When my now-husband and I got married twenty-plus years ago, we had to undergo a few sessions of couples’ counseling with a pastor before we could get married in our church. We discussed basic topics like finances, raising children, and conflict negotiation. Besides the fact that we accepted child-rearing “advice” from an unmarried and celibate dude, I am now quite certain that if “How to Survive a Pandemic Together” had been a topic of discussion, we probably never would have walked down that aisle and said our “I Do’s.”
Because on the spectrum of Germaphobe Tendencies, with a 10 indicating HUGEASS germaphobe, I am an 11 and my husband is a two, on a good day. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I was raised by a germaphobe father whose favorite command to his children was always “Wash your damn hands.” My in-laws however, did shocking things like wash raw chicken bits on the same cutting board before chopping up salad vegetables, and their idea of sanitizing things meant drinking giant martinis every afternoon and getting so shitfaced they couldn’t remember if they even had soap to wash their damn hands.
So, my husband and I were definitely not a match made in pandemic heaven. If we had had any clue about the global plague that would be rudely knocking on our door a couple of decades after holy matrimony, we would have kindly parted ways, with me wearing gloves, and him picking a sandwich up off the floor to eat the last few bites.
Here are a few of the things that I’ve been noticing over the past month, as my tongue bleeds from attempting to bite myself into silence, to both preserve my marriage, and retain my felony-free criminal record.
I go to the grocery store only when it’s absolutely necessary. Like, when my son is ready to gnaw off his sister’s arm because we have no protein left in the house other than our dog. And that mutt is the only creature in our home that we all like at this point, so she won’t be on any menu until the zombies arrive. My husband, however, seems to find an urgent reason to have to hightail it to the local home improvement store every few days. I’ve given up even asking what the hell he needs to purchase there because I neither care about his explanation, nor do I give a rat’s ass what he’s doing out in the garage at night. Perhaps there are body parts in the freezer or he’s building a time machine to zap himself back to the ’80s when he had a full head of hair. Whatever.
And when I do leave the house to brave the near-empty shelves of our grocery store, I don one of the lovely masks that my friend kindly sewed for us. Because it’s what we do and how we limit exposure to a nasty virus. And I have my precious, tiny bottle of hand sanitizer in my bag, ready to wipe away any contamination I may encounter.
My husband however thinks masks are “dumb” and probably doesn’t even use the other tiny hand sanitizer I put in his car. I shudder to think of him at the cavernous home-improvement store, picking up dozens of tools and widgets, studying them, gauging their weight, and contemplating their usefulness. Like a hundred other idiots before him have done that day. He should just save me precious hours of anxiety and lick every fucking button at the register as he checks out.
I also wash my damn hands about 17 times when I return home and put groceries away, then I wipe down every surface I’ve touched with some form of bleach product. My husband will return, grab a drink from the fridge, drop his bag on the kitchen table and disappear to “work on something.” I then begin to work on plans to ship him off to a desolate island where he can live in solitude until life begins to resemble any kind of normalcy.
But honestly, the thing that annoys me the most during these pandemic days is bedtime. Besides the fact that our two cockblockers are again living under our roof, my ability to fall asleep is now even further eroded. On top of all the normal anxiety, I am like most other Moms – terrified of the unknowns that we are now grappling with. I lie awake most nights, with visions of death and devastation swirling around in my head for a few hours before I can succumb to slumber. Yet my husband manages to turn off his light, kiss me goodnight, and begin snoring within 12 seconds of his germified eyes closing.
How the actual fuck he can perform this feat every night is beyond my imagination. But I suppose it’s a good thing that one of us is getting proper rest and not worrying one bit about this shitshow we are all currently living through. My kids need one parent who can function like a normal human.
‘Til death – or me donning that orange jumpsuit in handcuffs – do us part.