Progress Report on the Tamborine Test

So this is a long overdue progress report.  I actually started writing this in June when life became so busy that I never got to post it.  So forgive me?  Hopefully, this whole writing thing will become more regular in the coming weeks.

—–

Here’s the breakdown of this challenge.  In hopes of driving a healthier flow of conversation between husband and wife, The Husband has agreed to eliminate some clutter in our communication tools and for a week, decided not to text or call during the day.  This includes no tagging on Facebook, commenting on Instagram or what not.  Just a notification that we’ve each arrived at work and left for the day.  That’s it.

And I have to be honest…. we lasted four days.  Hahahaha.  Halfway through, The Husband came up to me and said literally in my face, “I do not like this challenge because I miss you too much.”

Enter “awwwwww” sounds.

And while we didn’t really complete the challenge, I did notice some changes to our communication pattern.

  1. We don’t text as often anymore.  Before the challenge, it was a constant exchange.  While we both have very forgiving employers who have been very generous in how we exercise our liberties, I will be the first to admit:  it takes me away from work.  I’m sure the same goes for him.  With the non-texting, I’ve become more productive, less distracted, and more efficient in my workday.  It’s a refreshing freeing feeling.
  2. We reserve long conversations at home.  We learned to reserve the important conversations for home.  This is a very valuable lesson learned for me because it stops me from oversharing with my office mates.  I know that there will always be one or two people from the office that end up being part of your ride-or-die crew, but the silence helped me in keeping things to ourselves.
  3. We have better conversations.  It’s not just the “what did you have for lunch” questions.  It’s having a much better answer for the question “how was your day.”  Most of the time, because we talked so much and had very brief pauses,  our day looked like it had a sports announcer feature.  Almost to every breath, we reported what we did, so when we got home, it was merely a repetition of what we already know.  Now, it’s talking about the news we read in the morning, the conversation we had with our coworkers at lunch, providing input for operational efficiency in the office.  We are also getting more creative with our questions!  So yes, the conversations are much better in quality now.
  4. We find the time to just talk.  Not even while eating talk.  It’s simply sitting down (or lying in bed) to just talk.  No distractions, just us two.  When you imagine it, it does seem weird, like coming into an appointment with your spouse to speak.  But for us it also highlighted that there are talks that we need to focus on — finances, moving out plans, career mapping.   It’s insane how that sounds like a conversation you would have with a life coach, but it’s also refreshing because it reveals you don’t just have a spouse:  you have a life partner.

Fine, I do sound preachy and freaking annoying, but the forced offline modes definitely enhanced our conversations, especially in terms of quality.  Do I recommend this to couples and more?  Absolutely.  Does that mean I now shun texting and calling during the day?  Absolutely not.  I’m just saying we could all use a break from it from time to time.

What about you?  Are you interested in trying this out?

 

Advertisements

The Tamborine Test

So, have you seen Chris Rock’s special on Netflix, Tamborine?  It’s a pretty good one.  We had a glimpse of his return when we saw him with Dave Chappelle at Radio City last year.  I have to admit, seeing them perform live sent goosebumps up and down my spine.  It was pretty amazing.

Anyway, that’s not the topic of my story.

In the special, he mentioned something about being constantly connected to his then-spouse because of all this technology.  Compared to the time when his parents married, he claims that his marriage that lasted some 16 years is as long as his parents 40 something.  With all the access afforded to us by modern technology, couples went from having an 8-9 hour gap of no communication to almost an hourly reminder to connect.

He proves a good point.  The Husband and I text each other during the day that there have been instances when we meet at home, and there’s nothing new to talk about.  And of course there are some weird conversations that seemed normal at the time (then I watched this special), like me reminding him that I tagged him on something and he should “like” it.

That being said, I have convinced the Husband to take on a challenge with me:  to not text or call each other until we get home.  This includes no tagging in any social media platform, not even those “look I’m so cute right” snaps I send him from time to time (I can be pretty narcissistic).  However, given that I am a new driver, there are some exceptions.  I am supposed to text him twice:  (1) when I get to the office, and (2) when I am about to go home.  The same applies to him.  Unless it’s an emergency, he will only text me those two times in the day.  And we’ll see if there’s more to talk about at home.

