Category Archives: Husband – I love my husband, but…

Sharing a House with Murphy S Law

Many adventures have kept me away from my computer chair, so I’m a little rusty in the writing department.  The blank screen and a smart-alecky blinking cursor are giving me the stink-eye, but I’m going to give it a try anyway.

It started when doctors discovered a lump in Husband’s prostate – which everyone assured me, “would be fine.”  Everyone that is, except Murphy S Law, who knew immediately that, in fact, it would not be fine.

Shortly after bringing Husband home from his brief hospital stay, sparkly white flakes began to float down from the sky.  Knowing that I’d be spending the next week hovering over Husband, I decided I could care less. I walked over to the (new to me) gas fireplace, flipped the switch and watched, fascinated, as a perfectly effortless fire roared to life.

Can I rock a look or what?

Can I rock a look or what?

I gotta go - BAD

I gotta go – BAD

Soon Murphy S Law flipped his own switch and the gently floating snowflakes turn to brutal sheets of white. Still, who really cared?  Okay, me, a bit.  Husband’s doctor forbade him to do any lifting AT ALL, which required me to fully outfit myself against the storm in order to carve out a path so that aging dog, Lola, could make it to the back yard.

Returning from my walk on the frozen tundra, I buttoned up the house, turned off the lights and went to bed.

******

“Guess what?” Husband said, as I stumbled into the kitchen for my morning cup of caffeine.

“Wha?” I mumbled.

“The pipes are frozen!”

I swear I felt the brush of a giggle against my ear from Mr. Law

I called the plumber that had worked for our hated contractor, but had been one of the few subs we trusted.  The plumber asked “What’s your address again?”  When told, he hemmed and hawed a bit, then said “I’m really sorry to tell you this, but I’ll be filing a lien against you because your contractor never paid us.”

Of. Course. They. Didn’t. – Mr. Murphy S Law’s giggle turned into a guffaw as he firmly planted himself into my life.

What were my options?  I begged the plumber to come anyway. Plumber #1 arrived and said he’d never seen anything like it.  I heard Mr. M S Law cackle.  Plumber #1 called in Plumber #2 who thought he remembered this happening to his dad once and maybe he’d have the tool we needed.

Didn't think this plan through

Didn’t think this plan through

Meantime I’m carrying in buckets and buckets of snow to melt on the stove so that I can pour them in the toilet tank so that we can use it. Picture to the right is my first attempt before I, DOH, realized my gas stove worked.

Plumber #1 and #2 returned with a pair of jumper cables as long as a bus.  They attached one end to the meter and the other end ran through my front door, across the living room, down the stairs and draped across my writing desk, to connect to the pipe that enters the house.

“Now we wait.” Plumber #2 said.

We waited.

And waited.

And waited.

All the time, Murphy S Law is stretched out on my floor, filing his nails.  Four hours of waiting later, Plumber #2 said he’s going to go on home, but just to keep the jumper cables plugged in and he’d be back tomorrow to pick them up.

Plumber #2 returned the next day and, surprised to find us still frozen, called in Plumber #3.  He said “Sorry, can’t help you. Here’s our bill.”

By day four of hauling in snow to melt, I was getting a tiny bit cranky.  I gathered up every unread book and magazine I could find and hunkered down in the worn out, over-stuffed chair in my office.  After an hour or so, husband came down.

“Whatcha doin?” he asked.

“I’m in a terrible mood,” I grumbled.  “Better to just leave me alone.”

“Why are you in a bad mood?” He asked with a bright smile on his face.

“Can’t you just leave me alone for a bit?” I pled.  “I’m really, really cranky and, as my dad would say, ‘don’t poke the bear.'”

“But, how is my talking to you poking the bear?  Just tell me why you’re so cranky and then I’ll leave.”

“For one thing, I’m SICK AND TIRED of hauling snow to flush toilets.”

“Whew,” he said.  “Me too.”

Dark spots appeared before my eyes.  “You?” My hands rose of their own volition toward his throat.  “YOU’RE tired of me hauling snow?” I willed my hands away from him and turned them on me, literally stuffing them in my mouth.

The questioning look on Husband’s face changed to terror as he realized he had poked the bear one too many times and he quickly left the room.

The next day, the sun came out and…we still had frozen pipes.  But, the day after that…we still had frozen pipes.  Eventually they did thaw and we spent the rest of our record-breaking-low-temperature winter with the water running in the bathroom sink, day and night.

All this is a long, convoluted way (would the Mayor of Crazie Town do it any other way?) of saying , Citizens of Crazie Town – I’m back and thanks for sticking around!

