The toenail diaries

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George and Wendy Parker

George and I have been married a long time. So long, in fact, when anyone asks George how long we’ve been married, he gets a faraway look in his eyes and exclaims, “40 years!” We’re one of the last couples in our group of friends — everyone else is either divorced, dead or in jail. We like to joke and say we’ve emotionally damaged one another to the point that no one else would ever have us, so we stick together to avoid dying alone. But that’s totally a joke – ha ha – see, I’m laughing on the inside, never mind the hysterical tears on the outside.

All kidding aside, we’re actually very lucky to have a lasting relationship. This industry is hard on families. Hell, life in general is hard on the family unit anymore. As hard as being away from one another is, it’s sometimes equally as hard to be together. I don’t know of a lot of scenarios where the husband and wife are side by side, within an eight-foot square, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I don’t care how much you love each other — that business gets old.

I’m a firm believer in the “you can share too much” notion. There are simply things couples don’t need to know about one another. We were married for almost 20 years before he realized I paid to have my hair done. He probably would have never known if I hadn’t been preparing for home time by reciting the budget out loud.

“Let’s see, I need to set aside a hundred dollars for my hair…”

“A HUNDRED DOLLARS? What the hell are you having done to it?”

“She makes it a color that I can’t grow on my own. I think that’s worth a hundred dollars.”

“What? What color is your real hair?”

“This is my real hair. You like it, don’t you?”

This is where he realizes he’s trapped and can’t extricate himself without agreeing I need $100 for my hair without insulting me. This is mastery on a level only old married couples can achieve.

Especially if you’re cutting your toenails.Especially if you’re cutting your toenails.

You never know what little habits you have that might drive your other half crazy until you live in a box with them for a few weeks. Apparently, George is extremely averse to toenail clippings, specifically mine. He was napping one afternoon, and I took the opportunity to quietly clip my toenails, only I guess it wasn’t so quiet. In defense of my toenails, I was using a cuticle trimmer, and it made a loud “pop” with each clip. In retrospect, I guess I really wasn’t being so quiet. After about the fifth “ka-ping!” he rolled over.

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“What the hell? Is that your toenails? Aim those things toward the trash can. You’re going to crack the damn windshield.”

“That was hurtful.”

Needless to say, I no longer clip my dreadful toenails in the truck.

We avoid too much togetherness on the road by making a point to have separate showers every day. It helps me keep some of the magic. I like to think he believes I actually smell like oranges and sunshine naturally and don’t scrub it into my skin with a body gel every day. Either that or he thinks I use GoJo for facial cleanser.

Sometimes, keeping the magic on the road is hard.

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