Yes, it is true. Prince Charming and I are sleeping on opposite ends of the house.

“How could this be?” you ask incredulously. “You have told us how wonderful and perfect he is! He is thoughtful and kind. What is going on?”

Well, Reader, everyone except me has flaws. It is just the way it is.


Let’s have a little background. You read here about Chicklet’s eyes. I am happy to report that they are better (but here is a better picture of how red they were), but she is not quite well yet.


And last Thursday the clinic called (because we had to take her to Urgent Care because of course this happened on a weekend) and asked if she was doing OK. They had taken a culture on her eyes (I assume–Prince Charming, he was still charming then, took her), and had the results which were a little disconcerting. She had the flu as well as MRSA. Thankfully Chicklet was acting quite fine by this point, or I would have been a little nervous. She has been no worse for the wear since. But I called to tell Prince Charming, and he nearly flipped out overreacted like fathers of little girls tend to do.

We do not know from where Chicklet’s infection came, but we do know that Chic had some kind of cold-like virus a few days earlier. She probably got it at school, then brought it home for the rest of us. Chic was stuffed up for a couple of days and is fine now. The rest of us are a different story.

Last Tuesday after four days of my own bout with some kind of bug, I went to the doctor. I usually do not run to the doctor so quickly, but I was sick most of last winter and finally got better after going to the doctor in March. I cannot do that again. I cannot exercise when I am sick, and I am too old to start over every summer in the exercise department. So I went. (The reason I do not try to nip things in the bud is because I have not had very good experiences here with going to the doctor. When I actually SEE a doctor, it is not bad, but often I do not have that opportunity. I have some ugly stories of sickness without treatment from earlier in our life here. It just seems like a waste of time and money to go.) The doctor was teetering between virus and bacteria. She finally decided to write a prescription for antibiotics, trusting I would not use it unless certain criteria are met. I have not used it yet, but I am pretty sure I will tomorrow or Tuesday. One of the criteria is that I am no better within 10 days after it hit me. Today is the 9th day. I am no better.

On Tuesday Prince Charming started complaining of being sick. All you wives of husbands out there  know the feeling, the sinking feeling, when your husband says he is getting sick. In my post about Chicklet’s eyes, I put a link to “The Man Cold” on YouTube. We have all been there. We know what it is like. So I inwardly rolled my eyes and braced myself for the worst. Little did I know what “the worst” was going to be.

Prince Charming is actually somewhat not horrible when he is sick. This is ONLY because he knows that I am sicker than him almost always but valiantly, as all women, do not have the option to stay in bed to get well, but do my regular duties and responsibilities without whining or crying like a 2-year-old less-than-sympathetic to his plight, and it will do little good for him to whine. (It was a training, process, ladies. He did not arrive this way.) So although I inwardly groaned at his revelation, I thought that it would not be a large inconvience to me because I would not let it be.

So off to bed we went Tuesday night. Have I mentioned I am a light sleeper? Probably not, but I am. I wake up easily, and just as easily do not go back to sleep for 2 or more  hours if awakened too much. Prince Charming, on the other hand, is a fabulous sleeper. He can wake up, go to the bathroom, cook a meal (hypothetically), go back to bed and be asleep before his head hits the pillow. Prince Charming hit the pillow snoring lightly. I wiggled around so he would adjust himself. He did, and stopped for a while. I was just drifting into sleep, when the snoring got loud.  (He always snores, but I can usually make him stop.) I tried to wake him, but I had no voice.  It is somewhat impossible to wake a sound sleeper when one can only whisper. So I kicked him. He moved AND CONTINUED TO SNORE. I kicked him again (a little harder). Same results. I was too sick to go anywhere, so I spent the next two hours catching a slight bit of dozing periodically, but mostly awake.

Then my coughing fit set in. When I have what I have, it turns into bronchitis quite quickly, and usually sometime during the night I will have a little coughing fit. It is a well-known fact that I avoid cough medicine if possible because I hate it, it makes me feel weird and sometimes makes me sick. So I was coughing while Prince Charming was snoring. After about half-an-hour, he finally woke up. I did not WANT him to wake up, but apparently I can cough much louder than talk when I have no voice, so it woke him up eventually. As if the snoring was not bad enough, he went through the familiar, irritating ritual of trying to get me to take some cough medicine.