 

 

 

The Night of the Living Smoke Alarm

It was a rough night.

First, the stupid coffee shop gave me a real latte instead of a decaf. I lay in bed, staring at the ceiling until 1:00 am, vowing over and over to never to consume another latte if, The Sandman would just let me sleep.

Guard dog grade: F

Guard dog grade: F

Then, at 3:00 am, Lola, the seventy-pound chicken/dog, came galloping into the bedroom to try to squeeze her giant body behind the rickety bedside table I’ve been vowing to repair. I roll over in time to catch a lamp before it crashes to the floor.

“There’s a noise in the house,” Husband mutters sleepily and pulls the covers over his head

I don’t know how this ever happened, but in our marriage, I’m the one to go investigate noises. Actually I do know how it happened. One dark and stormy night I heard someone rooting around in the kitchen. I shook him awake and demanded that he go investigate. Instead he rolled over and started snoring. I discovered that the “someone” was a raccoon, but that’s another story.

“What noise?” I ask my now snoring husband.

Then I heard it, a high-pitched BEEP, followed by Lola flinging herself behind the bedside table.

“Hey!” I shook Husband awake, balancing the lamp in my arms. “It’s a smoke alarm.” I slid out of bed, put the lamp back on the table and wrestled into my sleeves-inside-out robe.

I walked down the hallway, listening.

BEEP

“Which one is it?” Husband shouts from the bedroom.

“I don’t know!” I shout back.

He finally gets up and together we wander around the house, pausing under each smoke alarm until we hear the BEEP from the smoke alarm that we are not standing under.

Not actual Husband

Not actual Husband

Husband pinpoints the offender in the dining room but can’t reach it by standing on a chair, so (still in his underwear) out to the garage he goes to retrieve a ladder. He climbs up and takes the battery out. He climbs down and we stumble off to bed.

BEEP

Cursing, Husband climbs back up the ladder to see if he can disconnect it from the electrical wires. He struggles for quite a while and I decide I can help by retrieving the flashlight from the laundry room closet. As soon as I open the door, Lola throws herself on to the bottom shelf of the metal cabinet I put in there. Obviously a three-foot tall dog is not going to fit on a one-foot tall shelf, but this doesn’t stop her from trying. The room is pitch black and she is pitch black and I’m flailing around holding the still-dark flashlight in one hand and trying to grab a body part of hers that will enable me to drag her away from the shelf with the other hand. Then there’s another BEEP, followed by a curse from Husband, followed by Lola redoubling her efforts.

Actual photo of me

Actual photo of me

Eventually I give up and return to the dining room, flipping every light switch along the way. I shine the flashlight at the offending smoke alarm and try to ignore the sound of Lola’s toenails frantically scraping the metal shelf.

Husband still can’t figure out the smoke alarm and asks me to think of where – anywhere – we’d have a nine volt battery we could use. Just as I’ve resigned myself that it will require a trip to an all-night store, I remember there’s a battery in the sprinkler system. Along the way to the garage, Husband stops long enough to drag Lola out of the laundry closet and shut the door.

We spend the next fifteen minutes with Husband at the top of the ladder, trying and failing to insert the battery into the smoke alarm, over and over again.

Meanwhile, Lola is darting from room to room, knocking into chairs, looking for a new place to hide.

At every BEEP I add my opinion.

BEEP “I’m pretty sure the battery goes the other way.”
BEEP “I’m very sure the battery goes the other way.”
BEEP “TRY IT THE OTHER WAY!”

I take a deep breath and turn my head away, vowing not to lose my temper again. I look at the bank of windows behind us and renew my vow from last week, to buy curtains this week.

Then, my focus changes and I see the scene that all my neighbors can see; Husband in his underwear, standing at the top of a ladder, with me shining a spotlight on him.

A Killer New Home

This new house of mine is trying to kill me, but I’m being stoic about it.

I  kept it together, through weeks and weeks of screaming and fights with my contractor, to turn this:
IMG_0236
into this:
IMG_0633

(Okay, maybe not I’m not being exactly stoic, as there were a few  tears the day I almost got killed from the broken gas line and yes, maybe I did tell the contractor to get the @#!$ off my property, but the point is, I survived that part.)

And I kept it together through the weeks and weeks it took me to get from this:
IMG_0648
to this:
Image

But, the morning after my return from England, this new house tried, once again, to do me in.

