about the spouse, also known as the Sometimes Resident Engineer (the famous SRE ).
The Maid in Malaysia has given me this challenging task, so challenging that the teenage son was most amused, and the spouse himself gave me some wonderful sins of omission as his good points. According to him, he is a great spouse because he no longer smokes or drinks, and has no girlfriends, and hands over his entire pay package to me. (He doesn't, it goes to the bank, and I only make the routine withdrawals, and execute the investments as per his guidelines, but this is why he thinks he's a good spouse.)
According to me, he is an amazing husband because:
a) he keeps me mentally alert at all times!
By which I mean I have to constantly balance two very strangely dissonant concepts in my mind: one of him as an extremely intelligent, competent and capable person, and the other of him as totally inept, challenged by many many simple things like light switches and taps.
He almost put orange squash in the deepam he lights each morning as he couldn't follow my directions to the new oil bottle in the kitchen cupboard!
b) He makes me feel indispensable, perhaps because he is too lazy to do anything for himself.
I have to be the navigator if we are going out without the driver, even if it's a brand new city that I hardly know! In Kolkata, he states with great pride, he can reach the following locations from our house, without help- his office, his club, Forum Mall, South City Mall, our son's college, the airport, and Howrah Railway station.( He inevitably gets confused on the way back via Vidyasagar Setu, but then I do too, sometimes.)
I have also been thoroughly demoralised by his constant refrain of "I don't know where I am" when we were returning from a concert.(The driver had left us there, and I did know the way home!)
I am also planning to retire from 'nagivation', since the time we were going to his cousin's place, following the exact same route we were told, only to be intercepted by a traffic cop for trying to enter a one-way street! We did sweet talk our way our of that, but the man was most upset with me!
I am now training him to take his medicines himself. He has been known to have them served nicely to him with his breakfast, and then marching off to work without ingesting them. Gah.
c) He is a warm-hearted person, as welcoming to the kids' friends as to our own. My parents have been with us for about four years now, off and on, and he has never ever made me feel that it is at all a big deal for him.
He will always have a kind word for everyone, whether it is our ancient dhobi or the maid or the car cleaner, or any random soul he happens to interact with.
d) The man does not gossip, and doesn't encourage gossip either.
This can get frustrating sometimes when I'm dying to bitch about someone, but I do appreciate this as A Good Quality.
e) He is great fun to be with, even though he can drive you mad by singing mismatched words and tunes, or by acting totally deaf when he feels like it. He speaks well, and is original and often thought provoking.
I guess I lucked out!
Edited to add: I was supposed to write a list of the five best things the husband has done for me
specifically so I've rather cheekily told MiM that
1) he married me, and
2-5) Gave me four mostly nice/great kids.
As a bonus, let me tell you that he has given me bedpans when required, and has ordered in when I'm not up to cooking, and has never interfered with my sense of autonomy.
I hereby tag