Husbands truly are a handy thing to have around. In addition to providing mad skills, they are great for little things around the house and yard, kind of like fully stocked broom closets with plenty of Pine Sol, Pledge and Swiffer replacement dusters. There’s proof I clean my own house, girlfriends. Didn’t always; do now. A gift from not only widowhood but the Great Economic Downturn as well. I was one of those bitches that while I played tennis, a maid cleaned the house. How do I not hate myself?
Don’t worry Karma gets everyone eventually and it’s my turn. Humility is a special gift served over and over again in the past year or so. For some reason she’s still not convinced I’ve had my fill. I get to pull weeds, clean toilets, argue with my dead husband’s business partners, make my own money, fill out FAFSA forms that remind me I’m poor but not poor enough (thank you I didn’t know), color my own hair, wake up in a cold sweat worried about the IRS, work two jobs and deal with reptilian invasions on the home front.
My rental house flooded over a month ago. I came home from happy hour to water pouring under the garage door and as a greeter at the front door. A broken pipe between a toilet and the wall sprayed ankle deep water throughout the house all day. My landlord, being a landlord and not a renter, was in Europe. There was no one to call. The broken hose was a live animal with super strength spraying everywhere and I could not find the shut off valve. There was no oval shaped thing to turn off the water. I grabbed the hose, shooting myself in the face, drenching my dress and pearls. And, yes, you guessed it, my heels were ruined. Lovely wood heeled pumps with the tiniest wood platform, light beige, go with everything, broken in to perfection. Dammit. Cats are sitting side by side on the bed howling. Takes me a while to figure out they have to use the litter box.
I go outside to find the main water valve. No luck. Back inside, spray myself in the face again only to find this time a little plastic pump looking thing. Push it and the water turns off. Fast forward six weeks. I am still in a hotel. Walls have been plastered, taped and textured. See how much I’ve learned? My renter’s insurance and my landlord’s insurance doing the insurance dance–arguing over whose not going to pay for what.
My belongings fill the garage, the hallways and the kitchen. I travel back and forth every couple of days bringing clothes to the hotel, checking to see if anythings been stolen and monitoring progress moving at glacial speed. Last weekend I went over to wash clothes and take things out of kitchen cabinets as somehow packing things for the ease of cabinet installers is not a covered service. So basically I am moving out to move in all over again.
I have three coffee cups in my hand when I turn and face a lizard. He is about twelve inches long, a healthy size for an Arizona lizard. Usually they are smaller. This guy is large, inside the house and at the moment we lock eyes in frozen horror, his head seems the size of my own. Fuck, crap, shit. My feet begin a dance all their own. The crawlies creep up my legs as I realize I can curse until the cows come home, no husband is coming to kill this spider.
I make a large circle around the reptile using a broom handle to lift the lock on the sliding glass door hoping to let him out. He doesn’t move. Our eyes remain locked on each other. I fashion a hook from a wire hanger as he is closer to the door than I and no way am I chancing him running over my foot. I might die. As the hook grabs the door handle he bolts. Into a hole in the wall cut to keep mold from forming and killing me while I sleep. Up the wall he runs. I hear his thundering hooves move up the wall. Crap, shit, fuck. My feet are dancing again. I jump up and down realizing my agility level as my boobs hurt from the effort. The solution is easy–I lock the door, take my wet clothes from the washer, get in the car and go to my hotel never to return. And cry.
The Norwegian would have solved this problem. Crouching up behind the creature, giving him no wiggle room, he would have scooped him up in one swift movement, carrying him outside. Is it any wonder this guy got laid all the time? He would have hugged me, rubbed my back and asked if I needed a martini. He would make a cursory search of the house with me behind him on tiptoe holding on to his shirt. And then we would have gone out for Mexican cause that was just too much to take.
Aside from mad skills, this is what I miss most about not having a husband. They come in handy for all kinds of stuff but mostly for being the calm in the storm, for knowing you better than you know yourself, for anticipating the exact moment of freak out and for knowing when its time to hug you and take you for mexican food. And to sit quietly while you watch The Notebook knowing that sitting quietly merits rewards later. And for knowing how you take your coffee. And for knowing what wine to order while you are in the ladies room. And loving you even when your ass gets too big; joking there’s just more to grab on to. And for reptilian duties most of all.
Last night at happy hour, I watched my dearest friends in the world, the ones who were in the woods when The Norwegian died, interact with each other. There’s the couple together since high school. He watched her from one end of the table and worried that soup wasn’t enough for her to eat, passing her a little plate with part of his burger and some fries ‘cuz she has a big appetite, he boasted. Trish, goddess of all and the woman we all strive to be, shared halibut not just with her husband but with another friend. Three times, she checked her husband’s eating to ensure he was well. He smiled across the table with the smile he reserves for only her. And two friends on the other side about to be married joked and played the way only those about to be married do. Joy filled the table and there was not a lizard in site.
Came back to my hotel and dreamt I was bitten by a rattlesnake, right on my left hand. He was in my house. I was sitting in a chair. I saw him but couldn’t move fast enough when he rattled. I froze and he bit me on the hand. I calmly called the hospital and Oldest Chicken. I walked to my car dragging the rattlesnake attached to my hand. In my dream I wasn’t scared, just pissed off at the inconvenience. Also, I wasn’t scared ‘cuz I knew for certain this was a dream. I get bitten by a fricking rattlesnake and don’t even curse. Clearly a dream.