Thursday, June 20, 2013

Battle of the sexes




Sure.

I kill the spiders because the male members of the household run like scared little wusses when such a critter makes an appearance creeping across the garage floor.

But when I sneezed the other day, pulling a muscle in my back that caused my entire left side to seize up like I’d been Tasered with a gazillion jolts of electricity?

I quickly realized the passage of time was beginning to take hold of my body and leave me broken with little hope of avoiding the pangs of middle life and that my tough girl reputation was in serious danger.

I couldn’t take a deep breath for days.

And spider killing was out of the question.

So I put the cat on it.

It’s all good.

She’s a girl. She can handle it.

***

Later that day, the meteorologist on the television offered helpful reminders to those who live in the Tornado Alley of the U.S.

“Remember,” he advised, “it’s always a good idea to include a set of hard-soled shoes in your tornado emergency kit, so if there’s damage, you can walk around without getting hurt.”

My husband responded, “Hmm, that’s a great idea.” He turned to look at me and said, “We should do that.”

I rolled my eyes.

“I got it covered,” I assured him.

“Really?” he said in surprise. 

He sounded disbelieving of the high level of my emergency preparedness awesomeness. 

Which, of course, got my dander up.

“Yes,” I snarked, “As soon as things get dicey, I start gathering stuff to take to the basement. Flashlights, shoes, water, food, our cell phones, my purse, our wedding album, the laptop, dog leash, our son and the pets.”

Silence.

Then finally my husband said, “How did I not know that?”

I poked him in the stomach and said, “Because you are outside in the street watching the - and I quote - ‘wicked-looked skies,’ while I am inside covering our you-know-whats.”

Silence.

Finally he reached over and placed a patronizing pat on my head and said, “Way to get after it.”

Please.

Tell me again why women don’t rule the world?

***

While vacuuming the house the other day (in order to maintain Domestic Goddess title at my advanced age), the “Family Feud” game show followed the morning news on the television.

I wasn’t paying much attention but, believe me, I perked up when I flipped off the vacuum to hear something to the effect of “Name something that rocks when a couple gets busy on it or in it.”

I was immediately struck by two thoughts....

One - Whoa, this is not your Richard Dawson “Family Feud,” my friends. Where have I been?

And two - I gotta watch this.

So I quickly shoved the forgotten vacuum out of the way and plopped down on the couch. It’s OK. This is what Domestic Goddesses do when no one is looking.

The easy answers came first (car, boat and swing).

Obviously these contestants had been around the block a time or two. And it must be beyond disturbing to hear your grandma - on national television - suggest two people get it on in a swing.

Let the nightmares begin, my friend. If you win the final round, you may be able to afford the therapy you will undoubtedly need in the near future.

It was at that point my husband made an appearance in the room, and I quickly filled him in on the situation.

“There is one answer left,” I chuckled, pointing at the television screen. “Have any guesses?”

He stopped in his tracks, stunned into silence. Then he smiled as an idea hit him and he hollered, “Diving board!”

Uh, say what?

And before I could question him about that questionable answer, he followed up with, “No, wait. How about a lawn mower?!”

Suddenly, I am terrified.

However, in his defense, I’m not sure what shocked me more: his answers or the fact I correctly guessed the final one.

A hammock.

So...two guesses what I get for my next birthday....

Friday, June 7, 2013

How to break a dad in 12 hours




It wasn’t the first time my sanity was questioned.

Odds are, it won’t be the last.

It’s no surprise that everyone thought my husband and I were certifiable, choosing to host a birthday slumber party for nine 7- and 8-year-old boys in our home.

Crazy? Have you been to one of those arcade-pizza places for a birthday party, with the mind-numbing sounds of bells and sirens, the pounding crush of little feet running up and down the aisles, the sickening smell of burnt pizza, sticky tables and floors covered in spilled drinks and having to spend $1,000 to get enough tickets to buy the tacky gorilla on the top shelf?

If Dante returned to the 21st Century to write the “Inferno Part 2,” he’d quickly discover he’d need only one level of hell to adequately convey the desperation of the horrific human condition where souls go to die...and it’s known as the arcade-pizza place.

So you’ll understand why I felt home-field advantage was important for this year’s celebration.

Well, in full disclosure, it was my bright idea. My husband’s response after I sprang the idea on him?

“$&@ ??!”

Then he headed for the hills with a six-pack under each arm, desperately reviewing our marriage vows and looking for a loop-hole.

Chicken.

***

What happens when a 49-year-old man is challenged to play kickball with a bunch of little boys?

He ends up in bed later that evening with an ice pack and moaning quietly, “Oh, I hurt. Dear God this hurts.”

I simply shrugged and answered, “Well, it’s your own fault. After you beaned that one kid trying to steal third, you deserved to get dog-piled.

Boys 1, Dad 0.

***

Tips to hosting your own slumber party for little boys:

1. Remove all exterior and interior doors in the home. They are overrated and just slow boys down.

2. Make sure you have enough bathrooms. We have four. And it still wasn’t enough. Thank God for trees in the backyard and understanding neighbors.

3. There is not enough popcorn - in the world - to satisfy nine little boys.

4. While most parents might view lightsabers, NERF guns and ninja swords as inappropriate toys, just know, they are essential to a great party. If they are chasing each other, they won’t be bothering you. And you’re finally free to crack open that bottle of wine you’ve been eyeing for the past five hours.

