You did WHAT?! The airing of marital laundry

By Nancy Gonzalez, CFLE
Nancy Gonzalez

Every now and then, I am reminded that being a student of the family sciences guarantees me absolutely no edge over anyone in the general population in dealing with family problems of my own.  I have a little bit of an advantage in putting things in context, but at Casa Gonzalez, we have all the same drama.

Last month, something happened that was so unpredictable and outrageous that at the end of the day, the only redeeming thought I had was “Well, at least I can get a blog out of it.”  I’m going to share it, because it’s such a good example of how even those who work in my field have just as many misunderstandings as anyone else.

It began about two weeks previously with a stray comment I made to my husband. We were talking about how everything in print, on film, or on audio is becoming available online.  And it’s happening so fast.  We have hundreds of books in our home. Many of the classics with no copyright entanglements have been on the web for a while already.  Check  Project Gutenberg or Google books. It’s incredible. I don’t know if there are many paper versions of the classics sold anymore. Entire libraries are as close as your laptop. It’s a wonderful time to be alive.

However, there are those of us who like an old-fashioned book. I love reading NCFR journals on paper. I have a hard time curling up with a laptop. Likewise, for audio, I don’t like the iPod and earbud existence. Sometimes I like to have my music fill the room as I’m puttering around the house. This is where the problem began. That throw-away comment about this new digitized world was, “Someday soon, everything we own will be ‘up on the cloud.’”  That’s what did it.

My husband George had the day off.  He is an IT geek. Bad combination. I never know when some new contraption is going to come into the house and upgrade me, whether I want to or not. I got home from work and found several plastic bags on the front porch, waiting for the garbage. The contents were starting to poke through the bags, and I noticed a corner of a CD jewel case. I pulled it out. It was the empty container for one of my CDs. Quickly I started tearing through the bags. Four kitchen sized garbage bags were full of my empty CD cases.

I was furious!  I knew immediately what had happened. George had taken all of my CDs and scanned them in and uploaded them to “the cloud.”  I don’t want them on the cloud!  I want my CDs just the way they were, thank you very much!  He was ready to hear me exclaim how grateful I was that he spent the day performing a service that people pay money for.  I have never really known what a “conniption” is, but I assure you, I had one.

Fast forward—he has since matched up the CDs with their jewel cases and everything is back the way it was.  In fact, it’s better now that everything has a duplicate on the cloud—wherever that is.

The point I’m making is that I have had the occasional complaint over the years that he’s “not spontaneous” and he “doesn’t surprise me” or he “can’t anticipate what I want.”  He tried. He really did. I said “everything would be on the cloud someday” and what he heard was “I want everything up on the cloud someday.”  What I saw, as soon as I regained my composure, is that he had spent an entire day working on something spontaneous, to surprise me, and he tried to anticipate what I wanted.  And for the first 10 minutes, I couldn’t connect those dots. I hurt him, and I was sorry.

What I really want, and it’s taken me awhile to realize it, is someplace where there is very little change—in my home. I have gotten to the point in my life where spontaneous surprises are everywhere. When I walk through our front door, I want stability. Everyone else can live on the cloud. I’ll be listening to my hand crank Edison phonograph.  

Share your thoughts

Hi Nancy,

I hear you. My husband and I are both techies but there is just something about the crispy clean pages of a real book and the physical touch of a real CD that makes things seem more real. I think there is a place in between all of that. I also love how technology has freed us. I use an app called GoodReads to keep track of my books now and this little app has a scanner on it so I can just snap a photo of my book and it tells my GoodReads friends what I am reading. That is pretty cool.