Love, Married Style, Means Always Muttering “Aw, #%;@!”/Phantasy Friday

I love my husband. I really, truly do. In fact, I can honestly say even after twenty-five years I still like him!

But there are things about him that are . . . well, anxiety provoking. Like when he helps me.

We’ve shared our toys forever. If he’s short on time, I’ll jump on the riding mower and sail around the yard so he won’t have to. He trusts me to watch fuel and oil levels, notice unusual shudders or noises, even slipping belts caused by strange articles left hidden in the grass by grandchildren. I’ve hit a few, but I’m hell with a pair of wire snips so everything works out fine.

Why does he trust me? Because in my wilder youth I street raced. (If a grandchild reads this remember Grandmommy is a fiction writer! And Auntie Pambo’s stories of us tearing up and down the Gulf Coast in a Candy Apple red ’67 Chevelle SS are signs of imminent early onset dementia. She knows no difference between a 780 Holley carburetor and a tunnel ram. Obvious by her constant reference to the latter as a ‘wart’.) In other words I have a reasonable idea of how machinery should work and sound.

Wish I could say I trust him with my toys, but not so much. He’s killed enough household appliances to be labeled dangerous. Never deliberately, so I can’t get mad about it. He’s never understood the concept ice cubes are dropped into the blender through that neat little hole the manufacturer put in the top. His idea of Margueritas is dump in all ingredients, smash the top down on the excess ice and lean on it while turning it on.  He’d be perfect for field testing.

When he got hurt in Lake Charles, he ‘helped’ around the house while I was at work. It’s still refered to as The Dark Times. The fronts of my silk nighties all ended up with permanent wrinkle sneers from being washed hot and dried high. Hung funny on me too. Every one of my beautiful, lush pothos plants was cooked because he helpfully put them out to ‘sun a bit’. (He still hasn’t figured out why they died, but looked so sad I never had the heart to tell him pothos can’t tolerate direct sun.) Shirts developed scorch marks, sheer overblouses sported new burnt-edged areas of ventilation, and jeans stood by themselves in the corner when he discovered spray starch. Hid the iron in self-defense and to save the meager amount of clothing that had escaped this attention.

Came in once to the aroma of burning wood. Scary when the corner fireplace was gas. Followed my nose to . . . the dishwasher finishing up on ‘dry’. He’d put my hand-made, multi-stripped favorite wooden cutting board in on the pot scrubbing cycle. I’m sorry, but there’s no wood glue in the world that can survive that. Spent half an hour on my knees carefully fishing the smoldering miniature log-jam out the bottom.

But vacuum cleaners are his specialty. They die horrific deaths at his hands. Part of the problem is he vacuums like every machine has a built-in mulcher. Grandkids have a sunflower seed spitting contest? Hoover it up, packages and all. Quick, before Mawmaw gets home. I use it next, notice a strange noise and lack of suction. Experience means I know what to do first. Yell “Did Pop use the vacuum while I wasn’t looking?” Might have come out a little accusing, because I got big eyes from everyone and the nods were slow in coming. I stomp off to find the screw driver that fits the screws. Don’t have to be psychic to see major un-clogging issues in the near future. 

During various episodes of vacuum surgery over the years I’ve unjammed roller brushes, removed sucked up socks, multiple massed candy wrappers, Q-tips, Lincoln Logs, jigsaw puzzle pieces, Wal-mart grocery receipts–(l-o-o-o-n-g ones. Remember I shop for 13 g-kids. Like a woodwind reed, its fluttering in the hose made the vacuum scream like a cheap childrens’ horn until I dug it out.)–nail clippers (?), half a cheese sandwich(???), yards of crabbing line, even a thong I’d been searching for forever.

 He was home the other day. I went outside to feed and water the horse and the peacocks. Wasn’t out there ten minutes. Came in to the vacuum shrieking an odd high-pitched whine. Rushed down the hall to see if it could be rescued. Hubby sings when he works. It’s always off-tune oldies, but he does this distracting little hip-wiggle dip thing. And his shimmy would give the Chippendales a run for their money. Admit I got sidetracked watching the show and ogling his butt. So I didn’t notice right off how much effort he had to put into pushing said vacuum back and forth. As soon as I did I ran and yanked the cord from the wall. Kept it clutched in my hand so he couldn’t put it back.

He looked so hurt by my actions I could be nothing but gentle. “Honey,” I asked, “didn’t you notice the funny noise? Or that it keeps trying to skid in a circle instead of roll straight? Gee, when did that wheel start wobbling? It’s not wobbling? Oh, it’s locked up.” I take the machine from him and encourage him to go relax. I break out the screwdriver. Again.

Half a roll of fishing line wrapped around the rollerbrush means it stopped, but the gears kept moving. Roller restricted to the point of being motionless means the bearings are shot, friction-ated to a soldered non-moving metallic lump, and the belt drive has melted in half. Parts are ordered. They’ll be here in a few days.  But all is not lost.

I still have the Pet Paw attachment! And as I crawl around the area rug pushing its four-inch width back and forth I can guarantee you one thing. In my head I’m plotting the letter of all letters to the vacuum development division. It’s my only hope. 

It begins “Dear Customer Suggestion Department: I would appreciate your seriously looking into the possibility of adding a mulching attachment to your machines, especially model number . . . “

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8 Responses

  1. Tears…I have tears in my eyes! LOL At least he’s trying. This sort of reminds me of my nephew who was being a “big boy” and cleaning house while his mom was at work. He vacuumed the floor with the shampooer…or tried to.

    Okay, as for the racing? I’m 33 years old and my mom breaks out with her “You know, when I was in high school, I dated a guy with a Harley? Oh he was hot. He’d pick me up at school and I’d hike my skirt up to my thighs, sit on that bike and hug him close. I just love a man on a motorcycle.” *shudders* I’m glad she had the experiences, but she’s my MOM. If her grandkids heard her talking about that, they’d probably have heart attacks.

    • Motorcycles? Hubby drove a full-dressed Harley to Jr. high. He can hear/feel/taste/sense the slightest malfunction in those. OR cars. He’ll literally listen to one and tell you what you need to fix it, or he’ll just grab the wrenches and work delicate magic.

      But with anything else? Hopeless. LOL

  2. Oh Lord, I needed that laugh on this Friday morning. I could just picture him in my mind, especially the hip shimmy while vacuuming!! And the jeans standing in the corner? I like to have peed my pants! LOL

    • Thank you, Martha! He’s a victim of the male thought process–if a little is good, lots is better! Life is never dull. LOL But I love the man, he’s a keeper and I wouldn’t trade him for anything!

      • He’s keeper material, fer sure!

        My mom is the queen of killing/burning up vacuums.
        Let’s not put them in a room together. As always, you crack me up. See ya tomorrow!

  3. Double the killer-power?!? Scary thought, that! lol

  4. I laughed from the first paragraph. Love your writing. Y’all are one cool couple. I never worry about my Steve vacuuming-ain’t going to happen. I’ve burned out a few vacs over the years but my daughter Laura is the Queen-four in one year. One last year actually caught on fire. RitaVF

    • We’ll never let your daughter and Steve “help” do anything together, okay? lol And you ladies (and guys!) who comment are some of the brightest stars in my writing life!

      And my Sizzle Sisters? I admire your work, your courage and the fact you each persevere in your chosen genres.

      I’m proud to call you writing sisters, and friends.

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