Couples that work together, stay together…sometimes moving to the next room helps.

My shift in career from school teacher/part-time writer to retired school teacher/full-time writer was championed by my hubby. There were a lot of factors. Not the least of which was the five year pay freeze and 5% pay cut the entire staff decided to take to keep our school open. As Colorado ranks 44th in teacher salary funding, it was a significant hit. I hear stories about teachers who make 50k per year….I don’t know where that is, but it isn’t Colorado. Changing student demographics,  education legislation that ties test performance to teacher salaries and the demand for more work with no shift in pay….well, you can see where this was going. I’m a rock star teacher. I’ll say it. I don’t always do what makes parents or administrators happy, but my students were rarely bored and usually engaged. I’m off topic.

My frustration usually starts in March with a round of standardized tests, a too late spring break and waning student interest. This year, my hubby tells me, it started in August. I believe him. Looking back at my parent communication notes, I had a parent complaint the third day of school and from then on at least one, if not more parents ambushing me demanding to know what more I was going to do to help their student. Whew….that’s an entire blog in and of itself. About December, another situation arose which polarized my husband’s thinking. A student can say anything without a shred of proof and our lives would be irrevocably changed forever. Neither one of us wanted to depend on the decision making skills of a preteen. We also have our own children to think about and my hubby likes to have his coffee made for him in the morning. Don’t get started…he’s a fabulous man, if not a tad lazy in the make your own coffee department.

It boiled down to this. I’ve one novel ready to publish (waiting for cover art!). I have a sequel in the works and three entirely independent projects. We did the math. Small sacrifices would allow us to exist on his salary. Okay, dropping my house cleaner wasn’t a small sacrifice and as soon as I’m moving 10,000 copies a year….bam! Return of the Cleaning Fairy! It’s the secret to happiness…a different post. I could live without my wine club, sigh. We worked to empty out two storage units of inherited furniture and other unnecessary stuff. We’ll eat out much less frequently and usually without the chilens. Hubby would give up his p.m. Mocha habit and I would more often make him coffee to take to work.

The decision has been made. Next up, self publishing. Yep, we’ve decided to start our own independent publishing company. Experimenting with my first book and continuing on with all of the others, we’ll gain enough expertise to begin vetting other authors who are running into the same walls I am. “Ooooh, your writing is powerful. Love the storyline. Compelling characters….can you change X or Y or H? I just don’t know where in a book store this would go.” Six agents face to face, oodles of submissions and a timely topic….genetic engineering and stem cell research helped us make our decision. The learning curve was steep, is still steep. We’ve great resources in the area, wonderful friends and family from near and far who’ve jumped on board this crazy train!   The first book is awaiting its cover and then….presto, no magic. Just hours and hours of schmoozing, selling and connecting with folks who might buy a book. Hey, I’d have to do it with a large publishing house, why not work for a boss I like a whole lot more.

I’m not working for myself or my hubby…we are working for us. I call my hubby my publishing agent because it’s an easy delineation of responsibility. I write, work marketing, control the creative side of things while he organizes paperwork, adds things to my to do list and demands a sequel to The Esau Emergence by 2014. Working together adds a different dimension to our relationship. We have a terrific relationship. We’ve managed three kids (he parachuted in when they were young), three or four dogs, four cats down to three soon to be down to two. That doesn’t include the house, the yard, the death of two parents and the continued descent into madness of two more parents. We have more or less the same chaotic juggling act that all of you have going. We’ve added working together to the mix.

Here’s the catch…work hubby, the work personality that worked from home for two years and now, thank the heavens, works in an office away from home….that work guy is kind of an asshole. It’s one of the reasons my summer writing took a pause. I couldn’t stand to share an office with work hubby. Did I mention that we share a home office? Yeah….we share a home office. I’ve proposed a groovy garden shed office, but funny enough that idea was shot down in a hurry. We’d just dropped a tidy sum on front and back yard remodeling. The yard is gorgeous, no garden shed office though. Sharing an office it is.

This new aspect of our relationship worries my hubby. I’ve taken to calling publishing agent hubby The Beard to distinguish my wonderful hubby from work hubby. It seemed more polite than asshole. We’ve had a conflict, The Beard and I. No biggie. I just tabled the conversation for later and brought my wine glass inside. The Beard rubs my murderous Apache nature the wrong way. The maternal line of my family carries a deeply ingrained Apache blood thirst. My great grandfather was half Mescalero Apache. It’s apparent to all of the Caucasian men who marry into this family that the women are sometimes…ahem, crazy and prone to, I’ll call it passion.  That’s the situation. The Beard is a jerk and my Apache bloodlust is irritated by him. It’s not a terrible thing. I do love him and like him even. Hubby will have to understand that sometimes The Beard and the Apache will go head to head. I can easily compartmentalize the new aspect of our relationship.

Several folks we know have the same issue. Not the Apache bloodlust, but the work personality of their partners is off putting. Hey, The Beard gets things done. So does my hubby. I do too. It’s a great partnership with unlimited potential and if I haven’t smothered hubby for snoring by now, I can easily deal with The Beard. How does your working marriage look?