Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Empty Nesters

Last Thursday, we shipped the kids off to Arizona with grandma for the weekend.  Excited to have house to ourselves, KT and I took Friday off work.  We had no plans, no commitments and no itinerary for three days.  It was awesome.  That being said, by Friday at 10:00, we were bored.  Determined to make the most of our time, we hatched the brilliant plant to make grape jelly using the concord grapes that have been growing like Audrey Two from Little Shop of Horrors for a few years in what used to be our garden (we now prefer to call it "native habitat").  We researched recipes and realized we needed a sieve to continue our project.  Determined to do this on the cheap, we set off to the local thrift shop to see if we could score one.  This was convenient, as the liquor store was right next door and I was already several hours late of a buzz considering the whole three day weekend thing.

So, after determining there wasn't a sieve, we decided to make our normal rounds through the store.  KT meanders through clothing, knick-knacks and pillow cases (?) while I flip through the t-shirts and check out the books.  When I was halfway through the book aisle, KT came bounding towards me, heels kicking high and arms flailing.  "OMIGOD OMIGOD OMIGOD!  I found an EMMALJUNGA!  You HAVE to come look at this!!!".  Intrigued, as I had not a clue what an Emmaljunga was, I followed.  Turns out an Emmaljunga is a baby stroller.  KT would have none of my less than enthusiastic reaction.  "You don't understand.  We HAVE to buy this.  You can't even buy these in the United States.  EVERYONE in Sweden has one and it's only $30!  We HAVE to buy this."

"But," I countered, "our children are grown.  We just sent them on a plane to Arizona.  We aren't having more children.  I don't see the need."  KT would not be denied.  "It can be for our grand-babies.  We can lend it to people.  I can clean it up and sell it.  It's Swedish and thus the most awesome baby stroller ever invented and we are buying it."  Case closed.  We loaded the stroller into the car and headed home.

Once home, KT set to work immediately, furiously scrubbing and polishing the stroller, shaping it up to the point that I had to admit it was a fine looking piece of machinery.  She then dove into internet research, proving to me that indeed you can't purchase an Emmaljunga anywhere in the United States and that they do sell for quite a bit more than we paid for it.  Humbled, I apologized for my hesitation in purchasing it and assured KT I would never question her in a thrift store again.  All was well with the world, we were at peace.

Flash forward a few hours.  I was diving into one of my new books while KT was in the other room, still putting the finishing touches on her new investment.  I was absorbed in my book, but became vaguely aware of KT humming or singing.  I wasn't alarmed, but found it peculiar as she isn't normally prone to these habits.  As it continued, getting gradually louder, I recognized the tune.  She was performing the music from the opening credits of Rosemary's Baby.  The creepy "la la laaa la, la la laaa" tune.  I had to investigate.  It was as bad as I thought.  KT was pushing the stroller around the room, eyes glazed over.  She was, of course, doing it merely because she knew I would freak, but it worked.  I asked, begged, pleaded for her to stop, but that only encouraged her.  "I miss my babies, la la laaaa, la la laaa.  Aren't you excited for us to be empty nesters?"  I knew my only hope was to ignore her.  Luckily, I'm pretty good at that. I went back to my book, gritting my teeth and pretending I wasn't disturbed.  In an inspiring display of determination, she continued the act for nearly 20 minutes.

Finally, satisfied the nightmare was behind me as the maniacal la la la had stopped, I ventured back into the room.  This is what greeted me:
Followed immediately by KT whining, "Paul, I miss my baybeeeees!!!!"

I truly fear for our future.  Oh, also, the damn birds ate our grapes, so the great jelly experiment was a flusher.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Naked Feral Cat

