The Power of Words
The Bibbed Wonder and I have a fairly harmonious relationship. We have a solid foundation. There are elements in place that have not always occurred in past relationships. Of course, we love each other. However, it goes even deeper with the fact that we like each other. We have mutual respect for each other. We regard each other as partners and worthy opponents. We know that neither likes to be handled and we are able to handle each other without making the other feel they are being handled. For example, car shopping. When we purchase a new car, we know we are in for the long haul. Neither one of us are “car” people. We are not impressed with cars or impressed with those who are impressed with cars. A car is a tool to us. It has to safely get us from point A to point B without issue and preferably not look too rough. I have a long history of backing into large objects so fancy new cars are just one more thing for me to stress about. A few years ago, it was time for a new car. We drove to the dealership just to look. I had a warning light on and my Denali had just turned off on two occasions, not leaving me stranded but the writing was on the wall. As we were going up a long, steep hill, my transmission went out. We made it twenty miles in second gear and we knew we had to go home with a new car.
The Bibbed Wonder is a man of principal. He has a steadfast resolve on what he feels is right and wrong and he is…clearing of my throat for dramatic purposes, “frugal.” I wanted a Buick Enclave. It seemed like a great option for our family. Third row seating for friends, enough room for bikes and toys. It had a high safety rating, it had luxury features but didn’t scream look at me! Mr. Steadfast Resolve informed me we would not be purchasing anything from a corporation that had accepted bail-out money. Sigh, that left me with few options. As we walked around the lot, the only options that didn’t accept bail-out money were in the high-end luxury category. I settled on an Infinity Q80. It was the only vehicle that fit my criteria and it had a high price tag…giggle, giggle. Once I informed The Bibbed Wonder of my choice, he asked if I wanted to test drive it. Now dear reader, I know my husband. I know if I play the this is our only option what is the point of driving it, he will begin to question. I also know that when he sees the sticker price, we will be looking at the cars I really want in no time flat. He looked, he balked, he grumbled, he growled. After watching him squirm and twist for a bit, I asked if we could look at the Buick Enclave. He conceded. We came home with a new Buick Enclave and I can happily report we still have it.
Very rarely do we fight, we bicker and tease but rarely am I genuinely angry with my husband. He is very laid back and approaches all topics with humor. I have a high tolerance and a slow burning fuse…for the most part. However, when we both ignite, it is usually epic. Landscaping and lawn care, mundane tasks to be completed by any household during warm months. Landscaping and lawn care are a powder keg in our household. Last weekend, was our blow up. It was time to deal with the landscaping. Eric has what I deem no appreciation for the aesthetique. If it does not serve a purpose, it has no purpose. I on the other hand have an appreciation for all things beautiful, even if they are high maintenance. We have had landscapers come out and maintain our landscaping for several years. They would descend on the property like a drove of locusts, cutting, pruning, and manicuring all things green. A few years ago, we had a drainage issue. Our side yard looked like a pond. We lost a lot of our landscaping on that side of the house. Large equipment was brought in, ditches were dug, gravel and pipe were put in place…and it happened again the following spring. We then decided to maintain the landscaping since it had been cut in half. It went well until Eric began evaluating the plan. Now, I must agree with him to a certain degree that it was a poorly laid plan, definitely not meant to be long term. There was a tree placed in front of every window. When the trees were young, it was manageable. The trees are now almost 20 years old. There was not a window on the ground floor from which one could see…that was annoying.
Last weekend, The Bibbed Wonder got out his trusty chainsaw on a stick and began cutting away at offending branches. He then turned off his tool of destruction and discussed the viable options for the landscaping. After a long-winded explanation of the failings of said landscaping, he gave me two options; drastically trim back and hope it survives or “stump” the trees. After awhile dear reader, I simply can’t pay attention to long winded conversations about things I know I won’t win. I said the words he needed to hear, “I don’t care. Just do what you’re going to do and let’s get this over with.” He purposefully marched across the yard and retrieved the regular chainsaw. He had it gassed and running before I could say, “Hey, what do you think you are doing with that?” He knows me. He knows to strike when I am worn down and weak. He did it, oh yes, he did it. Three trees felled in less than five minutes. As I stood there stuttering and gasping, he made the mistake of turning of his tool of destruction. I. WAS. FURIOUS!