“Should I get you some cough medicine?” he asked innocently and groggily.

“No!” was my abrupt, clearly irritated reply.

He waited as I was having a spasm of coughing, then asked (more awake this time), “I would be happy to get you some cough medicine.”

“NO,” was my firm reply.

More coughing.

“I really don’t mind,” he said.

By this time I showed every second of not sleeping that had happened that night. “I do not like cough medicine. You know I do not like cough medicine. I am sorry if I am keeping you awake, but your snoring kept me awake for 2-1/2 hours.” This was said as I grabbed my blankets and went to the loft to sleep in the recliner. (The usual progression of things at times like this.)

I was actually starting to feel rested and relaxed, away from the snoring, when Prince Charming came out to apologize and try to get me to go back to bed. Reader, what IS it about men that they cannot just leave things be? I had not slept ALL night, I was just getting comfortable, and he was there BOTHERING ME!

I do not even remember what I barked (in a whisper) at him, but I am sure it was not sweet nothings.

In the recliner I remained until a hint of dawn woke me up. Then I got up and went about my duties as usual.

So Wednesday through last night (and who knows how much longer), Prince Charming has been sleeping in the toy room. (We have a guest room, but it is somewhat of a work room and the bed is usually only completely cleaned off when guests are here.) And get this, I felt GUILTY about it. I felt guilty because someone who can sleep through a tornado or earthquake (probably even nuclear attack) went to another bedroom because his cold (or whatever) made him snore-without-ceasing VERY loudly. He did not make me feel guilty; that is my own issue. But other than my nightly coughing fit, I have been getting some excellent sleep. (Even though I can still hear the muffled snore behind a closed door at the opposite end of the house.)  I even kept one of the cats inside last night to help me stay warm.

Prince Charming and I are actually getting along famously, just not sleeping together. In a few days he will be well (unfortunately I will not be), and he can come back until he tries to get me to take cough medicine in the middle of the night. It is the first time we have ever done this. I am always the one to go sleep on the sofa or a recliner (guilt thing), but now that I am used to this, I think it is a good plan for future illnesses.

Normally, I am a “shower girl.” Baths, for me, are not the way to get clean. However, they are relaxing more than almost anything, and I love taking a bath. (And will shower ahead of one if I think I am not “clean” enough.)

And what does this have to do with “smelly stuff?” I have pondered this connection for years. Why do I love baths so much?I believe there are lots of reasons, but a giant one has to do with the scents attached. I have all kinds of scents for my bath. This started when I was in my early 20’s and a Crabtree and Evelyn store opened in our mall. This place enchanted me, and not just a little. I immediately bought some “Spring Rain” milk bath for my mom. (Even then, I could not often splurge on myself… except for clothes and shoes.) She loved it. She became a “bath girl” for relaxation. Everyone in the family knew they could buy her the “Spring Rain” milk bath for any holiday and occasion, and it would be the perfect gift.

Then came Victoria’s Secret bath products (ohhhh, Honeysuckle!) and Bath and Body Works. My all-time favorite is/was Eucalyptus/Spearmint from Bath and Body Works (just recently available again), but I also have affairs with other scents. I am very much not faithful in that department. I have summer scents and winter scents and relaxing scents and energizing scents. I am a little bit picky about the type of scent, but I love many, many different ones. It is always a fun game to figure out which scent I will add to the bath each week.

There are other reasons I love baths. They are almost always on Friday night. My life is busy and stressful. (No, I do not “work” outside my home, but I work a LOT inside it, and I volunteer way too much occasionally outside it.) Fridays are the busiest days of all for me. OK, they are not. Wednesdays are worse because the whole day is AWAY from home letting the things at home pile up higher, and Fridays are at least mostly AT home, but they are extremely busy. So when Friday night comes, I have had it. I am exhausted and sometimes downright miserable. My body aches and my mind needs a break. The bath is just the thing. The warm water, the scents, the alone time, the opportunity to read, the time to just think… did I mention the alone time?