I awoke early, put the teakettle on and stepped outside on the deck to let the dog out. Rubbing my arms in the cool air, I took a stroll down the stairs to check out the grass we’d planted before we left.  It only took one step for my feet to fly up in front of me and then I’m doing a Winnie The Pooh down the stairs, bump, bump, bump, on the back of my head.

As I lay on the wet ground, my first thought was, “Uh oh. I hit my head.” My second thought was…well, I don’t think there was a second thought, just tears and sobbing — the big kind, where you can’t catch your breath and snot runs uncontrollably out of your nose and you don’t care. With my head resting on a patch of newly grown grass, I watched my un-Lassie-like dog wander happily around the backyard ignoring my pleas for help. I decided, at that very moment, I hated this new house – every unfinished inch of it.

When the damp ground began to seep through my sweater I thought it was time to assess the damage I’d done. I sat up, patted the back of my head and peaked at my fingers. I let out a sigh of relief when they came away free of blood. Not sure if I could, or  should, stand up, I contemplated my next move. Rubbing at the ache in my posterior I discovered I had my cell phone in the back pocket of my jeans. I dialed our home number (yes, I still have a home phone.) When my husband, John, answered, I burst back into my  hiccupping sobs.

“What? What is it? Where are you? What’s going on?”

“Fell,” I bawled.

“Where?”

“Outside,” I snuffled.

“Front or back?”

“B-b-back.”

I’ve never been so happy to see his half-a-shaving-cream-covered face in my life. He helped me up and we worked our way back inside.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” he asked, stepping away from me to let our happy-go-lucky dog back into the house.

I ran into the guest bathroom and blubbered, “I’m fine,” before slamming the door.

I could go into great gushy details about how my husband coaxed me out and tucked me into bed with a nice hot cup of tea, but I won’t — because that’s not what happened. There is nothing more terrifying to my husband than a crying woman, so he returned to his sink to finish shaving.

A few minutes later, as I sat on the floor of the bathroom unrolling yards of toilet paper to keep up with my blubbering, I heard the whistle of the teakettle. Since I knew John would be protected from the kryptonite of my tears by the door, I continued with my mopping up efforts and the teapot screeched on.

Finally, Husband’s voice. “Teresa?”

Unable to answer, I blew my nose loudly.

A timid knock at the door and then he muttered, “Hey…ummmm…err…”

“Yes?” I asked, looking at the doorknob, willing it to turn.

“The teakettle is whistling.”

I will survive this new house, but right this moment, I’m not sure my husband will survive me.

When in England my friends, look right but always–ALWAYS–stay left!

Good Morning, Residents of Crazie Town.

IMG_0604After a good night’s sleep in our tiny hotel room in Oxford, England, I am sitting in the conservatory (pronounced conservatree) having my morning cup of tea.  I managed to negotiate the non-American breakfast buffet (pronounced with the T as in Warren) and picked some nice poached eggs. I even bravely chose a colorful “meat” link, but avoided a black hockey puck described as “Blood Sausage.”

Ignoring all the gluten free/sugar free promises I made to myself, I quickly abandoned my properly Paleo plate of food and instead snarfed my way through a delicious, crumbly croissant slathered in soft butter.  Yum.

I feel fine, really.

I feel fine, really.

As for that nasty sinus infection I’ve been fighting for two weeks – the antibiotics kicked in the morning of our flight and I made it through just fine.  

In a rare fit of genius, I’d asked the gate agent to see if there were any empty rows on the plane.  He (not so kindly) moved us to a row of three, so I was able to stretch out and get a few hours of sleep on the seven hour flight to London.

Upon arrival, we rented a car and cleverly refused the expensive SatNav (GPS to you Americans) as I’d borrowed my brother’s for the trip.  Off we drove, happy as clams.

I think we were supposed to turn left back there

I think we were supposed to turn left back there

Unfortunately, I could only get the screen to display a wide purple line snaking up north with a little blue car that floated from east to west in no discernable pattern. Turns out, I should have downloaded the “UK Maps” app to the GPS before leaving.  Oops.

Since my husband has the confidence of Paul Bunyan, we drove on, following the highway signs for Oxford.  We arrived in the medieval village, bumped over cobblestone streets and raced around roundabouts for an hour, with me shouting “Stay left! Stay left!” every five minutes.

In order to avoid a head on collision, John took a sharp turn and we ended up in a teeny tiny parking lot with one narrow space available.  Our Vauxhall fit perfectly.  We managed to extract ourselves from the car and walked down the sidewalk to our right. Not really sure what we were looking for or how to find it, two blocks later we turned around and walked four blocks to our left, stopped and walked the two blocks back to where we started.

