What you reel in when you fish for praise

We had pulled out of the driveway and were heading up the road, on our merry Kiaski way.

But not before Better Half made an observation.

“Boy,” he said with animated enthusiasm, “it sure does look nice over there. I wonder who takes care of all that?”

I glanced over at “all that,” the b-i-g area across the road that has been transformed from pretty unkempt to pretty darn nice.

Then I glanced over at the “who” responsible for it.

“Yes,” I responded with matched animation, my eyes wide open now. “It surely does look nice, sweetums,” I gushed, forgetting most days how it has gone from jungle conditions to near golf course status.

“Super duper special,” I added, patting his shoulder for emphasis.

Better Half seemed content with that, but it has since launched an ongoing dialogue about things we notice and things we don’t.

And a little reminder that it’s always a good thing to express appreciation.

I guess I could communicate a little better some gratitude now and then over the grass getting mowed, tree limbs being trimmed and all that outdoor stuff getting done in a taken-for-granted kind of way.

But then me being gloriously me, I got a little snippy about it all.

Like Confucius, Janice says he who fishes for compliments might snag a bad catch.

I sweetly mentioned that I am guilty as charged of not saying “thanks” for all his hard work, of not being observant to it, but I pointed out a couple friendly reminders, too.

That gratitude stuff isn’t a one-way street on the highway I travel.

“You know, dearest, I do dust once in a while,” I mentioned to him one day.

“And I run the sweeper on occasion, too — those potato chip crumbs of yours don’t just walk their way to the garbage can, you know.”

The relevancy of my observations initially seemed a little lost on him.

“Please thank me at your earliest convenience,” I suggested with a laugh.

He did. And I think he gave my shoulder a pat, too.

We’re working on this be-more-thankful exercise.

Last week, I put the garbage out and called Better Half on his cell phone.

“Hello,” he answered, knowing “wife” was on the other end, the beauty or not of called ID.

“Hey, honey,” I announced. “I’m in the driveway — check out what I’m doing.”

Better Half stepped onto the front porch to see what I was talking about.

I held up one of the garbage bags. I pointed to it. I smiled.

He gave me the thumbs-up sign.

We’re getting pretty good at this.

I came home from work the other day to discover laundry had been done, a lovely surprise.

Bath towels were folded and stacked on the sink counter.

Dish towels were folded and in a pile on the kitchen island.

I tracked down Better Half and gave him a big hug.

Then I put them all away.

No applause necessary.

Confucius say, get-er-done.

(Kiaski, a resident of Richmond, is a staff columnist and community editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at jkiaski@heraldstaronline.com.)

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