In the Field with: My Husband

I am an explorer. I am Jane Goodall. For twelve years I have lived side-by-side with a strange and foreign creature. I have immersed myself in the daily life of this creature so that I am able to fully understand the creature's similarities and differences. It's been a hard experiment and some days I've wanted to give up. I've found living with the creature to be stressful at times, maybe even dangerous, in certain situations. My weakest moments have been when I've found that I'm acting more like the creature than myself. Then, I go organize something, throw a ton of stuff away, and do some serious labeling, and I know the real me is still there.

Emotionally, Andy and I are night and day. There's a reason for the success of Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus. I'm most certain that Andy is from another planet. Often, he speaks another language, and his inability to understand most of what I'm saying is no doubt an indication that he does not speak mine. After more than a decade together, there's still so much about him that I just don't get. For example:

Why is he OCD about vacuuming and doing the dishes but he never puts any of the laundry away?

Why does he have no concept of time and is, therefore, always late?

How can he sleep sitting up? Or sleep for 4 hours and function normally the next day?

How does he find anything, ever?

Why can't he throw anything away?

Why does he go through a stick of deodorant a week?

These are just a few of my anthropological questions based on observation of time with the mysterious creature, whom I have fondly nicknamed, My Husband. In an effort to answer some of these questions, I've been doing a more in depth analysis of the creature and have decided to tackle one question at a time. The first question I have decided upon is "Why does he have no concept of time and is, therefore, always late?" and I have a hypothesis. At first I assumed it was because he was regularly sucked into a black hole, but I now have another theory. My conjecture is that Andy is always late because a)he attempts to multitask and does so poorly and b) nobody has ever called him on his tardiness (well, I know of 2 times, one personal and one professional. A note to the wise, don't ever be late to visit a career military relative.) I pulled out my journal and pen and started making notes to see if I could confirm my hypothesis. Like a scientist in the mist, out in the field, going where no one has gone before in the name of humanity, this is what I found.

One night, Andy tells me he needs to leave at 6:30am sharp the next morning. He gets up at 6:15. He lets the dog out and lays back down on the couch. The dog barks at 6:20 and he jumps up. He then checks email on the lap top, email on the cell phone, and scrolls through CNN on the ipad. At 6:30 he feeds the cats. At 6:35 he goes to the bathroom (observation stops here for a bit....I can only do so much in the name of mankind.) At 6:45 he takes a shower. At 6:55 he is in his underwear, on his knees, writing an email. At 6:55 he takes a phone call. At 6:57 he asks me a series of annoying questions about things I told him about last night and thought he was listening to but apparently, he wasn't. At 7:05 I think he has left but he is wandering around the garage looking through the bags I've prepared for donation. At 7:15 he rolls out of the driveway. At 7:16 he calls me and asks me what time I plan to be home from my run that night because he has a lot to do.

One night, Andy tells me he has an 8 am meeting. I go to the gym and race home at 7:45, worried that I'm making him late for his meeting (I know, you'd think I'd learn!) I walk in and Andy is checking email. At 7:46 he gets in the shower. At 7:55 he is dressed. I remind him that his meeting is at 8 and he says, "What, it's 7:56, I have time!" At 7:57 I tell him his outfit clashes. At 8 am he shuffles papers around in the office. At 8:05 I remind him that he has an 8 o'clock meeting. At 8:08 he asks me if I have receipts for him to enter into Quicken. At 8:09 I yell at him to get out of the house. He leaves at 8:10.

I plan a family day, aka, Andy spends forced time with me and the girls. Andy tells me the night before that he has a "quick errand to run at 8:30 in the morning and I'll be home by 9:15. Please get the girls ready so we can leave right away." Andy leaves that morning at 8:40. I scramble to pull the girls away from the ipads (which is hard to do when they somehow suction cup themselves to the devices) and get them dressed and ready. They are dressed, combed, brushed, and the day bag is packed by 9:10. 9:15 rolls around. 9:30, 9:45, 10:15 arrives. The girls are crazy animals, eager to leave for our day and have now pulled out all the toys I'd organized the day before and Char has colored on the bathroom door. At 10:20, I text Andy to ask his whereabouts. At 10:32, we leave for the playground. At 10:40 Andy calls me, "Where are you guys?" I ask him if he knows the time and he gives me a series of stories, which I call excuses, as to why he is over an hour late. The excuses are as follows, with my comment following: I left the house late. (Not my fault.) There was a line at the bank. (out the door? Don't confuse this with the ladies' bathroom at a concert.) One of my tenants stopped to tell me that every other day at 2pm she notices a drop of water in her kitchen. (Who cares? Why don't you take care of that weird poop smell in our house every time we run the washer and dryer?) I thought only 45 minutes had passed. (Do you have a cell phone with a clock?)

After sifting through my journal of observations, I feel strongly that my hypothesis is accurate. Andy is the kind of bad multitasking and also, he has an addiction to technology. I'm still working on the other half, however. Is there anyone, other than me, who gives him a hard time for being late all of the time? I'd like to conduct a survey. That'll be the next step in my study.

Well, my life in the field continues on. It appears that I've received a grant-for life-to study the one who was once known as a mysterious creature, and after time has become a part of my beloved family.What's next for me you ask? There's still a lot to know. My next study is likely to be either determining how My Husband can live off of beer and chicken nuggets or doing an in-depth analysis of his hoarding patterns.

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