The amazing story of two 40-something women on the path to matrimonial bliss

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Texting, Lavender-Patchouli Soap, and White Tablecloths

I couldn't settle on one solid topic for blogging this morning--there were a few snippets floating in my mind over the past couple days and I suppose the best way to categorize them would be under a heading of relationship culture. Each relationship or partnership seems to have its own culture--evolving over time.  From style of communication to rituals, disagreements and even vocabulary--there is a glue that holds a couple together and some of it is in the cultural details.

Teri and I text.  I was just learning how and getting proficient at texting when she and I met and instead of my traditional letters, phone calls, and emails, we actually got to know each other via texting.  While I joke that in the beginning the texts were saucy and steamy and now they are more likely to be something like "Could you pick up creamer and cheese?" that doesn't really tell the story of how and why we text.  We are busy and we work at very different sorts of jobs--sending each other little texts and photos throughout the day helps us stay and feel connected.  I can respond to a text from Teri while I'm in a long, drawn-out meeting and she can send me a photo of a lizard as she's walking between sultry greenhouses. We let each know we've made it to work, we're on our way home or even give each other a heads up when we know we're going to need to do some crabby decompressing upon arrival.  We use texting to find each other in a bustling mall or to send photos of all sorts of things.  Now that I write about it, I think cell phones and the invention of texting has made me a better partner!

The lavender-patchouli soap is a whole different sort of relationship cultural element.  Teri put out her love of patchouli when we were first getting to know each other.  Like many Eugene-ians, I tend to associate the word patchouli with a scent that is more weed-over-sweat-over-dirt-mixed-with-dreadlocks-mixed-with-old-clothes which really has nothing to do with the actual scent of the herb.  Teri was a purist and her version of patchouli loving was for actual soap and incense with the authentic scent.  I didn't really mind that smell but the scent and herb that I truly love is lavender.  On one of our first trips through the Eugene Saturday Market together, we discovered a local soap vendor who makes and sells a wonderful Lavender Patchouli soap.  Pioneer Natural Soap Co. in Springfield has a shop, but they also sell via the Saturday and the Holiday Markets.  We love that soap and while we might dabble with others since variety is key to both of us, that soap is our signature soap.

Finally, the white tablecloths are a different sort of cultural signifier. When Teri and I were moving in together there was a bit of stress.  My stuff, her stuff, what stays and what goes. 

While neither of us is a hoarder, we both have the things we cherish, collect and keep.  Teri was critical of why I had so many dishes, table linens and glassware.  What could one woman need with 12 white tablecloths?

Seriously? Anyone whose ever thrown a party knows how indispensable the good quality cotton tablecloths are!  It has been many years ago now, but I actually purchased a dozen restaurant-quality tablecloths (big 118 by whatever ones) from a linen supplier and gave some as gifts (my mom now has a couple standbys too) and kept some for myself.  Add to those all sorts of vintage, modern, cotton and poly and you have the go-to collection any person could be proud of.  Teri didn't exactly see it that way.  She saw it as a lot of linens sitting around in a cupboard waiting to be called into action.  We created some humor around it, she let go, and as our Wedding approaches, all that linen (plus some additions) will be called into action.  She has gotten used to the fact that we are that couple and when ever anyone we know might need some tablecloths (or wine glasses or heavy china service plates), they can come to us.  Truth is, I've turned into my great-aunt Winnie and that is just the way it is.

Of course, these are just a few little elements of what has become Teri and Kori that come to mind.  We are not terribly unique in that we continue to find the things that work for us, the places where we disagree and where we can compromise.  Every couple tends to find their way in terms of creating a culture that is a merging of two very different ones.

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