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Endearing Habits of your Loved One - You thought they were annoying...but now you know they were not at all.


LostThomas

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LostThomas

Perhaps there are some of you who might share my point of view.  I would love to hear about it if you can handle it.  I know it might be too hard for you and that's ok.  Some days I might not even be able to write something like this.  So, if you can't share it's ok, I understand.  Little things in life that never get the attention of people have always been neon signs to me.  I just notice stuff, the absurdity in life, or annoyances that never get prime time billing in conversation.  I think some of that I got from my father.  Some things just struck my father as very funny.    As I grew older, I grew to appreciate his unique sense of humor.  One such time was on a Saturday and my little sister (13 years younger) was watching The Three Stooges on television.  My Dad just broke out in laughter that was so intense he could barely breathe.  When he finally calmed down, he tried to tell my mother what was so funny and barely got to the punchline.    For those old enough to remember here is what happened - Moe was at the counter of a diner.  The waitress asked for his order.  Moe said, "I'll have 2 rotten eggs and 3 pieces of burnt toast."  Perplexed the waitress asked why.  Moe said, "I've got a tapeworm and it's good enough for him".   Us kids had no idea what a tapeworm even is.   Perhaps you had to be there.

Years later I had a similar experience watching television.  I am 5 years older than Mitzi was - Archie Bunker.   Archie was upset with Mike because he put one sock on and then a boot on the same foot.  Archie said the whole world does a sock and a sock and a shoe and shoe.   It was important to Archie that you be 'even', in case there would be fire.   But Mike saw things differently.  He said Archie's way his feet would get wet.  But Mike's way, he could hop and stay dry.  That just might be the funniest thing I've ever seen on television in my life.  I found the video-clip on YouTube and shared it with Mitzi.  We both laughed so hard knowing that our own relationship had parallels in some ways.   When Mitzi took her shoes off, she crossed her right foot over her left foot and nudged it off with her left ankle, and then did the reverse with her left shoe.  I watched in amazement later as she had mastered putting her shoes back on without even bending over.  But I couldn't stand to see her shoes by the door, or wherever, stored the wrong way.   I always fixed it for her.  She never turned the light off in the closet either.   I never broke that habit.  I also never learned to check.   I'd get in bed, turn off the light, and there it was, the bright light peeking through the crack.  This went on for years.  

Little things...I miss them so much.   Nothing, and I mean nothing she did annoyed me...I now know the truth...nothing.

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To be quite honest, I never felt George had annoying habits, he was considerate and, I just never felt that annoyance.  Maybe we weren't married long enough to.

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LostThomas

I just loved that Mitzi and I were so different when it came to the way we lived our lives.  We just had a healthy attitude about it.  She was never really a fan of my driving, not thrilled with the ole snake move I'd make when caught in stopped bumper to bumper traffic to change lanes.   I told her all you had to do was smile, lip sync please and make sure you thank people who let you in.  But she always said you knew you should be in the other lane 5 miles back so why did you wait until the last minute?  Mitzi was terrible at parking the car.  She was a good and safe driver, but she didn't have a sense of direction, just clueless about east, west, north or south.  She was from Washington state and there were hills and mountains there and I live on the coast in Virginia and it's completely flat here.  But she was terrible at parking.   I let her drive most of the time because she said I made her nervous.  Our life was colorful.   One year I set the alarm for 2 a.m. and didn't tell her why.  When it went off, she was surprised.   I told her that I set the alarm because it was 2 a.m. when Daylight Savings Time is official and it was really 3 a.m. and we had to fix the clocks.   We decided to just get up and turn on the TV.  We were so tired we went back to bed 30 minutes later.  After that she always made sure the alarm wasn't set for official daylight savings time.

