From the outside looking in I guess it would be fair to say that hubby and I are a good match and I’m not denying that we are. That we have a fair amount of differences is also true, but those differences help keep us on our toes and working on our partnership and heck; life is never dull!!
Living in a caravan is guaranteed to bring all of those differences up front and centre and demand that you deal with them lest they drag you screaming and kicking to the divorce courts so it has certainly been interesting over the last few months finding ways to make sure that we are both enjoying our traveling experience!
I guess the major difference between us has to be that hubby likes order and routine in his life and he likes to rise early in the morning and hit the ground running. I am more of a sloth-like creature first thing and a fly by the seat of my pants kinda girl regarding work during the day. It takes me time and QUIET to get going. When we lived in a house with proper rooms it wasn’t a problem as hubby would get up and go off to make his breakfast and then head to his office next door allowing me the time I needed to have a snooze before attempting to set foot out of bed. In a caravan there are no such distinctions between bedroom, office and kitchen as they are all the same room and so we have had to work out a compromise that suits us both. Now hubby gets up at 5am, feeds the cats who then come on the bed for cuddles, makes us both tea and comes back to bed for an hour for a ‘communal’ snooze. He then gets up to make his breakfast closing the curtains that separate the bed from the rest of the caravan leaving me and the babies to continue the all important pre-getting up doze. After breakfast he heads off for an early morning walk and this is when I get up and make my breakfast in peace and quiet.
The rest of the day runs like clockwork, work, lunch, work. Finishing work was always a murky area for hubby back in the UK as he never really had a cut off point. When you work from home the office is always there and if you are a left brained workaholic – take a step forward Mr H – then the temptation always proves to great to resist and the office is where you find yourself morning, noon and night. I was adamant that wasn’t going to happen in Bessie and so we have a 5pm office curfew; that it always ends up with me gently and sometimes not so gently reminding hubby that its ‘gone 5’ is part of the routine now but most of the time he concedes defeat and packs up graciously. Suggesting an early evening walk is always a good way to get him to speed things along and get packed up and so we usually find ourselves trudging up the hill out of the campsite at around 5.30pm.
I prefer not to work solidly through the day and so punctuate my routine with breaks for yoga, chores and the very European art of siesta’s. Hubby has never really got his head around the idea of actually stopping work and having a little power nap after lunch but knows better than to comment on my finely honed ability to put my head down for 20 minutes. I don’t indulge every day but if I do he knows that I will be a grumpy grouch if I don’t. His survival instinct kicks in and he leaves me to it 🙂
The other major difference that we have is our attitude to the art of relaxation and what that should look like. I love to kick back and relax; indulging in a spot of day dreaming, people watching or just a general state of doing nothingness. Hubby’s idea of relaxing is doing anything other than work i.e to still be doing something constructive. I learned very early on in our relationship that the man just doesn’t have an off button and there have been times when I would have quite happily hit him over the head in order to short-circuit his system; just as I am sure he there have been times when he would have liked to wire me in to the mains to get me going!!
That he has renovated two dilapidated houses, built his own from scratch and does all his own car mechanics shows just how much he likes to get his hands dirty and have a job to do. Not that I am saying I can’t step up to the plate and get my own hands dirty. I too helped build the house and what I don’t know about mending cars can be written on the back of a stamp; BUT I don’t actively go out of my way to find jobs to do.
That we have rented rather than owned properties for the last 9 years or so must have been absolute purgatory for my DIY loving man. But now that we own our own place again; be it on four wheels and the size of a tin can, means that he can once again flex his DIY muscle. The smile he had on his face yesterday as he merrily went about his way filling holes, re-sealing where the awning joins the caravan and doing some general maintenance work was heart-warming. Unfortunately I did have to get involved, but only in the minor holding on to the ladders as he descended from the roof kind of way. Nothing to taxing and certainly nothing that involved me getting my hands dirty.
And I guess this is what having differences is all about, you iron them out or find a compromise that you can both work with. We have certainly had the opportunities thrown at us over the last 21 years to make or break our relationship and I guess that we are still here and still enjoying each other’s company is a sign that the old saying ‘opposites attract’ is true 🙂