When Prince Charming came in to my life, he realized quickly how important this Friday night ritual was to me (and by extension, to him). Sometimes I just did not have the gumption to take a bath, and I think I it made him more miserable than me. When we married, he moved from 1000 miles away to my house. We had two bathrooms, the master bath and the upstairs bath. I always took my baths upstairs because I did not like taking them in the same place I took showers. Sometimes I would skip it because I was too lazy too tired to clean the tub. Prince Charming fixed that for me. He started cleaning the tub right after dinner. No excuses now!

sunset reflection in painting above "garden tub"

sunset reflection in painting above "garden tub"

When we moved to New Mexico, our new house had a “garden tub.” For a bath aficionado like me, this was delightful. Don’t be too envious, the name only meant that it was a larger tub–there were not jets in it or anything fancy–just bigger. BUT bigger is sometimes better, AND it was not in the same place as the shower. Heaven!

With children, the whole bath thing is even more important because as much as I love Chic and Chicklet, by Friday night, I am mostly finished with being a Mom, too. (Although I sometimes let them play in my bubbles for a few minutes before they go to bed… a VERY few minutes.) Prince Charming, being the Prince that he is, is quite in tune with things like this. He sees what my life is like (although some of it is self-inflicted, and he wishes I would not inflict it upon myself), and does whatever he can to make it better. Part of this is insisting I take my Friday night bath. (Prince Charming bought the bath pillow featured at the top of this post. He understands.) I stopped sharing this information with my friends because they either a) hated me for it or b) tried to seduce Prince Charming so they could have such luxuries themselves. EVERY woman I know wants Prince Charming to teach classes to their husbands. This makes Prince Charming quite uncomfortable. Apparently it is not cool for men to go around instructing other men on how to be the perfect husband.

So here is what happens… after dinner, I blog for a few minutes quickly finish up whatever urgent business needs my attention. (Mind you, cleaning up the kitchen and dinner table would never be part of what I do here. I NEVER do that unless Prince Charming is out of town. I cook; he cleans up. I do not leave a huge mess, but whatever mess there is, he takes care of it. Except Saturday evening dinner and all day Sunday when he cooks AND cleans up. NOW ladies, into which of the categories in the previous paragraph do you fall?) So while I am blogging completing some important task, Prince Charming is cleaning my garden tub. He lets me know when it is finished, and in a few minutes I go upstairs to an aromatherapy haven. He lights a candle (or candles) for me that smell yummy. He leaves out the appropriate amount of towels (three) for me. And if at any time during the evening I balk for any reason, he almost forcibly makes me go take a bath.

Now is the time when most women would be leary; I know I was. “What does he want for all of these romantic gestures?” “What kinds of acrobatics am I going to have to perform when I get to bed?” “Is this bath worth it?” Well, the answer is that this is a “no strings attached” bath. Every week. It is my time. No kids, no phone calls (unless I really want to talk to someone), no husband, nothing but me and my scented paradise and the books/magazines that I choose.

I would never have time to read were it not for my bath time.

I would never have time to read were it not for my bath time.

Oh, WAIT… I almost forgot. There is more. He brings me water (because that is what I like to drink) and any confections of my choice. Periodically, it might be a leftover dessert item we have, but more often it is Godiva chocolates (hand-picked by Prince Charming–he loves to get seasonal truffles) or Nutella* on graham crackers. And if I run out of something or need something at any time during my bath, I ungracefully pound rap gently on the floor of the tub three times, and he comes running (not kidding) to see what I need.

* [Are you familiar with Nutella?  Find it.  Try it.  Love it.]

For the record, he says he does all this for himself as much as me, because my life is so busy and stressful, and this little break is beneficial necessary for my mental health state of well-being. This is probably true. In fact, I am pretty sure it is true.

