“Big trouble,” I say to Terry raising my eyebrows.
He grins, “Yeah, I know,” he acknowledges.
Terry had left the garage door open on a night that was below freezing (because of the way we park our cars, we have to close it once he’s already in the house). Not only does that make our morning commute a little chilly as we wait for our cars to heat up, but as we had learned from my unfortunate mistake earlier that month, it can freeze the pipes to our kitchen that run through the garage.
See — I am the designated mistake-maker in the house. You know, the one who forgets to pay the bill that’s due. Or runs out of checks so that no one can pay any bills until we receive our rush-delivery re-order. The one who dings up the cars, and the one who leaves the garage open and freezes the pipes.
However, because I am a stay-at-home mom, I’m also the one who deals with these problems: putting space heaters in the (now-closed) garage to thaw out the pipes, taking the car to the shop for repairs, and delivering last-minute payments.
Terry is very understanding and supportive, but the difference in our personalities gets to him sometimes when my careless errors happen in close proximity, or if he just happens to be in a bad mood. It makes me feel like the bad teenager.
On the rare occasions when Terry made the kind of mistake that resulted in a financial or time inconvenience for us, I would remain calm as I reminded him, “You know, if I had done the same thing, I would be in big trouble.” Now years later, the code has gotten shortened to those two words. Either of us can utter “big trouble,” and it diffuses any frustration that either of us might be feeling.
Using humor, and specifically code words to remind us of certain situations, is one of our “loving rituals” that keeps us close and connected.
Go to 5 Minutes for Mom to read the rest of my review of What Happy Parents Do by Carol Bruess and Anna Kudak (and enter a giveaway) and find out more about the “loving little rituals of a child-proof marriage.”