When I’m Sixty-four

“Good night, Darling.  Even if you don’t need me, I still love you.”  I rolled over in bed, closed my eyes, and waited.  I didn’t have to wait long.  After nearly forty years of marriage, my husband knows better than to just say, “Okay,” and go to sleep.  He knows this is one of those tests, and we’ve been married plenty long enough for him to get it right, every time.

“Of course I need you.  Who would take care of me?”

This all started in direct response to a delightful, funny blog post I read yesterday from Domestic Fringe.  This blogger admitted her husband always pumps her gas for her.  It got me thinking because my George still puts gas in my car after all these years.  I had to make him promise not to die before I do because I wouldn’t be able to go anywhere past the first week of his demise.  I suppose I could move to New Jersey where only full-serve exists, but I put a clause in our wedding vows that precludes that (“Whither thou goest, I will go, except to New Jersey.”  Sorry, New Jersey, but when you have billboards that say, “New Jersey doesn’t’ stink,” I find that highly suspect).

That blog post prompted me to think of all the things I need my husband to do for me besides pumping gas.  For one thing, I need him to get rid of the dead bodies.  I have finally gotten up enough nerve to kill bugs in the house but not to remove their remains.  I once offered my son two dollars to remove a dead lizard in our sunroom in San Antonio.  He was five at the time.

I have no trouble mowing the lawn in our postage stamp yard, but I need George to use the line trimmer.  That thing terrifies me.  I have visions of me losing control of it and it ripping me to shreds.  I need my husband to do all the painting in places that are too high for me to reach without getting on a ladder (I have acrophobia), change lightbulbs in ceiling fixtures (see previous parenthetical comment), fix minor plumbing problems like running toilets, change the air conditioner filter (it’s in the ceiling; enough said), balance my checkbook and handle all other major finance business such as taking minimum distributions (I have no idea what that even means, but when he mentions it’s time to do it, I just nod and say, “Sounds good to me.”), and the list goes on and on.

That, of course, leads me to ponder what he needs me for (well, okay, there’s that, but I mean other than that), and I struggle to put anything on my side of the equation.  Okay, my husband doesn’t cook anything on the stove besides eggs, but he’s great at grilling.  I suppose he could learn to cook, but that would require him to actually read a recipe and follow it, and he’s not an engineer.  According to my father, only engineers are capable of figuring out such complex stuff.  My father was an engineer.  Obviously.

Even though I clean the house, my husband is perfectly capable of doing that himself and wouldn’t have to do it very often if I weren’t around.  I’m the one who usually trashes it.  My philosophy is, “Why clean today?  It will only be a mess tomorrow.”  For the life of me, I can’t think of anything to put on the list of what my husband needs me for.  Okay, we’re back to that.  Maybe it’s enough.  Anyway, my husband has promised we’re going together in a blaze of glory.  I’m holding him to it.

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About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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28 Responses to When I’m Sixty-four

  1. OK, your hubby fills your car with gas? I am sooo jealous! I have a wonderful husband too, but he doesn’t remember to fill my car very often unless I’m along and I say “We need gas, NOW.” You’ve got a keeper there, but you already know that from your sweet post. 😉

  2. My mother just recently lost her husband, my father. She’s struggling to do all of those things my father did for her. I think you have the best kind of relationship. He needs YOU. The real part of you. The part that lasts forever. And that my dear, is quite a gift.

    • comingeast says:

      This made me sad to think of you losing your father and your mother losing her husband. I think my husband and I joke about us expiring together because we just can’t imagine being without each other, and joking helps us cope with it. I know my sweetheart needs the real me and he has that all the time. I will keep you and your mother in my heart and prayers. I can only imagine how hard it is for her. Thanks for sharing something so personal.

  3. yen says:

    I’ve always admired your relationship with your husband. I loved reading this post ‘coz it reminds me of my parents’ relationship and the way they enjoy each other’s company. I always find myself looking forward to your posts about you and your husband. 🙂 It always brightens my day!

  4. I also agree with your house cleaning motto, it’s mine too! Loved this post and it made me wonder what my hubby might need me for other than “that” so I think I’ll ask him tomorrow. I might even follow your lead and write a post about it.Your writing flows so well and keeps me interested til the end.

    • comingeast says:

      I’d love to hear your take on what our husbands need! Of course, this whole thing was tongue-in-cheek, as you well know. Just the emotional support we give our husbands is worth everything. Thanks for your sweet comment about my writing. It gets harder and harder to come up with something to write about when I’ve been trying to post every week day. Don’t know how much longer I can keep it up.

