A detour now, from the self-esteem posts of the past month or so, and a piece I've wanted to write for a long time, in part, to show just how like everyone else Chris and I are, despite being a gay couple.
Yesterday was a fairly typical Sunday for us. Chris's alarm went off at 6:00 am. He sets his alarm even on weekends because of his demanding workday commute schedule so he doesn't get off his routine. I go to bed later and get up later, too--usually around 7:30 am. While Chris waited for me to get up, he worked on his computer to complete updating an online manual for this job.
Our first task together on Sundays is to go for a run. We have something light to eat, drink a little water, and get dressed in our rain gear (this being the Wet Coast). We ran along a different route yesterday, covering a total of over 8 km. Once back home, we showered together, then ate breakfast side-by-side at the island in our kitchen, while finishing the weekend "Vancouver Sun." I had cereal, toast, and orange juice; Chris had oatmeal, toasted English muffins, and coffee.
Following breakfast, we prepared our menu for the week. We plan out all our meals, from Sunday to the following Friday, making sure we use many of the items we already have and keep the food we eat relatively healthy. I ensure I'll prepare several meals with left-overs so Chris has lunches to take to work. Once our menu plan is made, we go through the fridge and cupboards to decide what we need to buy from the local Save-On Foods. I budget $150 per week for everything from personal items, to household products, to food (sometimes we go a little over, but, on average, we stay within our budget). Planning our meals ensures we don't buy anything we don't need (although there's some leeway for treats, like potato chips (Chris), Lindt chocolates (me), etc.). We got dressed, brushed our teeth, and left.
At the mall where Save-On is located, I picked up a half-dozen bagels for my lunches and one of Chris's Hush-Puppies I took in to be repaired. Then it was off to Save-On, where we shopped for about three quarters of an hour. (By the way, Maria, one of the cashiers at Save-On, loves us because we pack our own groceries in the reusable bags. Hey, I would just end up standing there anyway, and at least I know they're packed right. She wishes every customer would do the same. I'm just saying. Maria paid me to write this.)
On the way home, we stopped at a local market and picked up fresh sockeye salmon and a package of day-old strawberries (why pay more than I have to? Chris and I are diligent around not spending any more money than necessary for day-to-day items).
Back home, Chris unpacked the groceries, and I organized everything in the fridge and cupboards. Then I made ranch dressing for our salads this week, ate a light snack (a Honey Crisp apple and a few spoons of French Vanilla yogurt) and got down to cleaning the main level of the house.
Chris puttered around, completing a few tasks I assigned him (taking the banana plant out of the shed, unwrapping the burlap from around it, and putting it in a place where the rain will get to it now that the temperatures are warmer than they were in December and January). He also worked on cleaning his bathtub, and completed more of the project for work on his computer in between doing the laundry. Part way through cleaning, I had another snack of a few crackers and a bit of cream cheese--enough to get me through to dinnertime. By about 5:15 pm, I was finished cleaning and ready to start dinner.
Chris and I have an arrangement. He earns our household income (I've been retired since July 2007), and I look after almost everything to keep our household going, including cooking, cleaning, the finances (balancing all our accounts, paying the bills, ensuring funds are held in reserve for everything from Chris's diabetes supplies to annual property taxes to what I call True Savings), cutting Chris's hair, gardening (a shared task from spring to fall), decorating, taking the car in for its preventative maintenance, picking up and dropping off dry cleaning, shovelling snow from the sidewalks (when there is some)--in short, all those daily tasks that come up. Beyond that, I work on my writing, including this blog, my novel, etc.
Chris insists on doing the laundry, because, otherwise, he doesn't think he'd do much around here (although I help from time to time), fixes things when they break, addresses all needs with our computer network and laptops, does the heavy labor outside and in the garden (I help, too), etc. In other words, we are the stereotypical gay male couple--I do the wifely things and he does the husbandly things, or, as I put it, he makes us function, and I make us look good. Works for us, like a well-oiled machine.
Generally, I make dinners for us by myself. Even though our kitchen is large enough for two people, I like free run of all the space and usually yell at Chris if he's in the way. Plus, I believe preparing meals is my responsibility. Yesterday, however, dinner was a little more complex than usual, so I asked him to help. He prepared small side salads, while I got my ingredients together. He sliced the skin from fresh sockeye salmon, cut the meat into small pieces, and pan-fried it. I prepared a lemon-dill sauce, cooked the spaghettini, and steamed a cup of frozen peas. Once cooked, I tossed everything together and served it. Dinner was delicious, and, afterward, we cleaned the dishes together.
Around 7:15 pm, I trimmed the hair from Chris's ears and cleaned up his sideburns. Then he showered and shaved to get himself ready for work today. I enjoyed a hot steaming bath in our guest bathroom downstairs, complete with bubbles, lighting candles and turning off the lights. Then, taking a glass of pink grapefruit juice with me, I went back downstairs to our theatre room and sat down to watch the new episode of "Glee" following the Super Bowl (no, we did not watch the game; Chris and I have no interest in football). Chris worked on his computer on the main level.
When the Glee cast performed the Michael Jackson classic "Thriller," I called Chris downstairs because he said he wanted to see that. Following "Glee," we watched an old recorded program on our DVR. Afterward, we went up to the main level, where Chris tested his blood sugar levels and took his long-acting insulin for the night. I started to write my daily journal beside him.
Around 9:45 pm, Chris and I kissed each other goodnight. I wished him a good sleep and a good day at work the following day. He went upstairs, brushed his teeth, closed his bedroom door, and read for a few minutes until he clicked off his light around 10:00 pm and went to bed. I finished my journal downstairs, then checked to ensure all the doors were locked, the alarm on, and all the lights off. I went upstairs, checked email one last time, turned off my computer, went into my bedroom, and closed the door. I flossed and brushed my teeth, read a little of the new book I just started--The Sentimentalist--and my lights were out by about 11:30 pm.
And that's what a typical Sunday looks like in "This Gay Relationship." If you're still with me, thank you. Otherwise, my apologies if I put you to sleep.