On 19 Years of Marriage and Being a Hummingbird Enabler

Look, I don’t claim to be an expert on marriage or anything else, but Greg and I will be married 19 years tomorrow, and, since we like each other almost always these days, I think it’s fair to say we’ve learned a thing or two over the past couple decades. If you want to read about how we actually make it work (hint: I’ve stopped giving the usual answers like “marriage takes hard work” or “we’re still together by the grace of God” or “marriage isn’t 50/50, it’s 100/100”), go here. For now, I just want to acknowledge one small, almost negligible, marital fact:

Spouses are repulsive. 

It’s a timeless truth, really.

Spouses, like humans, are just deeply, unavoidably repulsive from time to time.

Not, like, all the time. Or we wouldn’t marry them and be all OF COURSE I WILL SPEND THE REST OF MY LIFE WITH YOU. And I CAN’T WAIT TO SHARE YOUR BATHROOM. And I ADORE THE WAY YOU CHEW YOUR FOOD

But occasionally spouses are repulsive.

For example, Greg makes a noise in his throat.

And it’s not your average, every day kind of throat-clearing noise.

It’s a special noise. A unique noise. A singular, exceptional, extraordinary noise. And also a subtle noise that the rest of the world will never notice. But a constant noise so that I, his loving spouse, will.

I recently asked Greg what the noise is, exactly, since I’ve never heard another person make it. He explained that it’s a cough. A closed-mouth cough of some kind, deep in his throat, which sounds like the glug-glug of the final death throes of drowning, I imagine, if such a sound was ever recorded. And he went on to explain that he makes it so he doesn’t spray germs by coughing aloud like the rest of the Neanderthals with whom he lives who cough into our elbows or, you know, on every available surface.

He has a reason for the noise! A kind and thoughtful reason! And I, because I adore him and wanted to repay kindness with kindness, explained to him that it’s repulsive anyway.

Now, Greg is nicer than me, and so he never (ever) points out with words the things I do that are repulsive. And, to be fair, they are legion. But Greg’s face – Greg’s awesome, expressive, transparent, not-at-all repulsive face – points them out for him. It’s an added service his face provides. Like when computer-and-electronics literate Greg is confronted with my irrational preference for an iPhone over an Android. Greg, bless his heart, verbally supports my use of whatever technology I find most helpful, and then when we discuss anything Apple-related, he looks like he’s suddenly afflicted with stomach flu, malaria, diphtheria, and, well, all the -ia’s. Every deadly, life-threatening -ia in all the world. His skin goes gray. He gets clammy and cold. There’s a thin sheen of sweat on his forehead and palms. And he looks like he’s going to harf, complete with shallow breaths and lots of pre-gag swallowing. And if you are an anti-Apple crusader like Greg, I’m certain you can understand the kind of commitment and strength it takes for him to somehow continue to be supportive of a spouse who chooses to align herself with the Spawn of Satan. It’s tough, man. 

This weekend, in addition to discussing my steadfast affection for my iPhone 4, and as a sort of pre-anniversary gift of despair for my long-suffering husband, I became a Hummingbird Enabler. 

We saw the hummingbird on Wednesday, perched high in our garage, so we left the garage door open, thinking it mistakenly flew inside and would eventually find its way out.

On Thursday, it was still there, though it moved around from time to time, so we left the garage door open again.

On Friday, the same.

By Saturday, it became clear that the hummingbird was either nesting in our garage or had come there to die. And I have to say, our garage is an excellent place to off oneself, filled as it is with hazards, both bio and regular, and all sorts of nooks and crannies and collapsed piles ideal for hiding a dead body. As far as nesting goes, it’s a less spectacular site, but since I live under the same roof, who am I to judge? 

And so, on Saturday, following our heart-to-heart about our phone plan, Greg and I had the What to Do About the Hummingbird conversation.

His solution? Make sure a wild, pooping animal isn’t nesting in our garage. Shoo it from our home. And if it dies, it dies.

My solution? Buy a hummingbird feeder and invite it to live with us forever. Also, nurse it back to health if necessary, offer to dial the anti-suicide hotline on its behalf, and have an Audubon-certified therapist make a few house calls. 

Greg’s face didn’t think my solution was a very good one, so I went out and bought a hummingbird feeder for Greg for our anniversary so we could hang it in our garage and provide our new family member with either regular food or a lovely last meal. 

photo (90)

Greg LOVED it.

Greg’s Face made me hang it outside the garage.

In conclusion, can we pretty please give this man a round of applause for putting up with me for 19 years? Because I think we can all agree he’s earned it. 

Happy Anniversary, Greg!

I love you love you.

B

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P.S. I haven’t seen the hummingbird since you spent a little time in the garage yesterday, Greg. Just saying…

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
14 comments
  1. […] On 19 Years of Marriage and Being a Hummingbird Enabler […]

  2. Great post! Funny and touching.

  3. Happy anniversary!

    We had a hummingbird nest here last spring – they are tiny. Like 2 inches across tiny. And 2 hummingbird babies grew up in the tiny nest – we had to fill our feeder up every. Single. Day. For about 3 months. Good luck with the hummingbird – seeing a nest is actually pretty rare!

  4. Happy 19 years! It’s impressive that you’ve lived together this long! Great story, and I hope to hear how the hummingbird situation turns out. That’s my favorite type of bird! My kids think every bird is a hummingbird, which is fun. I wrote down a quote that is partially from one of your posts that spoke to me, and a little bit inspired by momastery.com. “Relax into the beautiful mess of life” I’m gonna put that up somewhere, like the kitchen as a reminder to relax. Life is beautiful and messy.

  5. Too funny! We hit 21 years in March and we like each other almost always now too.

  6. Beth, HAVE MERCY ON ME! I’ve given birth to two children and if you keep posting stuff like this, I will end up having to go find another pair of pants. Just saying.

    Happy Anniversary, you guys! And also: awwwwww. AWWW!

  7. Happy Anniversary! As my hubby and I quickly near our 18th, I have to tell you….you speak truth, man! Rad, naked truth!! Hope you had a great day!

  8. Happy Anniversary to you both! (And I hear you on the “repulsive” thing. Man, it’s just a battle sometimes, isn’t it?)

  9. Happy Anniversary to you both – is there any news of the hummingbird? xoxo

  10. And he lets you put all kinds of text messages about his pen1s on your blog… so he really must love you a lot back! 😉
    Happy Anniversary!

  11. Happy Anniversary!

  12. Bwhahaha! You just made me laugh and cry at the same time!
    Happy anniversary!

  13. First, Happy wonderful anniversary.

    Second, sweet precious Greg for loving the gift you really got for the bird.

    Third, does this mean the bird is eating better than your kids now?

    Fourth, I was really really really hoping you would find a way to use the word poop in an anniversary post. You never disappoint!

  14. Happy Anniversary!! Our 7 year is today. Yay or something like that. I AM happy for you though.

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