I have this one habit that’s caused repeated issues in my marriage: I make deals with Jieun in my mind but don’t tell her about it, and when she fails to live up to her “side” (unbeknownst to her), I get bothered. It’s fair to say that my communication skills suck, and it’s pretty unfair. For example, I might, in my mind, divvy up household chores. And when she doesn’t do what in my mind I allocated to her, I get bothered. It’s a bad habit, one I’ve worked on breaking.

What I realized recently is that I do this with other people as well. Even Joshua. I was feeding him lunch and worked out what I thought was an understanding – for each Cheerio I give him, he has to take a bite of organic tofu/pea mush. (SN. I made it sound in a picture I posted that Joshua subsists on junk food. That’s not the story at all – ever since we got the Babycook, Jieun makes organic baby food pretty much every day. We’re just a lot more chill with what he eats when we go out.) We had worked out a system, and it was working. So in the middle, when he suddenly demanded Cheerios without eating his bite of healthy food, I was like, what the heck, didn’t we have a deal???

I even realized I had made a subconscious deal with the ants around our house. Like many houses in the South Bay, ours has an ant problem. (SN. Growing up in South San Jose, we were constantly battling ants, but I never even saw a roach until my parents moved to Houston. I prefer an ant problem to a roach problem.) They had recently started attacking our garbage cans, and I noticed that they had stopped coming inside. I kind of figured that was a truce. I’ll let them swarm our garbage as long as they leave our house in peace.

So one recent morning when I discovered a bunch of them inside, I was pissed off. When I thought about why I was so angry, I realized that it was because I felt they violated that unstated agreement that was completely in my head. Which is absurd. But it’s something I tend to do.

In retrospect, my dealio with the ants doesn’t even make sense. Letting them feed could only make the colony grow larger, and they’d have to disperse somewhere. So no more. I got a bunch of Borax traps and they’ve been working pretty well – their ranks are thinning outside and I haven’t had an ant sighting in the house for a while now. I’m a fan.

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