Bloody Hell

Bloody hell, bloody hell, bloody hell.

My darling friend and crit partner, Marie Peck, has spotlighted me…which would be mind-numbingly brilliant, if not for the fact that my blogging has been…well, pitiful. Nothing like a spotlight to highlight all those crow feet, no?

The reason I haven’t blogged is because I’ve been adhering to a strict writing discipline wherein I write a query letter, rip it apart, write it again, rip it apart, write, rip, write…until I send it to the Princesses. They say, “Great, change this, that, and this, and you’re fine.”

This, I’m sure, is their secret code for, “Brown, it’s crap, what are you thinking?!” (Er, have I ever mentioned how totally neurotic I am?). So, I rip it apart, and write a new one…this has been going on for ddddddaaaaaayyyyyyyyssssssss.

Any screams and wails, I assure you, are of delight…really…of course, I’ve had to chain all the Princesses in the castle–what nonsense, “Brown, I have a doctor’s note that says I can’t read another query.”

What’s a query–or a thousand–between royalty?

So, while I go back to torturing my friends, please enjoy the following random story:

Love is such a funny thing. People fall in love and it’s supposed to last forever, but of course, it doesn’t always. In fact, it’s so likely that couples get bored with each other that there is actually a name for it: The Seven Year Itch.

As Bear and I went into our seventh year together, I wondered what the year would be like for us. I can honestly say, that my husband still holds my interest and even after 7 years of marriage, he still surprises me. Case in point:

I was at home working, yesterday…okay, so I was in my study fighting with Smokey as to who got the chair, but my heart and soul were ready to work. Just as I was sitting down (well, perching. Smokey and I made a truce: he would sit where and how he wanted and I would mould myself around any open spaces), the phone rang.

“Hello?”

“Hi Honey.”

“Hey Bear. How’s work?”

“Great. Hey listen, our printer, if I brought home some photos can our printer copy them?”

Now, two things happened here.

First of all, the nerd in me puffed out its biscuit chest at the question. Of course the printer could handle some pictures. It was an HP 3210 all-in-one, with separate ink cartridges and a speed of 32 pps. I could enlarge, reduce, change the positioning and colour of the photos.

Secondly, I translated what “some” meant. Bear had been around me enough to know what a pain photocopying can be, but being that Bear is electronically impaired, he wouldn’t necessarily grasp the true nature of how boring and time consuming a task it is. So I figured that some probably meant about 15 pics.

“Of course it can handle your photos, babe,” I said, chest still puffed out and lovingly stroking the cover of my printer (and I swear, it was purring…it couldn’t have been Smokey b/c he was still watching me with that wary eye of a newly throned conqueror, watching to see if I would use brut force to de-throne him).

“Do you mind coming with me to Office Depot to pick up a binder and some sheet protectors?”

My heart leapt, my breath rushed. Go to Office Depot? Had I died and gone to heaven? I assented, then waited eagerly for my husband to come home. A few hours later, I heard the familiar clicking of the doorknob.

Rushing to the foyer, I saw Bear come through…with 3 binders in his hand…

He’s so excited and said, “here are the photos that I want.” Then he opened one binder and started flipping through the pages. “I want this (pg.1), this (pg.2), this (pg.3), this (pg.4),” by the time he got to page 7, he just looked at me and said, “Actually, I want the whole binder.”

“The whole binder?” My smile was faltering. A full one inch binder at 2 pictures on each side of the page + taking them out and putting them back into the sheet protector + putting the new copies into their own protector = a lot of work.

But I love my husband and I wanted to support him. So I cemented that smile in place and said, “No problem honey,” and thought, well, what’s the big deal? An hour, maybe an hour and a half. I took the binder, though it felt much heavier than it should – I guess it was all those papers. I stumbled a little under the weight, but maintained my footing.

Then he gave me the sweetest smile and said, “Here, these binders too,” and dumped them in my arms…if I had testicles, I swear, they would have crawled inside my body scurrying higher and higher for protection until they jumped out of my mouth and ran out the front door, screaming in fear. 3 binders. 3 inches worth of photocopy, collating and binding…

But wait. It gets better.

