The Key To a Happy Marriage

July 1, 2011 by Jennifer Carsen

Is being with someone who not only understands the nutty detours your mind takes, but eagerly hops along for the ride.

Case in point: Eric and I recently had a built-in bookcase installed in our living room, after living with a huge rectangle of green particleboard on that wall for the past year (we did some remodeling that resulted in the loss of a window).

It was a project we kept meaning to get to, but I finally pushed it through when I realized, horrified, just how comfortable we’d grown with the green particleboard – Eric had started using it as a backboard for various ball games, and I had begun thinking of it, somewhat fondly, as “Big Greeny.” We only really thought about it when someone new came over and invariably asked, gesturing in a vague way to the wall, “Um, what’s going on over here?” It was the home-remodel version of wearing your sweats so often that you gradually ditch anything with a real waistband, gain 26 lbs., and start taking in multiple stray cats. It had to go.

The new bookcase has 9 shelves in a 3×3 arrangement. We’d already decided that Eric would get 5 shelves and I would get 4, as he’s got more homeless books than I do.

“Why don’t you just pick the 5 you want and I’ll take the rest?” I suggested.

“No, let’s randomly draw numbers for them,” he said. “It will be more fun that way.”

“We could pick Bradys instead,” I joked, expecting him to roll his eyes. I can’t help it – I see a grid of 9 boxes and I immediately start filling them in with Mike, Carol, and the rest of the gang. Other people probably do the same thing with the Hollywood Squares. (And most people, wisely, simply keep this sort of thing to themselves when a similar thought flits through their head. My ex-husband falls firmly into this “most people” category, which I’d wager is a key reason he chose to become my ex-husband.)

“Yes! We should TOTALLY do that,” Eric said. “I’ll go get everything ready.”

He wrote the names on small slips of paper, folded them twice, and tossed them around in his NH Fisher Cats baseball hat. “We’ll take turns picking names, to draw out the suspense,” he said. “And no peeking, trying to get Alice.”

I adore this man, I thought.

Things shook out pretty well for me. I got Marcia (a sentimental favorite – as mentioned previously, I actually had a stuffed-animal hedgehog I named Marcia when I was four or so – not to mention a nicely positioned corner shelf), Mike (bottom center), Cindy (not a great pick, as Cindy’s kind of hidden behind our TV), and Alice (score). If it wasn’t for Jan, which Eric selected, all of my shelves would be contiguous. It’s just so like Jan to screw something like that up.


  1. Beth says:

    I love this! That is too funny!

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