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Posts Tagged ‘selective listening’

As we approach the 4 month mark of having a little one in our lives… I have learned quite a few things.

 

  • I have learned that when you think he’s done pooping… he might actually not be done at all
  • I have learned you will go many places and interact with many people, with spit up all over your clothes…. and you’ll be quite smelly but you won’t care
  • I have learned that the amount of laundry you need to do can, in fact, rival the amount of linens cleaned at a 500 room hotel
  • I have also learned that you can indeed function with virtually no sleep and that the # of times you can put a pacifier back in a mouth borders on 962 times in one night.

 

But, perhaps the biggest learning of them all can best be outlined by a Top 10 list.  So, here goes…………

 

The Top 10 Things a Man Will Hear (while he’s asleep) BEFORE He Hears A Baby Crying:

 

10.   A car alarm 6 blocks over, in the middle of hurricane force winds, through double paned windows.

9.    The “splitz” sound made by a can of beer opening at the neighbor’s house, during a party with a live band

8.    The low hum of a sub-woofer turned on in the basement man cave when he’s 3 floors above it

7.    A bad call made by a referee at a football game, 60 miles away

6.    The rumble of a motorcycle 6 towns over

5.    The *bleep bleep* of a text message, from the pocket of a coat that’s in the closet

4.    The crinkle of a package of Oreo’s opening

3.    The bubbling of cheese on a hot, fresh pizza

2.    The zipper of a woman’s pants coming off

 

And, the #1 thing a man can hear, while sleeping….  The sales clerk changing the shelf price of a 72” tv at the local Best Buy to be “on sale”

 

What does this all mean??  It simply means that unless I kick hubby in the middle of the night while I’m holding the screaming baby up against the side of his head… he will not hear him (or so he says…..)

 

And, just to prove a point, I googled this phenomenon.  And, found THIS article.  And holy crap, it actually justified all of the above (DANG IT!) And, since you know how things go in my house, it’s probably no surprise that hubby likes to refer me back to this article anytime I start to complain……………

 

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I think I may have stumbled on something today.   I can’t begin to count the # of posts I’ve written about listening.

Every few months this communication challenge rears it’s ugly head in our home…..

BUT this week, I think I may have just realized something I didn’t know before.  Something that men all over the universe have been hiding from us.   Something so simple and yet so telling.  Did you know that LISTEN is actually an acronym?    It was by accident that I stumbled on this but ladies, I feel compelled to tell the world.     I’m just now starting to realize why we seem to have such different expectations of the concept of listening……..

So ladies…  now that you are armed with new knowledge…… go out there and make those men really LISTEN!

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Did you ever wonder how many times you can move something around your house before it finds a permanent home?

 

I’m currently testing this theory and I think I’ve just hit the eleven-billionth time and apparently, I have not hit the maximum # of times.

 

It’s actually an interesting phenomenon.

 

It feels sort of like a war.  I flank the item and prepare for an attack.  I flush the item out into the open.  I take cover and wait for my men (man) to dispose of the enemy.  And I wait.   And I wait.  And I wait. 

 

Then, if I don’t keep this enemy in my sites at all times, somehow it relocates.  So I must retreat and plan to battle another day.

 

I will admit that there are days where I do indeed sabotage my own efforts.    I’m just so worn down and tired from the battle that I actually inadvertently help perpetuate the war.

 

Ok, so maybe I’m over-dramatizing the battle that exists in my house and maybe the enemy is a mere notebook or some sort of work-out-gear but it always plays out the same way and I’m amazed that I’m involved in, what I’ll call, the 7 year war and there’s no end in sight.

 

If you’re the kind of person who needs more literal storytelling, I’ll switch gears a little bit for you.

 

There are a set of boxing hand wraps that have been living in a variety of places in my kitchen for about a year or so.  And when I say, in my kitchen, I do not mean a drawer… I mean my counter.  They started out on my kitchen table (this was probably after the first time hubby used them, after his first boxing class – a little over a year ago).  They sat there, until his next class, and then they reappeared when he was done.  I don’t know about you, but I sort of feel that a kitchen table might not be the best long term place for these.

