Abby's Road: My husband, the antidote
I could not decide what to write about this week. There were a handful of contenders – summer camp, my new haircut, string theory – but nostalgia, despair, or particle physics kept getting in the way.
Whenever writer’s block strikes, my husband always suggests the same antidote: that I write about him. So buckle up, everyone.
I met my husband in college. We quickly became best friends. He told me about all the girls he was trying to date, and I tried to ignore that I was not one of them.
We studied abroad in Lyon, France, together during our junior year. There were a handful of other students from our school who also landed in this not-Paris, and one weekend we decided to take a trip to an even smaller not-Paris. The town was in the Alps, at the northern tip of a large lake. Wicked ugly spot.
We made our trek just as winter was ending. After a long lunch where the French table wine flowed as easily as French oh-la-la wine, the dozen of us decided to enjoy a motorboat tour of the lake. I looked out across the bow of the boat and saw nothing but glass-smooth water, thick forests, and snow-dappled mountains. I looked behind me, and saw my future husband, cigarette hanging from his mouth, nudging the certified boat captain to the side and taking over the piloting responsibilities.
Faster than an American can mispronounce “tu es fou, toi?!?” he had ceded control back to the professional. Unfortunately, that was simply so both hands could be freed up to help him undress. In two shakes of a baguette, he had stripped down to his boxers and jumped into the lake for a Sunday swim.
After I shouted warnings about hypothermia and Interpol at him for three harried minutes, he returned to the boat. Our group decided we had done enough cementing of American stereotypes for one weekend, and we began the bus trip back to Lyon. As he boarded our concrete chariot, my future husband spotted the driver’s microphone. He spent the next two hours serenading his captive audience with a mix of stories, jokes, and songs in three, maybe four, languages.
After we got married, we lived in a small apartment in Hoboken, New Jersey. He returned to Puerto Rico for a weekend to attend a friend’s wedding. The first night he was away, I obviously ordered takeout and rented "The Notebook."
No sooner had Ryan Gosling started falling for me than I heard rustling coming from the kitchen. This was not a promising development. I told Ryan to hang on a minute, and went to investigate.
There was a mouse in the kitchen. I repeat, there was a mouse in the kitchen. In a long jump reminiscent of your favorite summer Olympics, I traveled from the threshold of said kitchen to the living room couch, grabbing my cell phone along the way. I breathlessly dialed my husband in Puerto Rico.
He did not answer. He also did not intuit that I was trapped in our apartment with a mouse. He also did not remember that he forgot to check the apartment for any inconvenience, especially tiny rodent ones, prior to his departure.
He found me on the living room couch 36 hours later, and I still haven’t forgiven him. Or the mouse.
Do you know how there are people you can hire to do things that are really hard and require special training or equipment? Please tell my husband. He won’t listen to me.
We have lived in our current home for less than three years. In that time, he’s done everything from insulating the attic to irrigating the back yard, from fashioning curtain rods to making porch furniture, from setting up a 300-pound bouncy house to building – and then renovating – a chicken coop. He has rented, and actually used, a wood chipper, a Bobcat and a pig roaster. He owns, and has actually read, books on electrical wiring, Jeeps of the 1960s and gardening.
He has yet to learn how to put his socks in a hamper, make a bed, or fold laundry.