Wednesday, May 11, 2016

This Is How Marriage Has Changed My Life

My life has become a series of lists since I married three months ago. My wife and I are constantly creating lists. To-do lists. Shopping lists. Thank-you card lists. On and on and on with the lists.

I had a thought this morning. I've been asked many, many times how marriage has changed my life. It's not a simple question to answer. Yes, my life has changed, but sharing a living space, sharing the remote control, sharing the three pints of Ben & Jerry's in the freezer...these are simple adjustments. (Well, not so much the Ben & Jerry's. Note to self: Add more Ben & Jerry's to future shopping lists.)

The more challenging adjustments I've had to make are imperceptible to the outside world, and less easily explained. So, it occurred to me, why not break them down in a form of a list?

This is that list. To friends, family, and co-workers who've asked how my life is different now that I'm married: Here is your answer.

* I'm congratulated:
I've mentioned this before in my book Shane Presents Shane's Empty Thoughts: Based on the Empty Thoughts of Shane (still free on iTunes!), but I'm rarely congratulated. I received congratulations last October, when the Mets clinched the National League pennant and advanced to the World Series. Before that, I earned congrats when Johan Santana pitched the first no-hitter in Mets history in 2012. I had become entirely dependent on the Mets for my congratulations.

But now I'm swimming in congratulations. Congratulations in person. Congratulations on the phone. Congratulations over text. I will not feel this much love and support again until I either have a child or the Mets win a championship.

* I have more photo frames:
Before I tied the knot, I had two photo frames, if that, in my apartment. I now have approximately 67. I've learned that photo frames are a popular wedding gift.

My wife and I have yet to receive prints of our wedding pictures, so for the time being the frames remain filled with stock photos -- stock photos of other married couples. We could remove the photos, but a picture frame without a picture wouldn't make much sense. It makes much more sense to have these incredibly beautiful and photogenic strangers on full display on our drawers and window sills, right where I can see them, in my opinion.

For the past three months, these very charming and enchanting husbands and wives have been flashing their wide smiles in my direction from virtually every corner of the apartment. So many happy couples in my home. I have to admit, it took some getting used to, but I'm now comfortable with having them around. Truth be told, they're an inspiration to my wife and me, a model of what a successful marriage looks like -- happy, loving, and so easy on the eyes that it would be difficult for any person to remove them from a just-purchased photo frame.

* I have fewer sockets: Electrical outlets are such a valuable commodity. It's all because of Apple. They make too many devices that we want. The MacBook, the iPhone, the iPod Touch (yes, I still use an iPod Touch)...they're all part of our lives, and they all need to be charged. That's why there are outlets on trains, in airplanes, even on kiosks on the street...we can't go for very long without full battery power on our devices.

That's presented a minor challenge in my marriage. When you live in an apartment in Manhattan, you have only so many available outlets. Most of my outlets are used for basic appliances and household items, like the television, microwave and lamps, plus entertainment and Internet devices like my PlayStation and modem. That leaves only a couple of sockets free for my Apple computer, my Apple phone, and my Apple music player.

Of course, my wife needs those free sockets, too: for her Apple computer and her Apple phone. When she charges her devices, I have to conserve the batteries on mine, and vice versa.

This is not easy, especially when your phone is an iPhone 4S, as mine is. Have you ever attempted to stream a TV show, play a game or even read articles on an iPhone 4S without simultaneously charging it? It's an exercise in frustration. The battery drains very quickly -- and not to zero percent. No. My phone shuts down at percentages selected at random: 14%, 17%, 23%. I've had my phone turn off at 30% a couple of times. It gives up, just because it hadn't been plugged in during the previous few hours. It's the technological equivalent of leaving a 9-to-5 job at 2:30 because you didn't drink a cup of coffee. There's nothing that irritates me more than watching the shutdown screen when my phone still has life in it.
We both know you still had battery power left! I hate you.
It didn't occur to me that electricity would be at a premium in marriage. In retrospect, we should have asked for sockets on our wedding gift registry. We need more sockets in our home, and fewer photo frames. And absolutely no more Apple devices.

* I have more Facebook friends: When I married my wife, I didn't just gain a new family -- I gained a new set of Facebook friends. I've received dozens of friend requests, all from people with connections to my spouse, since the wedding. I'm thrilled -- it means even more congratulations, and even more likes for my posts. And we all know how much I like likes on my posts.

I was reading on The Knot that it's an optional tradition for a bride and groom to exchange gifts. My wife and I had no such understanding, but she still gave me the greatest gift of all: more attention on social media. I owe her a present. Maybe I should get her a socket.

* I have fewer boxes: Until recently, I had held on to the boxes I used when I moved into my apartment. All 12 of them. Keep in mind, I've been in the same living situation for eight years. The boxes were stored in my home that entire time, alone, accumulating dust. Much as I had before I married.

Why did I keep the boxes? Because I had the space, that's why. Why waste space? Why not fill that space with boxes that contain even more space?

I also thought the boxes could come in handy the next time I move. Depending on your perspective, I was showing amazing foresight, or I had an incredible gift for rationalizing my lack of motivation to recycle cardboard. Recycling in my building is in the basement. To take an elevator flight to the basement from the fourth floor, for cardboard? When would I find the time in eight years to do that?

When I got married, that's when.

* I have fewer Pez dispensers on display: I had to make room for the photo frames. I put away my collection of 75 Pez dispensers, and my Starting Lineup baseball figures, and my Koosh ball. My posters of the New York Mets, the New York Giants and Hulk Hogan from my childhood, too. With my wife moving in, I wanted my apartment to look a little less like it was occupied by a 12-year-old boy who'd time traveled from the 1980s to the present day.

For now, they're sitting in a pile on the closet floor. (Why didn't I hold on to those boxes? What a mistake, throwing them out.) There they will remain until we a) buy a home, b) have a garage sale, or c) buy Pez candy refills.

* I will never blow it with a girl in Central Park again: I've documented my misadventures with women in Central Park on this blog. Thankfully, that's one list that I'm done with.