O my God, what a wonderful anniversary weekend in the city! This morning, though, we’re home, and no one’s hurrying to fill our coffee cups. We even have to (gasp!) return to work. Yet, OMG, thank You for this big part of the happy ever after.
I feel for pregnant moms whose steps slow as the months pass. Although decades have gone by, I remember well those exhausting days. I doubt these lovely young women believe their husbands’ reassurance any more than I believed mine, who told me I was beautiful.
What insanity had blinded his usual astute vision? Seven months pregnant with our first child, I felt like a walking ottoman.
“So if I just walk backwards, nobody will know?”
“It means you’ll lose weight fast after the baby’s born.” A family practice resident at the local hospital, he knew how to handle cranky women in their last trimester.
I kissed him goodbye. Would I splurge and take the bus to my part-time job or ride my bike through our quiet neighborhood? I grinned. Each time I rode up on my three-speed, Mr. Plunkett, an older man in my office, threw his window open in horror.
Mrs. Phillips!” he shouted. “Come in and put your feet up!”
He always brought me a glass of water. Where was my mother? Did my husband really find this acceptable?
But graying skies made a ride risky. Mr. P. might have a coronary if I rode up amid thunder and lightning. So I decided to take the bus.
I donned my pink maternity outfit and slipped into comfortable shoes I’d bought when I no longer could see my feet. I arrived at the bus stop five minutes early, drifting into daydreams of nursery rhymes and rock-a-bye songs.
I stared at my stomach, confused. Sure, I was going to have a baby, but—? I cast a cautious glance behind.
Two linemen, perched atop an electrical pole, hooted at me. And yes, unless I had lost feminine instincts along with my waistline, ear-to-ear lecherous smiles gleamed on their faces.
Blank disbelief washed over me—then a joyous rush of wickedness. But Niceness pointed a finger at me, and I wavered. Should I? Or shouldn’t I?
I turned around and waved sweetly at my admirers, who nearly fell to the ground.
I waddled up the steps onto the bus. As it rolled away, I watched them hugging the pole, trying in vain to hide scarlet, guilty faces.
“Whoa, baby,” I whispered to my stomach. “You’re already knocking ’em off their feet.”
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite prego story?
We should have detected this temperature difference from the start. However, the stars in our eyes prevented us from noticing icicles hanging from his chin and people around me turning tan.
I now believe our wedding vows should have limited the number of blankets on our bed to 37. Hubby wishes we had included something about nailing windows shut.
My skeletal new husband’s body temperature never rose above 50 degrees. I determinedly fed him Crisco®, so he finally gained a few pounds. Still, he occasionally builds bonfires in his office to stave off frostbite.
During cold weather, he pushes the thermostat up to the ionosphere. I want to rescue planet earth — and our heating bill — by keeping it at 60. He says I’m cruel. I say, I’m green. And as Kermit the Frog once sang, it’s not easy being green.
His answer: “It’s not easy living with you, either.”
To accomplish temperature compatibility at night, all he has to do is steal the covers, and all I have to do is let him. Problem solved? No way. Hubby slumbers quietly, and even when cold, doesn’t grab my blanket. Is he trying to take me out with heat stroke?
We’re not the only spouses who suffer from irreconcilable temperature differences. One wife told her man if he didn’t like their family room’s cool ambience, he could go someplace hotter. (I don’t think she meant the Bahamas.)
Another couple solved their incompatibility by buying a new car with fancy dual heat-and-air-conditioning controls. She set hers at ten degrees less than his. They spent thousands of dollars to end the temperature tug-of-war. And lived happily ever after, right?
Nope. The fancy new hot-butt button is not dual-control.
Then there’s the frozen wife who bowed to her hot-natured husband’s needs, but rented out her living room as an ice rink. …
And some say married life is boring.
Perhaps the excitement presents one more aspect of imaginative design. God, who invented male and female wiring, apparently wants to keep the sparks alive in today’s marriages. And maybe God wants us to work things out. …
Hubby and I have to admit that sitting on opposite seats of the same seesaw keeps us communicating. Neither has jumped off the temperature teeter-totter during our almost 43 years of togetherness. And we hope our world is a bit cozier for it.
That kind of global warming? Couldn’t we all stand a little more?
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Who yanks on which side of the temperature tug-of-war at your house?
O my God, thank You for making Hubby and I unique individuals. But now that it’s October, he wants to turn on the heat. I still want to throw open windows. OMG, for us, marriage gives a whole new meaning to “hot woman” and “cool guy.”
When our children were small, I maintained a camping list as complicated as a theological treatise. It grew so wise and wonderful that our daughter, now taking her family camping, borrowed it. “I don’t want to forget anything.”
Ha! Campers always forget something.
I balked at handing over my ragged, penciled/inked, 25-year-old list. Part of me celebrated. No more worries about taking Scooby-Doo Band-Aids, the only kind our five-year-old would accept. But I sniffled anew over our empty nest.