5. Make sure your First Aid kit is stocked. ...Stupid lightsabers....

***

Ever tried to get a gallon of cooking oil out of your carpet?

There’s always a first time.

In my innocence I thought it was the charging mass of elementary-aged, ninja warrior wannabe’s who would bring death and destruction down upon our humble home.

Uh, no.

They were little angels. I should have been paying more attention to the gimpy kickball champion. 

There we were the next morning, in the home stretch, just 30 minutes to go before our last party attendee was due to be picked up by well-rested parents.

I had long since switched from wine to hard liquor, and after just four hours of sleep, my ability to correctly tell time was quite suspect.

But that didn’t matter. It was almost over, then I could crawl back upstairs and pass out.

And then it happened.

As my husband was returning the electric fryer to the basement storage area, the very same fryer he used to whip up his custom-made birthday tater tots the evening before, his kickball injury rose up and bit him in the you-know-what.

About five stairs from the bottom...he tripped.

He went one way. The fryer went another.

Oil.

Went.

Everywhere.

I rushed to the top of the stairs where I saw him slowly reach down and pick up the fryer off the floor, oil oozing down its sides, over his fingertips and onto the carpet below. The walls were dripping with oil, and the last few stairs were splotched with large patches of ickiness.

I braced for the onslaught of four-letter words and hysteria soon to follow.

But he was just too tired to care. His shoulders merely slumped in defeat and he quietly muttered softly, “Well, ****.”

Fryer 1, Dad 0.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Go commando



He needed 8.

He only packed 6.

***

“I’ve got a problem here,” my husband announced on morning #6 of our 2,700-mile road trip to the East Coast.

He stood by the bed, where our large suitcase was open, its contents spilling out from various side pockets and unzipped interior storage areas.

Shoes missing their mates. Wrinkled clothes. A battered bottle of shampoo leaking into one corner.

So, yeah, the suitcase was a mess.

But when we ventured forth from our small Missouri town, it had been packed with military-like precision. Everything in its place. Neat. Ordered. Pristine.

It could have had a starring role in suitcase commercials, a Madonna-like representative of Suitcase Awesomeness everywhere.

By day #3 it had tumbled into such disarray it looked like it had fallen off the back of a speeding truck and been run over by at least three cars.

And a bulldozer.

And maybe a food truck. Leaking oil.

You get the picture.

But that’s what happens when you’re on vacation. A suitcase’s volume shrinks proportionately to the number of days you’re away from home.

If only schools taught you how to overcome that physics conundrum. Instead, they focus on stuff like Algebra and balancing a checkbook.

...Our educational system is so messed up.

So, anyway, my husband is standing over a suitcase that has seen better days, and he doesn’t appear very happy.

He looked up with a questioning face and asked, “How many days are we on vacation?”

I quickly answered, “Eight. Like I told you before we left home. Eight days. Eight whole days.”

He looked back down at the suitcase and began to paw through a large, heaping pile of shorts and shirts and socks and underwear. His mouth counted silently with each piece of clothing he picked up and laid back down. After a few minutes, he threw the last pair of shorts back into the suitcase and stated quite eloquently, “Well, son-of-a-*****.”

“Problem?” I asked, not really caring about his answer. I had my own problems.

He nodded, “Yeah. I only packed 6.”

“Six what?” I asked absentmindedly, cramming my own stuff into our shared suitcase, quickly realizing that half of HIS stuff was spilling over onto MY side.

Oh, I don’t think so.

I quickly began shoving HIS stuff back over onto HIS side, wondering what our marriage vows had said about sharing suitcases and how that fit into the whole “love, honor and obey” equation, when he answered quietly, “Six pairs.”

“Of what?” I asked, still not caring.

That’s just the kind of wife I am.

“Underwear,” he finally confessed. “Six pairs of underwear.”

OK. Now I’m paying attention.

“But I told you we’d be gone for 8 days,” I said. I gestured toward his pile of clothes and asked, “So why did you only pack 6?”

He threw his arms out and whined, “I don’t know! I only packed 6 pairs of socks too!”

Oh, for the love of God.

“Six isn’t the same as 8, you know,” I pointed out, speaking slowly, wondering if this was it, the moment where the 9 years of age difference was finally going to jump up and bite me in the you-know-what, the point when his advanced years would begin dragging down my younger, hotter self.

(Yeah, I snorted when I wrote that too...but I’m leaving it in anyway.)

He looked at me in despair and asked with no small amount of pain, “What am I gonna do? I don’t have time to wash them before we get on the road today.”

I shrugged, “So turn a couple of pairs inside out. Problem solved.”

Shocked silence met my suggestion.

Then he manned up and gritted, “I. Do. Not. Wear. A. Pair. Of. Underwear. More. Than. One. Day. In. A. Row.”

Well, excuuuuuuse me, Mr. Princess.

***

One short visit to a large upscale department store later that day got him back in business.
But he was a little lighter in the wallet for it.

He stomped out of the doors, held up a small plastic bag stuffed with undies and socks and griped, “Fifty bucks. This cost me $50!”

I quickly shrugged and answered, “You could have just gone commando.”

Suddenly he felt $50 didn’t seem like too much at all.