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foreverhis

Well, I had read and heard that when people lose their partners, they often say things like, "I even miss the habits that used to bother me, the little mannerisms or quirks that are simply part of the whole."  John had two habits that sometimes bugged me a bit.  One was that he piled his work papers (not "work" work, but his woodworking designs, thoughts, articles, etc.) here and there.  They'd be on either side of his chair and on the breakfast bar and just wherever it was convenient.  I'm a bit of a neatnik, but knew that there was "method to his madness" and so I left it to him to put them away when we had visitors coming.  After my mom died, we dragged home one of her bookcases that pretty much matched ours.  We tucked it into a space where he could access it easily.  I told him that it was his alone and I would let it be when he stuffed in his magazines, piles of printed articles, design pads and tools, books, and whatever.  After he died, I couldn't bear to touch anything in it for months, probably well over a year.  Then I sorted out what I wanted to keep, including design drawings of projects he was in process of completing.  I emptied it, cleaned it, and gave it to a dear friend who had the perfect space and a need for it.  I know it was the right thing to do, but it still felt weird.

His second little quirk was that when he washed his hands, he would get them wet, then reach over and pump out soap from the dispenser.  This left puddles of water around the soap dispensers in the bathrooms and kitchen, especially the downstairs bathroom.  We live in a damp coastal region, so mildew is a huge enemy.  Surprising to many is the fact that mildew uses soap as "food" when it's puddled with water--even though soap and water is a great cleaner to get rid of mildew, as long as you then dry the area.  He tried to remember to wipe up the counter when he puddled it, but didn't always.  Often, I'd see these puddles of soapy water, sigh, grab a rag, and wipe everything clean.  It was a small, silly thing.

After we lost him, I realized that "they" were right:  I would have put up with piles and piles of papers and drawings everywhere, and I would have wiped up soapy water 10 times a day if it meant he was still here with us. 

He had many habits that I would call endearing and part of what made him who he was, but that weren't ever annoying, just cute or sweet or silly.  Of course, I miss those even more than his two slightly bothersome ones.

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21 hours ago, foreverhis said:

I would have put up with piles and piles of papers and drawings everywhere, and I would have wiped up soapy water 10 times a day if it meant he was still here with us. 

Mark and I were complete opposites, so there were driving-me-crazy minutes on both sides and I really miss the way we would laugh through most of it. I have a refrigerator magnet that says, “Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” So true. 
Peace, BohoKat 

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foreverhis
5 hours ago, BohoKat said:

“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”

I love that.  You're right it's completely true. 

Here's a little thing, not a habit, just something that didn't quite click in my mind at the time, but that I ultimately realized was so "him" and so meaningful.  We are from the Bay Area and used to belong to the museum societies and the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.  When we had a free weekend day, we'd take the girls to the city for a walk on the Marin Headlands or a ferry ride to Sausalito or go "play" at the Exploratorium.  Often we'd go to Golden Gate Park and stop in at the de Young museum, then head over to the Academy before taking a stroll through the Japanese Tea Gardens, ending our day with tea, arare, and cookies. 

I didn't realize for at least 5 years that John made sure we were at the Academy during one of the penguin feeding/interaction times.  A college friend and I had a "thing" for penguins that got us through some tough classes and assignments.  To this day, I love penguins.  They're so...improbable and so entertaining.  The girls always loved watching the penguins, but it finally dawned on me that he was timing it for me because he knew how much I enjoyed it.

The memories of those small, yet big, gestures are a gift.  I'm not sure I ever told him in words how much they meant to me, though I know I showed it in my actions.

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My husband was a letter writer.  He wrote letters to his friends, his parents, me, everyone. It could be a quick postcard or several pages on whatever paper was handy.  

He traveled a lot for work and would almost always write me a note each evening he was out of town.  Often the mail would arrive after he had actually returned home.  At the time I just thought it was a quirky aspect of his unique personality. 

Because we were both pack rats that rarely threw anything away, I now have hundreds and hundreds of handwritten notes from him in various hotels stating he missed me and wished he was home.  They mean the world to me now. 

Gail

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Gail, my husband and I met through a letter I wrote to the editor, he responded and our correspondence began...we clicked right off the bat, I was going through a divorce and George was a good friend that saw me through much...much later I visited him and he gave me a necklace he'd had made for me, it was my birthday and I remember him telling me it was a friendship that grew wings.  I will always treasure our courtship and how it all began...few write anymore.

