Have you ever lived with another person under the same roof? You have? Well this post is probably for you!

Daniel is driving me CRAZY.

And I think this is one of those things where I turned a blind eye to a lot of the quirks and insane ticks for so long because I knew they were un-fixable but now that the end is approaching I've just let myself experience two years of suppressed fury over them all at once.

I give you an example.

A few weeks ago Krishelle, Daniel, and I went to Carp Island. I told you all about it. Showed you pictures even. It was glorious. Unfortunately we all got some itchy bug-bites all over our legs. Krishelle and I did our best to ignore them, LIKE RESPONSIBLE GROWN-UPS.

Well Mr. Daniel began vigorously scratching them constantly. He would pull over the car so he could get a good scratch in. Every time he saw a piece of coral he would stop and drag his legs across it. If we saw a bed of nails he probably would have rolled around on it until he died of blood-loss. But his muscles would have such impeccable muscle memory of scratching that he would keep doing it after death until his body sufficiently decomposed and then got donated to the Smithsonian for its display of giants.

We tried to stop him. I wasn't totally sure why he wasn't supposed to do it but I just know that Bob and Cathie used to act like scratching an itchy bug-bite was illegal and if I did it those people would probably come and take me away.

Thanks, Bob and Cathie, for using the social services threat to keep me from scratching my bug-bites!

After a week of this scratching, Daniel's legs looked like leprosy. And if he wasn't freaking out so loudly, I would have done a good "SEE?!"

That's around the time that Mr. Daniel started OBSESSIVELY looking for healing ointments for his probably-permanently-scarred legs.

For about seven days he asked every single person everywhere he went if they knew of anything that might work. And every Palauan we encountered DID know of a dozen witch-doctor home remedies that would absolutely do the trick and that they happened to be carrying on them at the time. Without questioning any advice given, Daniel started rubbing home-concocted oils, creams, powders, fluids, etc., that people were giving him on the street. For several days his legs were covered in about five layers of foamy substances, which, unfortunately, got all over his FAVORITE pair of shorts.

You would have thought the world was ending when this happened. The oils got onto his shorts sometime around 10:00 in the morning on a weekday. That evening he showed me and Krishelle what had happened and asked us whether we thought it would come out in the wash. We told him that it absolutely would not. And that's when it all began.

Daniel has washed those FREAKING shorts every. single. day. for over two weeks now. His attempts to get rid of the stains have completely taken over our lives. He has tried every possible trick he has read on the Internets. He has asked every man, woman, and child, on the island for their advice. And he has followed each suggestion thirty or forty times.

We go to the store three times a day to buy more stain removal or look for a different kind or ask the people to check in the back and see if they have some kind of miracle potion or unicorn blood that isn't already out on the shelves. EVERY. DAY.

He has a bucket in the shower now that he uses in his nightly ritual. He scrubs the shorts with dish soap, five different stain removal products, laundry detergent, the Queen of Colors's's saliva, etc. Then he puts them through the washing machine. Then he hangs them out on the balcony. He checks them every ten minutes while they are drying and repeatedly yells to me, "I THINK IT'S WORKING THIS TIME! WILL YOU COME SEE IF YOU THINK IT'S WORKING?!"

Guys. IT IS NOT WORKING. The stains have not diminished at all.

Last night we stopped by the store to pick up one very important item that I absolutely needed (a large bucket of ice cream). As soon as we walked into the store Daniel announced, "I'm going to run over to that section to see if they have any new stain removal today!"

Guys. I have been so patient through what is most definitely the most trying experience of my entire life. I have tried not to be openly critical of the impossible stain-removal project. I have even refrained from repeatedly pointing out that he can buy those same shorts again for $15 dollars, probably a quarter of the amount he has now spent on trying to remove the permanently-set oil stains. But last night I finally just lost it.


Daniel: What?

Eli: Daniel! This is madness! This is all madness! Those stains are NOT going to come out! You are wasting your entire life on something that is never going to happen!

Walking away now, I could hear Daniel's frustrated voice say,

Daniel: Why do you even care? This doesn't affect you in any way.

I bit my tongue. And the whole drive home I kept myself from listing all of the ways that this insanity was affecting me in every way. Then we got back into the apartment.

Daniel started making pumpkin bread and when he stuck it into the oven I asked him whether he had put chocolate chips in it, his favorite thing to put in any kind of bread. He hadn't. I asked him why not and he just said, "because you prefer it without them."

And suddenly it hit me that Daniel does a lot of stuff and inconveniences himself in a lot of ways just to accommodate me. He does my laundry and never says a word about it. He has stayed in Palau in part just to keep me company. He has listened to me monotonously detail my every happening of every day, feeling outraged when I need him to and cheering me up when I need that too. And sometimes he even makes pumpkin bread without chocolate chips just because I like it that way better. And as I thought about this, I felt selfish for caring about a little stain removal project.

Friends and family are those people who spend absurd amounts of time doing things that don't matter to them just because they matter to you. Even, sometimes, when those things don't make sense.

Last night I volunteered to help scrub the shorts with dish soap. An hour later when Daniel excitedly held them up and said, "I think it's working! Will you come see if you think it's working?" I walked over, warm pumpkin bread in hand, and offered, "you know what, kiddo? I think it's finally doing the trick."

~It Just Gets Stranger