Why I Laugh

Today, I thought I would share an old story from 2002. Elder would have been not quite six years old. And I would say my husband and I were a lot younger, too, but we still argue like kids, so I don’t know that the statement has a valid point. Anyway, here you go…

This morning, my husband had trouble locating a pair of slacks. Not finding any in the closet, he trudged into the laundry room. Not finding any in the laundry room, he trudged back into the living room.

Spying him, understanding by his state of partial dress his predicament, I told him, “There should be some in the closet.”

“I looked,” he grumbled.

So, I followed him. And we found some. Smug as only a woman can be, I strutted back into the living room.

“You didn’t follow my system,” he complained, trailing after me, blaming me for his own mistakes like only a man can do.

“If you don’t like the way I put your clothes in your closet, you can put them there yourself,” I retorted.

“I do. And when I do, I have a system.”

“Well, if you did put your clothes in your closet, then you wouldn’t have to worry about me messing up your system. And I’ll worry about your system when you can tell me where I keep my socks.”

“But here’s my system -”

“I don’t care about your system -”

“Mom,” Elder interrupted. “Dad has two sisters.”

And that is why we don’t fight in front of the boys.

Not because of any high moral or psychological reason. But because we never finish without laughing.

We still finish, of course.

Just not without laughing.


Bring It On

For the last eighteen years of so, Elder has been sensitive to any statement or question that implies a lacking in his moral code.

For the last ten years or so, he has loaded his bookcases with medals from regional and state math competitions, as well as spending a week for several summers at math camp.

For the last six months or so, he has worked at a local ice cream shop.

One might wander how these truths interconnect in one simple story. Well…

Last weekend, a customer walked into the shop with a coupon. She and her husband ordered the two ice creams named on the coupon but then added four additional toppings, two more than the coupon allowed. So, when he tallied up her bill, she immediately objected to the higher than expected price.

He tried to explain the coupon and the pricing.

She would have none of it.

“She didn’t believe me,” Elder later complained to his father. “She basically called me a liar.  And then,” he continued, his ire rising exponentially to the insult, “then she questioned my math.”

And it all went downhill from there.

Whatever the axiom may be, when you involve Elder, the customer is not always right.

Compliments to the Chef

The other day, I made homemade pizza. After eating his portion, with sausage and pepperoni, my husband carried his plate to the sink and complimented me in such a fashion as to make me blush.

He said…

“That actually wasn’t bad.”

No one should wonder why I married him.

I mean, obviously…

I thought he had money.

School Lessons

So, school commenced a few weeks ago. Elder is a senior, Younger a freshman.

Every Thursday night, the senior football players have a small dinner at one house or another. (They will be at our house in October. I’m thoroughly alarmed.) So, the first week, when we retrieved Younger from the practice, Elder handed my husband his humongous duffel bag and asked him to wash his jersey, since Elder wouldn’t arrive at home until after 10:00 and he had to wear the jersey the next day for school.

Here are two facts —

One, my husband doesn’t do laundry.

Two, my husband doesn’t pass along messages.

Elder checked his duffel when he arrived home but failed to see a maroon jersey in a maroon duffel bag and assumed my husband had fulfilled his request. So about fifteen minutes before everyone was to leave the next day, we had our first catastrophe of the year.

“I have to wear my jersey but I can’t wear it like this,” Elder roared, waving the jersey frantically in the hallway. “It stinks.”

And I will just say that I caught the scent while descending the stairs. He wasn’t exaggerating. The jersey did stink.

So, I accepted that I would be late to work, tossing the jersey into the washing machine on the shortest cycle offered and arranging to meet Elder at a gas station in town after a minimal amount of time.

Then I stood by the washing machine watching the countdown.

Another fact —

A washing machine really doesn’t know how to keep time.

So, when the buzzer eventually announced the end of the cycle, I did not even have five minutes for a quick stint in the dryer. Grabbing the jersey, I threw it on a hanger and drove like a maniac towards town with all the windows down and the jersey flapping in the breeze like a flag.

One last fact —

Even speeding winds can’t dry a jersey when the temperature and the humidity is somewhere in the nineties.

Elder accepted the wet jersey with only a few words, including “thanks.” And I headed belatedly to work. Only to receive a text from Younger before I reached the city limits.

“I left my gym shorts at home,” he wrote. “You don’t have to get them, if it’s too much.” Then he added, “But if it’s not, weights is right after first lunch.”

More than two decades after graduation, and I still hate school.