Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Gardener without the Sex

As some of you may know, my husband took a job this summer which takes him out of town 6 days out of 7. That's not the bad part. He sells roofing in areas that have been hit by disasters. That's not the bad part. He has been located in Southwest Missouri, the Joplin area and lives in an apartment with 5 other men during the week while working 14 hours days. That's not even the bad part. We have always been pretty independent creatures for right or wrong, but being apart is not the tragedy. The fact that he has worked selflessly for 12 weeks and not gotten paid for any sales isn't even the bad part. (Please don't ask. I can't get a straight answer out of him.) The pain is that he never asked me whether he should take the job, never asked my opinion, never cared whether I supported him in this endeavor, never told his daughter he would be absent for her senior year, never involved anyone but himself in the decision. When I jokingly said a few weeks ago, "After our latest storm in St. Louis, does that mean you could be relocating to St. Louis to sell roofs to those people who lost theirs in that horrible storm?" And he answered, "Did I forget to tell you that we're entrenched in Southwest Missouri till December?" No, he never told me that. That is the horror of this story.

Dorothy, senior and theatre techie extraordinnaire, has taken on the task of mowing the lawn when he can't get to it, and I have had to take out trash and do the laundry after 25 years of never doing so. I'm not incapable, but let's face it, Ladies, if you don't let your man take control of a few chores over the years, he'd get away with doing nothing. So trash and laundry are his. Not any more. Last weekend he didn't even bother to come home because he had to be on the job at 6AM Monday morning and would have had to leave Sunday night for the 5 hour drive. Oh did I forget to tell you non-Missourians, that Joplin is in the bottom left hand corner of Missouri and is easily 5 hours away. (Thank God the company pays for gas.) He often doesn't get home until late Saturday evenings, throws his laundry into the washer (often forgetting ours until I reminded him to throw it all together), falls asleep before I even get to bed, wakes up for church, folds laundry and falls asleep in front of whatever baseball or football game is on tv, and goes to bed early Sunday nights so he can wake up at 6 on Mondays and start all over again. We often do not speak 10 words to each other.

So this weekend meant he was home after 2 weeks away. I blew up on the phone during one of his nightly phone calls. Keep in mind that he calls EVERY NIGHT while driving home from his latest sales call while going back to his "bachelor pad." And every time he calls he hits a "valley" and loses decent connection on the cell. Every night. You'd think he'd stop calling me in the same fucking valley. After I blew up (after 12 weeks of being the passive if-this-is-what-you-want wife), he sent me an apology card. I didn't know what was sadder: the apology card or the fact that Hallmark makes a card that specifically speaks to the problem of husbands not communicating with their wives. He promised to leave whatever he was doing by 2PM on Saturday afternoon so he could get home by 7 or so and we could walk around the local festival. He promised to talk about this job and how he fucked up and how I mean the world to him yadda yadda yadda. I've heard it all before. The phone rang at 6, and, of course, I'm thinking it's him telling me he's an hour our of town and to get into my "walking around the Greentree Festival" gear ready to eat funnel cakes and bloomin' onions and homemade lemonade. (Which I didn't because I'm on South Beach, damn it) You would be so wrong. No, it was him STILL IN JOPLIN telling me was just now leaving. Yep, that's right. Do the math. He wouldn't be home until 11. I went out on an errand around 8, and he called back with a message that he would be later because he had to go back to the office. So start ticking away on the 36 hours that has home every weekend. Tick tick tick.

He showed up at midnight. Believe it or not, I was in bed watching "Saturday Night Live" and reading the paper. He started a load of laundry. He then went into his office to, yes, do more paperwork. He came to bed after 1:30 when I had already turned out the light. His cell phone rings. He says, "Is that my cell phone?" "It's your damn phone, dimwit. How do I know?" He goes into his office to answer it. Are you asking yourself why he has his work cell phone on during the 36 hours he has off on the weekend? Don't ask. I still don't know. I actually hear him TALKING to someone at 1 fucking 30 in the morning. He comes back to bed and said, "That was Aaron." Quiet. I said, "Excuse me, what could your boss want at 1:30 in the morning on a Saturday." "Oh," he says, "he was drunk dialing me." "AND HE's YOUR FUCKING BOSS??? How OLD is this idiot?" I am livid. The cell phone rings AGAIN! AND AGAIN my husband gets up to answer it. Don't ask why he didn't turn off his work phone again after the first drunk dial. I hear him very curtly say, "This is not cute. Stop calling." He comes back to bed, and I say, "Why don't you turn off your goddamn phone." No answer. "Let me talk to the little fucker next time." No answer. Communication as usual. I am furious and get up to take 2 Tylenol PM because I know my racing heart will not allow me to fall asleep.

