I Failed the Marital Rating Scale

So a bunch of people have told me that my last post, about my daughter leaving for college, made them cry.  I texted her yesterday, “Are you aware that people all over the country are weeping just because you went to college?”  Ok, well, maybe not all over the country, but, still.  I do have readers in New York, you know.  And according to my blog stats, one very faithful reader in the Netherlands.  Go figure.

Anyway, since my last entry was a bit of a Debbie Downer, I thought I would quickly post something a bit lighter to make up for it.

I recently came across something called “The Marital Rating Scale” created by Dr. George Crane, a psychologist from the 1930’s.  Dr. Crane interviewed 600 husbands on their wives’ positive and negative qualities and then assigned points for merits and demerits.  A sample of the chart is below…

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I thought perhaps it might be fun to take a look at some of the more interesting “demerits” for wives on Dr. Crane’s scale and see how I score.

DEMERITS FOR WIVES

#3  Fails to sew on buttons or darn socks regularly

True confessions here:  I had to google “darn socks”.  I mean, I’ve heard the term before, but I didn’t actually know what it meant.  Clearly, I have failed in this department.   Also, I have never sewn a button in my life.  Ever.  Probably because I somehow have never been alone in a button emergency.  I mean, I have a mom that can sew a button, my friends can sew buttons and I married a guy that can sew a button.  My 9 year old can sew a button.   I just sort of discreetly leave the room when I suspect a potential button situation…I mean, it’s been 47 years, why break my streak now?

#25 Wears pajamas while cooking

Hmm…this one is a bit baffling.  Does anyone really care what anyone who is cooking for them is wearing?  You want to come to my house and cook for me?  You can wear your ratty pajamas, you can wear a ballgown, you can wear a bathing suit, hell, you can wear your birthday suit, I really don’t careI would just be forever grateful for one less endless meal to cook.

#18 Tells family affairs to casual acquaintances, too talkative

I suppose writing a blog about your family affairs for complete strangers to read and then posting it on social media would qualify me for a solid demerit on this one.

#7 Seams in hose often crooked/ripped

Finally, one I agree with!  In fact, my hose is ripped right now and it’s super annoying because every time I go to water my hydrangeas I end up soaking wet.  You are right Dr. Crane, a woman’s hose should not rip.

#35  Wears pajamas instead of nightgown

Wow…huge fail here.   Here is a photo of the last nightgown I wore.  Holly Hobbie from 1975.  That nightgown was legit, I think it even came with a bonnet.

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Really, I don’t even wear matching pajamas.  I wear flannel pajama pants, even in summer, and either my green Breakfast Club t-shirt or my gray t-shirt that says, “I like to party.  And by party I mean read books.”  I probably get extra demerits for having all that goin’ on.

#13  Uses slang or profanity (5)

Shit.  He gives FIVE demerits for this one.  Screw it, I’ll take the goddamn demerits because sometimes you have to call an asshole an asshole and there’s just no polite way around it.  I mean, I guess you could just call him a Weiner (Anthony), but let’s get real.

#27 Is more than 15 pounds overweight

You are seriously starting to piss me off, Dr. Crane.  I saw a photo of you and you’re not so hot.  Shall I take five more demerits for calling you an asshole?

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Ok, enough with all these demerits, it’s annoying.  Let’s see where I can rack up some favorable wifely points and look at the “merits” columns.

MERITS FOR WIVES

#25  Has pleasant voice-not strident

Well, according to Merriam-Webster, strident means loud and harsh.  And I’m 100% Italian.  So I guess no points here.  Damn.

#36 Keeps husbands clothes clean and pressed

I get a point!  Well, half a point.  I do wash his clothes.  But pressed?  Unfortunately, that would fall under the same category as the darning socks/sew a button situations.

#28  Writes often and lovingly when away from husband

Does this blog count?  I love you, B.

