Category Archives: love

The Things We Do For Love

There is a time, well, a period of time in any relationship when “I” and “I” become “us” and “we”. Each person adapts themselves, their behaviours and lifestyle to accommodate the other person so that they can live together without killing each other or a minor disagreement dissolving into a red – faced screaming match at eardrum shattering volume heard by everyone within a 500 yard radius.

Before I met my sweetheart I had been living alone for around six years. I don’t count the five weeks I lived with my previous girlfriend when between rentals as that was more a case of me bringing a bag and having somewhere to shower and sleep. There was absolutely no way we were going to live together, as her place was even smaller than mine and in no way suitable for two people. Over those six years I had developed a number of habits that didn’t affect anyone else and made my life simpler. For instance, I had the habit of leaving clean pans on the drying mat, leaving clean laundry in the basket until I either needed to wear it or couldn’t cram any more in. I will admit that I would often leave my clothes lying on the bedroom floor for lack of anywhere better to place them, and of  course, as a guy living alone, I didn’t bother to close the bathroom door.

This particular habit had it’s uses, though. The downstairs powder room opened into the living/dining room, so if I was watching a movie or a football match I didn’t need to pause the action in order to take care of business. Please,whatever you do, don’t think about that image. When it comes to living alone, we all fall into routines that make our lives easier and at some point we just don’t see them any more.

Then it happens: you meet someone special and you do your best to create as favourable an impression as possible: the kitchen counters are spotless and uncluttered, the bathroom is neat and clean, the bed is made. The list is endless and well known. Of course, after a while the charade is dropped and the process of actually living returns to the fore.

Of course, most of the early part of the relationship involves short stays at each other’s home, so in reality not a lot changes as first, as a weekend isn’t really long enough for things to become annoying, but eventually you decide that it makes sense to live together and then the process really gets under way. For us this happened rather quickly: I moved in four months to the day from our first date. Yes, I know that is rather quick, but it very quickly became apparent that it was  the right thing to do, and as we are both adults, why wait?

I will admit that at first I felt like a visitor and that the place wasn’t really my home, but  this feeling soon passed and  settled in to what was now my normal routine. My main adjustment was in the kitchen. You see, my sweetheart is paranoid about her kitchen counter tops, as she readily admits, and swoops on any sign of moisture or food as soon as she sees them. It took me  a while to get used to this, as I didn’t really care too  much about the Formica in my old kitchen beyond the desire to avoid getting charged with the replacement cost should I have damaged  them. I’ve become more conscientious about spilling on the stove top, but I still leave shreds of cheese scattered around from time to time despite  my best efforts.

In my former life my bathroom counter was littered with toiletries of various sorts, including those left by the kids, largely due to lack of  storage  space, but now  everything except my toothbrush it’s recharger are tucked  away under the sink.  I will admit that this took a bit  of getting used to, but now I find that I prefer having an uncluttered counter, and appreciate the much tidier appearance.

Lest you think this is a  one  way street, it isn’t. My sweetheart has accepted that I will leave clothes on the Ottoman, and in one respect she has changed completely. When I first moved to the U.S. it took me some time to adapt to the habit of taking  off one’s shoes upon entering the house. This was a totally alien concept to me, but of course, it makes sense and now I do so without thinking. My sweetheart, on the other hand, left her shoes on, this despite the fact that she lived in Japan for some time and must have been accustomed to this habit. I found it rather odd, to be honest, and even though it is her house, she quickly consented to remove her shoes once indoors. I know this sounds a bit weird, but  I just don’t understand why anyone would leave their street shoes on when coming indoors, even though it was an alien concept to me.

I suppose that we all make changes to the way we behave over  time. Some  of them are forced, some of them are difficult, awkward or uncomfortable, but I suppose  that it is all a part of life, and as long as it makes the other person happy, it is all in a good cause. My Sweetheart has now even started watching English football with me, something I never expected, so I guess she has made some sacrifices too. Let’s all hope Liverpool have a good season next year!

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Filed under dating, lifestyle, love, soccer

We Gotta Get Out Of This Place

How do you feel about crossover episodes? You know, the sort of T.V. episode that starts out as usual but quickly turns into a 30 or 60 minute infomercial for another show entirely. Of course, I excuse the annual Homicide / Law And Order episode from this question as Homicide was without doubt the greatest show of all time. In general I despise them as a cynical bait and switch, as the  show it  introduces is in general much, much worse than the originator, and the producers know it. For example, who ever watched Boston Legal, the spinoff from The Golden Girls or even Laverne and Shirley? Yeah, not even in TBS late night reruns when you were too drunk or stoned to get off the sofa.

Having said all that, this is a crossover episode wherein the posts about my romantic life meet the episodes about my domestic existence. As you are no doubt not aware, I have moved several times over the past five years. See The Boxer, Space Oddity and Should I Stay Or Should I Go for quick updates. A few months ago my finances were such that even affording the rent for what was a fairly bare bones townhouse was looking like an increasingly long shot, even though I’d pared my other expenses to the bone and beyond. See Ice Ice Baby for more detail.

Since meeting my sweetheart we had been spending an increasing amount of time together, mostly  me spending the night at her place, although she spent several nights and weekends with me whenever time allowed, with the effect that pretty much from the start we were a two location household. She was well aware of my financial situation and had suggested that maybe we could find a solution. My natural smart arse response was to say that I doubted I could raise enough money selling plasma nor was I ever likely to get my street corner back at my age. However, reading between the lines I could see what she was getting at. At the end of March we went out for lunch after I’d helped her with some house organising and across the table she asked me what I thought about combining our households.

