I’ve been happily married for 20 years and, as of today, 51 weeks. (Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll remind you next week.)
In that time I’ve grown to know the man I met on fraternity row way back in 1987 pretty damn well. He makes me laugh harder than anybody I’ve ever known, is the biggest supporter of anything and everything I do (and even the stuff that I don’t do), is an unbelievably caring and cool father, and happens to be one of the smartest people I know.
Settle down, I’m not done.
All those Superman qualities don’t come without a few personality traits that, when they flair up, can drive me insane. His OCD tendencies when we leave the house for vacation test my patience like waiting for a pack of pre-schoolers to use the potty, and the fact that the piles of clothes — clean and dirty — on his side of the bedroom don’t bother him in the least makes me crazy.
But there’s one thing that he does that I both love about him and that makes my blood churn at the same time: He’s a last minute do-er. As in, if we have guests coming over at 6:00, he doesn’t think it’s necessary to clean up until around 4:30 and get in the shower until 5:50. Or if a birthday or Mother’s Day or our anniversary is in a week (*wink*wink*), he’ll grab a card or a gift (sometimes) the day of. Maybe the night before, but usually the day of.
Easy to understand why it makes me crazy, but like I said, it’s also something I love about him. Why? Because it always gets done. Somehow, some way, he manages to finish the job.
Take tonight, the night before his dad and his dad’s wife are due to arrive from Arizona to spend the weekend.
He has decided to repaint the old playroom.
That doesn’t sound too awful, right? Keep reading.
Three days ago he decided to rip into the old playroom (that had been Thing 2’s room until about four years ago when we got rid of her. Kidding, when she moved rooms) and a room that has basically been a graveyard for the past couple of years to about 200 naked Barbies, six Barbie mansions, multiple hot-pink sports cars, piles of plastic furniture, hundreds of single Barbie shoes, tubs upon tubs of Barbie clothes, hundreds of Littlest Pet Shop Pets and Polly Pockets (and all their teeny, tiny accessories), a whole village of Groovy Girls and many, many other assorted, long-forgotten toys. Don’t believe me?
Three days ago.
A job that would easily take two, maybe three weeks — and a job I’ve been putting off for about two years — he decided to do three days before we had company.
Oh, and also? He decided he’d rip down the old little girl wallpaper and repaint the entire room and turn it into an extra office. NBD. I mean, how hard is it to rip off wallpaper that’s been stuck to the wall for 13 years? (sarcasm. That was pure sarcasm in case it didn’t come through your screen that way.)
I honestly didn’t think he’d go through with it. I mean, cleaning out old toys and making give away piles and “keep for the grandkids” piles is one thing and something that seems do-able, and something I kind of thought might be a good summer project: as in, the entire summer. But to go from the above disaster to clean and organized in three days?? Can we all join in a gigantic Mama-knows-best laugh?
But I’ve kept my mouth shut. I mean, hell, other than ask me which random shoes, dogs, and other lonely accessories belonged to Barbie, Polly or Playmobil (really, husband, weren’t you paying attention at all from about 1998 – 2008?) he hasn’t even requested my help in there. And you saw it, I did not want to step one foot in there. Actually, I’m not even sure it would have even been possible if he’d wanted me to.
Instead, my girls were given the task of sorting through and categorizing the Barbie dynasties they’d created over about 13 years (between the two of them). For the past few days they’ve been holding up one Barbie (or item of clothing or furniture piece or even single shoe) and instantly recalling long and involved stories that go with each one.
It’s taken them awhile.
But somehow, they managed to sort through it all, find their 60 or so favorites to keep (dressed, again, in their original clothing, because although they cannot remember to feed their own cats they can, however, recall what pair of pants Teen Courtney was wearing in the box in 2002). They sorted out about 50 or 60 to give away and even agreed to part with one mansion (because six is too many to keep for the grandchildren, but five sounds about right).
So tonight, with 16 hours to go until our company arrives, he called me while I was at dress-rehearsal for a show Thing 2 is in this week.
“Do you want to meet us (he and Thing 1) at Noodles?”
“Sure. Why? Where are you?
“We’re at the paint store getting paint.”
“ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME?? WE HAVE COMPANY COMING IN 16 HOURS AND THE ENTIRE MAIN FLOOR OF OUR HOUSE LOOKS LIKE A FLEA MARKET!!” is what I wanted to say.
“Okay, I’ll be there in half an hour,” is what I said.
And now it’s late. Really late. As in 11 p.m. late.
And there’s one coat of paint on the walls and my main level still looks like a flea market.
But he and Thing 1 are having a blast in there listening to show tunes and covered in paint and planning the new office.
And he promises me it will get done. (He’d better Ty Pennington the hell out of that room tonight, is what I’m thinking).
And in 20 years and 51 weeks he’s never broken a promise, and somehow, some way, his hair-brained last-minute schemes always seem to work out and get done.
It’s one of the many reasons we’ve made it to 20 and 51.
I’ll let you know how it turns out … and if we make it to 21.
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