Every relationship has its ups and downs. For parents, the years
graced with small children are definitely up: up every night soothing out
a nightmare, up checking if the little one has decided to climb on top of
the piano again, up picking up mess after mess. I sometimes wonder
how were able to keep getting up all the time when we never have the
chance to actually sit down.
You and Rebecca need some time together, my friend Amy advised me
the other day. Maybe a little spice and variety, a refreshing
taste of the simple pleasures you used to have the energy for.
Her voice lowered to a more confidential level. Have you
considered trying marital aids? They say theres nothing quite
able to revive a relationship on the verge of exhaustion like a new
Her words didnt quite sink in until two nights later as Rebecca and I
lay recovering on the couch after a two-hour struggle to get an overly
tired Skylar down for the night. A beautiful Chopin concerto
caressed our ears as we caught our breath. And then the CD finished.
Why dont you pick the next CD? suggested Rebecca, obviously not
wanting to move.
I liked this last one, I said.
Dont just hit play again, she said. Pick something
So began the half-hour debate over which one of us was going to get up and
change the CD. I like the soothing voice of Olivia Newton John and
she wanted to be energized by the Latin rhythms of Perez Prado. Thus
ended the evening, hot words spoken (But that music is so 70s!) and
Every relationship has its petty fights and squabbles. Some couples
argue over whether to put glasses in the cabinet rim up or rim down.
Others go ballistic about the tube of toothpaste squeezed in the middle.
The sad part is these knock-down fights are always over simple things that
could be easily solved by buying toothpaste that comes in a pump and
doesnt need to be squeezed.
Maybe we do need a new electric toy, I mumbled as we both stewed
angrily in bed.
Maybe we do, Rebecca said, turning her back to me.
The next day, Rebecca met me excitedly at the front door when I got home
from work. I have a surprise, she said. I smiled. She
must have gone out and got that marital aid we needed so badly. And
then I saw the wrapped box, which was far too large to match any electric
toy I could muster in my imagination.
I opened the box to reveal a CD player that holds 300 discs.
Well never have to pick a CD again, Rebecca said
deliciously. It even comes with a keyboard input so we can type
in all the titles.
Setting aside everything else that had to be done that night, Rebecca and
I broke out all of our CDs. An hour went into sorting them into play
groups like Jazz and Classic Rock. Jazz is her specialty, so I
proposed breaking Jazz into two groups jazz I like and jazz I cant
The player only gives us eight groups, she said. Anyway,
Ill have to listen to your ABBA.
And new problems arose:
Youve got six Violent Femmes and four Tracy Chapmans to my two Asias
and one Chicago, I protested. That means your music will play
more often in shuffle mode.
Be fair. Having to listen to your Celine Dion is worth any ten of
Some problems were technical in nature:
How do I fit The Artist Formerly Known as Prince into 13
And then there were the two trash bags of jewel cases we didnt need
anymore. Or the fact that perhaps we should have bought the 400-CD
Last night, our home was filled with beautiful music. We sat in bed
with the remote to our new marital aid, jumping from song to song: Opera
followed by Country followed by Musical followed by Modern Rock. I
never realized that we had so much music. Nor had I realized that I
had listened to so little of it. Ill still get the occasional
ABBA moment but Ive also discovered that I really enjoy some of my
wifes favorites, like the Zen Cowboys or Squirrel Nut Zippers.
And really, a taste of acid jazz isnt all that bad when its buffered
by Elvis and Sarah McLaughlin.