What do we expect to get out of it?  Well, we’re thinking that we’d have more to talk about at home.  Maybe a little bit more freedom while we are in our own separate worlds?  I don’t know yet.  I’m more nervous than curious at the moment, even though technically this was my idea.  We relied so much on technology when we were apart that choosing to not use it now that we’re together sure feels a bit off.  In fact, I’ve had to convince The Husband to take on this challenge.  It took just 10 minutes of convincing, but still, it wasn’t a challenge that he’d willingly do.

That being said, I shall keep you updated of how this challenge goes.  Frankly speaking, I’m a bit nervous to do it.  Between him and I, I am definitely the clingier and needier one.  Oh well.  Let’s see how this goes.  Five days should breeze by fast enough.

 

PS:  Just in case you’re wondering why the word “tamborine” isn’t spelled with a “U.”

The Cleaners

Walking around downtown Summit, the Husband and I stopped by Edible Arrangements to pick up my mother-in-law’s birthday gift.  He saw that it was right next to a dry cleaner and inquired if they can stitch on patches.  The guy said yes.

Me:  *looks at store hours*  You can drop it off before you go to work.
Husband:  Oh yeah.

At home…

Husband:  *lays out gi and patch*  It should go nicely here, right below the stitching at the back.
Me:  I agree.  And they open at 7 too, so you can drop it off in the morning.
Husband:  Yeah, and pick it up on my way home.

This morning…

Me:  *sees gi on couch* Oh you’re attending jiu jitsu tonight?
Husband:  No, I’m having the patch stitched on today.
Me:  Okay.  Drop it off before you go to work, so you can pick it up at lunch or on your way home.
Husband:  Opo (Filipino for yes.)

When I get to the office…

Husband:  Aw man.  The dry cleaner is open at 7!
Me:  I TOLD YOU.
Husband:  I got here early too.  Got breakfast and got to the parking lot 15 minutes early.  I could have dropped it off.
Me:  I KNOW.  I TOLD YOU SO.

Oh my heart.

Face Palm

TALK TUESDAY: Transitioning

My working days started not so long ago.  In fact, this week, I turn two months old in my company.  I am still trying to find my footing, but I have to say, I have been pretty blessed with a motivating boss and a welcoming team.  This job is a great introduction to the American working class.

I feel pretty blessed at this point.  Right this very moment, I am happy.  I am happy to go to work, and I am happy to come home.  I cannot recall having such a healthy balance in my life before.  Although my commuting pretty much ate up my time for working out in the early evening and my weight gain has become more palpable, I really cannot complain.  A lot of people mistake that disposition as optimism, especially my new work friends, but really it’s not.  I am just all too familiar what a stressful life is.

Here’s the thing though:  I have been missing out on wifely duties.  Maybe not even wifely, but chores to be more exact.  Now, I feel the tiredness of the commute, and have a fixed schedule to follow.  Chores are starting to build up as this new thing in my life occupies 40 hours of my week, plus 20 more to prepare and to commute home.  Seeing three weeks’ worth of laundry building up, I can’t help but feel guilty.

Laundry pile

No shame that all of my undergarments are shown in this photo lolol

I felt even worse over the weekend.  The Husband was taking a nap while I chose to fold laundry.  Ten minutes in, seeing that there was so much to do and pretty much getting overwhelmed, I banged the laundry basket, slammed the door, and pretty much kicked the bed frame to wake him up and say, “I COULD USE SOME HELP HERE, IF IT’S NOT TOO MUCH TROUBLE.”  What a bitch, right?  I bathed in my own bitterness, sulking as if it’s the Husband’s fault that the laundry got this bad.

But it’s not.  Life is just taking over, and as much as I want to be the best wife ever that makes and packs meals, does chores, and still look so f*cking glamorous, I’m not.  One way or another, a ball will drop, and it’s okay.  I should be okay with it because it’s not a ball I can’t just pick up.

