Sticks and stones and things that hurt me

stick in doorThese sticks are designed to make it difficult to kick in a door. Rich bought two of them when we were at our old house and at Target last week he bought two more for our additional doors in the new house. I hate these sticks. Hate is a strong word. But I really dislike the sticks and I really wish we didn't have them in the house. I'm not sure why we need them; I'm not sure that they do that much good. They leave black marks on the walls next to the door, they have fallen on my foot more than once and it's one more thing keeping me from getting the door open in the morning and putting the dogs out. But still we have them.

When Rich put the two extra sticks in the shopping cart last week, I instantly fell into a funk. I didn't want them but told myself I was willing to humor Rich. But as we walked around the store I was more adamant I didn't want them in our house. I didn't understand why we had to have them. I wanted Rich to explain to me his logic.

We went back and forth with not much progress in our debate over the merits of sticks. I started to get frustrated because it's not normally the way we communicate. Normally, we can resolve disagreements pretty easily. But we kept reaching an impasse when I wanted a logical reason why we needed the sticks and he felt his wanting them was enough.

Rich told me that he wanted to do everything he could to make sure that I was safe. It wasn't about keeping burglars from taking our stuff. It wasn't about any of the stuff, actually. It's just me. I think he would have been content to have just one stick at our bedroom door as long as I never left the room (and would agree to shutting the bedroom door, which I won't). His goal is to keep bad things from happening to me and if something were to happen that he felt he could have prevented, he would never forgive himself.

I'm not sure how I feel about all this. I'm all for precautions to make sure we're safe. We lock our doors, we have exterior lights, we have two big dogs, we have a shotgun in our bedroom. Do we really need sticks in the doors too? Why now? He never had sticks in doors as a kid. Did he not need sticks in the door when he lived with his brother? Did he not need sticks in the townhouse with his ex-wife? Why do I have to endure the annoying sticks? It's a matter of making Rich feel safe. Not for himself, but for me.

Rich tells me to "be careful" every time I leave the house. He puts a chair in front of the door in our hotel rooms. He notices when people are watching us in a crowd. He knows the number of exits in any room he's in. He doesn't like to sit with his back to the door. And I'm the one handing out fliers to come look through our house before we move in. We're very different when it comes to trust and security.

But we have met in the middle in many ways. Before Rich moved to the old house, I left my keys in the front doorknob overnight on two different occasions. Now I am sure to hang them on the hook in the house. When we first met, I was an avid open bedroom door person while Rich would shut and lock the bedroom door. He relented and we now keep all our bedroom doors open so the pets can roam free. He'll even sit with his back to the door on occasion. He's not the fretful man I first met. But somewhere in him he believes that if things really are so fantastic, it's only a matter of time before the proverbial shoe will fall. And if that giant shoe were to fall on me, no number of door sticks would ever make it better again.

This afternoon our ADT representative sat at our dining room table and wrote up the contract on a new security system. On the 27th technicians will install the 10 window sensors downstairs and the two windows in our master bedroom upstairs. We'll have sensors on all four doors to the house. The system will chime and announce when the doors open (which is handy regardless of security). We'll have a heat detector in the kitchen and a smoke detector upstairs. And I'm hoping this means we'll be able to put the sticks away.

I want Rich to not worry anymore. I'm not going to make major changes to my behavior, but I can see that putting so much energy into trying to keep another person safe that you can't control would be exhausting. Remember Buttons and Mindy? I feel like Mindy and Rich is Buttons, always trying to keep me safe. So we'll pay $42 a month to be able to lock the house down and not trip on sticks.