Really !!??!??

.

Not only can he not keep his greasy hands away from his food, but he must scratch his eyeball too?

.

.

He KNOWS that he is seriously testing the limits of my self-control.

Isnt’ that what marriage does to us at times?  Though I suspect that my marital testing is rather singular.  I take no pride in that.

In fact, I feel very, very alone.  I mean, how many other women have to suffer sewage in food containers?

I am so, so alone.

I know him well enough to know this  —— Sid is smiling while he takes that bite.  He tries to hide it by not looking at me, but I saw the twinkle in his eyes.

.

.

It’s like a train wreck.  I can’t look away.

Though I really, really want to.

And to forget I ever saw this.

.

.

Yep, he is playing me —hands cradling the face of my beautiful child that I labored to bring into this world and have labored to raise.

.

.

Don’t worry.  I will get him back, this Creator of my Angst.

.

.

PS   For clarification . . . . .Sid washed his hands before he made a tortilla wrap and man-handled our child.  The grease on his hands is what was left after much scrubbing (he assures me).   There was no evidence of grease on my dear child’s skin.  I couldn’t verify the tortilla wrap since he ate it.  He was absolutely forbidden to touch me until he found a way to get completely cleaned up.  Still, I would have preferred that he eat with a fork and not touch our children.  Let there be no doubt —– the man was testing me.

The husband dialogue

Am I the only person who envisions her life story written on the pages of a novel?

Occassionally, I use pretense to motivate myself to do a job I don’t want to do or to inspire a better attitude.

Mostly, I see the black stroke of our words against the stark contrast of paper in my mind.

And I think, “I’ve never read dialogue like that in any book.”

This past week, I have taken note of Sid’s words, followed by a bit of context.

 

“You are the architect of my  *%$#*$#@  destruction.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . (He told me this after I talked him into staying up late to watch a movie and he realized just how late it was.)

.

“I admire you dreadfully.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . (I don’t remember the context.  My brain hinged on the juxtaposition of admire and dreadfully, trying to decipher his intent.  I am still working on that one.  Sid tells me he was being all literary and referencing Dickens’ Great Expectations).

.

“Oh, honey, you know that your desire is for me and I am to rule over you.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . ..(I was very sad and tearful, and I *think* he was trying to cheer me up.  Pagans should reference Genesis for further clarity).

.

“This is one of those times when you love me so much, you don’t realize how much you love me.”

.  . . . . . . . . . . . . .(I think he had done something in the kitchen, not quite like I had asked.  I do remember biting my lip to keep silent.  He must have noticed the lip-biting and thus . . . .the inane comment).

 

I feel inspiration for the kids’ free writes coming on.  I could assign them the task of writing down their dialogue occasionally.  Or maybe give them a bit of real dialogue with the challenge to frame a story around it.

 

 

I knew the moment they saw him

I heard an uncertain giggle, a kind of scoff and then “What?”

“What in the world is Daddy doing?”

Well, obviously, he is making tea.

.

Rinsing out the old tea maker.

With his robe belt tied around his head.

To hold the cordless phone to his ear.

Outwitting the bureaucracy, who doesn’t deal with people by placing them on hold for a year and a day until frustrated callers give up and hang up.

But not Sid.

He just pulls his robe belt from its belt loops, repurposes it for his own convenience and carries on with life as if Jupiter has moons.

And makes a fresh pot of tea.

This is the true picture of a super-hero.

He is undeterred.  He stays the course.  He is blurry but blameless for the blur.

Hours have turned into weeks have turned into months, but he will not stop until our kids are fully insured!

Even if he must tie the phone to his head to do it.

Yee- hawwwwwww!

For a brief moment, my husband imagined himself John Schneider in a Dukes of Hazzard  episode.

Roscoe P. Coltrane was hot on his trail (also in his imagination), which, of course, explained why he fishtailed one way and another around the large pine tree in a curve of our driveway.

I didn’t witness the event or the aftermath as the trees protected my husband from my view.  However, I did hear about it from my 14 yo son, who helped his Dad pull “Roly-Poly” from the ditch.

My husband headed off to town, confident I am sure, that Sidney would tell me all about it and likely laughing to himself over the conversation he imagined going on at home.