But what is hedoing other than being on call for my every whim while I take my luxurious bath each Friday night? (It lasts 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Sometimes I even have to add extra hot water.  Hmmm…. maybe I should have him keeping hot water ready on the stove! JUST KIDDING!) I really do not care what he is doing. (The kids are in bed, by the way.) For all I know, he is surfing the internet’s p*rn sites, having an internet affair managing his fantasy football team/league or reading himself. (He does seem in a hurry to get me to the tub!) It does not matter to me. I trust him. And this is one of the best gifts he gives to me. (ONE of them. There will be other posts about other reasons he is Prince Charming.)

Sunset through lace curtain over "garden tub"

sunset through lace curtain over "garden tub"

To be honest, I think this whole thing is probably almost as good for him as it is me. No one wants to live with an uptight, stressed out witch partner. He makes sure I am not. And he gets his “strings.” Maybe not on Friday night (but maybe), but definitely more frequently than if I did not have this weekly relax/recharge time alone.

This post is in response to a prompt from Kelly at *Weekly Anamnesis.*  I wrote it before I had a blog and just saved it for when I did.  I do not know why, but today seems like the right time to post it. 



I like what she does at *Weekly Anamnesis.*  I have other things written from her prompts and will share them eventually as well.  If any of you are interested in them, she is not picky about the timing of responding to the prompt.  Find one you like and go for it!  It will be interesting if several people would use the same prompt and see how different their perspectives on a word are.  There is one there already with two perspectives on the same event.  Quite interesting.


The worst day of my life seems far away and, to be honest, irrelevant now.  There are so many people who have had and will continue to have, much worse days than mine.  But I guess mine was more than a little horrible at the time because it is still what comes to my mind when I think of “worst.”


My marriage was 3 years old.  It was not the epitome of perfection, but overall I was happy and liked being married. (And whose marriage is the epitome of perfection?) My husband had a good job.  I had a better job.  We had lived in our first house just a year.


My husband was a bit of a restless sort.  He had been without a mother since he was 9, and was somehow always seeking a way to fill up the void she left.  At the time I did not really know this.  He hid himself from me.  He made himself exactly what he thought I wanted and was good at it.  He looked a little like Jon Bon Jovi (with long hair), and more than one of my friends envied me for “catching” him.  Anyway, he drove around a lot visiting his friends and his mother’s family.  Since I liked quiet, this did not really bother me.  I had no issues with being at home alone sometimes. (In retrospect, it was a LOT of the time).  I did have issues with the amount of money he spent while out, on things that were not tangible, and the amount of gas he consumed when our gas credit card bill came.


He worked a lot, too.  He would leave for work sometimes at 4 a.m. and stay until 5, 6 or 7 p.m.  I did not think much about this.  I thought it was part of the restlessness.


Then something seemed wrong.  He had a friend at work that seemed to consume too much of his time and conversation.  Her name was Chelsea (not her real name).  He would tell me about how tough her life was, but I could see that every shred of “tough” was her own doing.  At first I did not mind the friendship, but after a few months, it just seemed out of hand.  I started asking questions about it.  He seemed different.  I finally blatantly asked if he was having an affair with Chelsea.  He wasn’t.  I felt horrible for thinking the worst.


A month later, January 18, he went to work extra early—long before I had to get up (5 a.m.) for my own job.  When I got up I found his wallet still in our room.  I was concerned because I knew he needed cash that day for something specific. (I can’t remember what it was now.)  I checked to see if maybe he had taken the cash out.  Instead I found a note from Chelsea remembering a sexual encounter.


That was the worst day of my life.  Up to that point at least.  How can anyone put into words the utter betrayal one feels at such a time?  There are no words.  There is only shock.  A little anger.  But mostly shock. 


I called him at work.  There was no answer.  That was not unusual for he was a manager at a manufacturing facility and might not hear the phone.  It was 5 a.m.  No one was there to answer it in the office.  I called his cell phone.  He answered.  I asked him if needed his wallet.  He was silent for just a moment longer than he should have been, then he said he would be right there to get it.  I told him what I had found.  At that statement he was silent the appropriate amount of time.  Then he told me he was so sorry and how much he loved me and it only happened once.  On and on.  I believed him.  (I would later learn that he had been at Chelsea’s house when I made that phone call.)


