So. I may or may not have the tiniest amount of PTSD, and one of the ways it plays out is that my startle response is such a finely tuned instrument that if it were a cello, Yo-Yo Ma would play me like a fiddle. (I don’t know what that means either.)

I know that even normal people (I don’t mean you) (or you) (heh) have a startle response, but I also think that people who jump and scream like hot lava got in their shorts might have some latent PTSD going on themselves. I happen to have the curse and the benefit of knowing my demons, and, by the way, after getting to know them even better in therapy in recent years, they each have cute nicknames now.

Just don’t walk up behind me and say something because I might go ninja on you. And if we go out to eat, be a good friend and don’t make me sit with my back to the room. Because when the server walks up to ask if we’ve had a chance to look at the menu, I will jump up out of my chair, scream, and pee myself. Then everybody will look at us and feel sorry for you. But before you start feeling too sorry for my friends and family, I have mad Belgian waffle and homemade strawberry ice cream-making skillz to make up for this. Just saying.

In every place we’ve lived since 1998, for some reason my computer desk has been situated such that my back is to the door of the room. And every darn time my husband walks into the room, I jump up, scream, and stay up on the ceiling fan for twenty minutes or so until I have a pulse again. As an aside, this never happens when Laura walks into the room because she chatters constantly and I always hear her coming. Tom on the other hand is stealth. I have repeatedly asked him in my very best Bruce Dickinson voice to wear a cowbell. “Guess what? I got a fever. And the only prescription is . . . more cowbell.” Tom does not cooperate with this particular plan, but making him live in another house is not an option. Trust me, I know this. And besides who would bring me my coffee every morning, and then patiently wait for me to jump and scream before setting it down next to me?

I was telling my friend Trish yesterday over Belgian waffles and homemade strawberry ice cream that short of buying all new office furniture, I don’t know how to solve this problem because there aren’t any corners that don’t leave my back to the door. You may be wondering why I bought a corner desk in the first place, and if the words “subconscious self-sabotage” come to your mind, call me! I could save hundreds on therapy this month if we could chat more about this.

Trish is an artist and her home is a showcase of elegance, warmth, and Zen-like calm. I knew she’d take one look and say, “You’re right. Dump the furniture and start over,” and then I wouldn’t feel so bad about the online shopping spree that was about to ensue.

But Trish took one look, suggested that I move the long desk that was under my window around to the side of the other desk, put my file drawers under the window behind me, and, well let me show you . . .

Trish even helped me reconfigure and reconnect my computers and peripheral devices, after we cleaned two inches of dust from them. And while I know that my Belgian waffle and homemade ice cream-making skills really are that good, the truth of the matter is that this isn’t the first time that Trish has proved to be a saint, and not even a dead one, like saints usually have to be.

Now there will be no more surprise attacks from sneaky husbands with coffee and I have more effective and efficient workspace with no online shopping spree for the all new furniture I thought I’d need. With my back to the second-story window, the only surprise attacks I have to worry about now will be from birds or flying squirrels.

(SNL photo courtesy of Google Images.)

25 comments on “How My Marriage Was Saved”

  1. LOL I’m still laughing at the label 🙂

    And this is nice to know so that I don’t hide behind doors and jump out and go BOO when you come to visit!

  2. And now you can see your Adam Lambert picture on the wall even better than before!
    Details matter. And coffee.

    Also, I am still giggling over the cute nicknames.

  3. I am relieved (pun intended) to know that I am not alone in the pee/startle reflex. And jealous of the waffle/ice cream combo. I must get my fat pregnant hands on some of your ice cream. Mmm… I love Trish too. And you. AAL. And ice cream.

  4. Don’t laugh, we have had kamakazie birds fling themselves to their deaths at our upstairs windows for 3 years. Put a picture of a cat or something up there!

    Love the way you rearranged the room. I guess I never put a name to it, but I always situate stuff to where I face the door to the room. I didn’t realize I had issues. HHmm.

  5. I thought you were going to post some more close up pictures of you in Adam Lambert shirts, because I am sure those are appreciated by Tom and have not hurt your marriage.


  6. Can Trish come fix my office? Because my back is to the door and while I don’t have a startle response, I am often so tuned out that I don’t have time to tab out of whatever something other than work I’m working on and tab in to something worklike.

  7. Years ago I worked in an office with my back to the door – I became known for the loudness of my cursing when startled by partners and senior associates.

    That Trish is brilliant..

  8. I read in a Feng Shui book that said the cardinal rule of any office is to NEVER have your back to the door, because it can give a feeling that someone is stabbing you in the back or undermining your marriage… err… I mean work.

    So, when cowbells fail, Feng Shui!

    Hi. You are welcome entire blogosphere. Now BlogThisMom will be updating her blog daily. Right? RIGHT?

  9. She saved your marriage! Wow. What a great friend : )
    Isn’t it funny how things that befuddle us for so long can quickly be changed and fixed when someone else takes a look? Sometimes all we need is a new perspective!

  10. You scared me for a minute because I thought this post was about your marriage between me and Kate and Adam, and I didn’t really even realize that our marriage was in trouble and needed saving but I realize that this is actually about your marriage with Tom which I guess is just as important and I’m glad that it has been saved—-also I am glad that you’re not going to be peeing your pants because I don’t find that attractive in a woman although I do kind of like a man that pees his pants.

  11. I will keep this in mind when I see you tomorrow. Glad I stopped by.

    By the way, your friend there, how does feel about cleaning the house of someone who is depressed and in need of help her….yeah, I know, “no”

  12. i’m a screamer too. i scream when i see spiders or ants. don’t you even dare to touch my shoulder (or speak) when i’m concentrating on something other than you.
    of course, screaming can be good, like when i screamed at a rattlesnake and likely saved my husband’s life (he was one step from walking on it).
    it’s reflexive; screaming requires no forethought.
    (note: it’s not true that my best skill is doing things that don’t require any thought at all)

    i love strawberry waffles. ditto blueberry and banana pancakes.

    i like your new office– although, i can’t believe how uncluttered it looks. there isn’t even a stray post-it note. your office looks like one of those ideal showrooms at fancy furniture stores…

    except for the picture of adam lambert. that picture gives away the illusion. if i walked blindly into that room, my first thought would be: “this is cherie’s room.”


  13. i’ve been staring at your waffle for a while. i’ve had ice cream in waffle cones before. but i haven’t ever had ice cream and strawberries on a *real* waffle.
    my life seems suddenly empty.
    the next time i make waffles– admittedly, that is once in a blue moon or less– i’ll have to make extra to freeze so i can try them for dessert.

  14. Oh, everyone should have a friend with Trish’s eye come over and move stuff around. Really. I have the anti-feng-shui going on over here. It’s not pretty.

  15. Is there a Trish equivalent in Eugene? Because we have unpacked half our boxes and I am tempted to start shoving crap this way and that. Which is bad news.

    Also: I like how you keep spare spouses around, just in case.

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