Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Why I Do It

I'm having blueberry ice cream.

Diabetic, you say?

Yes, but I took blueberries that I picked last summer and put into the deep freezer, poured half and half and a bit of stevia over them, and now I'm having ice cream. Sometimes I add vanilla or cinnamon. Today, I'm just going with the fruit and the clog-my-arteries fat. It has been one of those kind of days.

The day started with me trying to make a decent lunch for Nick before I had even had a chance to pee and at the same time trying to show Mike what had been delivered to Cabela's for pick up. Why the hell didn't I pay the shipping costs? Why? It was going to take all afternoon to drive up there, pick it up, and drive back home again. Plus, I had ordered a pair of shoes that I didn't really need and told the woman at the Renton store it would be easier to get them at their other location which was also up north. Big mistake. All day, I tell you. This was going to take all day. I barely noticed when Mike told me that his back was bothering him.

I finally made a decent lunch, peed, got the information on the Cabela's delivery, and made my own breakfast, in that order. All during that process, I complained to Mike about how three weeks ago, the - what is the word I used? - idiot at Cabela's had ordered the exact shirt I brought with me to work out sizes and styles. I complained that I had specifically told her that my husband did not want another one just like it. Yet she ordered it anyway. That would be one bullet I'd have to dodge, I told him. I didn't stop complaining about the day I had planned until he left for work.

After that, I managed to get up I-5 without running into the usual massive traffic jam. As I sped along, I noticed that flags were flying at half mast and that the road to Arlington was closed. I thought about the people in the mudslide at Oso. I turned off the radio for a bit and just thought about the people there. They had lost more than a mixed up order at Cabela's. They had lost people they loved. I have nothing to complain about, I thought. Nothing. I tried to breathe in and out slowly, visualizing peace for them, visualizing some resolution and some relief.

But then I arrived at Cabela's and I got to work. Finally back home after hours on the run, I heard myself complaining to Mike about the limp salad I ate for lunch, the boots I bought that were too big and had to be returned, the trip to drop Nick at karate a few minutes late, a rushed run through the grocery store, driving past one of the shoes Nick had left on top of the car last Saturday, just one, and finally the mess in the house from what Mike brought home from his muddy weekend camping trip. I was complaining because, even though I had thought of the people in Oso for a bit, I was still stuck in my own head.

Just a little while ago, I started a load of dishes, faced two Dutch ovens that needed to be reseasoned, and looked at a muddy cooler that might never be the same. I started to bitch and moan to Mike again. There were three unopened but soggy boxes of hot cocoa mix. There were eight russet potatoes in a plastic bag that would begin to rot them right away if they weren't taken out and put in the vegetable bin. There was no counter space left because of all the camping stuff that had accumulated there. And there was my little cooler on the floor, covered in mud.

When Mike stood up to come help me, I remembered that he had sent me a text earlier that his back was still bugging him and he was headed home early. He couldn't even stand up straight. He hadn't complained all night while I went on and on. I could tell his back hurt. I knew what that was all about. Shit, I had been there, exactly where he stood. It stopped my bitchy mood in its tracks for the second time in one day.

I'm telling you that I am not the perfect person to be the scoutmaster's wife. I get going with a bad attitude. I'm not patient. I don't listen very well. I resent running the errands, managing the extra chores around the house, missing the good trips, and doing all the damned cleaning and seasoning and unpacking and airing out.

But Mike loves doing this job. He's not well. He's had a heart attack. He has terrible insomnia. And now his back is out. He can't do this by himself. I know he can't. He's behind, not really in the kind of condition it takes to do all of this. He's older, sicker, and more tired than he's ever been.

And I have to remember that I love him and want him to be happy. If he wants to give his time to a muddy camping trip with a bunch of Boy Scouts and their fathers, I'm going to help him do it, even if I can't always go with him for the fun stuff. I'll scrub muddy coolers, reseason Dutch ovens, hang awnings to dry, make trips to buy his shirts, take his son to karate, and run through the grocery store, the camping store, and the shoe store.

I sent Mike to bed as if he were a sick child. I massaged his back and then turned off the light.

I'll do it. I'll do any of it if it helps him do this thing that makes him so incredibly happy. I forget that sometimes. I wish I didn't.

Thank you for listening, jb

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