I told you I used to have only one chin.
See that cute guy up there? He's the one not wearing a hat. I am totally in love with him, and he's totally in love with me.
That needs to be clearly understood.
That cute guy will be 50 in September. Which, in the weird world he inhabits, means 'eligible for retirement.'
Now, that's not going to happen, not in September anyway. There are a lot of reasons: We've still got kids in college, all three of our younger kids have said they'd like to serve missions, we have a house to pay off ...
... oh, and if he retires in September, we'll both be in prison by October.
I once wrote how my kids don't do 'time off' very well. And I'm here to tell you, they come by it honestly. The years that our church meetings go from 9:00 to noon are the most trying years of our marriage. Brett simply can't handle all those hours of uninterrupted Sabbath-ing. Give him a 3-day weekend, and by Monday night he'll be kicking holes in the walls just to have a new project to occupy his energy -- an act I fully support, by the way.
Why? Because otherwise, he notices me. And not in that, "Hey, there's my beautiful wife of 27 glorious years" way that comes at the end of a normal work day. It's more in the, "Have you always brushed your teeth with your left hand? We've really got to do something about that" way that is the trademark of the terminally bored.
Just once, before he calls it quits for good, I'd love to wake up one morning and announce that I was taking a 'day off' and spending it at his office. No warning, no chance for him to gracefully bow out -- just, "I'll meet you in the car, right after you change, because seriously? Why would you strap your gun to that ankle?"
Of course, my husband's being a federal agent precludes my really doing this, but a girl can dream. I'd follow him around, making loaded observations like "Gosh, you're really typing fast. Is that report late or something?" or "You sure do spend a lot of time talking golf with your co-workers, huh? Good thing no one's out there robbing banks or plotting terrorist attacks."
My favorite would be just hanging out in the same room with him, waiting to be entertained. I wouldn't really say much, just smile at him and look expectantly while he tried to read my mind. "She's hungry. She wants to take a walk. No, wait. A movie. That's it. She wants to see a movie."
And when he finally broke down and asked what I'd like to do, I'd say, "Oh, you know, whatever you want to do." Because it's no fun if you have to be the party planner, too.
So then, when he suggested we go out and get something to eat, I'd say, "Hmm, not sure we can really afford that. Why don't you just whip up something here?" And when he admitted that it's a lot easier for him to just drive to Wendy's and buy a salad and a large Diet Coke every day, I'd just nod my head and say, "Huh."
"How can you work at such a cluttered desk?"
"Aren't you going to return that guy's phone call?"
"This mail's been sitting here a long time. Seems like someone would have opened it by now."
Oh, the lovely, productive 'day off' I'd have, puttering around the place where my husband works, helping him be more efficient and pointing out all the ways that I'd do things differently.
And he'd appreciate it! Having me close by, auditing his every move, second-guessing his every decision, rifling through his stuff and muttering, "How does anyone find anything around here?" -- all of this would help him relax and feel good about the changes I'd made to the routine he's worked out for himself over the last three decades. It certainly would not have him grinding his teeth to the gums and ordering contraband Valium off the Internet.
Oh, well. We all know I'll never get to share a special day like this with my beloved. At least not until he retires. At which point, I'll be sure to join him in his workshop for some quality time together.
"Hey, honey?" I'll say. "Come over here and let me show you how I'd kick those holes in the wall."