“I think I need to replace some sprinkler solenoids,” I told the Helpful™ Friendly® Customer Service© Representative at the hardware store. “Our system turns on twice a week like it’s supposed to, but on Sunday and Wednesday mornings—”
“Thursday mornings,” Beth chimed in.
“Sunday and Thursday mornings. The sprinklers run on Saturday and Wednesday night. It’s still running on Thursday morning.”
I turned back to the Representative. “The point is, the water’s still running in the mornings.”
“Yep, that’d be sand in your solenoids.”
I’m not sure if Beth had started nitpicking things more, or if I just started noticing it more, but a few months ago we had a spate of incidents where I would speak and she would contradict some detail of what I had just said. She wasn’t trying to oppose my point, but it consistently derailed whatever conversation I was in. The solenoids were busted, after all, and which day they were busted on didn’t really affect how busted they were. After her doing this the fourth or fifth time in as many days, I realized I was feeling annoyed, and that annoyance led me to notice the pattern.
In our dynamic she is free to speak her mind and I regularly solicit her input, so her chiming in like this is actually welcome. In that same conversation, if I had told the guy at the store that we had Rainbird 48-20 solenoids I would have been grateful for Beth piping up and saying “48-30’s, remember we got 48-20’s two years ago and they didn’t fit”. Fact-checking from Beth is a thing that normally is a power she uses only for good. But lately we’d had a string of her outright contradicting me about things that had no relevance to the discussion.
Realizing I was annoyed made me smile.
See, being the Dom means you don’t get to stay mad. And this is awesome. Staying mad means something is broken and you’re not fixing it. Beth has surrendered up to me the power to make any decision about our relationship that I want. I could tell her we’re switching to high protocol and she’s not to speak unless spoken to. I could tell her to save her comments until afterward. I could tell her she’d get swats if she contradicted me. My power to fix this was endless—and that, in turn, meant that staying angry and doing nothing was unacceptable.
We don’t schedule time to talk about our dynamic because we talk about it several times a day. I decided to bring it up as soon as we were alone, which turned out to be 10 minutes later in the car, as we carted home our new solenoids, which were the right size and would shut off in the mornings (even on Thursdays).
“Have you been more nitpicky lately, or am I just noticing it more lately?”
She didn’t even hesitate. “Omigosh, it’s me! I’m so sorry. I realized it right after I said it. This whole week I’ve been… I don’t know.” She held up her hands like she was throttling someone. “Everybody’s stupid and getting things wrong.”
I laughed. She wasn’t calling me stupid; 20 years of marriage to this lovely creature had taught me to understand her meaning. Beth’s attention to detail is a superpower that sometimes becomes a curse. When that happens, every incorrect detail makes her crazy.
“It’s been a few times this week.”
“I know. I’m sorry.”
“Okay. Just… keep an eye out, would you? Try to pay attention to whatever point I’m making, and if I say something wrong that doesn’t matter to the point, tell me about it after, okay?”
And that was all it took. Calling attention to it was all she needed. (See? I don’t spank for everything!)
I love being the Dom. Because being the Dom means I don’t have to stay mad.