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The first decade of marriage is a time when you truly get to know your spouse.  Their favorite foods, their passions, their dreams. The second decade of marriage, it’s more of a battle of how to use this acquired information for the good of the group.  I often struggle with this. It’s like when Liam Niessen is talking on the phone to the kidnappers in Taken  “What I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career, skills that make me a nightmare”.

A good example to begin with is that man I chose to spend the rest of my life with prefers NOT to hang Christmas decorations on any of the buildings in the barnyard. And when I say prefer, it’s a STRONG prefer.  This winter he did something egregious. It was so egregious that I can’t even remember what it was that he did. You know how they say don’t go to bed mad? Well, I’m here to tell you that going to work mad is just as dangerous.  

The day after the already forgotten offense, I’m stewing in front of my mailbox at work when the clouds part, I heard an alleluia chorus, and I see it; a local 4-H club is selling holiday wreaths! Naturally, I do what any overly passive-aggressive person would do, I buy the largest one I can find and pave the road to Hades with good intentions by telling myself “it’s for the children.”

A representation of the Anger Ornament in its former glory

Several weeks later, the XL Christmas wreath, now referred to as the “anger ornament”, arrives. I manage to squeeze it into the car and then proceed to go pick up my kids from the sitter.  I’m most likely violating multiple traffic laws because I can barely see my kids, much less out the back window. Unexpected bonus: I’m suddenly winning parent of the day because kids are impressed with my over-the-top Christmas swag.  

The best part of my evil plan? I don’t have to say a thing. The kids are so jacked about the anger ornament that they harangue my husband until he begrudgingly drags a ladder out to the grainery.  I won!!! I’m so busy gloating over my success that I forget that I married my equal. He uses 30 different zip ties to secure it to the building. It ain’t movin’.

Snow. We got a lot of it.

The months that follow bring to us to the worst winter in recent history.  Blizzards, 40 mph winds, and so much snow falls that outdoor structures in the area cave in from the weight of the winter.  The only thing that wreath has done in the last eight months for kicks is toss her pinecones in front of the lawnmower. And because the two of us are a pair of mules, neither of us are willing to give in and take that awful thing down.  It’s July and it stares at me, like a dusty green eye-ball, every time I pull into the driveway.

An old German proverb says “Anger in the heart leads to smoke in the head.”  My emotions got the best of me and in the end, I’m more mad at myself than I was for whatever he did that clearly was not a big deal. The other day he said we should probably take it down because it’s getting to be a fire hazard. I felt the heat rising.  I thought that was a bit dramatic. If that shed burns down it won’t be because of that nasty ‘ol wreath, it’ll be because the lightning strikes his set of golf clubs that somehow found their way up there.