My birthday was last week. I remember my mother telling me at one time that she was in the hospital after birthing me when Pearl Harbor was bombed. That ought to tell you two things: 1) How old I am; and 2) Oh my goodness, that was a long time ago when a woman actually stayed in the hospital more than one day after having a child.
Last week was an amazing week for me. I finally talked my husband into buying a new, small refrigerator for the laundry room. He had a refrigerator out there to use for vegetables from his garden and canned drinks. However, it had taken to groaning, very loudly. I think he realized it was a goner.
That refrigerator was just one step up from the models from the 1920s that had motors on their tops. I think it was at least 60 years old, if not older. It had a freezer the size of a toaster, and it was continually covered with ice at least 2 inches thick.
Resting on the floor of the refrigerator was a 2-quart plastic bowl. It was there to catch the drips from the ice. My husband had to empty it every two or three days. The exterior of the refrigerator was far from pristine. It was crisscrossed with patches and scratches of rust. The inside might have been worse. The new refrigerator is small. It’s not quite 4 feet tall and about 20 inches wide, so it fits nicely in the space where the old refrigerator was. And it has a freezer bigger than a toaster. Every time I go into the laundry room, it gives me a start. There is so much more visual space. I am certain I will be saving money on electricity with this new one. The old one? It is sitting in the yard under a tarp. My husband cannot bear to part with anything, and the tarp is to protect it from the elements. He thinks he can use the carcass to make a smoker. Mind you, that old refrigerator was so heavy that it broke the wheel of a hand cart as it was being wheeled down the steps. The second amazing thing that happened last week is that my husband went with me to a department store to shop for some new clothes. He has lost a good bit of weight over the past two years, and I have bought new clothes for him per his requests. The key phrase here is "I have bought." I go to the store, purchase what he requests and bring things home for his approval. Some we keep, some we reject, and some we swap for other sizes. But this time he needed a new suit, and I didn’t think I could manage that by myself. He found one that he grudgingly liked. It apparently is difficult to find suits with pants that are not pleated. And he did not want black. The suit did need altering, but the store will do that gratis. It will be ready this week.
I told him he now had a suit for formal occasions and funerals. He said I could use it to bury him in. Either way we are pretty morbid.
I tried to talk him into some casual pants and shirts, but after he tried a few on, we went home without purchasing any. He leads a sheltered shopping life. He thinks blue jeans should cost $15 as they did in his youth. He is unsure about the price of jeans and is still unsure, as am I, about his size. The last amazing thing that happened to me last week is that my husband took me out to eat. He said it was for my birthday. But it actually was the day before my birthday.
What makes this unusual is that, as a rule, my husband only takes me out to eat once a year, on our anniversary. He truly hates to eat out.
I don’t think that is a tribute to my cooking. He just sees eating out as a waste of money.
Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.