Friday, March 27, 2015

The Things No one Warned Me About: Take Two

"Where are all the towels?"

Serious question when you are first married. 

"I think they are all dirty" I replied, not knowing the impact that was going to have on the rest of the day. 

You see, I had hair almost to my knees. I had to use two towels when I showered. If I used one, then huge parts of me would remain wet, making it difficult to dress myself. Hubs had a military crew cut, and used one towel, which he reused several times before chucking it in the hamper. I guess he learned it in basic training. I guess I was used to having my own washer and dryer at my disposal. We now were moved into an apartment where there was a small laundry room-downstairs. It took quarters. I didn't have a job or a car. It was a long day.

After returning from the Laundromat- across town, I burnt dinner and later cried myself to sleep. I was an emotional wreck, having been taught the ins and outs of towel behavior from a man-child that was as culture shocked as I was at living with another human being for the first time. Plus I moved clear across the US and was missing home fiercely. 

I knew my husband loved me. In all his colorblind glory he rented us an apartment before my arrival, thinking it was brown carpet, brown furniture. Turns out, green is the new brown. It was a furnished apartment and sometimes now I secretly would love to have that little space with zero junk to clean.  Having such a tight space meant sharing that space with a BOY, all the time. The kitchen, bathroom, living room, TV, bedroom. AHEM. 
I had to share a bedroom with a boy.  

Let me just set the record straight- I was already preggers with firstborn (who broke his mothers heart)- remember him? So it is not like I was completely unaware of my husband, his body or his presence. However- I was sleeping in the same bed with him. We had nightstands- plural. We were sharing a giant closet. Every time I moved, there he was. I had to share everything. 

Morning breath.
Dirty clothes.
Laundry issues.
Decorating.
Blankets.
Snackfoods.

It soon led to all sorts of other things I didn't know were a possibility. Like helping to match hubs clothing- colorblind hubs. I never (OK maybe once) let him leave with a brown sock and a green sock. I made sure his shirts were actually his, and not mine for lack of paying attention. I had to tell him that I did not care if my underwear were folded, nor my socks mated, and that my two bras were supposed to have a wire in them.

I had to teach him what the bathroom fan was for, and I had to learn not to use all the hot water shaving my legs before the shower. That was a hard lesson. Our personal space was completely disrupted. He didn't really get all my hair and face stuff, and I couldn't understand why he didn't want to keep anything. Our phone bill was really high-no cell service in 1992. And the time zone was taking some getting used to. 

We had to find a grocery store, then make sure I could get there and back without getting lost. We had to learn how to take advantage of all the "base" things. The commissary, Laundromat, hair salon and medical services.  We had to learn all the basics of living like grown ups. 

The perks were incredible- movies and ice cream whenever we wanted- if we could afford it. No one telling me not to watch talk shows, soap operas or rented movies. No one to tell hubs he couldn't smoke, stay up all night, or go without a shirt.  Yep. We were a little bit rebellious. But it only lasted a month, our rebellion. We had to save up for baby stuff. We were living in Washington State- a far cry from Ohio. I had no friends. I had zero family. I was alone a lot while hubs reported for duty. I cannot believe we survived.

The baby came- sweet thing. Mom was there for a week, then we were on our own.

No one told me how long it took for the "baby delivery area" to heal. Yikes. No one ever said " hey your boobs are going to leak every time a baby cries so better get something to take care of that". Nope. No one ever said motherhood was glamorous, but they also didn't mention the countless nights awake, the contacts that didn't fit my eyes anymore or the fact that I was crying at the drop of a hat- literally because every single noise unnerved me and made me cry. I didn't get a warning about possible jaundice- he was. I didn't get a warning about gestational diabetes and the aftermath- I had it. No one told me this pregnancy and delivery were an all out war on my body and I had better get used to finding out things I didn't want to know afterwards. And the things I didn't want to see.

Skip to my poor hubs. He handled childbirth like a champ. Go figure. He was elated. He was helpful, supportive and all around an awesome guy. When I wasn't telling him what he did wrong or what he should have done instead. I give him full credit for not killing me in a moment of agony- I probably deserved to be locked into a well padded room for a few days. He just got up, went to work, came home. It was then I knew he was for sure a keeper. Anyone who could watch what he just watched and still want to "get jiggy with it" a few weeks later had to be worth something.

Starting out with all the crazy things we had to learn was such a lesson for me- prepare your children. Show them what to do and how to do it. I mean , seriously prepare them. Make a check list. Go over it thoroughly. Email to them. Text an update. Instagram a picture. Facebook it people. I am pretty sure there is nothing that can truly prepare us for marraige and living with the opposite sex in such a raw way. However, a few heads up wouldn't hurt, right? 

When our daughter Cinderella got married, she moved into a small apartment with her husband. It was such a sense of Deja'vu when I heard them arguing over couch space. I was cracking up. I knew after a while that she was doing good, because she thanked me for doing all the crazy things I did for her and her brothers when they were kids. Preparing them for adulthood seems like such a task, and I often feel like I have failed in many areas. But I did teach them to pick their battles carefully, because the person you fight with in the morning may have control over the hot water in the evening- or worse- the remote control.