I sometimes wonder how my husband and I can have such diametrically opposite opinions and still have remained married for nearly half a century. I am sure many of you who know us wonder, too.
The event that brings this to mind was when, after my grandchildren and family had eaten dinner with my husband and me at our house, one of them asked if she could take home the leftover rolls.
They came in a disposable round aluminum container. My husband told her to make sure she brought the pan back.
Everyone at the table laughed.
We all know my husband’s predilection for saving stuff. He was certain he could reuse that aluminum pan.
My husband was the ultimate recycler before it became fashionable.
It takes three weeks after Christmas Day before he finally empties the refrigerator of leftovers or relents and lets me throw them out.
My husband is a saver. I am a throw-it-awayer.
He doesn’t just save his old stuff; he saves old stuff that friends and acquaintances throw away. If you want to get rid of something and it would cost you money to have it hauled away, tell my husband. He will come and get it.
His rationale is that if it is even partly usable, it may come in handy.
Some of our biggest arguments revolve around what I have thrown out. And I have thrown out things I should not have. I have only one defense. There is so much stuff to sift through that I have a hard time deciding what is important and what is not.
I ask and ask for him to help me sort through stuff and then lose my patience and do it myself.
He will watch any old detective program on television. He watches football, golf and NASCAR. To me, watching golf is like watching paint dry and NASCAR is like watching grass grow, or vice versa. He even calls me to come see reruns of spectacular crashes or shots.
I watch and try to make the appropriate comments.
I watch "Dancing with the Stars" and "Grey’s Anatomy," things he wouldn’t dream of watching. I don’t ask him to come watch a spectacular dance. I know he wouldn’t.
I like to watch HGTV, especially "House Hunters International." I am amazed at how much money it takes to live in such a small apartment in Europe.
He likes to watch cooking shows and is always asking me to make something he has seen. Sometimes he tries to copy a recipe.
Again this is a point on which we differ. I have to have all the ingredients and follow the recipe faithfully.
He likes to keep within the spirit of the recipe, but blithely substitutes and improvises when the spirit moves him. I have to admit that his creations usually taste better than mine.
We both watched "Downton Abbey," but he came to it later than I. He didn’t get interested until the third season, when he happened to watch a marathon of season one and two. We both like to watch "Inspector Morse."
I have really liked "Call the Midwife," but he wouldn’t watch that.
I shop when I have to. I make a list when I go to the grocery store.
I generally go clothes shopping when I need something. Rarely just for fun.
My husband does not want to go clothes shopping. He would rather that I buy him clothes and bring them home for him to try on and return them when they don’t fit or he doesn’t like them.
I made him go with me the last time I bought him clothes because I wasn’t sure what size he was anymore.
He leaves the building as soon as the selections areis made and waits outside while I pay for them.
But he enjoys bargain hunting.
He will go to any of the dollar stores or Aldi’s or Big Lots just to see what is there.
He sometimes comes home with the strangest things.
But sometimes he comes home with something that is really useful, something we really needed but didn’t know it.
Maybe it is true that opposites attract. Or maybe we just complement each other. The extreme of either end sort of becomes the middle when you work together.
Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at email@example.com.