 

So I move them to the corner of a counter.  Then, they reappeared back on the table one day.  So I move them to the island in the middle of the kitchen.  A more focal point in our kitchen where they will undoubtedly call out to hubby  “please find me a permanent home where I can happily live out my days…..”.  But obviously hubby is employing selective hearing or quite possibly they have a woman’s voice and he can’t hear them at all……so, they sit on the island for 2 weeks.  Then of course, in my pre-clean for the cleaning ladies, they need to be relocated.  So back to the side counter they go.  This time into a basket so I don’t have to look at them every day.  Apparently I have found them a suitable new home.  So, they live in this basket (which by the way, still isn’t the proper place for them, it’s just my cleaning lady place for them) until hubby uses them.  And then, no surprise here, they find their way back to another random counter.  This battle replays itself for months UNTIL one day, I decided to clean out that basket.  So, they make their way back to the island where I ask hubby…. “Can’t you possibly find a better home for these?” And, hubby looks at me like I have three heads because they have a home… the basket.

 

And, this scenario replays itself all over our house.

 

  • I place folded laundry on the bed for hubby to put away.. he moves it to the floor to go to sleep.   I move it back to the bed.  He moves it back to the floor.
  • Hubby has a bag of stuff that needs to be returned to Lowes… it’s sitting on the kitchen counter.  Cleaning ladies come. I move it to another room.  Cleaning ladies leave. I move it back to the kitchen table.  I realize it’s not obvious enough on the kitchen table so….  I move it to the kitchen island. It sits there for 2 weeks.  Cleaning ladies come.  I move it to another room.  Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

 

 

But perhaps one of my favorite examples happened earlier this year. 

 

As you may remember…. (another battle that I lost)….We bought a new TV. 

 

The HUGE tv box sat in a hallway in our kitchen for weeks (we were saving it just in case it had to be returned).  True Story:  We actually had to move it to get in and out of the garage. Then one day, the cleaning ladies came and hubby moved it upstairs into the hallway (closer to the attic, where we should store it.. I was celebrating a teeny, tiny bit in my head).  Then it sat in the hallway upstairs forever.  I can remember moving it to a spare room to hide it when we had friends over… then dragging it back to the hallway as a subtle visual reminder for hubby to put it into the attic.  Move into bedroom. Move back to hallway.  Move to bedroom.  Move to hallway.  Move closer to stairs so it’s a MORE subtle reminder.  Move to bedroom.  As you can imagine, months were flying by and one day I said to hubby… “what’s the story with this friggn’ box?  Are you ever gonna move it into the attic?”.  And, you know what he says….??  Brace yourself…. He says “Oh, that box?  It’s garbage, I’m just waiting for the next trash day to bring it outside”.  WTF hubby….. WTF?!!!

 

I’m convinced that hubby either has the worst case of selective vision that ever existed OR I’m being repaid for some horrible things I’ve done in a previous life.

 

(and.. if this wasn’t enough… click HERE to see what happens a few days after this post!) 

 

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I think I may have mentioned once or twice (or more accurately – more times that I can count)… that communication is probably one of the biggest challenges in a relationship.

 

It takes year and years of practice to effectively ignore your spouse without detection. 

 

It’s a fine tuned dance that you learn to do where you actually have full fledged conversations with each other but only extract the info that’s absolutely necessary to give a nod at the appropriate time.  Sometimes it’s actually only one word that stands out in a conversation but, it’s a word you latch onto in order to demonstrate that you were actually paying attention.  And even after years of practice, sometimes when you are half-listening and giving the appropriate smiles & “uh huhs” you can still get caught not actually listening.

 

Take this snippet of conversation:

 

Me:  “Honey, are you listening?”

Hubby:  “Uh huh…..”

