Last updated: 21 April 2003

Alternate Strategies to Feed Your Hobby and Stay Happily Married

Subject:	Possible submission for your site
Sent:	Sunday, April 20, 2003 22:07:50
From:	"Brian Nelson" (bln@cable-lynx.net)
I am not sure if you are interested in this 'tongue in cheek' article
for your site.  I wrote it after reading several articles on the
http://www.cloudynights.com/mounts2/lxd55.htm site about how to keep
your astronomy hobby and your significant other.  The advice the various
authors were very good but very serious so just for a laugh I wrote some
alternative advice based on my own experience with keeping my
extravegant hobbies and my wife of 22 years.  They were a little too
serious at cloudynights to publish it so I am passing it along to you. 
I don't really care if you post it or not but I thought somebody else
might find it funny.

Brian Nelson
10"lxd55 uhtc

Ok I read the advice of various experts on how to win over your wife or significant other to be supportive of your hobby/passion of astronomy. Great advice, follow it, kind of sounded like something my marriage counsellor would say though. However for those lesser mortals, I wish to present a different set of strategies.

Alternate strategy #1

Incourage your partner to engage in a really expensive hobby. One that is even more outrageous than your own passion for aperture. I know that will be difficult, but be creative. Spending time hobby shopping and talking with her about her hobbies is a great idea, I am merely suggesting you visit the dark side. I myself lucked out one day with my wife as she drooled over a computerized sewing machine that did embroidery designs, 70 zillion pre programmed types of stitches, had it's own touch screen, automatic bobbin winders?, and a pcm card to computer interface. I practically carried her into the store and plunked down the down payment before she had a chance to think. I bonused out in so many ways.

1. It cost more than the 10" Schmidt Newtonian Goto scope I had been lusting after. The guilt factor alone was enough to make my modest request a shoe in.

2. The thingamabob was complicated and it took her months to figure out, time she really didn't want to spend with me, as her hobby was drawing her deeper into her passion. Gee honey, I guess I will go outside for a few minutes, it seems like a nice night." "Huh, what whirr, stitch, whirr o sure sweetie, that's nice." Two hours later, "Gee honey are you still at it? Oh boy that table runner is fantastic! Huh look what time it is!" " Oh, is it that time already! Did you have a good time at the show dear?"

3. She needed my help to hook up the computer scanner to the media card to the sewing machine. Bonus points, slam dunk, home run! She felt bad about kicking me off the computer when I had helped her figure out her interface program! Outside I go, hi ho hi ho!

Alternate Strategy #2

Encourage some of those old frat buddies to start dropping by. You know, the ones that haven't settled down yet, still drive sport cars, hang out at greet and meat bars. Recently divorced is even better. Engage in a few of those fun filled nights that preferably end up with a call that requires a moderate amount of bail money, yet doesn't require huge lawyer fees.

Don't worry, short-term pain for long-term gain.

When you start talking again, casually mention how much you miss those quiet evenings, home in the back yard, watching the stars. Pretty soon, when you act a little restless, she will be pushing you out the back door with a thermos of hot chocolate and your earmuffs. Warning, this strategy requires a fine sense of proportion and periodic reinforcing behaviours that can damage brain cells.

Alternate Strategy #3

Become a hockey, baseball, football, and basketball fan. Watch motocross TV and take up golf. Make sure you throw sports parties at your house, inviting sports buddies and their wives over. The horror stories will soon come out in the gabfests in the kitchen. Drag her to cold arenas to see local hockey games. Buy some season tickets. Start planning for the big screen TV.

Then have a serious late night talk about your obsession. Prepare beforehand by leaving a few Astronomy or Sky and Telescope magazines casually around in the bathroom or something. Promise to reform, cut down, ask her for ideas on some way to wean yourself from the playoffs. Spend _ the time you previously did on sports on astronomy, the other _ time in romantic evenings, housecleaning, and moving furniture around. You will still get huge amounts of time under the stars and she will think you are a saint and brag to her friends how she is lucky to have a husband who could give up sports for her.

Strategy #4

Many of the popular success seminar and personal power gurus talk and teach you how to energize your life. They talk about harnesing your life forces yada yada yada. What they also talk about is how to get along on less sleep. And yes, I can personally testify these techniques work!

What does this have to do with your significant other you ask? Well, it takes some extra effort but figure out what relaxes her and sends her into sleepy bye land. Is it drawing a warm bath, a glass of wine around 9:30, perhaps that deep muscle shoulder rub that you learned at the couples massage weekend? Anyway, do the research and send the little woman off to bed early with a warm sleepy glow and love for her tender pootchykins. Promise to be up to bed soon, you just want to start the dishwasher. She won't know or care that you are moving out the back door 20 minutes later, DOB in hand for 3 or 4 hours! The key is to be there in bed beside her in the morning. What she doesn't know can't hurt you.

What does the personal power gurus have to do with it you ask? Well that is for your boss, cause you need to keep him happy on way less sleep.

Strategy #5

This next strategy is long term. It takes 3 or 4 years to put in place but it is worth it. Save long and hard for that new scope, almost get there and spend it on the kid's orthodontist. Sigh, mope, and look at catalogues wistfully. Save, scrimp, haul bottles to the recycling depot, look at science store windows when in the mall, and buy that dining room hutch with the money. Save, cut back on the liquor store runs, talk longingly of the beauty of the stars, and the wonders of the universe and renovate the bathroom with your nest egg. I guarantee the next time you will not only get to buy that new Apo but she will push you to get a whole set of Nagler's.

Strategy #6

Even if you love your job, come home looking rumpled and sullen. Take some time to muss your hair before you come in the door, drag your ass around the house, bitching and whining about the pressures at work. Talk about making outrageous life and career changes that involve moving into a smaller house, into the inner city, or far far away from her sister/mother/friends. Make a point of going outside with your binoculars and come back in 20 minutes later, looking peaceful and content. Spend some time talking to her about her day, help put the kids to bed and rub her feet. Repeat this process. Alternate talking about doing volunteer work in central Africa and how fulfilling it is to search for comets. Next birthday, I guarantee an 8" SCT with nebula filters wrapped up in cutesy paper and bows.

Yes I know all these are horribly manipulative, sneaky ways to feed your habit. Don't worry, just engage in massive amounts of rationalizations. With your obsessive side you could have been a gambler or alcoholic right? You don't screw around, buy motorcycles or spend your time fiddling with a farm toy collection like those other losers. Carefully planned, everybody is happy, right? Yah right!

Brian Nelson
Married 22 years and proud owner of a new 10" LXD-55 Meade Schmidt Newtonian with UHTC coatings.

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