Sid arrived home, hours later, proudly showing me the picture of Roly-Poly in the ditch.

“So,”  I asked him, “what happened to land you in the ditch?  Were you playing around or were you just not in the mood to tell Sidney what really happened?”

——–“I was Duke Boysin’,” he grinned.  “I was feeling it!  I came around the curve and I fishtailed one way (dramatic hand swipe to the left) and then I fishtailed the other way (dramatic hand swipe to the right)  and then . . . . . . . . .(dramatic pause here) . . . . I felt it slip.  And I knew . . . .  .(another dramatic pause) . . . .I just knew I was going in the ditch.  And there was nothing I could do about it.  (nonchalant shrug)  And that was okay.”

Hmmmmm . . . . . I couldn’t relate.  But he seemed excited, so I tried to carry on the conversation with him.

“Were you wearing a seatbelt?” I asked, without a trace of recrimination, I swear!

——–“Oh no,” he said in a tone that clearly conveyed “Of course not, the Duke boys never wore seat belts.”

“You know, a car in the ditch would be a major inconvenience to people without chains and bobcats to pull it out,”  I pointed out, triumphant that I had found a way to continue this dialogue.

——–“Yeah, and most people don’t have an extra car to drive into a ditch.”  I swear he is almost giddy.

“Do you think you are having a midlife crisis?  But instead of buying a Ferrari and chasing women, you are crashing Roly-Poly into ditches along our driveway?”

——–“Nah, this doesn’t feel like a crisis.  I feel pretty good.”

“So, do you think this is setting a good example for our boys who will be driving in a few years?”  I was genuinely curious.

———He thought about this for several long moments . . . . . . . “Yeah, I think I am.”

And I believe that.

Irritably Thankful

and very, very queasy —- that is how I felt two days ago, on Sid’s birthday. 

He is 41.

And he only has 2 life insurance policies. 

For years, I’ve been sticking my fingers in my ears, refusing to discuss life insurance.  Because he knows me well and knows that I can put the topic so far out of my mind that I won’t remember insurance policies if the need arose, Sid has taken to slipping in reminders every week or so.

It worked.  TWO insurance policies is firmly planted in my mind.

But now, I am thinking he should have a THIRD life insurance policy.

On Sunday, he finally got around to installing that attic fan.  I knew he was going to do it.  I was pleased with the idea of conserving energy.

I baked him cookies for his birthday —- chocolate chip cookies with freshly ground spelt flour,  his favorite.  I was fairly happy to be working in the kitchen, believing my man to be working in the attic, but concerned about it being too hot for him up there.

It took me awhile to figure out that he wasn’t doing ALL the work from inside the attic, that he was going outside and climbing onto the roof too.

When I realized he was on the roof, I grabbed the camera, thinking it might be fun to get pictures of him standing on the roof.

That is when I thought that he was on the front side of the house, the side closer to the ground.  When I got outside and saw that he was on the backside, my stomach plummeted down and outside of my body.  And believe you me,  that kind of stomach plummet brings on light-headed-ness.

I wanted to run away and hide, but my eyes would not unlatch from him. 

What if he fell off the roof and I wasn’t there to see it? 

What if he fell off the roof and I WAS there to see it?

While I ants-ed about on the ground with my deathgrip on the camera, trying to get artistic pictures, playing with my lenses, anything to move time along and occupy me, HE stood up straight on the roof pitch and . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . fumbled around in his pockets for change and then COUNTED it.  He looked totally relaxed.  I think he even whistled.  Was he toying with me?

That is when I started thinking that a third life insurance policy might be a good idea.

Later, I realized that he was really feeling around in his pockets for screws.

  

Thank you God!  He sat down!  I don’t think God has ever heard more fervent prayers from my lips. 

Maybe he needs life insurance policies on ME, since he is obviously trying to kill me with fright.  Hmmmm, maybe he already has those policies.  He’s always getting my signature on this and that.  I have no idea what I’m signing.

Aha, he is almost down.

Within my reach.

Do I hug him or slug him?

Ooooh, need to find out about those insurance policies first.

Nope, can’t think about slugging him yet.  He could still fall from the porch roof and break some useful part.

NOW that he is safely back in the house I can entertain thoughts of slugging him.

I should definitely eat all his cookies.

And make him watch.

