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And so, I’ve made that “honey-do” list for Fella, and tacked it to the front of the fridge. I’ve said I’d like him to complete or at least start one task each weekend, and that if he gives me notice by Thursday night, I’ll make sure I’m available to help.

Most of these aren’t sizable tasks. Some of them would take him only a few minutes. But I don’t know how to do them, or do them right, and he does. And I’ve been waiting for him to do some or most of them for years. He’s always been too busy or too tired or too disinterested. There is always an excuse why something else is more important.

“Hmph,” is his response. “Then I’m going to make a list for you!”

“You do that,” I say. “Just remember, you must also be available to help me, just as I will be to help you.” I win either way.

Today we are having lagoon problems again and he’s been on the phone trying to figure out how much septic tanks cost and how to keep the lagoon working till we get one in, and so on. Maybe I should be the one taking care of that, he says, when I ask if he knows yet what he’s doing on the weekend. My reply, said with a smile: “Sure! As soon as you start doing dishes.”

I will be surprised if he actually tackles anything from the honey-do list this weekend, because there is always, always, always something else that must be done instead, but I stop myself from thinking about what the consequences will be if he doesn’t, because I need to put my focus on what I want, not what I don’t want. I need to expect to be satisfied, difficult as that is after 10 years of coming last on the list. If he doesn’t cooperate, that’s when I’ll worry about making a change in my own pattern … the pattern where I do things for him that he doesn’t acknowledge or appreciate, like cooking meat, preparing suppers, doing his laundry along with mine, and so on.

The foot’s gone down, but it could mean war. Cross your fingers for me.

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