Recently my husband and I were visiting with relatives when the subject of my blog came up. Because he had an audience, my husband began to complain (jokingly, I thought) that I NEVER mention him in my blog–that I’ve even written about a former “rich boy” boyfriend but not about HIM. My first response to his allegation was that I have been protecting his privacy and his pride, but when he continued to complain, my second response was, “Be careful what you wish for, big boy.” And when that advice didn’t shut him up, either, I knew what my next blog topic would have to be.
And how could he NOT have known? He’s been married to me almost 29 years; he knows he can’t issue a “throwdown” like that in front of a crowd and expect me to just slink away in defeat.
Last night, in the interest of fairness, I informed him he was my topic du jour and asked if he had anything in particular he wanted me to say. Without a crowd to entertain, he sang a different tune: “Oh, you don’t have to write about me. I was just giving you a hard time–it’s what I do best.” He is right about that–he is a master at annoying the ever-lovin’ daylights out of me–but, sorry dear, I’m not that easily led astray. When I told him that no, I would definitely be writing about him, he uttered three little words that sealed his fate–three little words that I consider to be the ultimate challenge:
“I ain’t skeered.”
Silly, silly man.
He might be bigger than I am (by a little); he might be stronger than I am (by a lot); he might even have the power of his convictions behind him. But he is dangerously overlooking that I have the POWER OF THE PEN on my side, and it is a mighty, mighty power–as he is about to discover.
First of all, his allegation that I don’t write about him isn’t even true; I have referred to him in several of my previous blogs. Two examples: He was my inspiration in “Bumfuzzled” when I was writing about men peeing outside, and in “It Was 1970 Something” when I wrote that several of my friends had participated in the streaking craze (but my lips were sealed), well … let’s just say that when a bunch of bare-bottomed dorm floor buddies are being hotly pursued by campus police and decide to shimmy out of sight up the nearest tree, my husband could probably describe for you what it might feel like to have rough tree bark scraping against exposed extremities.
Do you really want to mess with me, sweet husband o’ mine?
Okay, to be perfectly honest, I probably don’t want to mess with him, either. As with most husbands and wives, especially those who have been together as long as we have, we know way too much about each other to start spilling ALL the beans and think there won’t be any gruesome repercussions. So, in the hopes of keeping him around for another 29 years, I’ll try to limit my disclosures to the mildly embarrassing and only slightly revealing–just enough to satisfy his craving to be a writing topic and more than enough to help him realize that he never wants to be one again.
In no particular order:
- My first Christmas gift from my husband was a tent. I don’t camp. He bought me a tent, thinking that having my very own dome-shaped, green nylon sleeping environment with a cute little zippered door might be so enticing that I would forget about the stifling heat and the buzzing bugs and the rocky ground and all the wild things going bump in the night. No. He is a quick learner, though; most of my gifts since then have either been on my wish list or have come in little boxes with big bows from a local jeweler. And one Mother’s Day several years ago, he gave me the very best gift I have ever received–a surprise, all-expenses paid, week-long trip to New York City with a friend of mine. It was a place I had always wanted to visit–and a place he had no desire to see–and the trip turned out to be one of the most memorable experiences of my life. (He did have an ulterior motive; he was secretly planning his own trip–a motorcycle ride to Canada–a trip I had no desire to make.)
- He is one of the few people I know more stubborn than I am (a fact he will adamantly deny). He is not tactful (a fact he is quite proud of); he says what he means because he doesn’t want to leave any room for misinterpretation. He doesn’t believe in “political correctness,” and he does believe that every issue is black or white (whereas I tend to see many shades of gray). He also frequently quotes Fox Network commentators just to annoy me and because he knows that I think GLENN BECK IS A CRYBABY. However, he is also one of the most moral, most ethical people I know and firmly believes that what’s right is right–period (it’s hard to find fault with those qualities).
- He can’t remember my birthday or the birth dates of our children (he is getting better with ballpark figures), but he can remember every John Wayne or Clint Eastwood movie ever produced, tell you the co-stars, and rattle off countless quotes. He can also describe every album cover of practically every 70’s rock band, tell you which songs were on which albums, who the original drummer was, etc. etc. etc. (important stuff to know).
- He is not opposed to helping with the housework, occasionally washing a load of laundry, or sometimes even washing a sink full of dishes–and yet he leaves his rolled-up, disgusting, sweat-soaked socks for me to pick up and unroll.
- He has always been a very involved, caring parent–rebounding basketballs and catching pitches for hours on end, coaching ball teams, attending every game and every band concert and every spelling bee–and I really believe that our sons have turned into great young men in large part because they have had his example to follow.
- He is one of the smartest men I know–able to take apart almost anything, fix it, and put it back together again, able to take an original design idea from concept to creation–and yet he’s never read Shakespeare, Steinbeck, Faulkner or Poe (and his spelling is atrocious!).
- If you analyzed his lunch bag, you would be convinced that he’s a health food nut. He always has several servings of fruits and vegetables, and his “snack” is usually a granola bar–not one of those chocolate chip, chocolate-dipped ones that I prefer but rather one of those 0 fat grams, 150 grams of protein brittle pieces of particle board. However, he frequently begins his day with numerous glazed donuts and ends almost every day with a bowl of ice cream smothered in chocolate syrup (before or after he’s consumed his daily dose of his favorite cold beverage).
- Even at his advanced age, he is a natural athlete. Any physical challenge that he attempts he will complete (or die trying–goes back to that stubbornness trait).
- He can be hard-nosed and rigid, and yet he is also generous and compassionate, almost to a fault:
- He will quietly give his time, his money, whatever is needed, without a second thought (and occasionally to the detriment of our household budget).
- When I have to supervise at away ballgames, he will usually go with me and drive me home just so I’m not driving alone late at night (even though this means he’s getting home only a few hours before he has to get up for work).
- Every year he raises money for and walks/runs all night at the local Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society in memory of his mom, who died of cancer, and in honor of his sister and several friends who are still battling the disease. So far his greatest overnight log was an amazing 42 miles.
- Last year, he biked in the MS 150, raising money and riding in honor of the wife of one of his employees–a young woman who was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She’s not doing so well right now, and this year he plans on riding the 200-mile route in tribute to her courage.
I could go on ad nauseam, but I’m guessing by now he’s been embarrassed enough and is wishing that he had never challenged me (although he will never admit it). And I have to admit that his most admirable quality is that, after all this time, he still puts up with me and all my idiosyncrasies, eccentricities, and occasional down-right meanness. It’s a challenge that very few men would be up for!
Disclaimer: The writer’s husband was given the opportunity to read (but not edit) this entry. He expressed a preference that the entry not be posted because the mushy parts might damage his hard-nosed reputation, and he wouldn’t want his friends and employees to think he’s gotten “soft.” After careful consideration, it was determined that few, if any, of his friends or employees will ever see this post–and as for those who will read it, is it such a bad thing that they know, despite my occasional rants to the contrary, he’s a pretty good guy? (Most of them know this already.) His request was (obviously) respectfully denied.