Me:  “Ok, what did I say”

Hubby:  “Huh? What?  I wasn’t listening…”

 

He is so conditioned to give me an immediate “uh huh” that he does it without even thinking. Even though he hasn’t heard a word that came out of my mouth.  Sometimes, if there’s a word of interest to him.. Food, Sex.. that’s the only word he hears… all the rest is … blah, blah, blahty, blah

 

So, here are a few test conversations:

 

Me:  “Honey, do you want to have termites for dinner?”

Hubby:  “Dinner.. yeah ok, I’m hungry…”

 

Me:  “Hey babe.. did you see that show about people who have sex with a animals?”

Hubby:  “SEX!  YES! I’d like to have SEX!”

 

Me:  “There’s a lot of laundry to do this weekend

Hubbycrickets.. crickets.. crickets….. (ok, maybe this wasn’t a good example…)

 

I think hubby has fined tuned his Selective Listening to an art form.  And, oftentimes I think it’s just me that he doesn’t listen to BUT, a week or so ago, we were watching a comedian on tv who had his own theory about men & listening.

 

Part of his act was about using the GPS in his car to drive somewhere.  After some discussion about the GPS giving him directions, he declared that, even with his GPS giving him turn-by-turn instructions, he still got lost.  

 

Why did he get lost?   Because the GPS was giving him directions in a woman’s voice. 

 

And there you have it…evidence that it’s not just me.  In typical male fashion, all men seem to ignore all women.. even when it’s in their best interest to listen to us!

 

And, I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear that Hubby declared this to be the best joke he’s heard all year!

 

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There’s an interesting dynamic that happens when you officially enter coupledom.  It sort of happens without knowing it and although you may not realize it’s happened to you, people around you are taking note.

 

We spent last evening with some friends of ours.  They have been dating for a little over a year.  How serious or not-serious they are is probably up for debate but….. there were quite a few conversational nuances last night that might make you lean a bit more towards serious.

 

Even hubby, who barely listens (as you know) picked up on a few key words.  When we got home hubby said to me..“Did you hear how many times they used the word we?”

 
“We picked out this new furniture…”

“We’re not sure how long we’ll be in this house” (even though they don’t technically live together)

“We’ve talked about such and such renovation”
 

Even though this couple probably didn’t realize it, they were exhibiting all the traits of official coupledom.

 

I can vaguely remember back to when hubby & I first started dating.  I remember the warm & fuzzy feelings I got when he referred to me as his girlfriend or when he started asking my opinion on more important things.  And, I almost remember the shift for us, as a couple, when we started talking in “We’s”.  It was a subtle transition and, I’m sure our friends picked up on it before we did.. .but it was the first step for us to really begin to share our lives.  When you begin to speak in “We’s” as opposed to “I’s” you demonstrate with these teeny, tiny words that you are approaching the future as a team. 

 

After being married for many years however, I’ve noticed an odd trend in hubby’s vocabulary. 

We are indeed still a team.  We make all big decisions collaboratively.  We still share our lives.  We still approach things as a couple.

But, on occassion, hubby has somehow reverted back to “I’s” when he has conversations with people.

 

Here’s an example:

 

He’s talking to his mom on the phone and he says…”I just bought a new TV this weekend”.   cough, cough… don’t you mean “we” bought a new tv?”  “Oh yeah…. WE bought a new TV”

I’m sitting right next to him while he’s talking to her. 

I did an equal amount of Googling & reading of CNET reviews on TVs.

WE decided which TV was right for US

I stood right next to him when WE bought the tv. 

I’m even the one who handed the cashier MY credit card and signed the receipt for OUR TV

 

But…. When he talks about the TV… it’s HIS TV and HE’s the one who bought it. 

 

Or another example:

 

WE went to see a show in NY not long ago.  It was actually a gift I bought hubby for Christmas.  Two tickets so we could see a comedian he really likes.

