Thursday, May 7, 2009

Relationship Maintenance

This is Aubergine.

She's my six-month-old Honda Fit, so named for her purple hue and adorable eggplant-like shape. (I'm sharing her "baby" pictures from last November, since she's a pollen-covered mess now. I can't keep her clean for more than a day, so for now, I've stopped trying.) I've driven Aubs with care, trying not to accelerate too quickly or brake too harshly. At Daddy Bruschetta's insistence, I track her mileage to ensure she's running properly. I hate parking next to rusty, beat-up trucks -- or, really, any other vehicle -- so I usually select spots with no other cars in the immediate area (which means I've been getting a fair amount of exercise walking to my destinations from the back of the lot). And soon, she'll be due for her first "check-up."

This is, as you hopefully know by now, Mr. Bruschetta.

He's my best friend, fiance and, for the past two months, roommate. We've been together for nearly eight years, but moved into our first apartment just two months ago. Balancing wedding planning with settling into our new place and adjusting to one another's habits and preferences has been a challenge. We're so happy, though, to see each other every day -- instead of the two-ish times a week we were averaging before the move. And we've acclimated by tuning up our relationship in several significant ways.

We put it in writing.
I'm naturally a list-maker, and Mr. Bruschetta's embraced my desire to keep track of everything -- grocery lists and wedding to-do notes are the most frequently-penned items -- on magnetic notepads conveniently affixed to our freezer.

During our first few weeks of cohabiting, I used this area to jot down little things that would bug me -- like if Mr. Bruschetta left his cell charger plugged in even when the phone wasn't there -- that we'd discuss, so nothing would build up and boil over.

It's now a spot where, in addition to keeping track of items to pick up at the supermarket and tasks we need to work on for the wedding, we also write reminders ("Take your vitamins!") or notes ("I love you!") to each other. It's a fun surprise to come home and, if Mr. Bruschetta isn't there, check the notepad -- or really, anywhere around the apartment (the mister's been known to slide his messily-written sentiments between piles of my clean clothes, or stick them to objects, such as yesterday's "Hi, I'm clean" Post-It on the dishwasher) -- to see if he's left something for me.

We've cleaned up our act.
Neither of us wants to be characterized as the "messy" one, so Mr. Bruschetta and I have established strategies to keep the apartment clean. Among other tasks, Mr. Bruschetta's responsible for gathering and taking out the trash, and I wrangle the sheets and towels at laundry time. It's by no means a perfect system, but thus far has worked well for us!

We play with our food.
I've mentioned before that Mr. Bruschetta and I are foodies. We love eating out, but we also enjoy staying in and mixing up something delish -- something we weren't able to do frequently before the move. When we cook, we plan out a whole menu -- including drinks that complement the menu -- and divide out the tasks to create a tasty final product. Planning, creating and enjoying a meal together is really another form of intimacy. And our current kitchen is pretty tiny, so cooking together also helps bring us closer (::wink wink::).

How have you adapted (or will you adapt) to living with your fiance?

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