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Weather Check

Yesterday marked one-month since we arrived in Los Angeles and started living with my parents. One month with all of our belongings in boxes in their garage. One month of shared dinners and shared errands and shared Sundays. One month of little dogs with muddy feet on white linen slacks, one month of cats leaping from dark bookcase corners.

My parents are incredibly gracious. They even seem to enjoy having us here, and thank goodness, because being able to land here, with them, to have a home base while we gather ourselves together and get ready to move on to the next phase in our life has been invaluable. And wonderful.

Friends keep asking how the apartment hunt is going, but we haven’t even started looking. For one thing, I’ve been too busy at work to do anything else, and as long as Mike is still looking for an apartment manager job, why should we sign a lease? In the meantime we’re enjoying the shared dinners and shared errands and shared Sundays. Mike’s been wonderful about chipping in with chores and cooking, and I’m trying too. The dogs are enjoying the backyard and the cats are taking full advantage of sharing a room with us. They spend their nights tracing our faces with their whiskers, leaping back and forth from our bellies to our pillows and back again.

I’m sure it’s not easy for my parents to share their home with another family, especially one that consists of so many animals. But every time I ask them if we’re driving them crazy yet, they just laugh and insist that Mike’s cooking is worth it. And honestly? I’m a little surprised at how easy it’s been for Mike and me to adjust to sharing our life with another family. Granted the other family is our family too, but I was a little worried that we wouldn’t have enough privacy, or we’d impede on their privacy, or Theo would pee all over the garden furniture and drive my mother nuts, but so far it’s been fine.

Mike and I started running in the mornings, and since he started a part-time job our run has become our one chance to touch base during the day. He’s working nights, I’m working days, so it’s morning runs or nuthin’. As close as we are, it’s become really important for us to have the opportunity, every day, to clue each other in as to how we’re feeling, what’s going on, and where our heads are at. I’ve found that when we miss that hour alone together too many days in a row, I end up feeling disconnected, insecure, and uneasy. Then when we  run we get awkward. We trot side by side, talking small about the weather, our plans for the day. But by the end, sweaty and out of breath, we’re excited and talking about our future, the fixer-upper we hope to buy, the trip to Nepal, the degree Mike will earn, the family we hope to begin.

Do a “weather” check during the day Call your partner at home or at work to see how his or her day is going. This is a great way to adjust expectations so that you’re more in sync when you connect after work. For instance, if your partner is having an awful day, it might be unreasonable to expect him or her to be enthusiastic about something good that happened to you. — From 10 Tips for Happy Couples, by Dr. Mark Goulston.

Mike’s working in a restaurant, so calling him at work is out of the question. And I really don’t feel comfortable taking personal calls while I’m working, because they distract me too much. But the idea is what’s important, and for us, the hour of running is what is keeping us in tune. So what about you? What do you do to stay connected to your partner? Do you have a weekly date night? Do you share a daily meal? How do you manage sharing a life with opposite schedules?


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  • Kim

    Holy moly, you’ve been here for a MONTH already? When did THAT happen? My goodness. I’m glad things are going so well, and that you are having good family times – I’m that kind of happy where I just want to give you a big hug, ya know?

    We are working on the staying connected thing. He needs “decompression” time when he comes home from work, whereas I just want to hug him and start talking to him the minute I walk in the door. We’re working on me giving him time to decompress, and him not needing hours and hours of time (because there are only so many hours between coming home and going to bed). We usually eat dinner in front of the TV, which, even though we’re not talking, is somehow a little way we connect. Shared experience or something, I don’t know. Sometimes we eat at the table and talk, sometimes we talk while we watch TV. We’re still working out the time/space compromises (sharing a new space, balancing his desire to read silently about sports with my desire to talktalktalk), but we’re getting there.

    • Frost

      I think that is so cool. That is really good for me to hear, because I sometimes feel like we’re the only couple in the wold who have to work on figuring things out. Which I know is ridiculous. All relationships need attention and maintenance. I’m really impressed that you can each express your needs, then explore a compromise so that over the course of the evening you each get what you need to feel loved and taken care of. It’s a testament to your own individual consciousness’. I don’t know if “consciousness'” can be plural. I’m also uncomfortable by how new-agey I sound. But whatever. Now I’m the one who feels the kind of happy where I just want to give you a big hug.

      • Kim

        Sorry, somehow I missed your reply. Must’ve forgotten to check the “notify me” button that I begged you to add for so long!

        And gosh, you are not the only couple working on figuring things out. I like what you said, and I wanted to add (remind?) that we are always still working on it. Relationships are not static, and sometimes the same tearful argument happens over and over, as you resolve little bits of it each time.

        xoxo

        • Frost

          Amen, sister. Amen.