There are days when my patience is stretched to (and past) its limits. Let me just say at the outset that it’s my fault. It has to be. My husband is a great guy – sweet, kind, generous, thoughtful and very much a man’s man.
The Good Lord saw fit to wire men and women very differently. It’s my personal belief that He did that because He has a fabulous sense of humor.
It would probably be best to give a little background here so you’re not lost while I rant. Last year, on Labor Day to be exact, we had satellite TV installed. We did this because our cable company (not naming names) had become so overbearing that we had to draw the line.
The man who installed the dish and all the little black boxes had no idea what he was doing. In fact, after nine hours of wandering around our house hammering holes in the walls, dropping and breaking two TVs, and giving my husband umpteen reasons that the rest of the televisions wouldn’t work properly, my husband threw him out of the house. Quite literally, in fact. Fortunately, the satellite guy didn’t press charges.
At any rate, that episode left one TV – one, mind you – cold, dark and dead, with no signal or box or anything. It was the TV in my office. Sounds silly, I know, but I have to have background noise while I write, and even when I read. Otherwise, I hear bothersome things that distract me, like my own breathing or a clock ticking, or one of a thousand noises that a big empty house makes during the course of a day. I have some issues.
I freely admit that I am ignorant in the ways of technology, electronics and basic household maintenance. I thought that we’d simply have to plug something from the TV into some magic box somewhere and voila! My TV would work again. Six months later, I realized that it’s not that simple. Six months later, I was still spending my days writing in an office so unnervingly quiet that if the proverbial pin should have dropped, I would have definitely heard it.
My husband is a very busy man; therefore, he (finally) hired a man to come to our house to get the wiring right so that my TV would work. He is tired of seeing me spread my papers all over the kitchen table to work, just so I can hear the family room TV while I do it. The man he hired to fix the wiring is a friend of ours, a very nice guy.
Last night, I asked my husband what area the man would need to work in our house. In my neurotic mind, I planned to dust, vacuum and bleach that area in preparation for the electrician to work. I am not the world’s pickiest housekeeper, I admit, but I don’t want the people we know to know that. So I asked my husband, twice in fact, where this man would be working. He said, and I quote, “in the office and in the attic.” That suited me just fine. I never feel compelled to clean the attic; in eighteen years, I have never even set foot in there, not since my husband fell through it one Christmas night, but that’s another story. Cleaning my office would be no big deal, so I gave it a once-over and felt satisfied that we would not be embarrassed when our friend came to fix the wiring.
When I returned from the gym this morning, I showered, then settled myself and all my stuff on the bed to do my makeup, lotions and so forth. I have done this every morning for the past eighteen years. The phone rang and it was my husband calling. He and the electrician were on the way to our house; my thoughtful husband was just giving me a heads-up so that I could put the dogs outside. I asked him again, “what areas will he be working in?” His answer: “The attic and your office. Oh, and the bedroom.
Huh? “What bedroom, ours?” His answer: “Yeah.” And no more than fifteen seconds later, I heard a light knock on the bedroom door. And then the bedroom door opened, and there stood my husband and our friend, the electrician.
Setting the scene, there I sat on the unmade bed, in a bathrobe and without makeup. I looked like a senior citizen in a steam sauna, wearing white aloe-treated socks. Our dogs – all untrained four of them – barked and loped along behind the men, occasionally jumping on our friend. Fifteen seconds is not enough warning to put the dogs outside, is it? I smiled brightly, cringing inside and trying not to look shocked.
Was I embarrassed? Mortified.
The electrician went about busily setting up ladders, banging on walls, talking guy stuff with my husband and pretending that I was not there. I slunk into the bathroom to finish my morning routine, my face hot and undoubtedly red. “When did I last launder the sheets? Dust the furniture? Sweep the floors? ” I thought to myself, imagining all kinds of filth greeting our friend the electrician.
As it turned out, the man had to work all over the house. I don’t understand these things, but it seems that the wiring in our bedroom directly affects the proper operation of the television in my office. Something behind the dryer has something to do with the television in my office. And when the electrician then pulled out the refrigerator to reveal dust bunnies, forgotten gummy bears and part of a banana peel, I was horrified. I guess the wiring behind the refrigerator is pretty important, too.
I was waiting for one of the men to tell me that wire had to be pulled up through the toilets in order for my TV to work. At that point, I would have simply broken down and cried.
I know that guys don’t get stuff like this. They don’t understand that having a stranger walk into your bedroom while you’re in it, is like walking through the supermarket with no clothes on. It’s truly that traumatic.
The good news is that I now have a working TV in my office. I’m taking deep breaths, trying to put the events of the day into perspective.
I’m also going to look for a cleaning lady. At least if I have one, I’ll know the exact days that I have to rush around and clean before she comes to clean the house. Any women reading this column will understand exactly what I mean by that.
Carole Townsend is a Gwinnett author and freelance writer. Her fourth and newest book, BLOOD IN THE SOIL, is slated for April 5, 2016 publication. It is the true tale of a crime that took place in Gwinnett County nearly 40 years ago. Her most recent book, MAGNOLIAS, SWEET TEA AND EXHAUST (July 2014, Skyhorse Publishing) takes a sidesplitting look at NASCAR from a Southern suburban mom’s perspective. Her first two books, RED LIPSTICK AND CLEAN UNDERWEAR (a book about our Mothers’ advice) and SOUTHERN FRIED WHITE TRASH (a hilarious look at the unique, charming and sometimes outrageous ways we Southerners conduct ourselves) earned Carole almost instant national fame, with her “distinctive humor and hysterical honesty,” – Los Angeles Times. Carole has appeared on local and national news and talk shows, including CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates. When not writing, she travels throughout the southeast region, teaching writers’ workshops, speaking to various civic and literary groups, and advocating for the health and well being of the family. For more information, visit www.caroletownsend.com.