I sobbed, “My camping list. …”
Hubby’s face stiffened in his familiar you’re-insane-but-I-won’t-say-it expression. He didn’t protest, “But you hate lists.” Or even, “You didn’t lose it 25 years ago?”
Still, he couldn’t comprehend how listings of bug spray and Imodium® evoked tender memories a mother could cherish.
He did offer to make a new list.
Eyes shining, he plopped beside me. “What do we want on our camping list?”
“We”? I had sort of wanted to do … anything else.
He read me. “If we collaborate, we won’t forget anything.”
We discovered — gasp! — that we define “essentials” differently.
He cannot survive without disgustingly healthy oatmeal raisin cookies. I refuse to leave the driveway without my beloved Pecan Sandies Shortbread cookies. We do agree that a hike without trail mix is like a cruise — not that we’ve taken one — without a buffet.
Hubby stood firm on one point: no melty, messy chocolate chips.
I stood firm. Trail mix without chocolate is not trail mix.
Believe it or not, we completed the list before Christmas.
In hopes of rescuing your future campouts, I include tips on camping items that should never be forgotten:
- Rain tarp. Leave behind extra clothing (who cares what you look/smell like?). But don’t forget a rain tarp, for which — at 2 a.m., with water drip-drip-dripping on your forehead and your children/grandchildren floating away — you would pay a million dollars.
- Buckets. Bailing with your spouse’s shoe will make a tenuous situation worse.
- Coffee. Overlook a drinker’s joe or means to brew it, and she may tie you to a tree and invite bears to dinner.
- Entrance rug. Leave it behind just once and you’ll sleep with a stampede of muddy footprints across your pillow.
- Pillows. You may have included enough bags of marshmallows to substitute, but you’ll share your sleeping bag with a tribe of hungry raccoons.
- Swimsuit. Bring both pieces.
- Blanky. Do not forget your child’s blanky, eyeless teddy bear or one-armed Barbie® Doll. If you do, for the sake of the entire campground, be prepared to break into a small-town Walmart at 3 a.m. to find a substitute.
- Soap. Finally, pack separate soaps. Otherwise, you might find yourself outside the men’s showers, yelling at your dearly beloved to remember your needs, then explaining them to the park ranger.
The good news: even if we’ve forgotten camping list essentials, we’re still married.
But with a new, untried list … with no Scooby-Doo Band-Aids … will we survive the next camping trip?
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What item would make the top of your list? (Hint: Room service does not count.)
Perhaps Uk and Ukette of prehistoric fame discovered the extra rocks sitting around their cave were gathering dust. Some authorities on ancient civilizations claim the Egyptians, disgusted at having to rent extra Pyramids to accommodate junk their kids brought home from college, decided they’d had enough.
Whoever originated the concept did so without the aid of the Internet. In consulting websites, I discovered one (researched by a Ph.D. in Junkology) that listed 101 tips for running a successful sale. Googling “garage sale” produces more than six million results. Not surprising, because every single respondent visited our small town during Labor Day weekend.
Because of our city-wide, garage-sale tradition, hundreds of women price their husbands’ lucky 1979 The Doobie Brothers tour T-shirts and golf clubs, while men sneak wives’ five-closet shoe collections and 537 Longaberger® baskets out to garages and driveways. All hope to dispose of such “useless” clutter before spouses discover the absence — only to realize that by holiday’s end, the men have bought six sets of used golf clubs and the women have purchased purses to match all the shoes.
My passion for cheap sometimes has strained the seams of my house and my husband’s patience. So I prepared for this garage sale mega-event with moderation in mind.
Besides, Hubby hid the truck keys.
I chatted with half the town as I bought storybooks and toys for my grandkids, CDs to replace favorite cassette tapes, and a muffin pan to replace those I’d received at a wedding shower — 42 years ago.
I’d have to write a book to list all the excellent, useful items I passed by. (Sigh.) Certainly, not all garage sales present such a tempting array. Nowhere did I encounter the used toothbrushes, deodorants or surgical instruments (!) some Internet cohorts encountered.
Unlike one yard sale queen, I didn’t buy a white toilet plunger decorated with a bride and groom, labeled, “We took the plunge.” Nor did I buy a fountain constructed of five stainless steel bedpans with a frog (also created from a bedpan) poised to dive in.
Call me deprived. But I arrived home only $30 poorer with a backpack full of “valuables.”
Miraculously, my husband, who rates garage sales only slightly above taxes and lima beans, had changed his tune. Seeing the multitude, he sold our old lawnmower within an hour.
I was glad he reformed his attitude toward garage sales. But next year, before I make my annual rounds, will I have to hide all my shoes?
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your all-time favorite garage sale find?
O my God, thank You for a 20-mile bike ride with Hubby the past weekend. However, this Monday morning [groan], my legs refuse to move any farther than the coffee pot. Still, OMG, smiles from that fun afternoon will go the distance!