I walk into the house after having been out for a jog. At least, an attempt at one.
The "jogging" has made me cranky. It's my own fault. I eased up on my semi-sacrosanct devotion to holding on to my health back in December when things got really busy. I'm paying for it now. The Holiday Pounds, though coy about making themselves known, did, in fact, present themselves. The attempt at getting back into the groove has been daunting.
The house is exactly the same now as when I left it 45 minutes ago. Only now it's really bothering me because I'll be leaving for work shortly and I know it's going to look even worse by the time I get back.
I start barking.
"Youngest! Your quilt belongs on your bed, not out here. And what's with leaving your books, pocket knife, Legos and--what's that, is that your tool box? Why is it all lying around out here? You know better. Get them put away."
Youngest recognizes the tone in my voice and the pattern of my rant. He quietly, meekly, gathers his things and disappears into his room to play his guitar. And I feel like a shrew for having spoken to him that way. But it doesn't stop me.
I direct my ire at my husband.
"And you," I accuse, "you're the one who constantly complains about the rest of us and how we 'never put anything away,' " I chide in a mocking sing-song. "I'm constantly picking up after you! Look how much crap you leave lying around! That baseball cap on the piano bench? You left it there two days ago. The pretzels on the table next to your chair? You were eating them last night and didn't put them away. There would be hell to pay if any of the rest of us had done that. And why is that flashlight still sitting there?! And 3 PAIRS OF SHOES!!!" The shoes left to trip over in our tiny living room are my pet peeve. "Don't give me that bullshit about how you just took them off and they're drying by the fireplace. You weren't wearing ALL THREE pair!"
He's defensive. And he's been really sick for days and is only feeling like himself as of this morning. A small explanation for my sudden lack of patience with him. But really, it's too small an explanation to excuse my irrational nagging today.
"You could help me, you know," he lamely shoots back. "You could make me some oatmeal." This man is forever wandering from the main thrust of an argument.
Can't you follow this thread to its logical conclusion? I think to myself. And the conclusion is that I'm right--as always--and you need to tow the line.
But what I rudely retort is, "Since when do you eat breakfast?"
He answers through a genuine coughing fit and with a hurt look on his face, "You told me yesterday to eat something before taking any medicine. I feel like crap and want to take something."
That should be enough to back me down off my impossibly high horse. But it isn't. I'm on a roll. And I ungraciously reply, "I told you yesterday to make yourself a piece of toast," implying that he can do the same for himself now.
Ten minutes later he comes sullenly into the kitchen, "There. I put the flashlight away. Are you happy?"
I smile and hug him, "Your oatmeal is almost done," I coo as I snuggle into his broad chest.
"You're a bitch, you know."
"I know. But only because you've been sick and I'm not gettin' any," I tease.
He chuckles and kisses the top of my head.
This scene is the perfect example of why Beautiful said to us last week, "I can't decide if you two have the worst marriage ever or the best marriage ever."