#41 Has minor children to care for (5)

Jackpot!  I DO have minor children, three of them at 5 points each!  15 points for me.  Shoot, I just realized that my oldest is 18 so she doesn’t count.  Wait…she’s still a tax deduction, right??

#23 Reacts with pleasure and delight to marital congress (10)

Does “marital congress” mean what I think it means?  Sex is worth 10 points?  I’m in a bit of a pickle with this one…my children read my blog and if I award myself the points it’s possible they will die of mortification.  On the other hand, if I don’t award myself the points, it’s possible my husband will.  I’m pleading the 5th on this one.

#34  Good seamstress-can make her own clothes or the children’s clothes

I think we can safely assume from my button confession that this one doesn’t apply to me.

#7 Personally puts children to bed

Umm….yes.   I mean, is there another way to do it?  Is there like, a service you can call?  What am I missing here?

#33 Often comments on husband’s strength and masculinity

Not really but I often ask him to reach things that I can’t.  That’s kinda the same thing, right?

#21 Keeps snacks in refrigerator for late eating

I DO in fact, keep (well, hide) snacks, particularly my friends Ben & Jerry, buried underneath the frozen vegetables for MY late night eating.  Does that count?

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#20 Has a pleasant disposition in the morning – not crabby.

That depends.  Did someone find and eat my Ben & Jerry’s?

#22 Likes educational and cultural things

Ugh.  Honestly?  I really don’t.  I mean, I’ll watch Jeopardy every once and a while but that’s about it.  I don’t like NOVA, I don’t like documentaries, I don’t like concerts, I don’t much like theatre (I literally fell asleep during Phantom of the Opera) and I pretty much go to museums out of obligation to raise culturally aware children.   Wow, good thing I’m not writing a dating profile…I sound awful.

So I’m not sure exactly how many points I’ve scored but it ain’t looking good.  It has become painfully obvious that I would make a pretty crappy 1930’s housewife, at least according to Dr. Crane.  But since being a 1930’s housewife seems like a worse job than being an armpit sniffer (it exists) I’m not too devastated.   I wonder how my husband would fare on the husband charts?  Stay tuned…

Just A Little More Time

My son informed me the other day that I haven’t written a blog post in nearly a year.  And not for lack of material.   Honestly, some fairly blog-worthy things have occurred during that time.

I could have written about when I lopped off part of my thumb with a mandolin slicer.  About how I picked up the piece of my thumb that I sliced off, stuck it back in place, wrapped a paper towel around it,  and actually debated for a few minutes whether or not I needed medical attention.  Turns out I needed several weeks of medical attention.  I figure only a true Italian would sacrifice part of a finger so that her family could have perfectly sliced fried eggplant with their spaghetti.

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I might have written about how right after what is now referred to as “The Mandolin Incident”, I was diagnosed with skin cancer on my head.    But this is usually more of a humorous blog and I really couldn’t figure out how to spin that one into something hilarious.  I’m totally fine now, by the way.  Joke’s on you, squamous cell carcinoma.

Let’s see, what else could I have blogged about?   I saw a once-in-a-lifetime total eclipse of the sun from a farm on the side of the road in the middle of Oregon somewhere.   Because at our house in Washington we would’ve only been able to see a 99% eclipse and that was not up to par for my astronomy geek husband who had to see TOTALITY.   And once I got over my skepticism that our $1.00 eclipse glasses would actually prevent blindness, it was actually way cooler than I ever thought it would be.

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TOTALITY OR BUST!!!

Another blog worthy topic I might’ve written about…my oldest child graduated high school.  That’s a big event, right?   She was accepted to the University of Washington, her first choice school, and our families flew up for her graduation and it was fun and fine and I probably shed a few tears during the ceremony, I honestly don’t remember.

And then this summer she worked to save money and we talked about the things she would need for school.   We bought new bedding for her dorm.  And it was exciting and I was fine.  We bought storage drawers and a mini fridge.  And I was fine.  We ordered her textbooks online a few days ago and shipped them to her dorm address.  And still I was fine.