Passing the Cous Cous Cafe for the fourth time, I grabbed John’s elbow and yanked him inside. “Please,” I begged the guy behind the counter, “can you help us find our hotel.” He told about the time he’d gotten lost in France and how the gentleman he’d asked directions from, drove him to his location.  “So,” he said, “I will do the same for you.”  He left his waitress in charge of his restaurant, got his car and waited while we retrieved ours. Then we followed him through a dozen twists and turns, back out on to the M40 and directly to our hotel.

We have been moving non-stop ever since, interrupting our journey just long enough to stop at every pub my husband deems “real,” where I choke down another order of fish and chips.

My tea is cold and John is ready for our next adventure.  A three hour drive to Wales.  

IMG_0612When in England my friends, look right, but always, ALWAYS, stay left.

Did I Just Accidentally Buy a House?

This One is Too Small

This One is Too Small

A couple of weeks ago, I shared my experience about selling our house and moving into a tiny apartment.
Click Here to read.

Now we need to buy one and in order to help me find the home of our dreams, our real estate agent, Melody, signed us up for on-line notification of houses for sale.

Day after day, I sat hunched over my computer perusing hundreds of photos.

Not really sure what I wanted, I made Melody take me to dozens of viewings. We visited newer homes incorporating soaring ceilings with chrome and glass chandeliers. I walked through older homes, with one car garages and bedrooms so small I could reach out and touch both walls at the same time. We even looked at a “fixer upper” where I arrived early, only to find the owner frantically pushing gallons of water out of her garage.

After a defeating day of touring Too Big and Too Small homes, I found one that looked Just Right.

Hardwood floors? Check
Updated bathroom? Check
Room for extended stay guests? Check

“You have to make a quick decision,” Melody advised. I’d already seen several other homes disappear from the on-line system within hours.

Husband came up with the idea that we’d offer the seller significantly below asking price. They would counter, we’d counter and that process would give me several days to wrap my head around our decision.

Except that – the seller accepted our offer.

No worries. I live my life with the Doris Day philosophy of What Will Be, Will be — so I relaxed and let life happen.

Ommmmmm

Que Sera, Sera

Who am I kidding? I freaked out!

shutterstock_125462789

It took three weeks for us to buy our last car, and now we’d accidentally bought a house in less than 24 hours!

Husband calmly pointed out that it was a beautiful home and we’d likely be very happy there. I hired a design company to come out and tell me what a stupid thing I’d done. They loved the house. Just as I was detoxing from my adrenaline rush, and falling in love with the place, the inspection report arrived.

Now it’s back to square one.

…In order to help me find the home of our dreams, our real estate agent, Melody, signed us up for on-line notification of houses for sale. Day after day, I sit hunched over my computer perusing hundreds of photos…

I swear, I don't know how these things happen to me.

I swear, I don’t know how these things happen to me.

My Husband is Trying to Kill Me in His Sleep

Homicidal Maniac

Part-time Homicidal Maniac

Recently, my loving Husband has taken up the habit of trying to kill me in his sleep. Not in my sleep, in his sleep. Trust me, I’m not doing a lot of sleeping right now.

It started a few months ago when I awoke to him shouting, “GET OUT OF HERE!”

Startled, I sat up in bed just as he went crashing into my pillow, where he promptly wrestled the stuffing out of the poor thing.

Don’t get me wrong, most of the time Husband is a soft-hearted teddy bear.

Homicidal maniac (also known as Grandpa) tuckered out from hike

Actual homicidal maniac (also known as Grandpa)

One time he trimmed our dog’s toenail too close and was so emotionally traumatized by the thought of injuring her, he refused to ever do it again.

We once had a raccoon in our house and after animal control trapped it in their net, he got all choked up thinking about “what will happen to the little guy.”

And, after watching Marley and Me he sobbed so loud I had to turn the TV up.

I’m sensing a theme here that has to do more with animals and less with humans. But, let’s continue anyway.

Husband has always been a sleep-talker, or should I say, sleep-arguer. Maybe this happens to all spouses married to lawyers but it’s a little alarming to me.  For example, I shake husband’s shoulder to say “Roll over on your side, you’re snoring” and he sits up to explain to me in his courtroom voice that “obviously I’m already on my side because this (insert Vanna White-type sweeping hands) is the center of the bed and I’m (more sweeping of hands) over here.”