The Return of the Coffee Dog

We don’t eat a lot of hot dogs at our house.  And when we do, I am picky about buying BEEF hot dogs, as I am completely turned off of pork and the idea of a compressed mixture of turkey, pork and beef and the processes that must produce such an unnatural product is something I try hard not to think about.

The children get to choose their birthday meals, and a couple times of year, someone will request cheeseburgers and hot dogs.  So hot dogs are considered a rare and delicate treat by the children here.   And there are rarely leftovers.

A few weeks ago, the boys were involved in a 4-day choir camp at the local Baptist church that culminated in a musical performance.  Performance Day was exciting and busy with 3 hours of practice, and I got this rare, crazy idea to feed the kids hot dogs for supper.  This was really lazy-mom-needs-a-quick-meal-to-get-the-kids-out-the-door-by-6:15 pm, but with proper presentation it turns into “hey kids, y’all have worked hard and I am treating you to hot dogs!”

So I made hot dogs on that fateful Thursday afternoon.  In our rush to get to church on time, I left kitchen clean-up until later.  We returned home after bedtime, and I began clearing plates and scraps.  To my surprise, there was a half-eaten hot dog and bun left on a plate.  We usually wrap and save every possible leftover, but I felt uncomfortable saving a piece of meat that had sat out for 5 hours, so I tossed the dog and bun in the prep sink on top of the potato peels and veggie scraps I had processed that day.

It was late and I planned to give the kitty a surprise hot dog and bun the next morning when I hauled the scraps out to the compost pile.

I got up the next morning and set water on the stove to boil.  I put away clean dishes that had dried on the counter overnight and turned my attention to the prep sink.  I reached for the hot dog and bun . . . . . . . . . but, what was this?  The bun was empty.  I glanced in the sink, thinking the hot dog had rolled out of the bun and nestled with the potato peelings, but . . . . . . .no hot dog.

The children were still sleeping after their late night, and there was only one other person who had been up before me.  I had a suspicion, but . . . . .no . . . . . .surely not, I thought . . . . . .

I picked up the phone and called my hard-working husband, my busy, busy husband who is up at 5 am every morning, who works 12- 14 hour days, and whom I try to be sensible about calling.  In fact, I would say I am sparse in my phone calls, preferring to interrupt his day as little as possible in hopes that he will get done quicker and home to us earlier.

However, some things are important enough to rate a call and risk that I am interrupting an important meeting between my professional ditch-digger and a client or engineer or Mr. Important Whomever.

I dialed.

“Hey, sweetie.  I’m sorry to interrupt you, but I called seeking reassurance from you this morning.   Um . . . . . . . . . well, you see . . . .there was this half-eaten hot dog and bun that I threw in the sink on top of the slop last night.  I was going to give it to the kitty this morning, but I can only find the bun . . . . . . . . .the hot dog is missing . . . . . I, um, was hoping that you could reassure me . . . . . . . . . . . .”

He waited it out.

He was going to make me say it.

“PLEASE, please, tell me you didn’t eat it this morning.”

“I ate it.”  He sounded cheerful.

Deep breath.  I had to plan my next words, careful with the placement of emphasis.

“Okay, let me make sure I am understanding this.  You picked up a half-eaten hot dog that had been IN THE SLOP PILE ALL NIGHT  and ATE it for breakfast?”

“The hot dog wasn’t touching any of the slop.  It was in the bun.”

Pause.

Did he HAVE to sound so reasonable?

“Okay.  I can make this work,” I said hopefully.  “You probably came behind me last night and picked it up out of the slop . . . . . . .  like only 5 minutes after I had tossed it in and you put it in the fridge until this morning.  Right?”  Somehow 5 minutes in the slop pile sounded better to my desperate mind than the whole night in the slop pile.

“I picked it out of the slop this morning.”  He sounded like he was on the verge of laughter, like . . . . . . . .like he knew something I didn’t.

A deeper breath.

“It’s okay.  Just give me a minute.  I called seeking reassurance but am finding that my deepest fears were true all along.  I just need some time to wrap my mind around this.  I’m sure I’ll be fine and ready to greet you properly when you get home.”

Then, THEN he dropped the bomb, what I had sensed he was holding onto through this conversation.

“Honey, I enjoyed coffee with that hot dog this morning.”

