Where Were We?

So the other night I was loading the dishwasher and squirting the soap thingy full of the Earth-friendly stuff that also seems to be crud-friendly as well. I’m not sure if the soap that actually cleans the dishes is bad for the Earth, or whether the stuff that says “good for the Earth” actually is, but I’m not in the decision loop for purchasing dishwasher soap. That’s my wife’s job. But I must admit I have a just a tad of resentment toward the Earth-friendly stuff that doesn’t actually clean the dishes. Actually, it’s more than a tad more than a tad.

Anyway. I was loading the soap thingy and the bottle was empty when I finished. So I threw it in the trash, then dumped the morning’s coffee grounds on top of it. And it was in that moment that I realized just exactly how much of an asshole I can be. And in the next moment I decided I didn’t want to be that asshole, so I took the bottle out of the trash, wiped off the coffee grounds, rinsed it out and put it in the recycling bin where my wife would prefer it to be. It might have been the most grown up thing I’ve ever done.

The next morning I climbed in the shower and the usual cascade of shampoo bottles got knocked off the bathmat side and into the tub. Why we need so many varieties of shampoo and conditioner is beyond me (says the guy whose hair is rarely over an inch long anymore). Why anyone would put them on the side where the shower curtain inevitably knocks them into the tub is also beyond me. And then, suddenly, it wasn’t. I think they were there because the night before my wife was helping my eight-year-old son wash his shoulder-length hair. It was probably easier to put them on the mat side than reach across him and the tub’s expanse to put them on the other side. So, instead of leaving them to ooze (the caps also never get closed) in the bottom of the tub like I usually do, I put them on the wall side ledge where they wouldn’t get toppled by the curtain. But, regardless of the motivation to put them on the mat side, I decided that it would just be nicer to put them where they belong than leave them in the tub.

I don’t know what’s come over me. I’m acting like a grownup. Or maybe I’ve stopped acting like a grownup and I’m actually being one. I don’t hate my wife (I always put the toilet seat down!), despite the behavior I just described. I’ve just been naturally spiteful for a lot of my life and feel most comfortable being passively aggressive with those closest to me. What amazes me lately is how easy it is to not be that way.

After my shower I went to work and had a brainstorm. My wife and I are short on two precious commodities: regular exercise and time alone with each other. It dawned on me that we might be able to make time in the morning for a 30-minute walk together, so I sent her an email suggesting it. Those of you who know my athletic history might understand why I would dismiss something as pedestrian as a walk in my understanding of exercise. I mean, it’s not a 200-mile mountain bike race on the Iditarod sled dog trail or 250 road bike kilometers over ancient Roman cobblestones–how could it be exercise? But the truth is most days go by at my desk at the “nothing” end of the all-or-nothing spectrum of what I would consider proper exercise. That’s just dumb.

By accepting my invitation, my wife gave me an excuse to get out and get moving at some minimal level for 30 minutes. We’ve gotten out two days in a row and have plans for tomorrow morning as well. She’s been able to unload her anxious thoughts (she’s a major-league flaming sword juggler and multi-tasker for our family) and we’ve sorted through some decisions and just basically been there for each other while doing what many health professionals consider a pretty good way to keep our cardiovascular system in proper order. It seems like an excellent recipe for resentment prevention. Also, we’re pretty unlikely to try and compete with each other on a walk. Cycling, skiing, or tennis would be very different experiences. We aren’t entirely baggage-free.

So she still goes off to tennis matches and I’ve rolled up enough loose change to afford a season’s pass for mountain bike downhilling at Killington, just in case you fear we’re becoming Ozzie and Harriet. I spent last Sunday with JD, Flow, and D-Bass, dressed in carbon and lexan from ankles to head, hurtling down trails at upwards of 45mph while a steady stream of happy juice pumped into my brain. It’s a beautiful thing.

And she says I can just put the uncleaned dishes I unload from the dishwasher in the sink and she’ll touch them up and put them away. That beats the alternative by a long shot. There’s no need to ruin a 20-year marriage because I’m pissed about soap brands—or shampoo placement for that matter. I could get used to this.

4 Responses to “Where Were We?”

  1. El Torino Says:


    Thanks for returning. Funny how the minor things of life can flare up. Keep the faith and maintain any riding time possible. Today I hopped on my single speed mountain bike and rode down a rails to trails trail to a regional tourist trap (Old Ochard Beach) and back. My lungs and legs needed the rush.

    Keep the faith.

    El Torino

  2. Jon Bliss Says:

    It seems to me that as a metaphore, soap’s a good one.
    I mean, where would we be without it? Cold, dark, and dirty, say I.
    If you can keep soap soapy, then civilization as we know it is safe.
    And if a marriage is based on nothing more then putting things back
    where you found them–and a good 30 minute walk–then it’s all good.
    Have fun on the bike….

  3. Boris Says:

    Add 8 and seven,….hmmm,…is this a trick?
    I’m chust checking on you, Carlos. How’s the leg, knee, ankle or whatever you killed at Killingaton?
    Tell Luke and Rory that Wooly (aka the prince of fur) has been asking about them. He is ever-grateful for Luke’s sharp eye for talent and absolutely loves living in our kitchen. Will send peectures soon.
    Ever since Tom Kellog sent it for a bbectomy, my Merlin is keeping from getting old. Walk on comrade.


    P.S. I’m thinking of shooting a blue bike on a blue background again. Is it safe?

  4. Aunt Lawlie Says:

    I guess I’m going to have to use some snail mail to connect with my busy nephews. I’m tempted to join some of Emily’s facebook clubs but I’m hung up happily in Farmville thanks to Rory! So now I understand why I held down the campsite while you all took a walk. Not that I thought a walk with your lovely wife was weird. That vacation was one of the best things to happen in my first year of retirement. Except for the fact I was hauled off in the ambulance last Sunday, I think my health has improved greatly since I quit work. So I’m more than ready to be poor and start over. Seems in the end I don’t really care about any of the “stuff”. Has no use, no meaning and no joy. Give me a tent, sun and a beach (-:

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