Down East 2013 ©
The other day, my friend Celeste and me were gabbing, catching up on things, and as usual, talking about our husbands. She says to me, “Ida, sometimes I just snap at Bud for no good reason. I feel bad after. Heck, I feel bad while I’m doing it, but I just can’t help myself.
“I know what you mean, Celeste. There are some days when every time I open my mouth to say something to Charlie, only frogs and toads come out. Nothing but frogs and toads.
“Why is that, Ida? They’re both sweet guys.
“I’ve pondered this one, Celeste,” I says, “and I’ve come to the conclusion that multitasking makes us cranky. See, these guys have the luxury of only doing one thing at a time. Us women are responsible for keeping our eye on the Big Picture. We’re going in a million different directions, getting pulled this way and that. Why, we have so many balls in the air, all it takes is a feather added to the mix and we snap.
Celeste agreed. Then she had to go because she was baby sitting her grandson, Robbie, had a pie in the oven and needed to get the laundry off the line before it started to rain.
I read an article recently that said multitasking was an inefficient way of doing things. Of course, it was written by a man. Hello! Try making supper without multitasking! “Here you go, Charlie. Once we’ve eaten our fill of this meatloaf here, I’ll start peeling the potatoes.”
I used to blame that overwhelmed feeling on PMS, then perimenopause, then menopause, but things have pretty much settled down in that department. (I’d say I’m post-menopause, but that sounds like I’m just this side of dead.)
So basically, all my excuses for being short with Charlie are gone. That’s what I was thinking as I’m sitting in my craft room, doing a little deep breathing. I’d just about snapped his head off for asking me if we had any pickled eggs left, and I’d given myself a time-out.
See, we were going to a potluck at Rita and Smitty’s, and I was trying out a new recipe I’d gotten from Franny Lefebvre for a faux lobster thermidor made with them sea legs. I’d had it at the Knights of Columbus summer picnic, and it was delicious! Franny was nice enough to share her recipe. “It’s easy!” she said, and wrote it down on a cocktail napkin, but I was having a hard time reading her handwriting. I was trying to decide whether it was a half-cup of light cream or one and a half cups, when the phone starts ringing. Charlie doesn’t even make a move to answer. No, he’s “busy” looking for pickled eggs in the fridge, which means he’s opened the door and is just standing there staring in. Not moving anything mind you, just staring in.
“Do we have any of them pickled eggs left,” he asks me as I’m wiping off my hands so I can answer the phone. I opened my mouth and, you guessed it: frogs and toads.
Now, if I’d asked him to get the phone, he would have, but you’d think he’d be able to figure that out on his own. I know I should delegate more, but asking, explaining, and checking to see if it’s done right is just too time consuming. It’s quicker doing it myself. Plus, my problem is, I wait too long to ask for help. By the time I say “uncle” my head feels like it’s about to pop off.
I get into the car, where Charlie has been sitting for the last ten minutes and say, “Tell you what, Mister Man, next time you can rush around the house pulling the curtains, shutting the lights, making sure the iron is off, putting aluminum foil on the lobster thermidor and getting Scamp settled for the evening, and I’ll wait in the car with the motor running!”
“Hey,” he says, “I put the beer in the cooler, and came out here to cool down the car so you wouldn’t ruin you new outfit.” Then he looks at me and smiles. “Pink sure is a pretty color on you, Ida.”
Well, needless to say, it would have taken a lot more energy to stay cranky at that moment than to just let it go. I admit, Charlie has learned a thing or two in forty years of marriage.
That’s if for now. The guy is here to clean the furnace, and I’ve got to take Scamp for a walk, so I can get back in time to throw some potatoes in the oven to bake. Then, I’m going to watch Oprah while I do a little ironing. Catch you on the flip side!
(Listen to the podcast of Ida's column here. )