“YOU.  DID.  NOT.”

I could FEEL the silent smirk across the phone line.

TWENTY years.  We’ve been married almost 20 years, and I thought I had nipped THAT atrocious habit in the bud.

But it is true.  History is doomed to repeat itself.

Or I am doomed to my husband resurrecting his premarital coffee dog days.  Doomed to smell the nauseating mixture of coffee and hot dogs.

But maybe it is just me.  Maybe there is a market out there for this original coffee flavor and I had better post the recipe here, on my blog —– proof that my husband is the sole creator of this product.

I suppose I would find it more palatable if it made a profit.

The Original Coffee Dog

Ingredients:

1 young, unmarried male college student rooming with 2 other male college students (necessary as I believe most sensible females would halt this recipe mid-prep)

hot dogs

instant coffee

water

1 pot

Instructions:

Put hot dogs in the pot with enough water to cover and bring to a boil.  Get your coffee cup ready with a scoop of instant coffee.  When hot dogs are cooked, pour your boiling hot dog water into coffee cup.  Stir.  Add cream and sugar to taste.

Enjoy (if you can) your nasty coffee with your hot dogs, otherwise known as Coffee Dogs.

Back in the early days of marriage,

I looked ahead toward our 20th wedding anniversary as something big, the kind of big that called for a special trip or . . . . .or . . . . . something out of the ordinary.

Today is our 20th wedding anniversary. 

And it is an ordinary day. 

Just as he has done for many, many years, Sid came upstairs at 6:45 am, brushed his teeth, then nuzzled me awake with his unshaven, scruffy jaw.  It is the mark of a brave and righteous man who dares to disturb the slumber of a woman/bear. 

Now, he is many hours away, working hard to bring home the bacon.  I am at home feeding and teaching  his children.  I should also be slaving to cook up the bacon by 6 pm sharp, but I . . . . .um . . . . . will get distracted, as usual . . . . . .and let my hard-working man go hungry a little longer than he should .  . . . .until 6:10 . . . . .sometimes 6:17 . . . . . . .oh ALRIGHT  ALREADY, sometimes supper is not on the table until 7 pm.

And though he will be ready to chew his own arm off by then, he will forgive me, praise me, and entertain us with a story of his day.  He will help me clean up the kitchen and direct children in chores. 

After the children are in bed, I will attempt to do this or that, a desperate attempt to get something DONE.  But he will seek me out, find me and coax me into dropping my load.

“Tomorrow is a new day,” he’ll say.  “Come walk me.  Come sit on the porch with me.  Come watch a movie with me.”

Just an ordinary day.  But I suspect it is our ordinary that is the singular experience.  I can say with certainty that no wife has been more cherished.

Thank you Lord for our beautiful, delightful ordinary days.  I pray that we will be blessed with many more.

Later . . . . . . . . . .

After supper, I got the brilliant idea to have our pictures taken to mark our 20th Anniversary.  Yeah, I’m kind of slow about thinking of these things, but Sid and I aren’t exactly professional portrait people.  I don’t know why, we just aren’t.

However, we could still get our portraits, Sid-and-Tina-style.  This meant that I lasso-ed the 11-year-old with my Canon Rebel camera strap and instructed him to take pictures of us that didn’t make ME look fat.

The photographer didn’t pay attention.

Before anyone asks, no, I’m not pregnant.  I guess I can’t expect figure flattering from a fifty cent yard sale dress.   But, hey, LOOK at that handsome man with the distinguished gray hair and scruffy jaw.

Our photographer got distracted . . . . . . .

We didn’t have those professional studio backdrops, so we chose backgrounds that show who we are . . . . . .

This portrait says that we are people of the dirt.  Sid digs in the dirt to install septic systems.  He comes home and moves dirt to build his wife a cellar.  And because we are grass-growing failures, our children play in the dirt, and I must wash all the clothes with the dirt.

More dirt.  With a little flirt.

Hmmm, maybe it is the red crocs.  Maybe that is why we aren’t professional portrait people.  Or maybe it is the chicken feathers in my hand.  I have a suspicion that a professional photographer wouldn’t put chicken feathers in my hand.

Speaking of photographers, ours got distracted again . . . . . .

Happy Anniversary Sid.