Naturally, this is what I’d seen coming and so agreed readily. That was the easy part, as we were spending most of our time together anyway, with my house relegated to a pit stop for clean work clothes and sundries on my way to or from work. I hate packing, but at least now I knew I was moving to somewhere nicer and would no longer be returning to an empty house after a long day’s work. It was clear from the start that quite a bit of stuff would have to go into storage in order to clear room and make it possible to unpack and organise the stuff we needed the most. Of course,  being the one moving in, that meant I had to spend every evening and morning packing, loading the car and unpacking endless boxes of books, clothes, bedding, etc. As I’d given my notice to the property management company at the start of April, that meant I had barely four weeks to get everything done.

However, get it done, I did, even though I ended up simply cramming the last few items and cleaning materials into the car after spending half a day bringing the house up to an acceptable standard of cleanliness. I admit to being very tired by the time I got home and I did the bare minimum of unloading once I parked before collapsing in a heap on the sofa. Of course, this was far from the end of it. The new house of course was littered with boxes and items of furniture which needed to be unpacked or put in place. Our first weekend was spent doing just this, with my first task being to put all my cups in the kitchen cupboards and place my Georges Briard glasses and other glassware in the sideboard, which I also restored to it’s former glory by adding all the mementos that had graced it in it’s previous location.

It’s been a busy few weeks, but now I’m pretty well settled, and for the first time in many years I now  live somewhere that is truly a home,  rather than my last three residences which at best could be regarded, in the words of Le Corbusier, as “A machine for living in”. I can’t tell you how much better I feel knowing that every day I return from work to the woman I love and a true home. It has done wonders for my mental state, as has finding myself in a warm, supportive and loving relationship with a truly wonderful woman. I consider myself very lucky indeed.

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Filed under love, personal relationships

Love Comes Quickly

As the song from which this blog post takes it’s title “Just when you least expect it, just what you least expect”. There’s no need for me to rehash the last couple of months, just suffice it to say that the last thing I expected at my age was to find myself truly in love. For the full(ish) story, see “Ring My Bell”. Anyway, things progressed much faster than either of us had imagined and we very soon found ourselves texting at every opportunity. Indeed, my sweetheart very quickly made a point of coming to visit me most days, usually on my second break, so we could at least spend some time together, even if only for ten minutes.

I have been staying at her place on a regular basis, usually heading over there after work and returning home the next morning in order to get ready for work. I know it would be easier if I got ready for work at hers, but I might otherwise be tempted to drive straight to work rather than walk from my house as I’m such a lazy git.

To put things into perspective, she went to Portland for the first week in February to meet up with some old friends from law school. No big deal, as this had been on the calendar long before we met, and although we texted, I made sure to give her enough space for her to spend time with her friends and not have me texting her every five minutes. Of course, no trip to Portland is complete without a visit to Powell’s bookstore. Had I been with her, there is no doubt that I would have spent every spare minute and penny in the store. Having said that, she texted me to let me know she was there and asked if she could pick a book out for me. I immediately suggested anything by Kenneth  Feder or Jeb Card, and very shortly after, she offered me two options. I went for Feder’s  “Frauds, Myths and Mysteries”. Along with Card and Sara Head, he’s one of the co hosts of  the  “Archaeological Fantasies”podcast, a show I’ve followed from the very start and just love. Of course, I started reading the book pretty much as soon as it was put into my hands, and I loved every page of it. In fact, I couldn’t read it without hearing Ken’s voice in my head.

This alone was enough to make me extremely happy, so imagine how I felt when later that day she announced that she was at Voodoo Doughnuts, and would I like her to bring some home? Do I have to tell you my response? I went to see her on the Monday and as well as the book and doughnuts she’d also bought me a beer glass at Powell’s as well as a coaster. The glass makes sense, as she’s a wine drinker, and having your own glass kind of means you have standing, and the coaster because she’s big on protecting her tabletops. Not because she thinks anyone would deliberately damage her furniture, but mainly because it’s a sign of civilisation.

Before you get the wrong impression, I’m not the sort of person who equates how much someone spends on gifts and how much they love you, far from it in fact. I mention it because she went out of her way to find gifts for me on a weekend away with friends she hadn’t seen in a couple of years. Not just that. She also put thought into the gifts and asked me for my input rather than picking up some random gewgaw in the hope that I would like it.

Lest this become a litany of gifts, I want to make it clear that we have grown very close in just two months. I can state with all sincerity that I’ve never felt this way about anyone before, and I include my ex wife of 20 years and my ex girlfriend of five in that statement. My sweetheart and I see each other pretty much every day, we text constantly and can’t bear to be apart. We don’t even have to be doing anything. Simply sitting on the sofa holding each other is enough to make us happy. I know that may make us sound like a pair of soppy teenagers, but it’s true. I never expected to find true love at my age, or indeed at any age, if I’m being honest.

It’s a truly weird feeling, to be so totally in love with someone that they are constantly on your mind. This must be what neurotypicals feel a lot of the time. I’m just now beginning to realise what I’ve been missing all these years, and I want  it to last.

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Filed under dating, love, Reading, vacation