After my brief rampage, he just started folding clothes with me.  I was quiet for about 20 minutes before I made my way over to his side of the bed and apologized.  I know I upset him, and I know I was being unfair.  After all, I was the one that insisted that he should nap and get some rest.  But he easily accepted my apologies and bathed me in kisses.  It was at that moment that I realized in order for balls to not keep falling on the floor, I should just be more honest and ask for help.

Wow.  Even when he’s napping, he’s truly proving to be the better half in this partnership.  Hahaha.  Oh well.  I can race him to be the better half tomorrow. <3

TALK TUESDAY: Having an unplugged wedding

Did I mention that we had an unplugged wedding?  At the doors of the church, our coordinators and junior bridesmaids handed out these notice cards to our guests:

When I first pitched the idea to the husband, he was immediately all for it.  My mother, not so much.  She pointed out that it will be inevitable that people will whip out their phones and tablets and cameras and just take a snapshot of everything.  I know what she meant; I myself have a hard time putting my phone down.  But I was adamant.

Of course, our wedding is not my first wedding.  I have seen so many, and in the recent past, two of which were my close friends’.  Both were grand celebrations, and everyone seemed to be present.  They had hashtags and everything, so that anything posted on social media about weddings will be publicly curated.  I did this too, and it really was great seeing everyone else’s perspective of our special day.

Anyway, the guests were taking photos of everything — flowers, each other, selfies — and then the entourage started walking.  It was marvelous.  You know you’re about to see something special when each participant is a build up to something better.  Then the doors opened.  The bride’s silhouette made everyone gasp in awe.  It was just like in the story books.

But it completely SUCKED A** for the photographer and videographer.  Everyone had their own phones, cameras, Go Pros and what not blocking their line of sight.  I swear I even saw a couple of the crew visibly and verbally irritated.  Some of them even asked the guests to move out of the way so they can catch that moment, and the guests had the gall to be annoyed that they’re being asked to move!

At that moment, all I could think of was the money the couple paid for the professionals to take pictures and videos of their special day. True, in the end, they made it work, but honestly, not without extreme effort.  There was even a wedding I attended that there were so many phone up, the videographer couldn’t see the groom’s face when he first saw the bride.  He had to make do by capturing a tablet capturing the groom’s face.

It was such a distraction.  I felt so bad for the photographers and videographers.  It was at that point that I decided that for our wedding, we’ll have everyone turn off their devices, at least during the ceremony.  Right off the bat, our coordinator and my mother immediately said this will be difficult to pull off, especially at this day and age where it is just automatic for people to whip out their phones at any god given time.  But we made it work.  And thanks to completely cooperative guests, everything was pulled off perfectly.

View this post on Instagram

Guests, please take note. Jaraaaan! #carlallanwed

A post shared by Marga (@margoks) on

Not a single phone or tablet in sight. Our families and guests were amazing. They truly made our day special.

It was almost a special gift to our suppliers.  No distractions, no need for body contortions, because the space was open and free for them to take photos and videos of our special day.

I know how important it is to have your own memento of things and events that had happened in your life.  I know because I too am an enthusiast of taking photos.  You can check out my almost 3,000 photos on Instagram, and even on Snapchat.  I take a lot of photos and make sure that they’re properly framed so they’re deserving to be exhibited on my feed.  But us, the to-be-married couple, we’re right in front of you.  You can see us live and alive, exchanging our vows and very much in the moment.  Why would you settle for the small screen?

Our journey as a couple is filled with Facetime, selfies, chats, numerous text messages and email journals even.  For once, it was nice to not have those things in the way and just be present.  Believe us when we say real life is a million times better.

It did result in fewer public posts in our social media feed, but we didn’t care.  I’d like to believe (and as what most of our guests have shared after the festivities) that everyone was moved because everyone paid attention, and listened, and was completely present.  Now, that was truly a moment to remember.