Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How Much Of Me Is Too Much?

Sometimes...sometimes I wonder how much of me is too much.

Last weekend, the Victoria day long weekend, Chris and I spent three full days together. I was grateful to have the together time. With Chris's new work schedule, including long commute times to and from downtown Vancouver, I don't have as much time to spend with him as I did when we lived in Victoria. Three full days together is a complete luxury. Or is it?

Saturday, we went looking for night table lamps for the master bedroom, after the new furniture arrived from Modern Country Interiors on Thursday, and I set up the entire room. By car, we took the Albion ferry (soon to be defunct) over to the other side of the Fraser River and drove to the Langley Bypass, where we looked at various furniture stores. We didn't find suitable lamps, but we may have found a sectional sofa for our recreation room that we liked.

The following day, Chris and I walked on the Albion ferry and strolled to Fort Langley, where we met Chris's sister, Connie. The sky was clear and sunny, the temperature was summer warm, and we sauntered up and down Glover, poking into small shops, enjoying lunch at Wendel's, a few sweets from Ruby Slippers, and letting the day pass us by. I'd never been to Fort Langley before and really enjoyed myself. Then all three of us walked on the Albion ferry and took the ride over to the _________ side, where we walked back to the house, made home-made pizza, and sat outside on our wooden deck to enjoy the last bits of daylight, dinner, and each other's company.

The following day, Victoria Day, Chris and I drove to Richmond and South Granville, again on the lookout for lamps for the master bedroom. Unfortunately, we didn't find any, but we found the perfect lamp for the second bedroom at Pottery Barn (pictures of both rooms will follow in a separate post). The search for lamps for the master bedroom continues.

Monday evening, with the hours of the long weekend fast waning, I decided to map out the dimensions on our living room carpet of the sectional sofa we saw at Jordans Casual Home, using a measuring tape and masking tape. The goal was to ensure the large leather trunk we bought a few months ago at Chintz & Co. would work with the scale of the sectional if we decided to buy it.

Karen, the helpful saleslady at Jordans, had provided us with the measurements of the two pieces of furniture that would make up the sectional sofa, and I thought I understood exactly how much tape to stick to the carpet to approximate the size of the sofa. With Chris at his laptop computer at the island in the adjoining kitchen, checking out emails from work so he'd have a leg up on the following work day, I was on the floor in the living room, measuring out the various distances.

But I became confused, not fully understanding the dimensions Karen had recorded, and I kept interrupting Chris, asking him to help me. Chris has patience far beyond the average human being, but I knew from the tone of his voice he was getting fed up with the interruptions. He tried to explain what I needed to do from his seat in the kitchen, but I still didn't understand, and I was becoming frustrated.

Finally, Chris got off his stool, came into the living room, and took over, reading the dimensions of the sectional sofa from the sheet Karen had provided us, measuring out the distances, and telling me where I should stick the masking tape to the carpet. Within a few minutes, we had mapped out the full size of the sofa, incorporating our existing sofa--roughly the same scale as the sectional--and we'd placed the leather trunk within the L-shape, ensuring it would work as additional seating, as a foot rest, and as the centerpiece of the arrangement.

Because Chris grows frustrated with me, and everyone, infrequently, I knew that if he was frustrated now, he'd had enough--either of the situation or of me not understanding how to complete the task myself and interrupting him too many times.

As I pondered the theoretical size of the sectional with the real trunk, I looked over at Chris, back on the stool at the island, trying to get a last few minutes in reading work emails before he had to shower and get to bed early at the beginning of another workweek.

I was very low key afterward. While the two of us had spent some wonderful time together over the weekend, talking, laughing, planning, really connecting and enjoying each other's company, I began to wonder if he'd had enough of me over the three days, if he was grateful to return to work the following day so he'd have some time away from me. Couple time is great, but so is time away from each other, I assume, so that when you come back together, you really enjoy being with one another.

Of course, there's an element of low self-esteem in the question of how much of me is too much. It implies that there's a limit to how much time couples, even attentive and loving couples, like I consider Chris and me to be, can spend with each other. And that time away from each other is not only good but beneficial to the relationship.

Chris and I shower together at night, because I consider it to be prime time to be together, but I wondered if he really needed to shower by himself Monday night. Sheepishly, I asked him if we could shower together, even though I was sure he'd reached the limit of how much time he wanted to spend with me over the long weekend. As usual, he said he was fine to shower with me, but I remained quiet and out of his face as much as possible for the rest of the night, even in the shower, hoping I hadn't turned him off me altogether.

I wonder if other couples feel this way about each other. I wonder if they ever think about whether or not their partner has had enough of them, not forever, hopefully, but just for now, until some time apart has passed, and they're happy to be back together, doing the things couples normally do, enjoying their common time.

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