in the family room machinery parts and hoses in the hallway and the pile of man things at the bottom of the stairs is now becoming a “death trap”.
In our domestic environment The Husband is “practical” whereas aesthetics and order - as well as the protection of my beloved Persian carpets and antique furniture - are my priority.
His generosity and adherence to his Queen’s Scout oath can also be a source of contention. He is always there for others, frequently downing tools, while working on one of my many mandated domestic projects, leaving them in situ, to run to the aid of family or friends.
I am no angel when it comes to tidiness; however, tidiness and order are mandatory for me to function effectively. As an employed professional, I feel exhausted shouldering the responsibility of organising this adult family, and the domestic chaos poignantly indicates that I am not really effective in carrying out my duties.
Why do the rest of my tribe need directions? Where’s their initiative? Part of my problem is I tolerate the status quo until I am at breaking point then I snap.  Result – mass migration – husband to his Shed and adult children to their sacred no go zone upstairs. So I am abandoned – left wallowing in a sea of frustration and inaction which saps me mentally and physically of the situation that appears impossible to rectify.  
Status and money are not the Husband’s priorities in his life – he wants for little. A happy, well adjusted individual, about whom I would have little to criticise, if it weren’t for my burning desire to “see the world”, and dabble in photography, both of which necessitate more zeros than we have in our bank account.
I want a man to complement my shortcomings; not enhance them.
Frank discussion is no solution to our domestic disharmony. Unlike the metro men of the Y generation, my baby boomer husband is not willing to workshop our issues. At the slightest hint of such an occurrence, he disappears to his shed.
Clearly, living with a gorgeous husband is not enough when I am not perfect myself and, despite the passage of time, we haven’t quite mastered our communication skills.  
Would I cast him off or trade him in? Never. 

When being gorgeous is not enough

Judy - obviously frustrated

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Quatrain Number 20............A Favourite Since Childhood

 Edward Fitzgerald: “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” (1905)

Quatrain Number 20
Ah, my Belov'ed fill the Cup that clears 
To-day Past Regrets and Future Fears: 
To-morrow!--Why, To-morrow I may be 
Myself with Yesterday's Sev'n Thousand Years. 

By Omar Khayyam
This quote has helped to buoy me through difficult times. Introduced to The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám at a tender young age, by my Great Uncle who could quote a relevant quatrain for almost any situation, I learned to recite my favourite verse, quatrain 20, before the age of 10. As I grew in years so too did my appreciation of this eloquently expressed piece of wisdom. It is a pity that many 21st century children are deprived of the richness of an extended family............