The closest thing I get to "hazardous duty" is when K goes out of town and I'm a single father for a time. This week--all week!--she's in Panama City, Florida, at a conference of some sort. It's moments like these that I realize just how much I depend on her, day in and day out, to keep me sane--and given my mental history, "sane" is not a word I choose lightly.
It's amazing, for instance, how difficult it is to keep the house clean when she's gone. You could insert some sexist remark here, no doubt, but I think this speaks more to me vs. her than man vs. woman.
Mostly I realize how scatterbrained I am, though. For instance, yesterday I had a dental appointment. They called to remind me on Friday; it was written down on the calendar; K and I had talked about it. The only missing piece of the puzzle was that she wasn't here to remind me the morning of--and so, naturally, I forgot the appointment. Hooray, more money spent on nothing at all!
Truly, marriage has infantilized me. At the moment, I'm in somewhat the same situation I was just before I got to college. I don't know if anyone else was like this, but I hated doing chores, and I knew that if I didn't do them, so what? They'd get done eventually by someone else. But then, when I was on my own, suddenly it really was my responsibility, and mine alone, to do laundry, eat properly, get enough sleep and so on, and suddenly those things seemed pleasurable, not onerous.
(In truth, I was already pretty good about doing the laundry for the whole household; and my dad, with whom I lived for most of my life, wasn't exactly great shakes in the household chore department. I distinctly remember upwards of ten bags of garbage, sitting on our back porch for months, because Dad couldn't get around to driving them to the dump.)
My point, anyway, is that I've regressed back to that dependence on someone else to handle the things I can't, or won't, handle on my own. She handles the schedule, because I can't get myself to depend on a PDA. She handles most of the cleaning and virtually all of the day-to-day straightening up. And in the evenings, she pretty much rears the kids on her own because by the end of the day, I need to be alone, for at least an hour, otherwise I explode in a mushroom cloud like the one Condi Rice lied about.
Yet she manages to hold me and herself together, while still working a sometimes punishing schedule at her job (which she admittedly loves), and she never tells me, "No, you can't go to rehearsal tonight," even though there have been nights when she's missed her t'ai chi class because I was a crying, blubbering wreck. How can I make myself stronger? And more importantly: how can I ever repay her?