love and relationships


From a certain point of view, I haven’t much actual marriage experience. In fact, I am still years away from having spent more of my adult life paired than single. So in some ways, my basis for comparison and analysis is short on actual “seat time” and what I know as “normal” can’t necessarily be taken as gospel. There are those who have spent more time in the so-called trenches than I have, but I have to say, I have yet to find marriage trench-like.

Is it typical to still lust after your husband five years on? I found myself wondering that for the umpteenth time the other evening.

“There is an awful lot of gropage that goes on around this house,” Rob remarked as we exchanged send-off affections at the back door this morning.

Rarely to if ever do we arrive or depart solo without excessive lip servicing and declarations of love and perhaps this is normal for the time frame. Having never made it past a sixth anniversary, I wouldn’t know personally. But I don’t see this in other couples and wonder if perhaps it is just me. Or just our circumstances? Or maybe evidence that too many people in the world take far too much for granted and no wonder there are as many failed marriages as there are successes.

Five years ago, Rob and I stood on the banks of the Athabasca River and exchanged vows, rings and kisses. Papers were signed. Pictures were taken. Food and drink was consumed. It seems like yesterday and history at the same time.

The card I left next to his steaming tea-cup this morning broke cardinal rules of relationship comparison and favoritism, but it brought a smile to his face and kisses and hugs to me, so who cares? Now is what counts because it’s the basis for tomorrow.

We will celebrate with lunch at the elementary school because it’s the last week of school and they always hold a family picnic, and then follow-up this evening with attendance at the last game of the outdoor soccer season. With our latest babysitter having outgrown the job, we couldn’t have scheduled a date even if the schedule was cleared anyway.

Rob bought me a new watch, a stylish but comfy pair of leather sandals and a couple of summer outfits I found at MEC this last weekend. I gave him a kick-ass miter saw. I am pretty sure that year five is marked with accessories and tools.

The search terms here have been lit up again with sad queries concerning widowed love or the lack of it. Despite my limited experience, the advice I have remains the same: disregard the dead spouse thing. It’s not central to the issue. Someone loves you and is interested in building a life with you or they simply aren’t. Why is beside the main point. If you don’t feel loved, do yourself the giant favor of taking steps to make yourself available for someone who is ready, willing and able to love.

Yesterday as I drove back to The Fort from yoga class, I noted that the fields are yellowing. Solstice has passed. Canada Day looms. The bonus months between school ending and starting up again, which as a former teacher is really the only way I know of marking time, awaits.

And it’s our anniversary. Not officially a stat day, but nearly enough.


Striped skunk, Mephitis mephitis

Striped skunk, Mephitis mephitis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I am already snuggled up in bed, heating pad on my low back and ice pack around my neck. It’s been a tough week of Yoga Challenge and semi-ear infections. Suddenly, I hear Rob on the main floor,

“Annie! mumble, muffle, completely unintelligible!”

Responding to the urgency of his tone, I call back,

“What?”

What? I was in bed! Covered, comfy, wrapped in heat and ice. His call wasn’t followed by a thud, so I could reasonably assume he hadn’t collapsed and it was highly unlikely that any of the mainly septuagenarian crowd at the hamlet’s annual chicken supper had gone wild and stormed our back porch in an ice tea induced frenzy.

However, he didn’t reply, so I uncomfied myself, put on my robe and headed downstairs where I found him with his toothbrush in his mouth (which explained the muffle), peering out the bathroom window into our backyard.

“What’s wrong?” I inquired, thinking that this had better be earth shattering enough to have pulled me out of bed.

“I saw the skunk,” he said. “It was walking toward the shed but disappeared as it got close to the retaining wall.”

Okay, this was news.

Our neighbors discovered a skunk den under their shed, which borders our property, last spring. Mama Skunk and a half-dozen wee ones. They filled the hole and attempted to block it off with plywood and concrete blocks. We all thought the matter resolved. However, one of the skunks returned when the rains came this year and dug out the old den. Last weekend, Rob and I woke in the middle of the night to find our entire house awash in eau de skunk.

All the windows were open and the malodorous creature had gone off either in our back yard or the side yard under our bedroom window.

You know how strong odors eventually fatigue your sense of smell, so even though the smell remains your sense of it collapses under the strain and it seems as though the scent is gone? That doesn’t happen with skunk. Just when you think your poor nose is about to give up, and you are darn grateful for Mother Nature’s thoughtful gift of olfactory fatigue – it ramps up again. And again. And again. It’s like a skunk is right there next to you, stiff-tailed and spraying.

Ever since, we’ve been on the look out because Pepe LePew is not keeping to the neighbor’s yard.

As I am peering out the window, I realize that Rob has disappeared, followed by the sound of the back door opening and closing and footfall on the deck.

I hustled up the stairs to the landing window and observed my brave skunk hunter, armed with a pellet gun, stealthily stalking his prey through our back yard, clad only in a bath towel and runners.

