Compromise keeps marriage interesting – Orange County Register

Dale is away this week at a golf tournament with his friends in Massachusetts. From what I can tell, this is what you do when you retire – you fly across the country to play golf because you can.

In the meantime, although I miss him, there is plenty to keep me busy. Dogs need to be fed, horses must be ridden and writing must be done. I am quite the party animal.

To be sure, there is a lot less cooking done at the Carline house, and a lot more visits to Craftsman Pizza. I don’t even remember what kind of meals I had as a single woman. Did I cook at all?

But my biggest indulgence when Dale is away is to straighten, organize and scrub. That’s right. When the cat’s away, this mouse cleans house.

I’ve been with Dale for more than 25 years, and I’m still crazy about him. Long-term commitments require compromise, and I think we’re pretty good at that. Still, throughout our marriage, we’ve reached an uneasy truce when it comes to housecleaning.

Dale understands, in theory, that when we entertain, the house should be clean. I understand, in theory, that a house is not a museum, and a certain amount of clutter is normal. Practically speaking, we don’t understand anything. I love a spotless house, which makes Dale nervous. Dale likes to be surrounded by stuff, which makes me anxious.

After 25 years, we live in a house that has areas of clutter and areas of clean, and we both take blood pressure meds.

But when my hubby leaves town, I gather up the unread magazines, the junk mailers and crumbled receipts. I organize the bills, hang up clothes and basically put everything back where it belongs.

Once I can see the floor and the furniture, I’m able to dust and vacuum.

It’s actually a very calming process, and costs less than a shopping spree. I tend to find things I thought we lost, so shopping isn’t even necessary. And I find loose change – this time it was more than $20 in quarters alone.

Cleaning my house actually makes me money.

With each cleaning, I’ve tried to come up with different ways to keep Dale more organized. File folders, storage boxes, you name the system and I’ve introduced it to him. He nods, sets it aside, and never uses it.

I think I know his system. It’s called, go on a trip and have Gayle organize everything for you. I can’t argue with him. It works.

Of course, when the house is clean and organized, I see opportunities for improvement. Dale comes home to changes. Sometimes they’re small, like new candles for the…

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