I never camped out as a kid. My parents weren’t campers. We didn’t even own a tent. At the time, I felt righteously indignant. What kind of childhood doesn’t include sleeping in a tent at the lake? I swore, when I grew up and had kids of my own, I would never, ever, ever, put them through the human rights violation of NOT camping.
To be honest, I may put on a show of indignation about my husband’s old-fashioned ways, but secretly, I am glad that Joel feels it is a “man’s job” to gas up the car, change the oil, and complete basic maintenance on our vehicles in preparation for family vacations.
Other men swear they will never drive a minivan. Other men, as they add children to their lives, progress from a tough, extended-cab truck on to a four-wheel-drive SUV before succumbing to the humiliation of the dreaded van. Other men, especially out here on the plains, where men are men and trucks are trucks, sure as hell don’t need some foreign-made vehicle parked in the garage. Not my Joel. Joel has harbored an unfulfilled longing for a minivan since he was in his early twenties.
I like buying gifts and planning parties. Themes are good. A person can’t get too themey. For my daughter’s Nancy Drew-themed party, we (and by “we” I mean “I”) made a cake shaped like a giant magnifying glass and hid clues in miniature envelopes throughout the house. We (and by “we” I mean “I”) used invisible ink to write some clues. Others were in code or mirror writing. Yes, we (and by “we” I mean I) are the Da Vinci of theme parties.
We have trouble with pronouns in our house. Oh, we are past the pronoun – verb agreement issues that plagued our early courtship. Once I explained to Joel that I couldn’t, in good conscience, allow him to continue to say, “He don’t,” and “we was,” he eagerly eradicated those problems. It’s only when he’s engaged in a particularly virulent argument that he regresses.
No, the pronoun issues we have now, relate to antecedents. For example, Joel will walk in after teaching in another town all day long and say, “I was talking to him today and he said he is going to that deal.”
I am an eternal pessimist. I think that if you start every day expecting the worst, you may be pleasantly surprised a small, and I mean minuscule percentage of the time. Joel and I are proof that opposites attract because he believes in the inherent goodness and beauty of all humanity. I believe Murphy’s law is a pipe dream.
Whereas I create worst-case scenarios, Joel smiles and says, “What could possibly go wrong?”
A few weeks ago, I bought a baby grand piano at an auction. Another one. I don’t play the piano. Maybe my kids will.
As a newly converted auction fanatic, Joel was happy to trot along to small towns across our part of the state to attend sales. We had recently completed our second-story pergola project, and needed some furniture. This particular auction had several pieces of rattan and wicker that would fill that need nicely.
I saw a coffee cup the other day that said, “If a man says he will fix it, he will. There’s no need to remind him every six months.” I had to laugh. Let me interject here that my husband Joel is the hardest working person I’ve ever met. The man can’t sit still (mainly because if he does, he falls asleep instantly). But we do have an understanding about the steps in the project process. For the sake of example, I’m going to use our recent pergola addition to describe this process.
When Joel and I got married several years ago, he had never attended an estate auction. Weirdly, he wasn’t even interested in digging through other people’s old junk! Like the good wife that I was, I immediately began conversion therapy.