As glowing newlyweds, fresh off a cruise, we returned to his house to the bloody stench of dead rotten meat. It was powerless, the freezer in the utility shed. Long brown streaks that had been red were no longer streaming down its walls. If only it had taken our breath away, then we wouldn’t have been overwhelmed by the nose singeing smell.
As the new good wife, I assured him it would be alright, I would clean it. Go sit down and relax.
NOT. This wasn’t my first rodeo. I was a 30 something woman of independent means. Advice to young women watch what you do that first week of marriage. It sets expectations like feet in concrete.
My response to the situation was more like:
“Awe, that’s awful. I better go home to my condo and get a nap.” I hightailed it in my twelve cylinder Jaguar XJ-S back to the lakefront townhouse in Lakeland leaving him with HIS mess in Keysville, a suburb of Nichols, which was three potential railroad stops outside Mulberry.
Allow me to digress: When he had asked me to marry him, he said that this was a life commitment. To clarify, I said “So one of us doesn’t make it out of this one alive?” That was the bargain.
I couldn’t fathom. “Why mess up a good friendship?” To me, marriage was the beginning of the end.
“For the sake of the children.” He had possession of his three boys. “And you don’t have to live with us.”
It was a compelling invitation for this lifelong commitment.
I counter offered. ”It better be fun, because I am not long suffering”.
When I returned to his house a few hours later, I had regained my serenity and as a rested, clean and dazzling bride who cheerfully greeted him.
There he was holding a stiff Scotch highball, tensely seated in the brown velvet chair in front of the stereo with Credence Clearwater Revival booming in his psyche. With narrowed eyes, and a week of marriage under our belts, he said, “I don’t think this marriage is going to work out”.
With breath gasping sobs, begging his pardon, I promised him it would never happen again.
NOPE that didn’t happen either.
“Turn off CCR and snap out of it”. He may have pouted for some time after;
But, we understood each other and what he could expect from me. And by the way, the freezer was squeaky, Virgo, clean.
It wasn’t hard being the mother figure of this family of men. They didn’t plop down on the couch saying, “great we got a woman here, now, what’s for dinner?” No, they knew how to do their chores and I fit in by doing what I was good at: Supervising.
That house had been theirs. The Biological Mother (BM) had put the decals of owls on the kitchen cabinets. They had raised the boys there, next door to her parents. I never moved into that house. I would bring an overnight bag, but never hung anything in the closet.
She (My ex-wife-in-law) let herself in with the hidden key and left notes chastising me about not making up the boys’ beds. Hah!
Our happy little family moved to where she didn’t have a hidden key to the newly constructed pond-front home in South Lakeland. I quit ragging on the boys to make up their beds. It was more important to have peace than made beds. Whenever one of them would ask me to iron something, I would laugh and remind them “Minnie comes on Wednesdays.”
One time I was ironing something of mine and my husband caught me. I begged, “Please don’t tell the boys.”