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Oh yes, I don't think it is possible to be married a long time and not come up with a few habits to annoy each other.  One thing was he loved computer games, and he'd sit in the other room for a very long time playing games and this sometimes annoyed me until I found my own entertainments (Pokemon we did together, or another game called Factorio that I played, and for a while I played Civilization which was his game and then we could discuss the best strategies which was fun).   Now I'd love to peek in and see him on the computer again.   

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On 1/24/2023 at 11:43 PM, foreverhis said:

To this day, I love penguins.  They're so...improbable and so entertaining.  The girls always loved watching the penguins, but it finally dawned on me that he was timing it for me because he knew how much I enjoyed it.

This certainly brightened my day a bit.  It was so loving to give you that gift every year.  I too adore penguins and have a stained-glass penguin that Mitzi got for me at an art show.  We talked often about animals that we were fascinated with and watched documentaries about them.  For me it has always been about Giraffes, Penguins and Beavers, and she loved Elephants and through her I learned so much and grew to seriously appreciate the things, like Elephants, that meant a lot to her.  

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When I grew up in Eugene, OR, Hendricks Park had penguins and deer, long gone now, but it was a great exhibit.  Skinner's Butte had ponies and peacocks.  It was unique..

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11 hours ago, KayC said:

my husband and I met through a letter I wrote to the editor

Wow...this is so cool.  I have a similar history in how Mitzi and I first connected.  I'm very curious though, and I don't mean to pry if it is too personal.  You do strike me that you are someone that would write to the editor about something that you just had to address in that way.  The question is, did he agree, or disagree with your point of view?  LOL  Perhaps it's just me Kay, but when a person writes something, and someone REALLY listens it can have a profound impact on one's life, even if they only listened one single time.  I write for myself most of the time, and Mitzi listened without me ever even knowing it...for quite some time.  

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5 hours ago, LostThomas said:

she loved Elephants and through her I learned so much and grew to seriously appreciate the things, like Elephants, that meant a lot to her.  

When our daughter was young, she had a stuffed elephant. She couldn’t quite say it, so “elephant” was “elephunky” and elephants became a special bond between her and John. Our granddaughter loves the story, so she was beyond excited when John sent her a small stuffed elephunky. When she was old enough to start drawing, she created greeting cards to us. Her mom helped with the writing at first, but the drawings were always our granddaughter’s. Every card to John had elephants on it. My absolute favorite was one where she drew a grandpa, mama, and baby elephant for Father’s Day. She was maybe 6 at the time and wrote something about how elephants never forget love. It had slightly misshapen hearts all over it and was more precious to John than all the money in the world. I think it’s still in a file folder where he tucked things like that.

To this day (she’s 14 now) when she needs comfort, she cuddles with her grandpa elephunky and her stuffed monkey, Gulliver, from her first toddler rolling carryon set that her mom let her choose for their visits to us. Indeed, elephants are wonderful.

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23 hours ago, LostThomas said:

Perhaps it's just me Kay, but when a person writes something, and someone REALLY listens it can have a profound impact on one's life,

He agreed.  I was doing prison ministry and I wrote a letter about how it's all of our responsibility to help them integrate back into society.  (George always had a heart for down and outers.)  They read the letter at Promise-keepers and it got a standing ovation.  Later he looked up my contact info (which I'd asked the newspaper not to print but when do they listen!).  I was listed though so even if they hadn't he could have found me.  At his funeral we asked donations be sent to Sponsors (who does just that, helping incorporate former inmates into society).  That's where George's heart was, I also took his clothes there.  I remember the first time I dropped by there and saw someone wearing his clothes and shoes.  It kind of stunned me but only for a moment, it was a good thing.

Annie, do you mean your granddaughter?  I'm a little confused.  That's sweet that they shared elephunky!

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@KayC Hi Kay. Yes, sorry that was a little confusing. It’s our granddaughter who cuddles with her elephunky and monkey. I don’t know if our daughter still has hers somewhere, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she kept it tucked away.

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