Here is the crazy part.  I am an unbelievably intuitive person.  Most people and situations I can read quickly and accurately.  But the closer it is to me, the more I second-guess my instincts and give the potentially erring party the benefit of the doubt.  Although I am so good at figuring out people and situations, I never trust my instincts when it comes to myself or other extremely close people.  But in the end, in such situations, I have never been wrong.  (Except that it is worse than I have suspected.)


So I believed him, but still felt betrayed.  But being an honest and faithful type myself, I was willing to move on and put it behind us. 


We went on for a month.  He went to work early and still drove around a lot, but he did check in more frequently.  I still felt uneasy, but beat myself up for not trusting him.


February 13 came, and I was picking up laundry out of his closet.  I found a receipt for a Valentine’s gift.  My heart froze a little, but I talked myself out of that saying it was of course a gift for me.


Valentine’s Day came.  We went out to dinner early because he had to go back to work for some crisis.  I got a gift. (Some very nice perfume, actually, but I cannot remember the name of it.)  He dropped me off at home and went to work.  The gift for which I had seen the receipt had not appeared.  So I did something I never imagined I would do.  I went to his closet and went through it, searching for clues to my suspicions.


That was the worst. day. of. my life.  I found receipts for all kinds of things—including TWO bottles of the perfume I had gotten.  Yes, Chelsea got a bottle, too.  I found cards and notes that had the most appalling, explicitly sexual writing I had ever seen. 


Nausea overcame me.  I had to stop.  I had to bend over and wretch, even though nothing came out.  I had to walk away.  Every few steps I had to stop and gag.  I know that kind of thing happens all the time to people all over the world, but I never felt more alone in my life.  I had a loving family I could turn to, but I did not want to slander my husband to them.  I fully assumed we would work this out, and I did not want all my friends and family to hate him or never be able to see him the same way again.


The control I exercised was amazing.  I saved all the evidence, but the closet looked normal after I had finished.  I did not say anything when he got home.  I did not say anything the next day.  Somehow I knew that if I did not have control, I would never be able to get another clue.  By waiting I found other evidence.  It was all the same type—mostly incredibly sordid love notes from Chelsea.  But had I thrown it all in his face immediately, he would have cleaned out his car, his closet, his office, everything.  As it was, I found more stuff than even made sense.  It still amazes me that he was not wise enough to get rid of the evidence—any of it!


A few days later I confronted him.  He tried to lie again, but I put the evidence in front of him.  He was astounded.  The apologies poured forth as a cold, blue Missouri spring, bubbling up to cover everything near it with water.  I was a stone.  He said would end it now.  I did not believe him.  I had never believed him, but had talked myself out of my intuition.  This time I was finished with the concessions.


The next 6 weeks were the worst of my life.  The nausea was ever-present.  I could not eat more than enough to sustain myself.  I lost 30 pounds in those 6 weeks.  I moved in with my parents to allow him time to “get his head straight.”  He didn’t.  I moved back in and kicked him out after I learned that instead of getting his head straight, Chelsea (also married, by the way) had been sleeping in MY house in MY bed.  When I made him leave my house, he moved in with her.

Long story short, he never got his head straight until more than a year later when I sent him the divorce papers.  Of course by this time I was long gone.  Not with anyone else, but with no love left for him.  He had killed every shred of it.


Why I cried a little in court when the judge granted my divorce still baffles me.  Truthfully I did not love him anymore, but there was still a loss.  The loss of a dream.  The loss of a future.  What I did not know was that the worst days and weeks of my life would leave me in a place to find the best part of my life—my husband now, Prince Charming


I was happy with my first husband, but I am not an unhappy type of person.  I guess I did not know that there was something better out there.  I was content AND happy.  But now I realize that I did not even understand the tip of the iceberg about happiness.  Sometimes I wonder if it is the same now—if I just am happy and do not realize that it could be even better.  But it can’t.  How could it?  And it doesn’t matter anyway.  This time my husband loves me more than I can understand.  He showed me the REAL him from the first day I met him.  He is not going anywhere.  And the worst time of my life was a blessing in disguise.  It was, to use a Mary Oliver reference, like shedding my skin for something so much more fantastic than I could have ever imagined.

By Louise Cannon