Before I start this "real life" expose of Valentine's 2011, let me say that my husband is giving me the best Valentine's, Christmas, birthday, and any other gift that anyone could ever hope to receive. Although it may stress us financially, he is encouraging me to retire early. Why? So that I can concentrate on writing and on volunteer work and, yes, just be lazy if I so desire while he continues to work at a job that he's not always crazy about.
So why am I writing about our less-than-stellar Valentine's day? Ummmm. Not sure. Except that it makes a funny story.. now. And maybe Reality Blogs could catch on the way Reality T. V. has??? Actually, as always, I have a point to make and that is: being a Valentine is not about heart-shaped candies and long-stemmed roses.
It's about bats...
Wait, jumped the gun there a bit...
First, you need to know that I'm pushing 57 and Phil is pushing 58 and we've been married (happily:) for 24 years. (That may change after he reads this blog!) As I get older, I dither more. So I bought him two Valentine cards a couple of weeks ago because I couldn't make up my mind which one to get. And then I tucked them away where he couldn't find them.. and I couldn't either.
Sunday afternoon, he came in with a heart-shaped box of candy - my favorite brand - and a card with no envelope.
I looked at the card and said, "Was it the last one in the store?"
He smiled sheepishly, "Well, the last clean card in the store... The others weren't, uh, suitable. And, uh, I couldn't find an envelope for this one. There weren't any left."
The card was a pretty shade of purple with embossed lettering and a flowery poem. But several words on the front and on the inside were marked out with red ink. PHil doesn't believe in luck and this card repeatedly talked about how lucky it was that he had me in his life... or words to that effect. So my sweet husband had taken a red ink pen and marked out every reference to luck and substituted "blessed". The only problem was, I had trouble reading the red ink on the purple background. I made a mental note to get my eyes checked...
Then he suggested that we go out to a nice restaurant the next day since that was actually Feb. 14 and that's what we did. We had a great meal after work, very relaxing, everything was good.
At home everything continued to be fine until Phil remembered he had a dental appointment in the morning. Which reminded him that we had spent about a thousand dollars on one tooth already, which he still ended up losing... And now he was having to go in for a crown on a different tooth which would cost who-knows-how much which led to the gloomy prediction that if things kept going the way they were, he would be gumming his food before long..
Meanwhile, I'm surfing Face Book and looking at all the pics of flowers on that page and reading statuses like, "My Valentine and I are watching a movie together.." and I'm thinking, "My Valentine and I are contemplating a big dental bill and a possibly toothless old age together...Ha!"
Then I remember that I needed to deposit a check.. which I had been forgetting... along with my beloved's Valentine cards... Okay: someday Phil will have no teeth and I'll have no short-term memory.
Phil is off on Tuesdays so I thought he could take the check to the bank the next morning. But he's agitated, restless, not looking forward to the dentist in the a.m. so he figures he might as well take it right then. I'm thinking: it's already 8:30 p.m. and our bank is a 20 minute drive from here... REally???
After he leaves, I sit down and write a letter letting my school district know that I'm planning to retire at the end of the year. Everyone knows it already but somehow, now it's official.
That done, I take a shower. When I come out, I hear my much-loved sister-in-law leaving a somewhat frantic voice mail. She's normally very calm with a can-do approach to life but now I hear her pleading, "Please pick up!! I need some help!!!! Hellooo...! Helloooo...!" I run into the kitchen and grab the phone just as the connection is broken. I quickly return the call and hear, " Thank goodness! I need some help! Charity and I are shut up in her bedroom because there's a bat flying around downstairs and we're afraid to go down there!! Could Phil come up and get the bat, please!!!"
I assured her that he could, that I would call him on his cell immediately, which I did.
Looking back, I can see that I didn't start the conversation off well. What I should have said was: Linda has a bat in her house...
What I actually said was: "Phil... your sister is almost in hysterics!!! She's really in trouble!!! You've got to help her!!!"
Then I hear: "What????? What's going on???"
And then.... "What the!!!!!!."
And then.... "Oh no!!! ...I just backed the truck into a wall!!!!!"
Now it's my turn: "You did what? You hit a wall???"
His response: "YESSSSS... I HIT A WALL !!! Agghhh!!! I'll call you later!!!!"
End of conversation.
The first thought that goes through my mind? This is so not good...
Then I yell for our college-age son, whose been having headaches, a sore throat, and a little dizziness over the past 2 days.
"DAvid!!! Dad just backed the truck into a wall and your aunt has a bat flying around downstairs!!!"
He comes into the room, smiles at me, then does a double-take as my words register. "What?? Dad backed the truck into a wall????"
"Yessssss!!!! He-backed-the-truck-into-a-wall!!! And I don't know how much damage was done! And LInda and Charity are barricaded upstairs and they can't stay there forever so you have to go kill the bat!!!"
He looks at me for a minute, his face carefully neutral.
Then he goes, puts his shoes on and grabs his car keys.
As he's headed out the door, I yell: "David!"
He turns around.
"It's really turning into a whacked-out night around here. so... don't get bitten by the bat, okay?"
He frowns and says, "Mom...I'm NOT going to get bitten by a bat!!"
So I wait and send up some arrow prayers and look at my retirement letter and wonder if all this is some sort of weird omen.
Forty minutes later, both my guys come in, totally animated by the Great Bat Hunt of Mabel-dale..
Somehow, they found the miscreant, got him in a curtain, carried him outside and watched him fly off into the night air. Fist pump!!
I go back to looking at Face Book statuses about various Valentine activities, thinking, No one's going to believe mine...
I once read that Socrates used to go out and encourage his students to find the meanest, sharpest-tongued woman they could find and then marry her. Because if they could live with a woman like that, they were truly men!!
I'm not going to encourage you to roll your truck into the ATM wall at the bank (both were okay by the way) and/or go bat hunting as a way to celebrate Valentines Day. But I will say that if you can survive things like that and still laugh and love, you are true Valentines. Because love is not about candy and flowers, it's about hanging in there and keeping a sense of humor when everything goes .. well.. batty... around you.