If I don't start my holiday shopping soon, I'm going to be making a midnight run to Walgreen's again this year ("A Chia Snuggie? You shouldn't have!"). So, I asked my good friend Sue to blog-sit for me while I do some last-minute gift-grabbing.
So, a while back when Jack invited me to write a guest post I answered with a very fast Sure! What would you like? He said he wasn’t picky; he just wanted the best piece of writing I’d ever produced. Um, no pressure, right?
Needless to say it’s taken a while for me to give Jack this post.
Over at my place I have been telling the story of how my husband (I call him Trophy Husband) and I got engaged. It involved a few bodily functions and doesn’t come off making me look all that great (because they are MY bodily functions). But it makes my husband look like a bit of a hero, which always improves relations, if you know what I mean. Wink.
And Jack kind of liked it, too. So I thought I’d tell another Trophy Husband story. But this time I’m choosing one where he looks more like a regular joe and I don’t end up seeming like a total boob. I asked my hub if he’d mind, and he said he didn’t, even though he’d like me to mention that he prefers the ones where I do, in fact, look like a boob. He also likes just looking at boobs. So, the fact that I often do things that make me look silly and am also in possession of a pretty nice rack works in our favor most of the time.
But I digress.
Even though we have a great engagement story, we’re really just like any other couple that has been married nine years. We’ve had ups and downs. We don’t fight a lot, mostly because when we do, he stops talking (infuriating!) and I start throwing around the Why Can’t You Evers and the I’m So Sick Ofs, and new to my repertoire since our move to North Carolina, the You Promised Mes.
It’s not pretty. So we really try to keep it to a minimum, which isn’t usually that hard considering he’s the master of conflict avoidance and I’m a pretty decent biter of the tongue. Mine, that is. And we mostly just make each other laugh and are good friends. Besties, if you will.
Those things that make us fight are pretty much the same now as they ever were. I’ve talked a bit about what they boil down to for him. But I haven’t said much about what they are for me. Anyone interested?
Trophy Husband is kind of a peg in a hole kind of guy. When faced with a decision, he chooses his solution, and whether or not it’s a good fit, once that decision is made that’s the one you get. He crosses it off of his mental list, and moves on to the next thing. He decided one time years ago that he would love me forever. Check. He decided one time that the best way to help our anxiety-prone son learn to calm down is by telling him to relax. Check. He decided one time that the way he will get me in the mood for Business Time is by groping my bazooms and raising his eyebrows. Check. I like to think it’s because he spends every second of his career problem solving, planning, predicting, and managing, so those skills are just all used up by the time he gets home. I try not to get upset about it. And I try to pick up that slack.
I’m the one that, when faced with a situation, figures out the BEST way to handle it. I read the books or hit The Google or talk to my friends, and I figure out solutions. And I revisit and tweak and analyze and if at first I don’t succeed, or even if I do, I keep at it. Improving. Streamlining. Checking the fit.
Anyone see where this is heading?
Like me, Trophy Husband has the fat gene, along with an appetite for crappy processed food, beer, and a desire to lead relatively sedentary lifestyle. So my journey from Fatass to Fabulous includes him, though he’d like it noted that he’d never use the word fabulous. Like, ever. And because I’m slugging it out all the time in this battle of the bulge, he’s slugging it out, too, by default.
I choose the plan, create the recipes, weigh the food, and count the calories. I set the alarm early so we can exercise together, because his work days are long and our evenings are loud and kid-crazy. I keep the crap out of the house and make sure we have plenty of healthy snacks around because he is a snacker and I don’t think I’ll ever change that. I spend a lot of time combing books and blogs for new recipes, because he doesn’t like to eat the same things over and over.
And I do these things partly because I want to change my own body and lifestyle, and partly because it’s my job as the stay-at-home-mom and keeper of the household, and I have always been an over-achiever in terms of my work.
But I also do this because if I didn’t, he wouldn’t either. Because he decided once what GOOD FOOD is, and it’s the stuff of his childhood. Stuff from boxes and cans and drive-thru windows.
That’s a fundamental difference between the two of us, not just in terms of weight loss, but most things. I’m the do-er and he’s the do-ee. So what happens when the do-er loses her inspiration or gets burned out or even wants to just take a night off? Well, in our household, it involves eating things like Tater Tot Casserole and Hamburger Helper. Which, as both a foodie and a weight watcher, makes me cringe from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet.
And if I am to be totally honest, it makes me angry. It makes me angry because we both have a weight problem. But somehow I became the Designated Dieter. The Chief of Motivation, Information, and Execution. The one that’s got to figure out how to lose my extra pounds AND his.
It makes me angry that, when he has a moment of weakness and just wants to pick up a six pack and some Chinese, he has me here saying no, making a healthy meal, and keeping us on track. But when I have a weak moment, I end up drinking a few Stellas and eating Pork Foo Yung.
It makes me angry that when he doesn’t feel like getting up to work out, he has me to nudge him out of bed and get him going. But when I don’t feel like getting up to work out I get an extra hour of sleep.
I get angry that he considers a membership at the Y a frivolous expense. I get angry that when I ask him to do the grocery shopping for the week, he sees it as an opportunity to get Good Food – not only the aforementioned Taters and Helpers, but also the chips and the cookie cereal and the things that his mom used to feed him. Grrr.
I get angry that he says we’re doing this together, but I’m doing the doing, and he’s doing the halfhearted follow. I feel pressured to get it right all the time, guilty when I don’t, and resentful that he doesn’t give me the support that I give him.
And I wonder from time to time why it’s so important to me. I mean, he’s already decided to love me forever, so who cares if I’m squishy and lethargic? I mean, right?
Trophy Husband feels invincible in terms of his health. He’s no longer big enough that he considers his weight to be a threat to himself, and he views these last 40 pounds mostly as a matter of vanity. He fits in his clothes, can shop in regular stores, doesn’t get too stressed about taking his shirt off at the beach, and can still dominate a game of basketball in the driveway with the neighborhood kids. And even though his (morbidly obese) best friend died two years ago of heart disease, he just doesn’t see that as something that could ever happen to him.
And it won’t, I suppose, as long as he’s got me. Because I have decided to keep our food clean and the alarm set for waytooearly o’clock and I keep on slugging. But I’m afraid to consider what would happen if I said I quit, I’m not doing this anymore.
So I don’t go there. It’s better if I don’t.
I guess this isn’t as funny as my Three Bodily Functions and an Engagement Ring stories, but it’s just as true. And I’m interested to hear what you, Jack’s loyal readers, have to say about your own divisions of labor with your partners in this journey. Because I’ll bet I’m not the only one who is challenged in this area, or the only one that’s feeling a bit worn out from carrying around the extra weight.