He drops onto his back to continue his sound sleep, and his obnoxious snoring. I spend the rest of the evening tossing and turning while I struggle to compose a snappy retort. (I have yet to come up with one.) In the morning, he remembers nothing of the events that transpired in his sleep and cheerily kisses me good morning.

I’m learning to sleep with one eye open, but recently missed the rustling sounds that indicate a possible attack. I awoke to husband’s hands wrapped around my forearm, attempting to strangle it to death. I’m not sure what demons are chasing him, but I have to admire his willingness to turn and fight.

I remember a time I was walking with my small nephew, Josh, when his much older and taller cousin, Ben, jumped out and yelled “BOO!” Josh immediately grabbed his walking stick and poked Ben in the eye. While I, without a care for my poor little nephew, turned and ran [similar event here], only stopping when I heard Ben cursing a blue streak. (This  story also comes with the added joy of spending the rest of the vacation shouting “Arg, ye matey!” at Ben in his eye patch.)

But, I digress. In fact, I think I’ve digressed during my digression. This is what happens when you put a sleep-deprived writer/wife in front of a computer.

P.S – if any of you are in Kansas City – come and check me out next Friday (not THIS Friday, NEXT Friday) at this performance:

WTF Logo

Presents
STORIES MY MOTHER DOESN’T WANT ME TO TELL
A dramatic and comedic reading by The WTF Writers’ Group
featuring
Bob Chrisman, Jessica Conoley, Teresa Vratil, and Dane Zeller
at
VALA Gallery
5834 Johnson Drive, Mission, Kansas, 66202
Friday, May 17, 2013
7:30 PM – 8:30 PM

I Swear, I Don’t Know How These Things Happen to Me

To borrow a phrase from one of my favorite bloggers, Donna Louise, I swear I don’t know how these things happen to me.

Recently, Husband and I talked about downsizing to a home more appropriate for our new lifestyle. Without the responsibility of a house and large yard to take care of, we could walk out the door and travel to the south of France for a month or so.

This House Is Too Big

This House Is Too Big

We have no tickets to travel to the south of France yet, but we imagine if we change houses, we would.

One Friday morning I thought I’d take a step toward that carefree lifestyle and said to Husband, “Hey, let’s put our house on the market today.”

We did. It sold in three days.

Suddenly, we had a little over a month to pack up fifteen years of life and move to…well, that’s just it. We hadn’t decided where we wanted to move.

Time was running out for us to find a new home and then, my favorite aunt fell ill. Within a few days time, I was required to fulfill her end-of-life requests.

Certain if I made a choice on a house in the middle of this, I’d wake up six months from now in a Victorian B&B and wonder how I got there, Husband suggested we try apartment life for a while.

We spent an entire weekend talking with flaxen haired twenty-year-old Kimberlys and Kendalls and being treated as if we were a couple of twenty-year-old deadbeats and then were asked to pay $100 for the privilege of simply filling out an application.

This One is Too Small

This One is Too Small

We settled on a Teeny Tiny Place because it only required a seven month lease. Actually, we chose it because it was one of the few places that allowed our 70 pound  60 pound dog. (We stopped at one place where you could have any number of pets as long as their combined weight didn’t exceed 50 pounds. I didn’t want to think about what that might include.)

Back at our house, I packed and packed and packed some more. I designed an elaborate color-coded labeling system that included where each box went for the apartment move, what’s in the box, and where the box will go when we buy a house.

Moving day arrived and within minutes of getting to the Teeny Tiny Place, I discovered I’d over-estimated the amount of furniture that would fit.

Uh Oh

Uh Oh

We quickly rented another garage — and then a third to hold all the crap treasures I’ve collected over the years.

In our Teeny Tiny Place, we have the privilege of paying $20 per month more for “hardwood” floors, which are actually linoleum printed with a wood image. The walk-in closet is rendered un-walk-inable once clothing is hung on both sides. And, we have the luxury of a master bathroom with floor to ceiling mirrors on three walls – which not only gives me a multi-imaged look at myself in my least attractive position, but also depicted several dozen images of the look of horror on my face as the toilet backed up on it’s first use.

Settled into the Teeny Tiny Place, I got back to looking for a home.

No, wait. That’s not right. Somewhere in there I had a garage sale. We left on a long-ago planned trip to Disney World and from there, a flight to Hartford. And, oh yes, I went gluten-free.

Maybe I Could Stand to Lose a Few?

Maybe I Could Stand to Lose a Few?

Tune in next week to discover if the house we accidentally put an offer on, is now ours.

I swear, I don't know how these things happen to me.

I swear, I don’t know how these things happen to me.