  5. Judith says:

    When you are suddenly alone you realize all the things you can do and it is truly liberating. Not the ‘being on your own stuff’ but finding out just what you are capable of doing.

    • comingeast says:

      I’m sorry you had to find that out the way you did, but strong women like you do find the strength to do what needs to be done when the need arises.

  6. Margie says:

    I pondered a similar question a few months ago (http://gogreygirl.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/marriage/) and came to the conclusion that that there is no single answer to your question of what people need each other for in a marriage. They just do, and aren’t you fortunate that you have a partnership that works so well!

  7. winsomebella says:

    Sweet that your husband knows exactly how to pass your test. Love reading of your delightful long relationship. Cheers to you both!

  8. You could move to Oregon, they only have full-service gas! 😉 Loved this post. If my husband goes before me I suppose I will have to call up my son to come over and kill the spiders (and learn to cook…)

  9. Jenny says:

    I really enjoyed this post. I often think how I would manage if my hubby were to pass away on me. One of the things I can’t do, but would learn if I had to was to run the chainsaw for making firewood. I always conclude that we would manage, because we already do so much while he is at work during the day. My plan is for us to get the projects done so he can do less projects and spend time with us. So we worked on unloading our firewood and repairing a pen in the chicken coop – my 7 yr old did the hammering, I held the boards, the 5 yr old scared the chickens and my 2 yr old mixed up the chicks with the big chickens. I get a lot of help with my projects but it takes me longer. Because we have young children, I know he couldn’t manage without me.

    By the way, I published my post about my sister, Emily and her liver disease today! Please feel free to read it if you like. I worked very hard on making that post one of my best posts. So far I have gotten many views and great responses.

  10. mypajamadays says:

    So cute – but I hope you know that if anything ever happened to Dad, we would take care of you. (Not that you’ll ever need it!). And that is one of my top 5 favorite Beatles tunes. It’s right up there with While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

  11. whystudylit says:

    I am a new follower of your blog – I love your writing! This post is so sweet, I had to reply: Your husband needs someone to grill for, a reason to change the lightbulbs, and would probably miss your things all over the house. People need to be needed!

    Thanks for brightening my day and reminding me of my own love,

    Sara
    whystudylit.wordpress.com

  12. I love this post…very touching!

  13. Never underestimate *that*. It’s a big one and perfectly balances, the weed eating, removing of dead bodies, and pumping gas. 😉

    Fun post! Thanks for the link. I pretty much love your philosophy of cleaning the house, and I’m sure your hubby could add a few things to your list.
    -FringeGirl

  14. gingerclub says:

    Dear Karen,

    Thank you for this great post and your honesty! By the way you look centuries younger than what you claim to be.
    I am really happy for you to have such a great joint journey in your life with your husband. It sounds that you really cherish true love.
    Now, what you are really giving to your husband is exactly that – yourself, your spirit, your soul. Though your husband is not an Engineer, he seems to handle the practical things in your relationship. I am sure, you could do it yourself if you had to.
    Maybe it is related, maybe not, but I always thought of my mom (71) as an extremely impractical person, always having been pampered for 45 years by her husband. She even did not know how to write a cheque, because my dad did everything for her.
    Two years ago I was wandering what would happen to each of them if the other one died and I thought my dad would be lonely and dive into depression, my mom would be lost.
    Well, my dad died suddenly two years ago. I was more worried about my mom than my own sorrow.
    Yet, I was so surprised. After a few months she somehow realised that she was a capable woman of her own. She dealt with all the administrative stuff (which she never had to cope with as the “Queen”
    ), and she managed three houses with all the tax demands and everything which goes with it. Maybe the spirit of my dad was still around to guide her but all of the sudden she turned into a true “business woman”, something which I really admire her for.

    It is love, which is the essence of a true relationship which transcends us as individuals. This is what I have learned from my parents.

    Luv thy heart

    Ginger
    http://beatbloodpressure.wordpress.com

    • comingeast says:

      Ginger, that was such a lovely comment. I’m glad you could see the humor with which I wrote this, absolutely tongue-in-cheek. My mom died twelve years before my father did, and she had been a marvelous cook. My dad (being an engineer, of course! LOL!) took her cookbooks and became quite good at cooking. (If you’d like to read about that, check out an old post I wrote: https://comingeast.com/2010/08/29/the-spice-of-life) You must have been quite amazed at how capable your mom was, but I have a feeling that she was even more amazed. I guess you do what you have to do when the time comes. I’d like to think I’d be like your mom. Very sweet remembrance of your mother. Thanks so much for sharing. Oh, and my name is Susan. Karen was my sister.

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