“What do you think of the wine?”
“Mm it’s not bad. It will be better when it’s warmed up a bit though.”
“Ah well, usually I’d agree with you, but not this time. This wine can be drunk straight after opening.”
“Well, I prefer my red wine at room temperature.”
A slight pause ensues. He is trying very hard to be nice to me. I feel annoyed with myself. This meal is a complete surprise and is very welcome. I have been attending a conference for two days; in the normal way of things I would return home, we would make a little small talk about his days and my days, I would fuss over the dog, then shower and change and make dinner. But not tonight! Tonight I am seated in a very nice restaurant, waiting for my red wine to warm up a little and recovering from the shock of his greeting, “When you are showered and changed, I am taking you out”.
My husband is not a house husband. He has told me this on many occasions so it must be true. Although he is retired now from his former high-powered job and has time to follow his hobbies, visit friends, walk the dog, watch tv, he sees no reason to add shopping, cooking or helping with the housework to his activities. My sister says that it’s an ‘age thing’. There is an age gap, but not a generation!
I watch him watching cookery programmes and see his obvious delight and appreciation in food well cooked and nicely presented. If I happen to leave the room, I am used to his shout of, ‘You need to come and see this, this looks great and not too much messing around’, as if he intends to make the dish himself some time soon.
I have thrown things at him in the past but to no avail.
When I came home a couple of weeks ago, from a meeting in London, I sat him down and told him we needed to have a serious conversation. And we did. I asked if he would please try and help more; if he noticed that we were out of bread, toilet rolls, teabags, coffee, whatever, it would be a great help if he’d go and buy what we needed when he was out next, and not leave messages on my mobile telling me what we were short of, and asking if I could collect them on my way home!
I also asked him if he remembered the times a few years ago, when he used to get home after a few stressful days away; the lovely dinner waiting for him, how he could just relax and unwind, even nod off in the chair……..
A few quiet, thoughtful days followed. Later in the week, I noticed a different type of bread left out on the work surface. I opened my mouth and closed it again very quickly. Bread is bread, more or less I decided, and perhaps he liked this brand better than the one I usually buy. I eat very little bread. I put it away and said nothing.
A few days later, a different brand of teabags appeared. I don’t drink tea, but wondered why he had chosen this brand. My curiosity got the better of me and I asked him. He told me that when he went out to buy the bread, he was amazed at all the different varieties and thought he would try something different. He gave the same reason for the choice of teabags, and also said that he fully intended buying yet another brand when these were finished.
He added that although he had listened and understood what I was getting at, he would have a problem when it came to replacing the coffee. He doesn’t drink coffee. Would it be alright if he just bought the same brand again?
I said that would be perfect.