It's now been about 18 months since I started wearing hearing aids.  They're great and I wish I would have gotten them much earlier.  They make work, social situations and family life infinitely easier and have been credited with "turning down my asshole factor a bit" (I'll let you guess whom I'm quoting there).  That being said, my favorite moment every day is taking them out at night.  I'm essentially pressing the mute button on the world, and it is wonderful.  This moment usually occurs between 9:30 and 10:00 each night, when I have finally:
a) massaged
b) paid sufficient attention to
c) cuddled
d) liquored up or
e) all of the above
KT enough that she has stopped talking and has a fine line of drool hanging from the corner of her mouth.  Like one becomes dependent on glasses just a month after first getting them - despite not having worn glasses before - I have become dependent on my hearing aids and can hear absolutely nothing without them.  Like I said, this is a peaceful nirvana for me and I cherish the moments.  It can, however, lead to "situations" at times where it is imperative for KT to convey a message to me and my deafness makes it considerably difficult.  I tend to startle easily as I can't hear anyone not in my line of vision.  Additionally, when startled, I tend to jump and flail much like a Looney Tunes character.  KT, in her typical sensitive, loving manner, has likened me to a naked feral cat when I don't have my ears in. She cites the following two examples in justifying my new title:

1)  Last weekend I came down with a nasty head cold.  It timed itself perfectly so that it hit right when I got home from work Friday and proceeded to stay with me through the weekend, lifting just in time so I couldn't justify taking a sick day Monday.  Friday night, Saturday and Sunday, however, I was flat on my back, sniffling, sneezing and dispersing mucus like an oversensitive soft soap dispenser.  Friday night, KT and I had fallen asleep on the couch in front of the TV, as per our normal protocol.  We sleep there for an hour or so until one of us gets uncomfortable enough to make the effort of getting up and heading to bed.  As a courtesy, the one who has gotten up will nudge the other and grunt out the word "bed" before trudging off.  The other will then usually follow suit.  This night KT was the one who woke first and decided to head to bed.  I had my hearing aids out and was soundly sleeping as she nudged me.  Following routine, I began instinctively rising to head to the bedroom.  Rather than sleepily shuffling ahead of me, however, KT immediately jumped into an admirable basketball defensive position and began boxing me out.  Confused and still mostly asleep, I attempted to move around her.  She quickly spun around held up her hand in the classic traffic cop stop position and yelled, "NO!".  "YOU!" (pointing at me now).  "STAY!" (pointing at the couch now).  "STAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY.  YOU STAY!"  I now had stirred sufficiently to understand that my sneezing/snoring/snorting had banished me to the couch for the night.  That was fine, I could understand her reasoning, but thought the theatrics of trying to train a feral cat were a bit excessive.

2)  Al and Audrey are at the stages in their lives where, despite still living at home, are gone often enough that it is not at all uncommon for KT and I to find we have the house to ourselves for the night and the following morning. It allows certain liberties that are convenient and run the risk of years of expensive therapy if the kids witnessed it.  In specifics, I'm referring to walking from the shower (downstairs) to the bedroom (main floor) without first getting dressed.  It's a small convenience, admittedly, but one which I never fail to take advantage of when I can.  A few weeks ago we had one such situation.  The kids were both gone for the night and we didn't expect them home until late the next afternoon.  So, Saturday morning, I got out of bed to shower with the full intent of making a naked journey to the bedroom to get dressed after.  KT was still in bed, drinking coffee and waiting her turn for the shower.  To her mild surprise, she heard the front door open and Audrey walk in with a friend.  As it turns out, they had decided to go shopping and Audrey was swinging by home for a quick change of clothes.  KT went to the kitchen to chat with them as I, oblivious, finished my shower.  When she heard the stairs creaking as I began walking upstairs, she realized the magnitude of the enormous life scarring event that was about to unfold.  She began yelling "PAUL!!!!  STOP!!!!!  DON'T COME UPSTAIRS!!!!"  I, however, didn't have my hearing aids in (they don't work well in showers), and heard nothing more than Charlie Brown's parents yelling "BWAH!!!!  BOP!!!!! MMOMP FLOM ROMMAIRS!!!!" This simply piqued my interest and I picked up my pace.  KT quickly realized the naked feral cat was loose.  Thinking fast, she ran to the top of the stairs where, by divine intervention, a basket of my clean laundry was waiting for me to put away.  She opened the door and began madly flinging whatever clothes she could grab quickest down the stairs, pelting me with a total of two pairs of shorts, thee socks and a flannel shirt.  The message was received, however, and I realized that it was probably a good idea to put some clothes on before going further.

While my natural inclination is to be offended by the comparison, I do have to admit that KT may, once again, be right.