Bedtime, Marriage, and Process Improvement

I’d had it with Mike yesterday when I saw the bowl of cheese tortolini marinara still sitting on Ax’s living room picnic blanket from the night before. I’d gone out to dinner with some ladies and when I came home Mike and Ax were headed to bed and the three of us proceeded to get on that bedtime train. So I didn’t do my usual pre-bed living room check, the kitchen check, the normal stuff. I suppose I assumed that part of Mike’s taking on the evening included making sure no rotting food was left out overnight. And you know what they say about assumptions. So this morning when I saw the pasta I considered letting it go. In fact I think I did simply pick up the bowl and put it in the kitchen.  At first.

But then I thought, “Is that the right move here? Do I just not say anything and be grateful my husband watched Ax for a few hours?” And then I thought, “Fuck no. It’s reasonable to expect him to clear the dishes if he’s doing evening and he wants to do a good job so I have to tell him, I suppose, even though I’d prefer not to tell him.”

And so I said, “Darling one, next time you’re putting Ax to bed could you please make sure his dinner is cleared so I don’t wake up to rotting dinner food in the morning?” But what he heard was, “You stupid fuckwit! I’ll leave you if you don’t shape up ASAP! How could you do something so stupid, stupid, stupid!?!” And the conversation sort of proceeded from there, with both of us feeling troubled and weird.

I will not be one of those wives who lets her man off the housecleaning hook because it’s easier to do it oneself, short term. Mike said, “It seems like there’s a lot to remember for bedtime, maybe we need a checklist.” I said, “Really.” but with that wife voice that is full of disdain and disappointment. Like, “Really, you need a frigging checklist to remind you to not leave rotting food in the living room overnight? Seriously?” Please. But you know, maybe he does. Who am I to say he doesn’t.

And I am grateful. I am grateful for who he is and all he does. I am grateful to have an amazing partner who loves me and wants to be a good partner to me and a good father to our child and is that, all of the time, even when he leaves rotting food out overnight. Even when he leaves the toilet seat up and insists on keeping the world’s ugliest rocker recliner in the living room. He’s amazing. We’re amazing. But of course, things could always get even better. There are opportunities for improvement even in the most stellar of situations. I’m gonna keep going.