So this morning we go to church. This afternoon Hub mows the lawn after picking up 2 week's worth of dog "dirt" (What a strange name for shit.). He mows while I read the paper. I take a nap (if you recall the little sleep from the night before). When I wake up, there is no answer when I call his name. I pass by the bathroom and see the toilet seat up, a nasty habit I broke him of a quarter of a century ago that was enforced with the birth of TWO DAUGHTERS. He has left me a note that reads, "Took the recycling and running an errand. Call if needed." Mind you, not only is the toilet seat up, but the doors to the outside are left open, the garage door is open, and the dog is left outside... a dog that can jump fences and always wants to leave when someone she loves backs out of the driveway. This is it! I am married to the gardener. This is no different than if I hired a hunky Jesse Metcalf from "Desperate Housewives" to mow the lawn. He would probably come inside to take a piss and leave the toilet seat up. He would accidentally leave all doors open and the dog outside because it's not his responsibility. Two BIG differences? My husband is NO WHERE near as cute as the gardener on "Desperate Housewives." And the other difference is I'm not having sex with my "gardener." I am merely following up after him and cleaning up his messes. So I call him.

What errand, I wonder, since I wanted to walk around the local festival. Oh, he's back at the office collecting some supplies so he doesn't have to do so at 6AM on Monday. Are you keeping tabs of the amount of time he is still dealing with work while on his 36 hour weekend? I leave to do some work and return to see the company truck on the street with enough roofing supplies on the rack to cover half of Southwest Missouri. If the orange truck isn't bad enough, the largeness of the supplies is an eyesore. And I go into my office to watch the Emmys while he watches Pearl Harbor and... are you sitting... DO MORE PAPERWORK for WORK. So much for his apology and for talking to me and smoothing things over and getting paid for 3 months of work and spending time with his family.

I think I could forgive him if I were fucking Jesse Metcalf, but I'm not.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

A way to help

Hurricane Katrina's toll on communities, homes and lives has devastated the nation. Now victims must face the daunting question of where to go next—and we can help.

Tens of thousands of newly homeless families are being bused to a stadium in Houston, where they may wait for weeks or months. At least 80,000 are competing for area shelters, and countless more are in motels, cars, or wherever they can stay out of the elements. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Red Cross are scrambling to find shelter for the displaced.

This morning, we've launched an emergency national housing drive to connect your empty beds with hurricane victims who desperately need a place to wait out the storm. You can post your offer of housing (a spare room, extra bed, even a decent couch) and search for available housing online at:

Housing is most urgently needed within reasonable driving distance (about 300 miles) of the affected areas in the Southeast, especially New Orleans.
Please forward this message to anyone you know in the region who might be able to help.

But no matter where you live, your housing could still make a world of difference to a person or family in need, so please offer what you can.

The process is simple:
You can sign up to become a host by posting a description of whatever housing you have available, along with contact information. You can change or remove your offer at any time.

Hurricane victims, local and national relief organizations, friends and relatives can search the site for housing. We'll do everything we can to get your offers where they are needed most. Many shelters actually already have Internet access, but folks without 'net access can still make use of the site through case workers and family members.

Hurricane victims or relief agencies will contact hosts and together decide if it's a good match and make the necessary travel arrangements. The host's address is not released until a particular match is agreed on.

If hosting doesn't work for you, please consider donating to the Red Cross to help with the enormous tasks of rescue and recovery. You can give online at:
As progressives, we share a core belief that we are all in this together, and today is an important chance to put that idea to work. There are thousands of families who have just lost everything and need a place to stay dry. Let's do what we can to help.
Thanks for being there when it matters most.
—Noah Winer and the whole Civic Action Team Thursday, September 1st, 2005