I go into my study, not so much because I’m a loving wife, but because I have a big mouth and I have agreed to a whole hell of a lot of work, and I may as well start it now. Bear offered to join me in the study and read his papers. I swallowed the gurgle of, “What?! I’m about to work my butt off and you’re going to READ??!!!”

So, I got down to work. There is a zen-like rhythm to photocopying and I got into it. I don’t know how long it was until I turned around. But I ran out of paper and needed to get some from the closet…I wish I hadn’t turned around.

Bear had just bought his own ladder for work. It’s a cunning little thing that folds up quite nicely, yet can telescope to the roof of a house. At that moment in time, my husband had unpacked said ladder. Now, I need you to picture this: my little study. Smokey is on the desk (he’d taken refuge on higher ground, which was another lesson. Always watch my animals. They know more than I do). Kaleb is laying by the study door. Buddy is by the fax machine. For me to say there was no room was an understatement.

Yet my husband, innovator that he is, managed to find the last remaining space and plant his ladder there. I started to feel like the forest creatures when developers encroach on their land. Anyway, I just kind of looked at Bear, who was so very excited about his ladder, that I just didn’t have the heart to point out the obvious: outdoor ladders are for the outdoor.

I manoeuvred through the obstacle course, got to the closet and reached for a stack of papers. It was just about then, that I heard the loud bang. Yes, my friends, Bear had decided to open the ladder. He wanted to experiment with the telescoping feature and managed to telescope the ladder right into the light fixture.

He looked at me with these innocent, big, blue eyes and said, “whoops.”

After I stopped laughing, I suggested that he not open the ladder any more. The light hadn’t broken, but I could see him eyeing the rest of the ceiling, thinking that he still had 5 inches of clearance to raise the ladder, if he moved it away from the light, and I had to put a stop to that, pronto!

I went back to my photocopying, but 5 minutes later, I heard the words I most dread in my life, “Honey, I’m going to go and climb on the roof.” I kept my back to him b/c I didn’t want him to see the fear in my eyes and said (in as calm a voice as I could muster), “No problem babe, have fun.”

He walked through the door, then turned back and said, “Thanks for doing that, honey. Mike said that it would take a long time, but I didn’t realize just how much time.”

I had to laugh. A true entrepreneurial spirit: wants to find out things for himself, but after having the vision, delegates the hard work!

He toddled off and I started praying.

Hard.

You will remember, of course, that my husband is the one with most of his bones fused by surgery b/c of his accidents; the one who decided to see if his head could fit between the bars of a see-saw; who fell onto a tricyle and lodged the nail in his cheek; who dived into 18 inches of water; who trimmed the trees whilst balancing the shears and 180 pounds of himself on 2 inches of fence that was 6 feet off the ground.

I didn’t pray for his safety, mind you. If there is one thing I know, is that the good Lord has an entire army of angels watching my husband. And even if they all happened to be on a coffee break, with the nature of my husband and the amount of praying I do for his physical body, I have a direct line to God…whenever I pray, I can always see God’s secretary knocking on the office door, and saying, “Lord, sorry to interrupt. We have Brown on line 1. It’s regarding Bear.”

God leaps from his chair, ushering out whomever he was talking to, and then God rushes for the cameras, trying to assess how bad the damage is going to be. Lights are flashing and alarms are going off and a husky, yet calm feminine voice can be heard through all the heavens announcing, “Code Bush. Bear alert. Code Bush. Bear alert. All angels to their stations.”

So no, I wasn’t praying that he would live through any catastrophe because I knew he would. What I actually prayed was, “Lord, lend me a hand. I have 5 hours worth of work here. Could you see that he doesn’t injure himself until I’m almost done?”

In the end my darling friends, he came away with a blood blister on his fingers (“Gee Brown, you know they have this warning about not putting your fingers in between the links when you’re closing the ladder.” And my husband, you did that? “No, of course not. I just didn’t get my fingers out in time.”).

And I, a MacDonald’s fix, 200 pages, 5 ink cartridges and 4 hours later, came away with more than just a paper cut. I came away with a new respect for my Bear. The man knows how to keep me on my toes, even after 7 years together.

And I came away with some new tools for my marriage. From now on, whenever he asks me to do anything computer related, I will clarify exactly what “some” means!

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