Andrea Langworthy's column: For better or worse
My husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary last week. Twenty-five years.
Meteorologists warned people to stay off the roads because of blizzard conditions that day. We paid no attention. Still, in light of the weather, I wondered, “If rain doesn’t bode well for a bride and groom, what chance do we have?’
Those words came back to haunt me last Monday as I sat down to write my column. It was to be a treatise on our marriage, our undying love for each other. But the previous three days had been tense as we gathered information for the accountant who would prepare our taxes. Seventy-two hours and we were nowhere near finished.
Manila envelopes covered the dining room table. Each had a category written in the upper right corner: business, charity, medical, and so on. I still had to total the receipts piled atop each one, peruse my 2013 calendar and go through a year’s worth of checking account statements.
To better organize the process, last year at this time, we put three baskets in a closet — one for receipts, one for shredding, another for recycling. It was my husband’s job to put everything in its place. Daily.
Over the course of tax weekend, I discovered shredding and recycling items in the receipt tub. I glared at him. “Now, we’ll have to waste hours going through the other containers,” I said. He threw his hands in the air, did his well-practiced eye roll and spit out one word. “Fine.”
I won’t bore you with the details but a man who can’t decipher his own handwriting on a check, never uses the memo line and sheepishly walks into the room on Sunday night with a Starbuck’s bag stuffed with receipts from his car, wasn’t winning points with his wife of 24 years, 364 days.
The next morning, we were barely speaking. Our plan for dinner that night — salad and Margherita pizza from a nearby restaurant, wine and cheesecake, a movie — had lost its appeal. “I don’t want to celebrate tonight,” I said. “Let’s wait until tomorrow.” He nodded.
All morning, I stared at a blank Word document, trying to fashion an opening line for our love story. I wrote about my mother instead. In between sentences, I checked Facebook. My daughter had posted her congratulations early. Others filed suit. One friend said I should write a column about our anniversary. If she only knew, I thought.
Later that day, the pizza, wine and cheesecake beckoned me. “Should we go ahead, anyway?” I asked. He jumped at the suggestion; eager to escape the chill in the house, I’m sure.
Alone, I thought about how different we are. I like organization; everything in its place. He thinks socks of all colors can be thrown helter-skelter into one drawer and matched up as he needs them.
He believed golf was a religion. I took a lesson and dozed off. He thought a chicken dinner came frozen in a waxed box with a zip-strip opener. I disagreed.
I thought back to our wedding, recalled our vows and realized our “for worse” days were few compared to our better days. Days like the Wednesday he gave up his weekly golf league to join a marathon training class with me. The evenings he held my hand during healthy living symposiums. The night he smiled after his first taste of free-range chicken.
I picked up the phone. “Where are you?” I asked. “Just leaving the restaurant,” he answered.
“Hurry home,” I said. “I’m lonely. Are you?”