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Married for the First Time at Fifty (Week 9)

WEEK 9 (Apr 14, 2018):

Dean and Sally Friscea facing the Atlantic Ocean on their wedding day
PHOTO by Joe Guarine, Photographer

We made it to the two-month mark. There were a couple of teary-eyed Saturdays when I didn’t think we would.

Dinner is usually either one of Dean’s special crockpot meals or takeout. This week we also dined on Tely’s Chinese in Suntree thanks to a wedding gift card from a business friend. After we got engaged, I’d registered for wedding gifts at Dillard’s and Target.

Dean ask why. He explained, “My people don’t do that. My people do cash.”

I told him, “Well, my people do gift registries.”

His Italian family comes from a large group of current and former Brooklyn and Long Island, New York, residents. He also said his people do $35K minimum weddings, but when it came time to pay for the wedding he opted for a small beachside gathering and a private room in a restaurant afterward. I don’t think it cost over $5K with food, dress, suit, etc.

We both decided we’d rather retire earlier than fork out the big bucks for a six-hour party.

We don’t regret it one bit.

Dean even ended up throwing a few items on the registries once he learned that we could buy leftover registry items at a discount after the wedding. We still haven’t done that. At fifty you already have pretty much all the things for the house that you want. I admit it was difficult finding items to add to the registry for those who insisted.

Ours had to be the smallest list ever.

Nevertheless, we were blessed by our friends and family. I spent some time getting things in order at the house and putting wedding gifts away. I like to keep new items sitting out, so I can get used to seeing them and might incorporate them more quickly into the items we use on a regular basis. As it so happened, some of his relatives gave us some of the items from the registry.

I had fun teasing him about that.

*           *           *

Dean had cleared out half of the master closet by having one stack of folded casual pants and three stacks of T-shirts, instead of all of them on hanger. He bought a T-shirt folding board and loves using it. He is precise.

I used to work in clothing stores, but don’t feel the need to make them perfect stacks—though I do still go through stores straightening as I shop.

Just. Can’t. Stop. Straightening.

Good thing we’re both a bit of a neat-freak.

Since he had a full house already, I brought only clothes and shoes, which had to be double stacked to get the door closed for Mom’s upcoming visit.

The open closet doors drive me crazy, but I can’t see what I have if it’s all clustered inside the closet. I knew I’d have the doors back open after she left. At least the house looked straight for a week.

Since getting married, I’d come home late most days as I stopped by my mother’s house after work to pick up more clothes and shoes.

Before we got married Dean asked me what he needed to do in the house to get ready for me to move in. I told him not to worry, that we’d do it all as we go—I didn’t want to scare him off.

He did make room in the master closet and his dresser, which was great. I have hanging clothes in three closets (and so does he – actually he has four if you include the coat closet).

Part of our adjustment includes placing my jeans and shorts on the top shelf of the master closet, which I can barely reach. Sometimes I end up aiming and carefully tossing folded pants to the top of one of three stacks instead of dragging a chair over.

Short girl problems.

Dean kept a chair at the foot of the bed, next to the small cat tree. The large cat tree is in the family room, at the front window—not my idea of home interior decorating.

(Tucker on the front widow cat tree, guarding the house)

Tucker the Cat on a cat tower looking out through a window with blinds

“Can we just keep the chair by the closet, so I can use it when I need to reach the upper shelf?” I asked Dean.

He cringed. I could tell he was torn.

Tucker has the habit of using the chair to get up on the bed. He then jumps over to the dresser to spend most of the night sleeping on a stack of two pillows with a large towel wrapped around it—also not my idea of interior design.

Finally, he said, “But Tucker needs the chair to get up on the bed.”

That response did not thrill me.

Tucker the Cat lying on a pillow atop the dresser

(Tucker claiming the dresser)

Unlike Dean, I do NOT live for making life easier for the cat.

Carefully considering his personality traits and the special relationship Dean’s type has with animals, I chose not to take offense.

Instead I attempted to plead my position.

“Dean, I understand you got Tucker as a rescue and you take the responsibility seriously, but trust me when I say that you taking him into your home and feeding him is enough.

Everything else is above and beyond.

“But please understand, Tucker is an animal. I am your wife. There is a difference between the perceived needs of the cat and the actual needs of your new wife.”

The chair remained at the foot of the bed, and I steeled myself for the long haul.

Determined to bide my time.

(Tucker watching television. Not quite like Buttercup, Mom’s dog, #WierdDoggyUpdate )

Tucker the Cat lying on a chair watching television

During one evening, I announced that I was heading off to get ready for bed.

“Can you wait until Tucker is ready to get off my lap?” Dean asked.

I huffed, “I’ll get up slowly so he doesn’t use your legs as a runway.”

He added, “Just wait 5 minutes.”

“Are you kidding me?” I asked. “I’m exhausted and I want to go to bed now.”

“Just wait. He never stays very long. And it’s the first time he’s done this since I had to put Sampson down last week.”

He'd pulled the death card.

How could I argue with that?

I stared at the television, feeling second-class … just behind the cat.

After 10 minutes had passed, I said. “I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you love me more than the cat. But I’m going to need for you to make me feel like that’s true.”

Just then Tucker jumped down, as if he knew his job there was done.

Clueless, shocked and dismayed, Dean said, “Of course I love you more than the cat.” (More words followed, but I really don’t remember. Being hot under the collar is a great memory eraser.)

Hugs and kisses followed; they were returned halfheartedly by me.

I needed time to cool off.

Perhaps in an attempt to make me feel more important than the cat, Dean surprised me by adding a vent deflector cover to keep the arctic blast off me every time the AC kicks on at night. It’s a small house with low bedroom ceilings.

The master is nearest the air handler, so cold air blew onto my side of the bed, freezing me every fifteen to twenty minutes. Since I have problems sleeping, the disturbance was aggravating the issue. I suggested we switch sides of the bed, but that didn’t fly, so he bought the deflector instead, an easy fix.

I spent the rest of the week getting the house ready for my mother’s first visit that coming Saturday.

“A clean house brings order, and order brings peace.” –Sally Friscea


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