I went to the show with him

WE held hands walking to the venue

WE had cocktails pre-concert together

WE sat next to each other the entire time

 

But, in the re-telling of this story it went something like this…”I went to see a great show last night”.  Again, I’m sitting next to him as he’s saying this… ahem… uhmmmm… who went to the show last night??  “Oh yeah, sorry…. WE saw a great show last night”. 

 

All of a sudden, any time the topic of conversation is something that leans more towards him (like electronics, or a comedian HE likes) I become chopped liver, or some sort of no-name, side-kick, or that girl who always happens to be around.  Just as the WE gradually sneaks up on you as a new couple, somehow the WE has gradually disappeared the longer we’ve been married.  I guess at this point it’s just understood.  Or our lives are so intertwined that it goes without saying, or perhaps, it really isn’t my TV?  Whatever the case, I think I’m going to start using the pronouns interchangeably myself..

 

“We have our period this week”

“We are having our bikini waxed on Saturday”

“I spent all MY money on some new clothes”

“I sold MY new TV on Craigslist this week”

 

The question is of course, since we know hubby barely listens to me, do you think he’ll even notice??    Ok, I suppose he’ll probably notice that the new TV is missing… but, maybe it would be a good lesson to learn??  :-)

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I’ve touched on this phenomenon in other posts but I thought today that I’d dedicate a post to it.

 

Question:  If your hubby admits that he doesn’t notice little details, that he inadvertently overlooks the crap scattered on the counter, that he doesn’t really see the debris on the carpet, and that he’s oblivious to the chores that make a house a home, are you allowed to point these things out to him or bring them to his attention?

 

Now, I’m sure some of you will say … well, it’s all in how you present it.   And, I would agree with this wholeheartedly.

 

Here are just a few tactics I’ve tried:   I’ve presented it in casual conversation, I’ve sweetly reminded him, I’ve gently nudged him,  I’ve made deals, I’ve made lists, I’ve offered sexual favors (ok, I’m lying, I actually haven’t done this cause I don’t actually believe I should have to trade sex to get him to wipe crumbs off the counters). 

 

It’s interesting though that some households really do work this way (and hey, I’m not judging, if this works for you and you’re happy with trading sex to get a load of laundry done by your hubby then, fan-friggin-tastic!)

 

As someone mentioned yesterday, perhaps I should vacuum naked to get hubby to help with vacuuming.  While I’m quite certain this would indeed get his attention, I’m not quite sure he’d make the leap from seeing me vacuuming naked to “gee, I think maybe I should get the scissors and clean off the beater bar”.  [this example makes me want to make some sort of sexual joke pertaining to “beater bars”… .but I’ll refrain]

 

Anyhow, there appears to be a fine line between reminding him of something and nagging.  I have yet to figure out where this line actually sits… to me it seems like he’s constantly moving it.  Some days it’s a narrow, dark red line that says “Do Not Cross”, some days it’s a wide grey line.  I have tried to figure it out on my own, by trial and error, but that just hasn’t worked.  I have also tried to ask hubby the following question:

 

If you admit that you don’t notice stuff around the house and, without my pointing it out to you, you may never actually see it, how do I bring it to your attention without being a “nag”?

 

The problem is.. he can’t actually answer this question because too often he’s practicing Selective Listening and/or Selective Vision and he’s afraid to admit it.  The line is constantly moving because he picks and chooses when he sees things and when he’s actually listening to me. BUT, and here’s the big but, he never actually tells me when he’s really paying attention so it’s impossible for me to know!

 

So I ask you, my dear blog readers… if he admits he needs reminders, and that he doesn’t take in details around him that he considers extraneous, when I try to help guide him.. how can it possibly be nagging?  And, if I get louder and louder after the 5th or 6th reminder, I’m just trying to make sure he is indeed listening to me… because we all know, that when he goes to his nothing box he simply can’t hear anything around him.

Or, I suppose, we could just wind up like this…..  :-)

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