An Unexpected Patient

The Mister and I spent part of this past Sunday afternoon performing surgery on our back porch.

We assembled our tools and prepared the space before bringing out the patient. During the hour-long procedure we were able to explore the entire body cavity and clean out an obscene amount of gunk and build-up clogging the arteries. The patient is still on rest orders and cannot perform any work until replacement parts have arrived, but we are hopeful for a full recovery.

Whoever thought a vacuum cleaner would be so much work!

I knew I smelled something funny while cleaning on Sunday, but the carpet had gotten pretty bad and I powered through. Besides, the last time I smelled something burning I had sucked up a cell phone charger, and since there were no chargers present, I ignored it. Then I emptied the almost-full canister into the kitchen garbage.

That’s when I noticed it.

There was — and I am ashamed to admit this — all kinds of dog hair and nastiness filling up the inside hose components of the vacuum. I mean, this was a wedding present, and we’ve been married almost three years, and I’ve never done this before….. so picture that.

Now, I don’t completely abuse the thing. I empty the canister periodically and I sometimes have to remove gunk from the bottom, but it had honestly never occurred to me that I might ever need a second vacuum cleaner just to clean the first vacuum cleaner.

So out to the porch I went… soon discovering that a pair of needle-nosed pliers was not going to cut it. The Mister came out to help and, with the help of a wire coat hanger and a few brave puffs of air, eventually managed to remove a small puppy from the appliance. Top to bottom, every inch of the hosing was stuffed to capacity, and every time we thought we were done, we’d pull out another owl-pellet of compressed dirt. No wonder I couldn’t clean anything off the carpet! The next time I use the thing (after new filters get delivered, since we don’t even want to TALK about the state that was in), it will probably have enough suction to pull our thin carpet completely off the floorboards!

What was a time when you realized you were not as wonderful a housekeeper as you thought? Or that a small appliance got the best of you? Or that you had to perform unexpected emergency surgery on your porch, for that matter – I’ll take anything.

Happy Wednesday, and remember, love your vacuum.

Not Exactly a Clean Start

Sometimes when I look back on the first few weeks of our dating relationship, I really wonder why the Mister stayed with me past the first month.

I. was. disgusting. No, seriously. We started dating in the last 2-3 weeks of our sophomore year – the weeks leading up to and including final exams. I’m still amazed I even passed my Spanish final, since I’d get through the same four flashcards every night before giving up and goofing off with the Mister instead.

We would be at the church of Christ student center just off campus until at least midnight every night (at the earliest), and by the time I staggered into my dorm room I was too exhausted to shower. Well then the alarm would go off the next morning and I’d hit snooze until the last possible second, inevitably pulling my hair into a ponytail and running to class, notebooks flying. After class we’d be back at the student center and the cycle would continue.

Like I said, I don’t know why he stayed with me. I definitely did not start off our relationship clean and polished.

I’ve decided since then that comfort is one of the most important factors in a relationship, even over whether or not he makes you laugh or if you like her cooking. If she can’t cook, you can get take-out. If you can’t pass gas in the house, you will explode. It’s that simple.

And that doesn’t just apply to gross things, like passing gas or being sick (yes, unfortunately that’s happened). It also applies to things like singing in the shower, dancing in front of the microwave and screaming in high-pitched terror when a leaf that looks like a bug blows across the sidewalk.

(And all those things don’t just apply to me, by the way.)

Now I don’t mean you get married and just let yourself go completely. You do still have to take care of yourself (trust me, showering is still not optional), and I still get dressed in the morning hoping the Mister will like my outfit, but you also can’t check into a hotel every time you have to blow your nose or use the bathroom.

Although I will admit there are some things the Mister and I still don’t acknowledge that the other does. Like when the bathroom fan is on and you hear the air freshener dispense. There’s no reason for that; it just happens spontaneously as the universe wills it.

And it will stay that way.

“You’d better love me. Like lots of babies love me.”

The drain in our apartment shower has been draining too slowly for more than a month. Probably more than two months, actually, since I remember warning my brother before commencement that the shower would back up some.
It amazes me how much power human beings have to ignore problems when the solutions are unpleasant – to the extent that the Mister and I went several weeks showering in two or three inches of water because neither of us wanted to get down and fix the cause.
Don’t get me wrong – we bought liquid plumber in various brands and followed the directions religiously… we just weren’t willing to address the real cause of the problem. Until about a week ago.
The Mister, my hero, finally rolled up his sleeves one Sunday afternoon, unwrapped the pipe snake from the new Draino bottle, and went to work. It wasn’t long before I heard loud groans and the phrase, “Honey, you’d better really love me. A lot. Like, lots of babies a lot.”
However, I didn’t understand the true extent of his anguish until I went to check on him and found him stretched along the rim of the tub on his belly, trying to see down the drain to retrieve the length of pipe snake that had broken off and gotten lodged in the bend of the pipe.
Two sets of pliers, a screwdriver, a flashlight held in his mouth and a fall into the tub later, he launched the broken snake into the trash and proclaimed, “Don’t anybody tell me I’m not going to be a good surgeon!” I have to admit, I was pretty impressed. The shower is cleared and, after seeing the results of the surgery, I truly do love the Mister.
You see, cleaning drains of all kinds falls into that category of things men (primarily husbands and boyfriends) are supposed to do. I’m not one to be a stickler about “women’s jobs” and “men’s jobs,” but there are just some things that I am not meant to do. Like unclog drains, clean up non-human waste products and deal with the creatures of the night [as illustrated in Facing My Frog.]
Maybe it’s because I was raised in a home where my father did things for my mother, but I have never understood men who refuse to do things for their wives. Isn’t your job as the head of the household supposed to be to care for, provide for and generally keep your best asset (aka-your wife) happy? How does that work if your wife, who cleans your clothes, cooks your food, cleans up after your friends, keeps your schedule and generally serves as your personal assistant, comes home from working all day and you can’t even stoop to take out the trash for her?
(Disclaimer here: when I say that a man’s job is to keep his wife happy, that does not in any way mean that the wife should not do things for her husband and try to make his life comfortable and enjoyable as well. I’m just noticing a lot of marriages lately where it seems to be the wife doing everything and the husband playing video games while he expects dinner to be made.)
I’ve also been noticing a lot of women who complain about their male counterparts to the whole world, airing their dirty laundry for all to see. Some have read my articles here and commented on how my marriage must be “so perfect.” It’s wonderful, but by no means perfect because we are not perfect people. I just don’t post our arguments and problems for the reading pleasure of the whole world because that somehow doesn’t fall into the description of “loving and respecting your husband.”
That goes for girlfriends too, because if you can’t keep your arguments private while you’re dating, and if you can’t respect his privacy and human nature before you’re married, what in the world makes you think you’re going to afterwards?
So no, our marriage is not without its bumps sometimes, but that doesn’t mean those things turn into articles. There might sometime be an exception to this rule if at some point an argument in our house could be a lesson for someone else out there, but that exception would be made by mutual consent.