Sunday, June 5, 2011

Celebrating 20 Years of Irreconcilable Differences Part 3

During times of duress, those irreconcilable differences tend to magnify, ESPECIALLY during election years. I think the Bush years were the worst. I call this the B period in our marriage a.k.a. whatwasithinkingmarryingarepublican? It seemed to last FOREVER!

During one campaign, things got especially heated in our household. I remember watching a debate on t.v. sitting on the opposite side of the couch from my husband. He made the LAST STRAW comment. "Honey, you are soo smart, how can you be so dumb about this?" That was it. Not only could I not be in the same room as him, but we needed BOUNDARIES. New rules. No watching anything remotely political together. No talking about politics. And most importantly, I divided up the house into zones--mine and his. I drew the line down the middle (think Harold and the Purple Crayon). Under no circumstance, could he cross over into my area. It wasn't quite as bad as Israel and Palestine, but close. It was more like Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas in War of the Roses.

Moving is another stressful time where our irreconcilable differences come out. Most recently we were purging to prepare for our upcoming move. I should point out that purge is not in my husband's vocabulary. I think he's a hoarder and he thinks I'm a hoarder. Maybe this is the THIRD thing we have in common!! His hoarding involves holey clothing and dead sports equipment. Mine involves collecting organic dead things.

My husband has been known to pick things out of the garbage. (Usually after I've sneakily thrown something of his away --like the holey t-shirt with yellowed sweat pit stains that he wore to his first keg party--complete with vomit splatter patterns.) I don't pick from the garbage, but I have picked up various treasures from the side of the road or while woods walking. For example, I found an INTACT DEER SKELETON last weekend at the Cranesville Swamp. (see my profile blog pic--me holding the deer vertebrae) I showed immense restraint by only bringing home the skull and vertebra. It was only a little bit smelly and buggy.

Part of our irreconcilable differences stems from the fact that I am an ARTIST and he is not. Not only does he NOT LIKE art, but he thinks artists are weird. This will be the topic for another blog post. However I needed to set up the context for this next part to make sense. I make art. I exhibit said art in museums and galleries worldwide. Despite my mild acclaim, he still does not value my art or my art-making supplies.

Setting: garage
"Honey, why do you need two sets of golf clubs when you only play 1x/year? You should throw away the rusted set." "That was a set made especially for me. It was a really good deal." "You have ten pairs of snow skis. Do you really need all of them? I don't think there are any ski slopes in Texas. Why are you saving all of those dead deflated soccer balls?"

"Sweetness, there is no way that we are taking this mummified fox with us. Or the 100 gallon box of syringes or the bag of locust shells." " Where did you find the fox and locusts? I've been looking EVERYWHERE for them. I thought you threw them away. I NEED those for my art work."

In case you are wondering if I'm a IV drug user, the syringes are used for casting. I spent 6 months casting vienna sausages out of rubber. Given that I'm a compromise kind of gal, I conceded to throw away the syringes. I also threw away my snow/leaf machine, which was part of my master's thesis. NO WAY WAS I GOING TO BUDGE ON THE FOX OR THE LOCUSTS.

This led to another argument about my dead dog Chase, who is buried in our backyard. I enlisted my 18 year-old daughter to help me dig her up. I wanted to bring some of her with me to Texas. "Dad--did you hear that Mom asked me to dig up Chase, so that she could bring her skull to Texas?" "THAT IS JUST WRONG! YOU CAN'T DESECRATE THE DOG'S GRAVE! IF YOU DIG IT UP, ANIMALS WILL COME AND SCAVAGE THE BODY! WHAT WILL THE NEIGHBORS THINK?" "Honey, don't you think it would be worse if the new owners found the dog's bones while landscaping? She's been dead for three years. She will be all bones by now. Also people take cremated loved ones with them all the time. Why shouldn't I have part of her to memorialize?" "ABSOLUTELY NOT. YOU ARE OUT OF CONTROL." "Sally Mann dug up her dead greyhound's remains and photographed them. She made a lot of money on those photographs." "THAT IS SICK."

I'm currently planning an elaborate momento mori for my new Plano, Texas mantlepiece. It will include my greyhound's skull gold-leafed and bejeweled, surrounded by thousands of beaded locusts swarming around resined rose petals. Woodburned into the mantle will be this inscription: To my beloved husband, in celebration of our twenty years of irreconcilable differences.


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