Monday, December 3, 2012

Challenge #1 Done!

Well, my very first Good Housewife Challenge has concluded!  This weekend was also included in the Challenge, and I have to say, it was rough.  I had a lot of things on my plate for the weekend, so Dan and I hardly saw each other.  He let me sleep in a little on Saturday morning, which was wonderful, and then I headed straight for our basement/garage to tackle a project that has been looming for the last 1.5 years: going through all the boxes and mess down there.  This is supposed to be a joint project for Dan and I to do together, but for 1.5 years, we've managed to put it off.  We did actually go down there with much determination this past July, only to lose power about 10 minutes after we started working due to a terrible storm...knocked out power to our house for 4 days, and also knocked out any motivation we had for the project we had been dreading.  Good excuse to put it off again!  Five months later, I decided I just needed to get down there and get started--some of the kids' Christmas presents are lost among the boxes, so it's kind of become crucial at this point!  I spent 7 hours down there on Saturday, going through random boxes that included my old college paperwork, my original American Girl doll accessories (I had Samantha, which I've now passed on to Abby, so she was super excited that I discovered Samantha's bed), and 16 million Winnie the Pooh items...I'm not kidding.  16 million might be an exaggeration, but I used to collect Winnie the Pooh, and I had a very fortunate upbringing that included a mom who really loved to shop...which makes me look like a weird Winnie the Pooh memorabilia hoarder 10 years later.  I also uncovered my Cabbage Patch doll collection--Dan was totally unaware that I had one...and quite frankly, I had forgotten I had so many as well.  Here's a picture of one of my more-horrifying finds:

yes, it's a clown Cabbage Patch doll

After the kids went to bed Saturday night, Dan came down to the garage (aka, my cold dungeon) for the first time all day to check out my progress/damage.  He wasn't impressed, but it really does take a long time to sift through your childhood memories, you know?  I still have a lot of work to do, but at least I got started.  I thought Dan was going to help me go through things when he came down, but he just stood there skeptically watching me...until after about 10 minutes, he grabbed a trash bag and started attempting to throw things away.  This is when The Good Housewife Challenge #1 came to a violent end, because I was very annoyed that he didn't bother to help and just wanted to come in and start chucking things that I had been laboring over.  Granted, I'm not sure why I was waffling over whether to keep a box of specimen slides, unless I'm contemplating a Dexter-like future where I store one drop of each of my victim's blood on carefully hidden slides...but that wasn't the point.  I not-very-politely told Dan to scram, lest he become my first victim.  He unwisely opted to stay, so I gave him a Rubik's Cube that I had found in one of the boxes, and that kept him out of my hair until I decided to retire for the evening.  It was almost midnight, after all.  This Housewife gets less accommodating when she is tired.

I love these books--I think that says something about me...

I attempted to redeem myself on the Challenge front on Sunday, but again, I was barely in the same room with Dan.  I did let him sleep in, though, so I should definitely earn points for that since I was up way later than he was!  I started reading a book this weekend...and by started, I mean started and finished, since I can never read a few pages and then let a book sit for weeks on end.  Even if it's a bad book that I'm not enjoying, I will still lose sleep to finish it and put myself out of my bad-book-induced misery.  The book I read this weekend was an amazing book, so I didn't want to put it down...and didn't until about 3am on Sunday morning when I got to the page that read "The End."  It really was a fantastic book, but I was so tired on Sunday.  After Dan woke up from his decadent extra few hours of sleep, I ran to the commissary and literally ran through it picking up the food on my list because I had so much stuff to do on Sunday.  After I got home, I spent 3 hours cleaning all three bathrooms in the house, and then got ready to go meet my family for dinner after my niece's dance recital--my parents had picked up Abby to watch the recital with them, so Dan and I brought the boys to meet them for dinner after the boys' naps.  We had a nice dinner (all seven cousins love each other and love hanging out, even for just a short while!), and then we got home and put the kids in bed...and Dan promptly followed because he had to be up early for work today.  So yeah, we hardly talked to each other on Sunday--but I did buy him food and clean the bathrooms and also remembered to wash his uniforms, so I think that makes me a Good Housewife (but possibly not a Good Wife, as I have learned from his list...).

I think Challenge #1 was very enlightening for me--I learned that being pleasant with my husband makes for generally easier, happier days for all 5 of us.  I'm pretty sure I already knew that, but the Challenge served as a good reminder, and I'm hoping to carry forward my agreeable countenance for as long as I can (maybe forever? ha ha!).  As mothers have been saying since the beginning of time, it really doesn't hurt to be nice.  I also learned that Dan doesn't expect the same things of me as I do of myself--I have a lot of high expectations for my own behavior, and feel a lot of pressure that comes with those expectations...but if I don't hit the mark every time, he won't mind as long as I'm still smiling and showing him that I love him.  I think the simple gestures, if you make sure to include a few in every day, are what grease the wheels of this whole marriage thing.  If I think of it in those terms--aiming for a few compliments or kisses or smiles every day--it seems more manageable to be a Good Wife (or at least a better wife than I was being)...after 8 years, I just needed a refresher course.  Of course, I'm still not a Great Wife (oh geez, am I going to have to start another blog with another quest when this one is over?  Imagined first post:  What Makes Something Great as Opposed to Good?), nor will I be a Good Wife all the time, but at least I know a little better now where to put my effort.  My husband needs a supportive partner who makes time for him, prioritizes our relationship, and doesn't always cook other than the chicken part, I think I got this.

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