Husband folds my underwear in perfectly neat little squares. Husband cooks me bacon on Sunday morning while I wait impatiently in the adjoining room because he knows that I cannot be trusted alone with bacon. Husband ventures out in the cold spring air to push the snow away from the house.
Husband makes me drink Theraflu when I have a cold, even though it makes me gag and whine the entire duration of the illness. Husband unclogs my hair-ball from the shower drain and has never said a word about it really.
Husband reminds me to put the lid on the toilet when I’m done because he is genuinely concerned there is a possibility I will drop something, like my toothbrush or a bath towel in there…
Husband’s most usually right.
Husband doesn’t get mad when I forget to check the pockets of his jeans before I send them through the washer and dryer…along with his pocketknife, dollar bills, lists, pens, wrenches and other super important work things I didn’t notice.
Husband thinks I look pathetic in the morning with my head buried under the pillows and no matter how much I tell him he NEEDS to wake me up when he leaves for work at 5:30 am he claims he just can’t do it. I’m too pathetic and he’s too sweet so he puts his socks on in the dark and leaves me a cup of coffee in the pot for when I actually do rise (not quite shining).
Husband fixes drippy faucets…by ripping the entire shower apart and putting it back together with beautiful new tile.
Husband lets the cats sit on the desk to look out the window at the birds…breaking every rule he has about cats.
Husband folds my underwear in neat little squares…did I mention this already?
Did I mention husband needs a break?
Yes. Husband needs a break.
Not just any break. A real break. A break complete with a big pickup hitched up to a horse trailer pulling big boy toys off into the wild blue yonder as the speakers howl out Johnny Cash and his little brother hits the gas and hands him a big bag of Cheetos and a candy bar and promises him a glass or two of whiskey on the rocks when they get to that yonder he’s been talking about for weeks.
And so it was yesterday evening as I pulled into the drive and witnessed the Redneck Extravaganza that appeared as two grown men morphed into excited and giddy young boys pushing and craning and squeezing two fancy snowmobiles into our horsetrailer. A horsetrailer that has hauled livestock and horses and home renovation supplies and all of our earthly possessions all over the country and still, no matter what, continues to boast a nice, unmovable layer of poop residue on the floor.
I will tell you, I had to take photos, because this piece of ranch equipment wasn’t meant to haul anything this shiny. Nothing this expensive.
I also had to take photos in case this was the last time I ever saw husband again–with so many reasons for him to never return home and so many ways he could be lethally injured riding this machine as fast as it can go up and down mountains without a voice of reason nearby to tell him to watch out for: avalanches, huge hidden rocks, man-eating raptors, grizzly bears, fences that could decapitate him, mountain caves covered in snow that could swallow him up, poisonous berries, aliens, and most dangerous of all, himself.
No. There would be nobody there to save him from the reckless teenager I know exists in that man-sized body of his–the one who used to drive 115 miles per hour down country roads in his Thunderbird during a blizzard to see a girl he might have liked a little, the kid who has been known to climb to the top of the highest cliff and do a backflip on his way down to the un-navigated water below, the boy who used to ride all over the badlands on the back of his three-wheeler, jumping cliffs and climbing buttes and more than occasionally landing on, crushing and dislocating countless bones along the way, the kid who…oh forget it…I can’t talk about this anymore…I need to take a break to check our insurance policy…
O.K. Anyway, husband has been working really hard these last few months. And although it doesn’t look like it at the ranch, Western North Dakota is a happening place right now due to the booming oil industry and husband works right in the thick of it. And he’s really good at his job.
So good and dedicated that lately he’s been working nearly 12 hour days only to come home to a wife who has an issue with a drippy faucet, burned the Hamburger Helper to his favorite pan, forgot that we don’t have a garbage disposal and left the lights on in his pickup, draining the battery while galavanting around the ranch…again.
Yes, with a wife like this it’s a good thing God granted men the unfaltering ability to play. Like really play. Have you ever noticed this about the species? When men get together they DO things. They hunt. They fish. They play basketball, cards or football. They ride things like 4-wheelers, motorcycles, snowmobiles or boats around. They ski or snowboard or grab a hockey puck and stick and practice their slap-shot. And if they can’t do these things in real life, they do it in the form of video games, watch other guys do it on TV or talk about all the times they have done the above activities together…and who got hurt along the way.
I admire this about men. I admire the play. I admire how they can just let it all go, the faucet, the clogged drain, the one-eyed pug that cost him a fortune, and go to a place to let loose in friendship and brotherhood and good old fashioned fun. And they don’t make excuses. They don’t justify. They don’t prioritize or time themselves or feel guilty about it. They just play.
So anyway, this weekend it’s just me, the cats, the lab and the one-eyed pug in a cone holding down the fort while husband is out inventing new ways to hurt himself and mom and pops are headed to visit my grandparents in Arizona.
And I don’t mind, as long as there are no more blizzards, power outages, porcupine encounters, coyote incidents or alien invasions while the troops are gone everything will be fine.
Anyway, I have a list a mile long that I have been meaning to get to that requires me to get up at the crack of dawn to check pockets, fold my underwear, unclog the sink, take out the garbage, caulk the newly tiled shower, close the lid on the toilet seat and spend some time with bacon…
But when I’m finished not doing all of the above (except, of course, the bacon part…) I think I might take husband’s lead and start on the other list–you know, the one that requires me to paint my toenails, watch movies that feature a man named Matthew McConaughey, play my guitar and sing really loud, venture into town to listen to other people do the same thing while kicking back a cocktail, eat cereal and popcorn for supper, catch up on all of my Glamour and People magazines, practice my sweet dance moves without scrutiny from onlookers and critics, eat cereal and popcorn for lunch, watch movies that feature a woman named Julia Roberts, tie up the phone-line chatting up my girlfriends, let the pug and the cats sleep in my bed, avoid the laundry at all costs…
…and not feel the least big guilty about it.
I hope you will all make like a man and do the same…
or at least your version of it…
…and for the love of Martha, watch out for avalanches.