Monday, July 19, 2004

Everybody should own one.
I love men. Truly I do. I love old men, young men, men who twirl batons.  I always have. To be perfectly honest, I'm sure I'll be a little old blue-haired lady trying to look "purty" for the orderly that comes in every morning at the nursing home to turn me so I won't get bed sores.  I can't help it. I was just built this way.
It's because I love 'em so much that I have one of my very own. The infamous Mr. Man.
Mr. Man is a pretty handsome guy.  That's always a bonus. He's also very funny. Which is even more important to me than the handsome thing. He and I have had some rocky times, but I'm feeling fairly certain that despite my track record, I will continue to own this one for a long time.  I'm thinking it's way easier to keep him than to break in a new one. 
Having a man around the house is important in my opinion. They squish bugs, take the trash out and change light bulbs that otherwise might never be changed.  No home should be without a man.  Unfortunately, they can also be a little difficult from time to time. It's sort of like a new puppy. You're tickled pink to have something cute and cuddly around until he wakes you up whimpering at three in the morning.
My Man works a lot of hours and totes around a big gun all day.  I am very appreciative of what he does for our family and I try never to take for granted his sacrifice. That being said, there are those moments in this relationship when I am overwhelmed with the need to gently kill him. 
A week ago Friday was just such a day.
I hate grocery day and I mean I hate it something awful. I don't care to shop shoulder to shoulder with moms pushing carts of screaming children. I despise check out clerks that forget to ring up my coupons and then tell me after everything is bagged and in my cart that the only way they can ring them up now would be to take everything back out and start from scratch. I dislike going to every store in town because I am a cheap woman that will not pay a nickel more for something just for the convenience of having it all under one roof.  
My family is clear on my feelings. So every other Friday we have an understanding, my family and I, that I do absolutely nothing but buy groceries. There will be no cooking, no cleaning and no more Mr. Nice Mom. This is the price they pay for eating.
Such was the case last week on black Friday. I got up super early, so as to avoid as many of those carts full of screaming kids as possible, threw on my sweats and prepared to venture out into the retail wilderness to forage for food for my family. I was thrilled to see that it was raining outside.
Did I say raining? What I meant to say was that it was monsoon season and if I was going to get to the store, I was going to need to drive the Ark, not the Ford.
But, my family was out of Ho-Ho's and I knew that even if I had to swim to the grocery store, I'd better get there. When the snacks get low in this house, it turns into reality TV at it's worst.  Family members start hiding food from each other. My son drags around from room to room like he's been in the desert for three days without water and barely has the energy to move. Even the dog grabs his little fake bones, puts them under the sofa and pushes imaginary dirt on top of them with his nose.  It's every man for himself.
So off I went, all the while dodging animals and their life partners that were trying to get me to pull over so they could get in.
Store One:
Shop, shop, shop. Spend, spend, spend. 
Make a mad dash home to unload this first trunk full so I can go to Store Two to buy more stuff. Normally, I unload by myself. Mr. Man is usually working and my son acts like the farm animals in the Henny Penny story. He doesn't want to do the work, but he wants to eat the Fruit Roll Ups.
Thankfully Mr. Man was home today and after I stomped in the front door, bags in hand and leaving a puddle of water with every step, he picked up on the possibility that I might want some help bringing the bags in the house. 
Store Two:
Shop, shop, shop. Spend, spend, spend.
Hmmmm. Something smells funny in my car. And when I say funny, I mean putrid. Wonder what that could be, I ask myself.  Maybe all this rain is causing it, I reason. Oh well, only two more stores to go and at least Mr. Man is at home to help me get all these bags in the house.
Store Three:
Shop, shop, feel a little icky.
That smell in my car is really horrible now and as I haven't even eaten yet, much less had my coffee, it's sort of upsetting my tummy.  Thank goodness Mr. Man is home. I don't even feel like carrying these bags from the car to the house.
Store Four: The final frontier.
Shop, stick my head in the giant milk refrigerator to try to prevent fainting. 
Shop, position my body on the grocery cart so that almost all of me is lying on it, push it with one foot and pray a variation of the drinker's prayer.
Dear Lord, if you'll just keep me from puking, I promise I'll never buy groceries again.  And, God bless Mr. Man for being off today to unload the trunk. 
On the upside, I realize I have undoubtedly located Jimmy Hoffa. He has been cleverly buried in my car somewhere.
Amazingly, once I was home and no longer forced to breathe in the toxic smell that was my car, I began to feel human again.  When finally it stopped raining, I instructed Man to go outside and roll the windows down in my car in the hopes that maybe whatever was causing this stink would be fixed with enough fresh air. 
Evening came and kindly old Mr. Man and I decided to take the kids to get ice cream.  Because I have a short memory on occasion, I somehow forgot my rough morning.  We all hopped in my very hot car, buckled up and headed off to the ice cream getting place.
We couldn't have gotten a mile down the road when I suddenly remembered my trauma.
"What is that smell?" the kids cried from the back seat.
"Quick! Roll your windows down!" I yelled. "I know I've told you your heads would blow off if you hang them out the window, but this is an emergency. Save yourselves!"
"I don't smell anything," says Man calmly. This is typical. All men are equipped with filters in their noses. That's because they stay in the bathroom for hours at a time doing what every woman knows takes less than 1.2 minutes. Without the filters, they would be unable to read entire magazines in such conditions.
"Seriously Man, this is bad. I'm going to be sick. What in the world could make my car smell this way?"
"I don't know," says He nonchalantly.  "Maybe it's that dead bird in the trunk."
The what now???  Did he say dead bird in the trunk? The thing is, Mr. Man is notorious for yanking my chain. He gets a big kick out of telling me some elaborate story just to see if I'll fall for it. This is the same man that had me convinced for months that all new houses were being built without tubs because they were not sanitary. He loves to get me going because he thinks it's cute that I can sometimes be the tiniest bit gullible.
"There is not a dead bird in my trunk." I argue. He's not getting me this time. "Besides, how in the world would a bird, dead or otherwise, get in my trunk?"
"Yes, there really is. You didn't see it when you were putting the groceries in the car?" He says. "It must have fallen onto the trunk in the storm and when you opened the trunk it fell in.  I'll pull over right now and show you if you want."
If you're a woman, you know what I was thinking at this moment.
"So Mr. Man, if there were a dead bird in my trunk and YOU KNEW ABOUT IT... why then would you not remove said bird from my trunk when first you noticed it?"
His answer? "It was raining. I figured I'd get it out later."
"You mean to tell me that you let me not only drive around with a smelly, dead animal in my vehicle, you let me put our food in the trunk with the dead animal? Did it not occur to you that I might not appreciate being a mobile pet cemetery?"
"I just figured you knew it was there."
That was the best he could do. He figured I knew my Focus was a pet hearse and that was completely ok with me. It was fine with me to have my Ding-Dong's right next to a bird carcass. The same OCD woman that would Clorox the spot on the kitchen counter where he killed a fly for thirty solid minutes was suddenly cool with dead things riding around with me.
"Have we met?" I asked.
I swear by all that is holy, if that light bulb weren't burnt out on the back porch I would so cut him loose.  Him and his dead bird.
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Copyright © 2004, Sherri Bailey
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