Teeter Totter Tests Marriage

Thad & I recently celebrated 45 years of marriage.  You think you know someone after all those years, right?  But he came home the other day with an Inversion Table.  Inversion therapy involves hanging like a bat or at an inverted angle while hanging by the legs, ankles, or feet with the intention of therapeutic benefits. It is a form of spinal traction.  In all fairness, he made a warning phone call alerting me that this “teeter totter” was on loan to us from a friend to be fostered in our home.

“Why?” I asked.

“I always wanted one.” Thad stated this as if he had shared this with me and that it had shown up on his Santa’s list year after year.

“Really?  Since when?”

“Since Bill (our daughter’s in-laws) got one twenty years ago for his chronic back issues.”

“Hmm.  But you don’t have back issues.”

“No, but I have that problem with my shoulders that’s causing the scoliosis of my spine and I thought it might help.”

“Did you check with Francesca (our personal trainer) and the chiropractor?”

“W-e-l-l, no, I just thought I’d give it a try.”

Changing track I asked, “Where are you going to put it?”

Now he got really nervous because he realized he hadn’t given it much thought and he had stepped into my jurisdiction of home staging and decorating.  The teeter totter might teeter before it tottered to our home.


I had become “OCD” about our home.   With the move two and half years ago, I had cleaned out years of stuff collected, lost & forgotten, clogging our closets and enjoying this new simple abundance.  I liked having everything in its place and a place for everything.  I didn’t want to return to that “pack rat” lifestyle.

Would it really be of benefit?  I doubted it, but what if it did help him?

“Whatever, Thad.  Just bring it home.  We’ll deal with it.”  We rang off.

I found myself totally stunned, and caught off guard.  I felt like an inadequate, self-absorbed wife for not knowing he had wanted an inversion table.  How could I not know?  Had he told me and I hadn’t listen or had sudden brain death?  Had my scientist husband done any research on this machine?  I don’t know – maybe he did, maybe he didn’t.  I wouldn’t know because he hadn’t shared it or I had forgotten it.  Neither of which made me feel good.

Did he want it like our 3 year old grandson wants a family size bag of M&M’s for snack before dinner?    Or had he always wanted to try it and just didn’t share it with me?  After 45 years I began to question whether we had stopped communicating.  What did this say about our relationship?

But mostly I was scared.  After quickly doing research on the internet, I realized that this was a large object that would require space, need to be done daily for efficacy and he would need to be careful not to hurt himself.  Specifically, it would take strength in his shoulders and arms to pull himself back into an upright position.  With two shoulder replacements I worried whether they were up to the task.  I imagined him leaning back and then flipping upside down and not able to right himself back up.  And then my mind saw this cartoon with him strapped into this machine going round and round like a Ferris wheel at 50 miles per hour!  Okay, I was getting carried away.  But Thad and I are at an age where we can hurt ourselves just by sneezing.  Can you imagine what we can do with the aid of teeter totter – I mean, inversion table?

By the time he got home, our 10 year old grandson, Aiden was here and he was soooo excited to see this.  It was like an adventure!  It was our exercise for that day as we lugged it into our bedroom.  We positioned it in front of the newly installed window treatments for the sliding glass doors. Harrumph!  There was just enough room for Thad to get in and out of bed but not enough room for me to sit at my make-up table.  I need the make-up table with its arsenal of brushes, potions and lotions a lot more than he needed that darn inversion table!  Out of the bedroom it went. Aiden was enthralled at the excitement, Thad and I – not so much.

By this time it was dinner hour and I just told Thad to put it in our infrequently used living room.  I was both physically and mentally exhausted.  And there it has sat for the last week, visible from everywhere in the house, while my mind churned like the hour glass on a computer app trying to collect enough data to open up the necessary information and figure out where to put it.  A few thoughts came to mind but I am a Christian woman so I won’t share that with you.

And after spending the week looking at that thing in the living room, we found a place that would suit both Thad and I.  It took about two hours of re-arranging furniture, hauling it from the tiled living room to our third carpeted bedroom which is set up for the two grandsons to sleep and play in.

Finding a good location for the inversion table gave both of us an opportunity to work on our communication skills: Thad to communicate his thoughts more and for me to be less confrontational.  You would think after 45 years together we would have this figured out.  Truth be told, we do, but applying it takes a concerted and consistent effort.  Like the Teeter Totter, marriage has its highs and lows and it takes a simple Inversion Table to turn us upside down.

Together we figured out how to use it and with a little bit of practice Thad could get on, invert himself and get back into an upright position without killing himself or needing a second set of shoulder replacements.    And if he falls, at least he’ll land on carpet.

Of course, keeping 10 and 3 year old grand kids from playing on what looks like a teeter-totter/jungle gym is Thad’s job and probably going to be fodder for another blog.

Have your used an Inversion Table and did it help?  How long have you been married?  Do you think you know everything about your spouse?  What is the biggest discovery you had recently with regards to your spouse?  How do you keep the conversation going and does learning new things about your spouse make life interesting or scary?  Please share so we can all laugh a little and find comfort in others who experience the same things.


Thank you for reading my post.  If you have found it encouraging please consider liking, commenting or sharing it.  Feel free to comment here or even re-blog – may these words take flight!

I have additional insights I’d love to share with you found in the pages of my debut book: Surviving Medical Mayhem – Laughing When It Hurts.  To order a copy or learn more go to my website at www.lorettaschoen.com

Blessings for Health & Wellness.



Comments (2)

  1. Love this! I can just see this entire story unfolding in your home!
    Miss you! See you soon!

    July 18, 2019 at 11:46 am
    1. Thank you for reading my blog. And yes, it was a bit terse at first and then I realized that he had to try and use it. The question was where to “shove” where it would be the least obtrusive and wouldn’t drive me crazy! He loves it in the “boys room”, but I am sure he will have a little competition in using it with both Aiden and especially little Ryker. So, stay turned. 🙂

      July 18, 2019 at 12:55 pm

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