So, I am standing in front of the television set one night last week watching Sportscenter highlights of the Cardinals when my lovely and talented wife Alison begins to serenade me from the garage door that connects to the kitchen.
“The first time, ever I saw your face…”
How sweet, I thought. You know that romantic song from the '70s. The moment. The love. So she can't sing a lick, it was still so beautiful. The only problem was, it didn't actually happen. That kind of stuff happens in music videos – and perhaps in the movies – but not in real life.
“Tim, I need your help now,” is what she yelled back to the bedroom. It's hard to feel the love from yelling. Why not just walk back to the bedroom and gently ask for my assistance?
“Be right there,” I responded.
The phrase “be right there” will only buy you about 60 seconds. No more. I know this because on July 28, we will have been married 19 years and after 19 years of sharing a house and three kids with someone, you know these things.
After 52 seconds I walked through the kitchen and to the garage door just as it was being opened again by my lovely and talented wife. She was about to call/yell for me a second time when she saw me.
“I need you to help me put this new innertube on Wriley's (daughter) bike,” she said.
It was hot. It was sticky. After yet another night of baseball we were already sweaty, tired and ready for bed. The mosquitoes were out in force. And there we were sitting on the hard concrete changing out a bicycle tire tube. This took about 15-to-20 minutes. Injuries included a couple of hand cuts and three bites each. It was one of those jobs where you need both hands to hold, push, turn and bang. One of those deals where you can feel the mosquito land on your skin but you have the tire to just a point where if you let go you would basically have to start over again and so you have to decide what is worse – starting the process over again, or having your blood sucked by a flying insect then scratching all night. Now you can attempt to turn your head and blow the mosquito off your body, but these blood suckers are not usually deterred by this. They laugh at you. Then suck some more.
But we did get the tube and tire on. Then we attached the use-your-foot air pump to it and I began to stomp up and down like I was dancing in some South Louisiana bayou backwater honky-tonk. After a couple minutes Alison checked the tire. No progress. I was challenged. I switched feet and began to go after that pedal with a vengeance. Up and down! Up and down! Someone or something was going to pay for my missing baseball highlights on TV and it just so happened to be the air pump. After another minute Alison checked again. Still flat. At this point I began to experience negative feelings. Real negative. Just before I began what would have been a torrid, red-faced, okay, by gosh, I'll show you who-is-boss-complete-with-rants-mashing-of-the-air-pump-pedal-until-I-gave-out episode, Alison said, “Wait a minute.”
She felt the air pump hose.
“Now step on it,” she said. I did.
“You know what, there's a leak in the hose.”
“What?” said I, gasping for air.
The only thing I could think about was that all my foot-pumping had been an exercise in futility. A little ol' undetectable hole in the pump hose hidden from both human eye and human ear. And then Alison reminded me that the original tire was likely not flat after all, oh happy day, it was just low and when we tried to put air into it, it never got to the tube.
We felt deflated. We searched for more puns. We had wasted time. We had wasted money. We were sweating like hogs. And – most importantly – we had missed the Webgems on Sportscenter.
“How do we pick up the pieces and move on from this?” I asked Alison, my voice stricken with emotion. Surely, this would test our marriage.
She laughed at me.
“Don't laugh at me, don't call me names, don't get your pleasure from my pain.”
She rolled her eyes.
“What does one do when these cruel acts of fate lash out at our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor?” asked I.
“You are not right,” she said to me. “And I hate to tell you this, but other people tell me you're not right. To my face.”
“And you're the one who married me? What does that say about you?”
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have checkmate. How would she reply to this as she put the bike up on the rack?
“You really need to get a shower. Really.”
Love and marriage. You gotta love it.
Tim Wildmon is a resident of Saltillo. He is a host of Today's Issues on American Family Radio. His column is published every other week. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.