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11:01 a.m. - 2013-07-05
According to A., yesterday was our one-year anniversary as a couple. I say "according to A" because I have absolutely no personal remembrance of July 4, 2012, being a milestone day, and I have never asked her why it is. I'm quite fine not knowing, or at least not curious enough to risk hurting her feelings and looking like an idiot and asking. It's our anniversary; if she says so, then it is.

There's a stereotype about lesbian couples that one person assumes the "butch" role and one the "femme," and like most stereotypes, there is some degree of truth to it. I suppose that A and I do this; there is food to be cooked and a lawn to be mowed and it is impractical to do everything together. Appearance-wise, A. does the butch and I do the "girl": when we went out to dinner last night, I wore a miniskirt, halter-top and heels, and A, who does not own any halter tops, skirts of any length or heels, wore jeans.

Task-wise, however, we switch roles. A does most of the grocery shopping and laundry, two tasks that I always did when I was married to Matt -- and that I absolutely hate.

I mow the lawn, dig up tree stumps, build chicken coops and closet shelves, upholster furniture, and gut and rebuild rotting sunporch windows (which is what I was doing this morning). Basically I am the man about the house, and that is just fine with me. (This was also true when I was with M., but he didn't appreciate it nearly as much as A. does.)

I love that A has a house that she had tons of ideas for but not much hope of ever getting them done -- I like it because I can give her the things she has wanted but didn't ever expect to have, like a girlfriend who adores her and a family to mob the door when she comes home, and backyard chickens and a purple living room. I spent years trying to give M the things I thought he wanted but he didn't really notice -- he was accustomed to getting what he wanted so why would he? A is not. I don't need adoration and I'm not looking for it, but I do like it when I can do things that make A look really happy. Getting what he wanted never made Matt happy, and trying to make him happy was basically a waste of my life. You can't make someone else happy, I have learned; you can do stuff to facility their happiness but ultimately, the choice is theirs.

I like that A makes good choices.

I also selfishly enjoy having shit that needs building, fixing, mowing and maintaining -- a 3-bedroom house, gardens, back and front yards. I grew up in a house under construction, I was my dad's maintenance/fix-it guy for his rental properties and I worked a little as a carpenter when I was a teenager, so I am fairly proficient at Shit You Do With Your Hands. It's one of the few healthy things I really enjoying, to tell the truth -- right up there with drinking (which I haven't done in more than 5 years) and smoking (which I still do), and, oh yeah, starving myself or binging and throwing up. Attacking a rotting wall with a crowbar takes me away from myself, and finally fixing something so that it is as good as new gives me a feeling of satisfaction I used to get only from starving myself, stepping on the scale, and seeing that I'd lost five pounds. Perfect weight, perfect wall -- same feeling. It's crack to a perfectionist like me -- makes me want more. Replacing another rotting wall, however, is a good deal healthier than losing another five pounds.

I have paint on my hands, grime in my hair and an oozing band-aid on my right index finger, where I got it but good with the knife I was digging putty out of a windowsill with. (Stupidity and misuse of tools were major contributing factors.) However, I am as happy and peaceful as if I had meditated all morning. I'm going to feel my kids lunch, take a shower, and take my kids to the playground. They will get soaked in the sprinklers there and slop all over my just-cleaned car's white upholstery, despite my best efforts at protecting it. Oh well! I don't really mind; it's just dirt.



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