So here's the worry. LK and I have spent every day - in fact, almost every hour - together since we sold the house in early February. I am sure my peccadilloes are driving her crazy; I'm sure she wishes she had just a little more space than she's getting on this "Let's travel together for the next six months" tour of ours. I am sure she is getting just a wee bit tired of me.
I, of course, couldn't be happier.
Except, perhaps, maybe, once in a while, when LK tugs on my t-shirt to prevent it from riding up when I take off my sweatshirt in front of other people. I actually do appreciate her attempt to keep my ample frame from being scrutinized, and I know I react like some cranky old guy who thought he was being treated like an infant by his wife. But then, she reacts like I am a cranky old fart.
I know this because these were her words: "You're turning into a cranky old fart."
I whined something about not wanting to be treated like a six-year-old with his mother. She barely skipped a beat before offering me a deal: "Here's the way it is. I will not help you out - even though I was helping you out - anymore. And you won't ask me anything anymore. No, where is this, what should I wear - nothing."
Even I knew this was too much to ask so I told her no deal. I did suggest that I would not ask her three questions per month if she would stop infantilizing me (and you can guess how I ever learned that word!). She wouldn't accept my offer.
I fully understand that women want their husbands to look good, that they care about their husbands' clothes, that they are upset if their husband has, say, a big grease stain right in the middle of their shirt where their belly rises 50 degrees above what would be called flat.
And I fully understand that almost no woman understands that the husband - OK, me - really, really, really doesn't care very much about all of that. Especially now that we (I) are (am) retired.
Yesterday we were planning on going for a brief walk. Temp in the 60s, no rain. I planned to throw on a jacket, but LK thought I needed a lightweight sweater and the jacket. In case it got really cold. I told her I thought the jacket was enough, but she argued that I would be s.o.l. if I got cold.
I thought about it for a second. Then I realized - we could have these discussions for the next 20+ years, or I could make our lives easier. "OK," I said, "I am turning 62. We're both in good health. I think it's time for me to accept that I should never have to make another decision. I am making the rest of our lives so much easier. You tell me what I should wear."
And this is where LK shows her true mettle. You and I might back away from such a full responsibility. Truly scary, huh? But LK barely hesitated before saying, "Well, in that instance, wear the lightweight sweater and carry your jacket." She didn't bat an eye when I asked her whether I should wear the green or blue sweater.
(I should add that she did apologize when I had to take off the green sweater and carry the jacket because I was so hot once we started on our walk.)
This dynamic between my beloved and me is not onerous, by the way. It's actually quite liberating. It is defining what TROML is going to be like. (That's "The Rest of My Life".)
Take the other day when - completely out of the blue - LK said I should grow my beard again.
"But, darling," I said, "the last time I had a beard, you agreed I should shave it because it made me look old."
"Yes," she said, "but now you are old, so it doesn't matter. And besides, you won't need to shave any more."
All I can add to this is that it's now three days since I shaved, and my beard is coming in nicely - although it seems pretty white to me.
And perhaps I should add that I do love my darling. For surely, there is no one in the world who could care so much about me - even down to my beard and my sweater - as she does.