And then yesterday we packed everything into the car, drove the car onto the ferry and set off for UW in Seattle.   We moved her into a clean, bright, nearly brand new dorm building, we had a lovely dinner with her roommate and her super nice family, and it all should have been fine.

But when I hugged my daughter good-bye and watched her walk down the city street, away from us, her family, her protectors, it was like watching her walk straight out of her childhood.  And into the unknown.  And then I was not fine.   So now, I’ll write.

It’s like I’ve been hit with the emotional equivalent of Hurricane Irma.   I mean, I figured I’d be sad when she left.   You can’t spend every single day of 18 years with someone and then not miss them when they move away.  Even if your kid is a pain in the ass.  Which mine isn’t, by the way, which probably makes it harder.

And I knew I would feel worry.  Because up until now I knew pretty much where my child was at all times.  I knew what time she went to bed, what time she woke up, and what she ate for breakfast.   Now, overnight, she’s living in a big city and I don’t know if she got enough sleep or what she’s wearing or if she remembered to bring a jacket.  The only word I can think of to describe all of this not-knowing is…unsettling.

Along with the worry, strangely, is guilt.  Second-guessing everything I ever did as a parent.  Did I adequately prepare her for the “real” world?  Did I scare her too much or not enough?  Will she really keep the pepper spray in her backpack?  Will she use it if she has to?  Why didn’t I make her take a self-defense class?  Does she know how to mail a package?  Did I ever tell her the post office closes at 5:30?

Anger.  I didn’t expect to feel anger.  Yes, I am pissed off at the world right now for not preparing me for this.   How many pieces of unsolicited advice do we get in our years of parenting?   Thousands?  At every other milestone I felt inundated with information and opinions.  People talk endlessly about how hard it is having a newborn, the sleepless nights, the endless diapers.  Breastfeeding, co-sleeping.  The toddler tantrums.   Picky eater preschoolers, time-outs.  Screen time rules, stomach flu, nightmares.   The middle school years…hormones, mean girls, bullying.  High school…peer pressure, drugs, alcohol, academic stress.    Texting and driving.   And so on.  I mean, you can’t get people to shut up about that stuff.

But when you mention your child is leaving for college, the response has been invariably, “Oh, how exciting!” and that’s pretty much it.  Well, now that it’s happened I’m like, “Wait a minute!  Why did NOBODY tell me, I mean REALLY tell me, that, THIS, THIS is the milestone that is the absolute hardest parenting time of all?”  Not one single person said, “Oh, your child is leaving for college?  I’m so sorry, that totally sucks for you.”  And of COURSE I am happy for her.  And of COURSE I am excited for her.  And no, I wouldn’t rather her stay home forever.  But none of that mitigates the fact that for me, the mom, it does totally suck right now.  So I am telling you now, parents of younger children, because no one actually told me.  It sucks.  You’re welcome.

I read a quote years ago about being a parent that stuck with me, “The days are long, but the years are short.”    Man, truer words were never spoken.

People say, “Oh, you’re lucky that she’ll only be an hour away,” which until yesterday, actually gave me comfort.  But I quickly realized that it doesn’t matter much if she’s not in her bedroom and she’s an hour away versus she’s not in her bedroom and she’s five hours away.   Either way, she’s not in her bedroom.  Either way, the house is too quiet.

I keep having this vision in my head of my little girl walking away, towards her building, and in this vision I’m fighting back tears and yelling,  “WAIT!  Turn around!  Please, I’m not done yet.  I need more time…just a little more time!”

But my time is up and all I can do is hope that I used it well.

And though my heart is heavy and my emotions are muddled, my head is clear, and I do know the truth of the matter.  I may need just a little more time…but she doesn’t.  She’s strong and she’s smart and she’s beautiful and she’s ready.  She’s all yours, world.  Please treat her kindly.

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