I have no vices dear reader. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t do illicit drugs. I do like cookies… However, I can piece together a barrage of profanity so long, so creative, and so crass even my bibbed wearing husband is taken aback at times. After my impressive use of assonance, alliteration, metaphor, and rhyme of profane language, I ended with YOU. RUIN. EVERYTHING! shouted through clenched teeth. When I am angry, truly angry, my head shakes uncontrollably. My eyes felt like they were going to rattle right out of my head. Then it is time for our long-honored stare down. We are two people who have the ability to give murderous looks for long periods of time down to an art form. The Bibbed Wonder is indeed a worthy opponent. I broke first but it was with a verbal challenge, “I will happily shoot daggers at you all day! Explain yourself!” His cool retort was, “I did exactly what you said and now you are going ballistic on me?” Kudos for switching the focus, worthy opponent indeed. “You said you didn’t care. I said stump it. You said stump it. I stumped it.” My response was, “I didn’t know what stump it meant!” His curt reply was, “How am I supposed to know what your knowledge base is concerning trees.” My loud exasperation was, “We’ve been married for almost twenty years, of course you know what my knowledge base is! Jack ass!”
Reason kicked in, inevitably it does. I marched off with my rake and continued to furiously clean up dead branches. Jordan came out of the house and tentatively said, “I’m sorry he killed your tree.” Then I do what I always do, and I hate doing it, but I do it anyhow. I cried. Ugly, blotchy faced, snot running down my lip, cried. My little buddy hugged me and said very wise words, “It’s okay mommy. It’s just a tree. We will plant a new one farther from the house and not in front of the window.” I pulled it together. She’s a very wise little soul. I asked for a few more minutes alone with daddy. She made sure I didn’t have plans to bludgeon him with a tree branch or feed him to the pigs and went inside. I walked up to my now enraged husband and did the unthinkable for two people who hate to be told what to do. I gave him the ultimatum…dun, dun, DUN! I calmly and lethally stated that he has until the fall to fix this. If it is not fixed, I will hire a professional of my choice to come in and fix it, he will pay for it, and he will pay for it willingly. If he refuses, I will unleash the full extent of my stubborn, ill tempered, hard headed steadfast anger on him and he will have a new understanding of the term bull-headed. Go ahead, try me.”
My little bald buddy, did the unexpected. He looked at me incredulous and said, “When have I ever done anything to hurt you?” He’s right. He has never done anything to intentionally hurt me, ever. We’ve been married for quite a while, feelings have been hurt over the years, comments made, slights felt but we’re human. He has always made every effort to make any wrong right. We weren’t quite ready to laugh but it was close. I must say that after close examination of our conflict, I was disappointed that the only thing he took away from my barrage of profanity was You. Ruin. Everything. Seriously, I put a lot into that and what sticks out were three simple words. I apologized for my anger, my reaction, my general lack of reason. He apologized for taking advantage of the moment, using Round Up, and killing my tree. When it was all said and done, only two words really mattered, “I’m sorry.” Such small words, such few words and such great impact, I have always known the power of words but sometimes the understanding of the power is forgotten.
The landscaping looks atrocious, I have been promised it will not last for long, and whatever I am not happy with will be remedied in the fall. A lot like us, the root system of a tree is established and can take quite a bit of trauma. We have made it through some trying times but remembering these times won’t last and given time everything heals and feels better gives us hope. Remembering small acts have great impact, and words have the power to build or destroy will serve us well.
I hope you are able to laugh at our antics, learn from our lessons, and grow from our experiences. As always, stay safe, stay smart, use kind and appropriate words, and keep washing your hands.