One might think, while viewing my marriage from the outside, that I am the high maintenance one; I am the diva, I am the one who lies around on satin pillows while Dan fans me like a eunuch and peals me grapes.
One might be wrong.
Outwardly, I may appear to be something of a sissy-girl but truth be told, I'm kind of a bad-ass. I'm not a giant fan of getting dirty or sports, but when push comes to shove, you totally want me on your team. My mother was Davy Crockett in a past life and she didn't put up with whining and crying about a broken nail, and if we expected to stay home from school we had 2.2 seconds to spike a fever or grow a tumor. If we weren't bleeding, puking, or dying she didn't want to hear it. (Seriously... one time, when I was about 9 and my sister was 11, a rabid bat started dive-bombing us on our front porch. My mother marched into the house, grabbed her single shot .22, and shot that thing in mid air right between the eyes. I've had nightmares about that for 39 years. When I mentioned that fact to her a few weeks ago, she laughed and said, "Oh for God's sake, Danielle... it was just a bat!") My motto is suck it up and get it done, and if you're still alive afterwards, that's when you get to be a drama queen.
Dan, on the other hand, believes all tragedy, difficulty, bugs, snakes, injury, illness and stress should be dealt with by lying on a fainting couch with a cool cloth over his eyes while I commando-crawl through the jungle shooting Yankees and the Viet Cong while smashing spiders and serving him a hot dinner (but not so hot he burns his mouth) and a cool drink.
Dan looks like an escaped convict who joined the Hell's Angels and should be making a guest appearance on "I Almost Got Away With It" and America's Most Wanted. It's a great cover, because people don't fuck with him. If they did, they would discover that he's more Butterfly McQueen than Steve McQueen and I call him "Miss Scarlet" for a reason.
To make my point, I'm going to take you all back, back, baaaaaack... to a laundry room far, far away, in the charming little seaside town of Crescent City, California, circa 2005-ish.
Dan had gone on a home improvement frenzy that erupted right about the same time as the Home Depot was born in our town. (Coincidence? No.) He bought a ceiling fan for every room in the house and energetically decided to install them all in one day. He petered out when he got to the living room, after putting one in each of the boy's rooms and our bedroom. (None of this surprised me, FYI.) As is typical of him, he removed the light fixture and half-way installed the fan before deciding he needed a break.
His break lasted about a month, during which time I had no light OR fan on my living room ceiling.
The remainder of the fan sat on top of the dryer in the laundry room. Occasionally, when the boys were doing their laundry (yes, I was an evil mother who made them do their own laundry after I found clean, folded clothes in the hamper) I could hear little nuts and bolts and screws from the fan kit plinking onto the floor and rolling under the dryer.
I sensed doom.
As winter came and with it early nightfall, I got sick of sitting in a dark living room. I commenced bitching and moaning and finally, Dan got the hint that he needed to finish installing the ceiling fan. Shockingly, most of the necessary parts were under the dryer, so Dan called for my assistance in getting them out.
As he held up the dryer and I crawled around on the floor picking up miniscule pieces of hardware, I casually remarked, "Huh... is that a Black Widow?"
(Backstory: I'm a California girl. Black Widows are a shiny black fact of life. I don't like them, I don't seek them out, I make sure there aren't any lurking around when I reach into dark, cool areas, and I respect their space, but come on... it's a spider. I can smash it faster than it can bite me. Probably.)
Dan's response was to scream like a girl, drop the dryer, plant his foot on my back and launch himself out of the laundry room and into the living room, without a thought, care, or concern for the wife he left behind with the dryer sitting on top of her.
I had to coax him like a piddling puppy back into the room just to get the rest of the pieces we needed to finish up the ceiling fan.
(When he asks me what I blogged about today, I'm going to tell him, "The history of salt potatoes in New York." How lucky am I that he doesn't read my blog? He's under the impression that I'm all factual and informative.)
(Footnote: The ceiling fan he bought for the kitchen was never installed. I sold it at a yard sale 5 years later. Sad but true.)