Play like a man.

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.

Sssooorrryyyaaa...

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.

The definition of pathetic...

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…

Bacon+Me=lack of self control, guilty, fat-laden, salty, happiness

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.

Ten Commandments for the Hunting Widow

Ok ladies. Happy Monday. And if you’re reading this I would like to congratulate you. Because it seems you have, if only by the hair of your chinny, chin, survived the opening weekend of deer hunting season.

Now if you’re here and have in no way been affected by this phenomenal holiday that turns perfectly decent, shirts tucked in, clean shaven, soaped up Midwestern boys into growly, whiskey drinking, scratchy bearded, poker playing, primitive manly men, then revel in the fact that for the next two weeks you do not have to negotiate outings into civilization with your man based on whether or not he has indeed “filled his tag.”

And I am well aware that some of you womanly women get right in there and play like the boys do, taking no prisoners, leaving it all behind for the love of the sport. To you I tip my blaze orange Elmer Fudd hat and say, “Long live the sportswoman.” We’ll have to get together soon over wine and venison and hash out the hunt.

But for those lovely females who have uttered the words “hunting widow” in the last few days, or ever in your married or dating lives for that matter, I would like to offer you something here.

I would like to get up on my pedestal (or kitchen chair, or the railing of my deck, or my tiny desk) and tell you that “widow” does not have to be a word in your vocabulary. No, not yet. You too can enjoy the pure, animalistic, back to nature experience of the hunt with your man in all his glory. And you can love it. Or at least tolerate it. All you have to do is put on your sports bra and your wedgie free undies and gear up for a purely carnal experience and get back to the basics of man. If anything the experience may help you gain some clarity on the weird male behavior your love will be exhibiting for the next couple weeks.

So for the benefit of females everywhere who have a hankering to see what it’s all about, I have consulted with the manly men around me and have taken some hard learned lessons from my years of experience walking silently behind the most serious sportsmen in the county to come up with the following:

The Ten Commandments of Deer Hunting with your Man

Yup, that's me, that's my deer, that's my man, that's my denim jacket and that's my neckerchief.

 

1. Thou shalt not wear swishy pants

2. Thou shalt not call any animal “cute” or “adorable.” You are now the predator, the fluffy critters with the big, beautiful eyes, are the prey. You heard me. Predator. Prey.

3. Thou shalt not complain about having to pee, but will squat behind a proper bush if absolutely necessary (and be quiet about it). And while you’re at it, thou shalt wear enough warm clothes so you are not cold, and eat enough food so you are not hungry and do everything in your power to remain comfortable enough so you have nothing to complain about, because really, thou shalt not complain.

4. Thou shalt not be the first to comment on husband/boyfriends’ shortcomings with any weapon and will instead provide only positive reinforcement. I.G.: “Great shot hunny.” “Way to take your time! You’re so methodical, so patient!” “You butt looks great when you lean in like that.” And my favorite, a whispered, almost silent “wooo hooo…woo hooo” and high five accompanied by your greatest smile when he makes the kill.

5. Thou shalt not whine about how blaze orange and greenish/brownish camo are not your colors and wear the seven sizes too big clothing like Pamela Anderson would. Because if a sexy woman like you can’t pull off this color combo, no one can.

6. Thou shalt kick it in gear, power-walk style and show husband/boyfriend what it means to really get somewhere while increasing your heart rate, burning calories, and spending quality time with your man–because women invented multi-tasking for cyring out loud.

7. Thou shalt understand that while on the hunt it is perfectly acceptable to walk or sit for several hours in complete silence. And, sweet lover of the outdoorsman, this is not a time for discussion about what color to paint the kitchen walls or where you should send your unborn child to preschool or how much your dearly beloved spent on that gun slung across his back.

8.Thou shalt bring your own snacks and pay careful attention that the wrappers do not make crinkling noises and the food itself does not pack a crunch. If you must have a granola bar, bring it unwrapped for the love of venison. When man is on the trail of the big one, all he wants to eat is the big one. He is not thinking about and does not appreciate that Snickers bar or tortilla chip you are so loudly devouring.

9. Thou shalt accept the fact that while hunting there is no work on Monday, there is no house, there are no kids, there is no basement renovation or fence to build. Nothing. There is nothing but the following: Man. Woman. Beast. Hunt.

10. Thou shalt understand that if you cannot abide by the above nine commandments, thou will never again be invited along. Ever. Ever.

Which may or may not be a bad thing, you know, depending on how it all turns out.

And one more thing, before you grab that camo cap and pack the jerky, I invite you to read a previous piece of mine to get a clear description of what might happen even if you do everything wrong. Because he is your man after all, and you are his and he loves you and your over-active bladder, candy wrappers, poor circulation and everything in between–“Sneeek…Sneeeeeeek….” “Shhhhh…”

Now take off those swishy pants and go get ‘em girl. The view alone is worth it.