He's on vacation, but she needs a break

His week off means more aggravation for her

May 27, 2010|By Susan Reimer

My husband says I like the idea of him more than I like the reality of him and, after his week of vacation, I think that might be true.

A week off with pay was a fresh experience for a guy who keeps getting slapped with furloughs, so he was a little giddy about his time off.

You have to understand that this is a guy who commutes three hours a day and is often on the road. He barely has time to fill his own gas tank, let alone do his own errands. That, too, was a fresh experience for him and might explain why it took him six hours to find a pair of tennis shoes he was willing to spring for.

"What do you pay for shoes?" he asked in one of about 1,000 telephone calls to me during his vacation. When he found a two-for-one sale, I got a call about that, too.

"Just one question …" was the way these calls always began. And then he would ask something like, "Can you pay for that with a credit card?"

"How do you manage in the world?" I asked in bewilderment.

Apparently I've been wrong all these years, because he believes you can only take one package to the post office at a time.

"I'll go back tomorrow," he said.

"God!" I said. "If I did errands the way you do errands, I would still be in 1982!"

I got the roll of stamps I asked for on his second post office trip. I asked for them three months ago and, of course, I'd already purchased them.

"I figured when I remembered to buy them for you, that pretty much sealed it that you'd already bought them," he said.

"Anybody need any stamps?" I asked out loud.

"Just write more letters," he said.

I asked him to remove the old umbrella in the picnic table on the deck and replace it with the new one.

"Let me make a pot of coffee first," he said. "I'll have to think about that one."

The trip to the grocery store for a couple of items morphed into a trip to Sam's Club, where he purchased 500 Ziploc bags for me, a huge bag of apples and five pounds of raisins.

"I'll make apple crisp," my daughter whispered to me. She understands her father and didn't want to hurt his feelings.

When he began to clean out the garage, I thought he might be trying to provoke a divorce.

"Do you realize that this garage is filled with stuff you bought and never used?" he asked, showing me a receipt from 1991 for bathroom tile with my signature on the bottom.

Then he made a fuss about the jet engine-strength bathroom fan I'd purchased when my son was in high school and taking showers that lasted for hours. It never got installed.

"Yeah, well, you kept all the extra wallpaper from a million years ago. And the extra carpet from the carpet that we replaced six years ago," I said. "And you have the extra replacement carpet, too. What were you planning for, an oil spill?"

So he set up a sidewalk table and inked a sign: "Free stuff." On the table, he placed three different kinds of antifreeze, a car cup holder, a toolbox, a minnow bucket, stuffed Christmas figures, an easel, carpet, of course, bathroom tile and a jet engine-strength bathroom fan.

Somebody came and took the table.

My husband is back at work this week, and my marriage is better for it.

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