The Day I Won the Award for Most Patient Wife Ever

Notes from the Shallow End

It’s an immutable law of marriage: The amount of time you have left before an important event is inversely proportional to the likelihood that your husband will choose to perform a completely unrelated task.  Like choosing to vacuum the car when you’re supposed to leave for a parent-teacher conference. Or cleaning out the basement just before your entire extended family arrives for dinner.  Meanwhile you’re running around trying to do the things that actually matter, like preparing food and making sure all of your children have pants on. Hypothetically, of course.  I’m sure your children always wear pants.

One recent cold and rainy weekend,   I had the kids loaded into the car to leave for a morning soccer game. (We have hit the age where games aren’t necessarily cancelled due to rain. Good times.) In typical fashion, we had, oh, approximately five minutes to get to the field. I put up the garage door, started the engine, put the car in reverse, and started to back out of the garage… when suddenly my husband came running out of the house clutching a bag and waving at me frantically. I rolled the window down to see what the big emergency was.

“I just want to put your new windshield wipers on,” VP said, stepping to the front windshield and prying up one of the wiper bars.

In an act uncharacteristic of me, instead of shouting, “Are you kidding me? Now?!” I chose patience. I put the car in park, engine still running, and clamped my mouth shut while he went to work.

I waited patiently until he removed the old wipers.

I waited patiently while he tried to put the new ones on.

I waited patiently as he couldn’t figure out how to put the new ones on.  And I waited some more. The time for us to be at the field came and went.

Finally, he gave up in frustration, and started trying to put the old ones back on. After a while, he gave the thumbs up and I backed out of the garage. As we drove down the street, though, the sound the windshield wipers made told me something was amiss.

Screeeetch thwack.  Screeeeetch thwack. Screeeeetch thwack. The rain wasn’t terribly hard, but just enough that I had to keep the wipers going.

We screetch thwacked our way to the soccer field. I parked the car. Unloaded the kids. Started to walk toward the field, and promptly encountered a wet referee walking the other way.

“Game’s cancelled,” she said. “Field conditions just got too bad.”

We turned and walked back to the car, as it started to rain harder. Relieved that the game was cancelled, I loaded the kids back in. Started the car. Turned on the windshield wipers as the rain turned to a downpour. Screeeetch thwack. Screeetch thwack. Screee…BANG! And then I watched one of my windshield wipers skitter across the parking lot.

As I climbed out of the car in driving rain to retrieve it, I cursed under my breath. Also I may or may not have called VP a few choice names.

Knowing there was no way I could drive home without windshield wipers, I struggled reattach the errant blade. Rain dripped off of my baseball cap as I tried it one way, then another. You’d think it would be simple, intuitive maybe, but it’s not.  Imagine being throw out in the freezing rain with one of those metal tavern puzzles, and being told you couldn’t come back in until it was finished. My fingers went numb from cold. Peeved, I considered calling my husband to drive over and help me, but what kind of an example would that have set for the children? No. Rain be damned, I would prove I was capable.

It took twenty minutes, but I finally out the right angle and the blade clicked perfectly into pace. I flung my arms into the air in triumph.   The Rocky theme echoed through my head as I jogged around to the driver’s side to climb in and drive home.

When I got there VP asked what took us so long to get home. “The windshield wiper fell off, and I had to fix it,” I said cheerfully, still kind of proud that I figured it out.  I needed the reminder that I can handle things on my own, for the next time we’re expecting people for dinner any minute and he decides to reorganize the workbench. Ahem. Hypothetically of course.

And as for fixing the windshield wipers, it turns out that all of those years of wrestling my kids into pants has paid off.


It’s a Dance Party!

I got invited to a party. A Bloggy Dance, to be exact. This is a Major Award, people! See?


Apparently, this is when another blogger acknowledges your fabulous-ness (my words, but whatever), invites you to answer some questions, and then you pick someone else who you think  is fabulous and then you pass it along. The awesome Crazy as Normal awarded it to me, and I thank her for the honor. Also she said she would check whether I did it or not, and she scares me just a little bit. But in a good way.

So, here are the questions, as passed to me, and my answers:

Favorite Time of Year – Definitely summer.  After a long Ohio winter, I can’t get enough warmth and sunshine. Also I’m one of those moms who looks forward to having the kids home, and to having unstructured time with them. Other than swim lessons, they don’t do organized activities in the summer – so it’s a lot of tree climbing, lemonade stands, sidewalk chalk, and playing in the sprinkler. I garden, play some tennis, and we go to a cabin on a lake. Plus I’d much rather be too hot than too cold, so there’s that.

Favorite Festive Movie – I think this refers to Christmas, so I’m going with A Christmas Story.  And Elf.

What is your passion? – Anything to do with food or cooking. I read cookbooks cover to cover for fun, obsess over the latest issue of Food & Wine, and plan all trips around where and what we’re going to eat.

Favorite Color –  The perfect shade of blue; it’s somewhere between sea and sky.

Favorite time of day – Probably my kids’ bedtime, but not for the reason you might think. It’s when we read stories and I make different voices for all of the characters, it’s when I hear about stuff that happened in their day (because after school when I ask I get nothin’). For now, they let me fuss over them, like tucking in their sheets just right or putting Vicks on if they have a cold, or braiding the girls’ hair. I’m not sure how much longer that will last, so I’m trying to take advantage of the time. Also, I look at it as my last opportunity to ”parent” for the day, so I want to make sure I do it well. Don’t get me wrong, I also enjoy the “me” time after they are all in bed, when I collapse on the couch like a slug with a book or guilty pleasure TV.

Favorite flower – Blue or green  hydrangeas. They remind me of summer.

Favorite non-alcoholic drink –  the Arnold Palmer. (Lemonade/ice tea mix)

Favorite physical activity – Tennis. Cute outfits and the potential for snacks afterwards. What’s not to love?

Favorite Vacation – Cape Cod or Nantucket. My husband and I got married on Nantucket, and the proximity to the sea gives me an incredible sense of peace. For me, It is the most beautiful place on earth (Unfortunately, we haven’t been back for a long time.  Super bummed about that.) Also, we have an old cabin on a lake up north, that’s been in our family since the 1920s. No TV, no internet access. We go for two weeks a year, and the whole family completely unplugs. We swim in the lake, we fish, we play cards, we read tons of books.  It’s kind of awesome.

What  advice would you give your 20-year-old self? Quit skipping classes. Stay away from frat boys. And when you see a sign on the sidewalk advertising “Discount Perms”, keep walking.

I’m passing this on to Karmen at Chairs from the Curb, because she has a really funny, creative blog and she’s a great storyteller. Seriously, go read her blog. I’m now following her, and you should, too.

Have a great weekend, everyone!