Nearly two months of being under what feels like house arrest is bound to take its toll on relationships.
Have you quarreled today with your significant other about who left the fridge light on?
Are you self-isolating from other people’s self-isolation by locking yourself in the bedroom with a sign on the door that says “Keep out – this is for your own protection under order from Dr. Bonnie Henry?”
Let’s share a bit about how to get along in stressful times.
The DeMeers have been married almost 34 years.
One secret to the moderate success of our union can be summed up in five short words: “I told you that already.”
This simple phrase, regardless of whether or not it is actually true, forestalls conflict.
In particularly dicey situations, and recognizing the best defense is a good offense, it can be amended to: “I told you that already. You never listen when I talk.”
So how does this work on the ground?
Say you’ve made plans to go away for the weekend with friends.
Just you. You are going away and your partner has to work.
It’s the kind of conversation that requires timing, because the weekend will be somewhat expensive, you will not be home to feed the kids or walk the dog, and you will be having fun.
Go ahead and grab that sticky wicket across the dinner table if you must. However it’s more harmonious to start packing on Friday morning and when asked what you are doing feign surprise and reveal your plans.
“I told you that already.”
Sure it sounds a little, well, mean.
Mr. DeMeer, no doubt, sometimes worries he is experiencing the early onset of dementia.
But it gets the job done and in fairness it couldn’t possibly work if – overall – he listened when I talk.
Because this strategy relies on a lifetime of legitimate “I told you about…” the doctor’s appointment, the hockey tournament, the parent-teacher interview, the funny noise the car is making, your sister’s wedding, Christmas, the fourth child and so on.
It came in very handy just recently, in avoiding an argument about an online purchase which otherwise would have come under unreasonable scrutiny.
Before people jump up and down about the need to shop local and support local, especially in these difficult times, a local business is always my first choice.
If anyone knows of a store in Princeton that sells tiny pieces of rust from the Titanic, I’d be admired to hear about it.
Yeah, you read that correctly.
Two weeks ago I paid $218 for a shaving of rust salvaged from the Titanic, nearly two miles beneath the ocean’s surface, 400 nautical miles off the coast of Newfoundland.
It’s called a rusticle. Expecting it to arrive any day now. Hoping it’s coming by plane.
In anticipation of its delivery on the weekend, I casually mentioned how I just can’t wait to get my rust.
Naturally this created some confusion for Mr. DeMeer.
I ordered a piece of rust from the Titanic. I told you that already.
It wasn’t a complete falsehood either. I did, at one point, show him the item on E-Bay. When he remarked on the price, I pointed out the men in this family spend plenty of money on the rust in the driveway.
That discussion had all the potential to become its own little shipwreck.
Instead, I held my tongue, ordered my rust and there wasn’t a fight. We sail happily forward to forget the things I didn’t say another day.
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