merchant mariner families

...a highly unusual, sometimes maddening,
but mostly comical way of life.

March 26, 2013

gollum, the mariner's wife

me and all of my awesomeness
      Certainly when Beady's gone, life in our house is a little different, that much I will concede.  Armpit, leg, and facial hair are unattended for a time, the dogs are a little more sullen as their litter mate has left, Downton Abbey viewing increases, and the heat is maintained at a comfortable 68 degrees.  Yet, to listen to Beady, you'd think I turn into a creature from The Hobbit as soon as his plane takes off from Logan.  That somehow when I step through the door of our beautiful home, all sense of civility leaves me and I spend the rest of his absence living in a tree with wide feral eyes and only my long toenails 
 to keep me situated there.
1.  Yes, I hate taking out the garbage, but guess what?  I take out the garbage.  However, because I've mentioned my loathing of said chore on more than one occasion, the first thing he asks when he comes home is, "So how many bags of trash did you take out yesterday?  Two, three, twenty?"  He not only imagines heaps of trash spilling out of the kitchen into the dining room, but that somehow I'd be completely okay living under those smelly, unsanitary circumstances and the ONLY thing that would induce me to move out of that merry existence is the announcement of his return.  As if I stage an episode of Hoarders and call the 1-800-GOT-JUNK guys to come and clean me out because it's just too far gone and I need to make "nicey" for the old man's return. 

2.  He insists that I eat Doritos nearly all the time.  While my Dorito intake certainly increases a smidge in his absence, particularly the day after he leaves, I'm not solely responsible for keeping the company in business, as he's so fond of believing.  I'm at about 1 bag (family size) per 70 day absence.  Is that so unreasonable?   

3.  He also thinks I perpetually sleep on a pile of clean clothes, simply picking off what I want or need as time passes, but eventually putting them all away upon his return.  Technically, I don't sleep on them.  We have a king size bed, so they live on Beady's side until I need them, extremely convenient and efficient.  I'm all about efficiency; why put them away when I'll most certainly be using them in a matter of days?  Although I do put them away on occasion, when I have company over as people seem to be offended by said efficiency.       

4.  The heat, the heat, the blessed heat.  When Beady's gone, the thermostat stays around 68 degrees throughout the winter until bedtime, when I turn it down to 60 or 62, so I can sleep. Because my husband runs a constant crock pot temperature of 3,892 degrees Fahrenheit, fighting always ensues about where to set the thermostat.  This time home he actually accused me of keeping the heat at a steady 95 degrees while he's gone.  "I know you do that, I just know it!"  Boy was he worked up, which I wanted to tell him was increasing his body's core temp, but it was simply too funny to stop.  When I asked him what on earth would compel me to jack the heat up to such an uncomfortable temperature, he seemed befuddled, as if I'd asked him to hold my xylophone.  Thinking perhaps his silence indicated an understanding of my logic, I was surprised to hear his retort, made under obvious duress as he was currently sweating, intermittently tugging at his collar to cool down, and making huge, frantic arm gestures to emphasize his crazy point. "THREE REASONS!" he barked.  "To keep the house like a sauna, to irritate me, and actually melt the snow off of the roof and the surrounding area of the house so you don't have to shovel!"  So now I'm lazy, too.  By the way, the actual temp in the house at this particular moment was 65 degrees.

5.  And now for more office and the bedroom are located on the same floor of the house, so Beady imagines I live exclusively in these two rooms for the duration of his absence.  He feels it allows me to "get away with" not cleaning the rest of the house for 70 days.  I know.  You're thinking he's being totally unreasonable, right?  Exactly.  This is completely insane as there's no pantry full of Doritos up here, no refrigerator, and he won't let me install a liquor cabinet in my office.  Duh!         

    Let me reassure you, since you might be considering never venturing back to this blog about the pig Beady lives with, the picture my husband holds in his head is far from the truth, yet a common mariner trait.  I've found over the years, that many mariners upon their return feel so unnecessary, not needed.  Why?  Because those who remain at home are so independent, so used to getting the job done and living a full and interesting life at the same time sans mariner.  It's sometimes difficult to modify that way of living upon his or her return and allow them in, hence their feelings of uselessness.  So these are the stories Beady creates when he takes the garbage out, cleans up, folds laundry, or simply considers my life without him.  Even Big Daddy Mitchell had his stories, insisting my mother was incapable of parking the cars in the garage or even gassing them up; he just never entertained the idea of how she got to work each day, every day, when he was gone.  
    So every mariner's story is different, yet the same theme runs through all of them...that longing to feel needed.  It's why I've handed over more than a few responsibilities to Beady when he returns, and why I've endured his ridiculously exaggerated picture of my life without him.  I do need him, in so many ways, and enjoy and appreciate his demonstrations of love in every little thing he does for me when he's here.  From having the oil changed in the car down to picking up a jacket I left on the living room chair, it all matters as he matters.
    And probably the biggest lesson I've learned over the years about Beady's "need to feel needed" is to simply be grateful that he's a huge fan of The Hobbit franchise, otherwise I'd probably still be single.      

Copyright 2013 Callie's Mariner


  1. Okay, so I have to say Downton Abbey viewing increases here too, from none to as many as I can watch in a night. Shaving, oh yeah, why bother.

    So to comment on the numbers:
    #1 not garbage but the car. Of course it never gets cleaned out when Dave's gone...

    #3 I was rolling laughing! I'm not the only one to do this!!

    And you are spot on with the finding his place when he gets home. It's a balancing act.

    1. Glad I'm not the only one! Now I can cite your experience the next time he gives me a hard time about it!

    2. I had no idea Jamie slept next to a mountain of clothes when I'm gone. I think you're both crazy ;)

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  3. HA-larious Callies Mariner! Love this post so much. Partly because I DO live a little like Gollum (wash the dishes every night? - eh, who will know!?). Mostly though I love the humor you have injected into what I still, often perceive as quite a difficult situation. With your humor, experience and those encouraging words from Jamie, I feel that someday I too will see enjoy as much Downton Abby as I can handle and not feel a bit sad about it.

  4. I am laughing at this now knowing that I can't be gollum but, wish I could! My 2 kids make the messes and quite honestly the same toys are out the very next morning, so why put them away everyday. I also might allow some over night dishes hangout in the sink every now and again, but I wish I could be a couch potato and watch some quality television. 10 days and counting when the hubby gets home, I want a nap and some wine! Never happens and it always irerks me when he comes home and rearranges something to his specifications because I didn't keep it in his organizational manner! I think he likes coming home and making things more his way than mine!!! Whatever floats his boat its just nice to talk to an adult who loves me even if I wait for him to come home and clean my car!!!~! EWWWWWWW Right!!!!! Gives him purpose!!!!