No, it’s okay. The neighbors have seen him in a towel before and given the fact that even though it’s 9:30 our quite northern exposure means that the sun won’t be setting for at least another hour. Excellent light for skunk spying and getting a great view of your neighbor, brandishing what looks like an actual gun, wearing a towel and exposing a titillating amount of thigh.

I must say that I admire my husband’s casual attitude and the feline ease with which he hunts. If I hadn’t been so intent on spotting the smelly intruder, I might have had presence of mind to grab my phone and record the event. It’s not something you see everyday … in most neighborhoods.

Rob slowly covered ground. The garden. The driveway. The shed area. He even got up on tip-toe and checked out the neighbor’s yard. As he did this, I kept an eye out for Monsieur Skunk. I had no idea where I find tomato juice at this time of the night and didn’t want the creature to sneak up on Rob.

Later, when I told Rob my sole concern was what I would do if he got sprayed, he replied,

“Do you think I don’t know what signs to look for before a skunk sprays?”

It was the tone of a Mountain Man aggrieved.

“And thanks for being concerned about my actual safety,” he said. “Skunks can carry rabies, you know.”

I didn’t know that, and now I have that extra tidbit to make me paranoid about allowing Dee to play unattended in our back yard until the skunk is caught and relocated.

It will have to be trapped and removed. Rabies. Stink. The prospect of a summer of tomato juice baths. I am shuddering already. Back in Canada’s lawless un-gun-controlled days, a man would simply take aim and fire. End of skunk issue. Today the county brings traps and comes back to pick them up when said nuisance wanders into one. I can’t even begin to imagine how foul an experience for the neighborhood that will be.

Better that, however, than my semi-naked husband losing his terry loin cloth in a spray of stench. The neighborhood might recover from that less quickly.


Affectionate old couple with the wife holding ...

Elderly love(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You know for a certainty that you are indeed old when young women begin to refer to you and your husband as “so cute”. As in “Today I saw this old couple walking through the park holding hands. They were so cute. Someday, I hope I am an old woman who still holds hands with her husband.” The assumption being that the elderly couple in question are actually with their spouse and aren’t widowed folk who’ve randomly hooked up at the retirement complex for entertainment and recreation purposes.

But whatever. Far be it from me to disillusion a young person who still believes in marriage. It’s not as if they exist in droves anymore.

Rob accompanied me to the doctor’s office yesterday morning. I have a pesky polyp and removal involves a certain amount of slicing and frying. My doctor, a lively old fella who resembles a garden gnome – minus the hat and fluffy whiskers – assured me that I would not feel a thing. Not exactly true and Rob was concerned that I might be too distracted to drive myself home safely.

He also hates to allow me to go to the doctor’s on my own where skin things are concerned. This particular problem has been recurrent and benign, but being a fair-haired natural ginger (the latter part only when I feel like it), one can never be complacent where skin is concerned. I’ve had skin enough slashed and burned off to know that the derma can turn on you without warning. He doesn’t want me to be on my own should that happen because he lived the aftermath once before and it isn’t something you do again when you can easily prevent it.

So, we are sitting in the waiting area, chatting and holding hands, when the assistant came out to collect me. Before I followed her, I gave him a quick kiss and then proceeded down the hall to one of the many treatment rooms in the hive that hides behind the waiting room door.

As I seated myself, she smiled at me and said, “You two are just like newlyweds. That’s so cute.”

She left the “I hope I can have that one day” part unspoken, but it hung in the air nevertheless.

Cute.

I am now so old that young women find my perfectly normal interactions with my husband “cute”. “Sweet” and “endearing” cannot be far behind, and gods help me when “you guys remind me of my nana and papa” tumbles off someone’s lips.

There are worse things. Mocking. Remember the YouTube video of the couple trying to figure out how to send a message with their Mac? Cute and hilarious.

Endearing and snuggly in a puppy/kitten sort of way and chuckle-worthy at the same time. The ultimate elderly hell.

Oh, I could view it as Rob and I being inspirational. That’s how the young woman will likely present the scenario to her friends as they gather around at some pub on Whyte Ave. They will breathe sighs of relief knowing that old people still held hands and kissed, which probably means they still have sex. The fear of romance-less unions once the honeymoon is over and a few offspring  pop up being a big nightmare scenario for the young. That and the shackles of matrimony. That archaic hold over from feudal days of yore. Good to know that some of us bet the odds and don’t arrive at the half-way mark grim-faced for our slog towards decrepitude and certain death.

Of course, I didn’t tear the dear thing’s fantasy to shreds by enlightening her about the fact that, from a certain point of view, Rob and I still are newlyweds. Barely married five years and blessed with the luxury of not having to raise a single child from scratch as they were all in various stages of walking, talking and able to attend to their own bodily functions. Kinder to let her believe that Rob and I represent some undiscovered by statistician’s norm. That unicorn of couples – cute, aging and still still glowing.