Tag Archives: Marriage

I Can’t Unsee That

Here’s a life lesson for you.

If perchance your Husband has a colonoscopy and if perchance you visit him in his curtained cubicle in recovery – do not, I repeat, DO NOT exit said curtained cubicle to “take a look around.”

Bailing Twine and Bubble Gum

Dad proudly announced at every opportunity, “Everything on this farm is held together with baling twine and bubble gum.”  I’m not sure if its a trait of all farmers or just Dad but he was a “good enough” kind of guy and that’s the way I learned things.

Getting the broken item fixed quickly (before Mom’s temper exploded) was Goal One. There wasn’t a second goal.  After the fix, any tool he used was left where it lay or if he was outside, tossed through the door of the ramshackle shed.

It came as a great shock to me when I moved in with Husband and he pointed out that the job was not complete until everything was put back where it came from.  Fast forward twenty years and although I’m not as meticulous as Husband, I’ve come to expect a certain standard of repair and order.

Yesterday I went to the hardware store to buy a five-foot closet rod.  When the salesclerk was unable to find what I wanted, he said, “Well…this will probably work.”  It was a hundred degrees outside and I really, really did not want to go to the big box store so I picked up the “good enough” and headed to the cash register.

A picture of my childhood bedroom flashed before my eyes.  Closet with no door, an unfinished plywood floor and  a rod that collapsed if more than three hanging items were attempted.

I did an about-face and returned the good-enough item and, after wandering the store for twenty minutes, found the exact thing I needed.

I could finish by saying Dad would be proud of me – but that would not true.  He’d be prouder to have walked into my closet and seen a pair of old shoes attached to the wall with twelve rusty nails supporting the handle of an old broom.

 

 

SOCKS?? Noooooooo.

“SOCKS?” I shouted at Husband.

“Um…yes…socks.” He shot me a, my-wife-has-finally-gone-over-the-edge look.

“You never said anything about buying socks before I got in the car.”  I pressed my hands against my head, afraid my brain would explode. “Okay.  Okay.” I breathed in to a count of ten and then slowly out to a count of ten.  “Just give me a minute to wrap my head around socks being added.”

This is how much I hate shopping.  The original plan had been to go to the mall and buy Husband a couple of short-sleeved shirts.

I’d walked around the house all morning talking to myself to prepare.

“It’s just two shirts, Teresa.  You can do this.”  I spent ten minutes deep breathing as I visualized the two of us wandering aimlessly around the entire men’s department looking for the perfect shirt at the perfect price.  At 11:00 I told Husband I was ready to go.

Then, we got in the car and he said, “I thought we’d pick up some socks while we were there.”

I mean really, any of you would have had the same reaction right?

 

 

Dental Denial

shutterstock_96127685 copy“Hmmmm” the dental assistant diagnosed as she cleaned my teeth.

She slid from the room and returned with the dentist. Without a word, my mouth was pried open and mirrors and tapping tools inserted.

“Hmmmm,” the doctor confirmed.

“Wha?” I said through the fingers and stainless steel tools. “Wha’s wron?”

“You have a cracked tooth.  Doesn’t it hurt?”

“Nuh unh.”

“How about now?”

“Unh!”

“This will only take a minute and there won’t be any pain.”

Twenty years ago, notwithstanding that my teeth were well on their way to hillbilly choppers, Husband agreed to marry me, on the condition I visit his dentist every six months without fail.

“Why didn’t you just brush your teeth after meals?” he asked with the innocence of a well-raised child.

For one, I grew up in a house with nine people and one bathroom.  I was lucky to get to pee once a day.

DonutsWhile my brothers and sister participated in the mandatory afternoon nap, Little Miss Goody-Two-Shoes (my sibling nickname) clambered up to the top shelf in the kitchen to steal the sweet treat we received for taking a nap. On my tiptoes, I stretched up to the one surviving bowl from my mother’s wedding china and I dipped my hand in. Sometimes I pulled out a Tootsie Pop, my nose twitching as I caught the cherry scent. Other times a sleeve of ‘Nilla Wafers.

Like a starving chimpanzee, I stuffed the delectable treat into my mouth while I scrambled down. Upon awakening from my nap I received a second goodie.

My poor teeth got hit from both sides of the gene pool. My sweet tooth developed in my mother’s womb, requiring her to consume a Baby Ruth candy bar every day of her pregnancy. Dad’s sweet tooth was legendary.  One Easter, an all out war was declared when my sister’s treasured chocolate bunny appeared with one less ear.  While the seven of us kids (yes, for those of you keeping track, good catch!  There are eight kids, but the baby in the group had yet to be born) tried to rip each other limb from limb, Dad sat in the corner with a Cheshire-cat grin.

But, Dad was far from safe on my sweet sweeps through the house.  I found and pillaged boxes of candy from his closet, sodas hidden in his lunch box and gum from the glove compartment of his car.  Somewhere around my tenth birthday I tore the house apart and found nothing.  I enlisted my younger brother Larry who, I was certain if the stash was found, I could easily swipe his share. We came up empty handed and thereafter Dad’s stash was safe from Miss Goody-Two-Shoes.

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I found his genius hiding place: the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator.  No kid in our family would EVER look there.

girl with open mouthWhen my toothaches became unbearable, Mom drove me to the wrong side of town to take me to a “dentist.” He’d pry my mouth open and I swear, try to see if his entire grizzled head would fit inside. “Hmmmm”, he’d diagnose with the stub of his recently smoked cigar firmly clamped between his not-so-pearly whites.

“When I grow up,” I swore, “I’m never going to the dentist again!”

It’s amazing what someone you love can convince you to do. I’ve fulfilled Husband’s request, visiting the dentist regularly for countless root canals and more fillings.  Somewhere in the tenth or twelfth year of our marriage, my teeth came to be in great shape.

Well, good shape.

Okay, let’s just say I still have all my teeth.

But I ramble digress.

Here I am, upside down in the fully reclined dentist’s chair pleading for a postponement of treatment. With the fingers and tools finally removed, I began my defense.  “But, a person can’t just DO something like this on the spur of the moment.”

“Sure we can.” The son of Husband’s previous dentist assured me.

“But, I can’t do it right now – I need to mentally prepare.”

“I’m going to give you a shot to numb you up and it will all be over before you know it.”

“Bhu…” The smell of metal and latex gloves smothered me.

“Now, this may sting a little.”

Blinding, white-hot pain shot through my jaw.  I gripped the arms of the chair and felt a tear run down my cheek.  The instrument of torture was removed but before I could catch my breath in it went again.  My back arched, my eyes bulged and I shouted. “HOLY THIT THAT HURTH!”

The doctor tsk-tsked and removed the agony-causing needle from my mouth.

“What the hell?” I demanded.  “You said that was going to hurt a little.” I wiped at a line of drool already escaping from my almost paralyzed mouth. That hurt A LOH.  A HEHH OF A HOT!

He smiled a patronizing smile and moved to the next patient where, over the sound of the Muzak version of Chain of Fools, I heard him diagnose, “Hmmmm.”

The dental assistant returned and said “When would like to schedule your next appointment?”

“How abou when Hehh fwezzes over???”

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.