I’ve learned a few things about my husband over the course of nearly 30 years together. Why I forget ALL of these things, particularly when it comes to asking for his help, is anybody’s guess — and says more about me, I suppose, than it says about him.
Last night Fang and I went to dinner — just the two of us. This used to be a rarity, but now that Fangette is working AND has a driver’s license we hardly see her at all. I’ll give you a moment to wipe the tears from your eyes as you picture sad, old Fang and I sitting alone at a restaurant — enjoying each other’s company and having an actual conversation sans surly teenager. Hmmm? What’s that you say? That we don’t look mopey at all? That, in fact, we kind of remind you of that guy in the Staples commercial — the one where he’s skipping through the aisles, happily tossing Back-to-School supplies in his cart, morose children in tow, as they play that Christmas song that contains the line “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”? Yup. That’s us.
Go ahead. Put away the Kleenex.
It’s nice, this going out to dinner with my husband thing. It’s been made even nicer since I declared a moratorium on discussing Fangette. I did worry, for a fleeting second, that we might not have anything to talk about once we removed her as a subject line. I’m happy to report that we have found plenty of topics for scintillating conversation that do NOT feature our daughter. Well, at least I have.
I have always known that Fang is not a big talker. What I had forgotten, after all these years of 30-second conversations, is that he’s also not much of a listener. After painstakingly detailing an idea that I’ve had rolling around in my head for quite some time, I got to the last bit and asked him, “So, what do you think?” This is when he looked me straight in the eye and said, “I don’t know. Maybe I missed something. Can you go over that again?”
The second time around, after being satisfied that he “got” it, I repeated the question. His response caused me to remember that Fang is, at heart, a bit of a cheapskate. My idea will not require wads of cash. Basically, we’re talking about chump change, but this is the element of my plan that he decided to focus on. Fang is very nice, but he’s a bit of a “Debbie Downer”. Some folks look for the silver lining, Fang tends to focus on the black cloud.
In and of itself, it’s not an altogether terrible thing to have someone around to temper your enthusiasm with reality. This, though, felt a little bit like he was deliberately stomping on my dream over a few hundred bucks. A few hundred bucks that, by the way, will be earned by me. I wasn’t asking him to fund my scheme. I was asking him to participate in it, though. I thought that involving him would be part of the fun of doing it.
It wasn’t like I was asking him to engineer that “Bridge to Europe” that I’m always hoping someone will build — because I’d love to see Europe, but am not a fan of flying. Sure, I could take a cruise, but that comes with a whole other set of anxieties. No. I don’t see myself getting there via the open seas — I don’t care how beautiful my cabin is or how incredible the food is — the knowledge that I’m at the mercy of the Atlantic Ocean in what amounts to a bucket is enough to send me over the proverbial edge.
If I ever do get up the courage to go to Europe, I’m sure I’ll get there by plane. The problem with me and flying is that I can usually get myself to a place, through whatever chemical assistance is available to me, where I can get to my destination with a minimum of hysteria — it’s just that I worry so much about the transportation aspects of my journey home, that I don’t enjoy myself the entire time I am wherever I’ve gotten to.
I was asking him to build me something, but it wasn’t anything made of concrete. It wasn’t something that required an advanced degree or knowledge of trigonometry. I simply asked him to help me to build a website. Fang loves to research things. And he’s good at technical things. I like to research SOME things — things historical tend to get my motor revving — but I HATE to research anything related to technology — mainly because I don’t understand it. Fang doesn’t buy a calculator without researching it. If this were ancient Greece, Fang would be the guy wandering the agora, comparing and contrasting bead construction and dowel placement prior to plunking down his hard earned obols on an abacus.
I bought him a GPS a few years back. He was oh so proud of me that I had purchased the right model — the exact one that he had his eye on. What he didn’t know then (and what he still doesn’t know) is that I didn’t do a lick of research. It was an impulse buy. It was on sale. I simply got lucky. It’s an electronic map for crying out loud, how “good” or “bad” could it be? What it does versus what another one does I couldn’t tell you. Fang could, though. Oh, yes. He could tell you.
I thought that he would be excited to be given the opportunity to build a website — it’s the sort of thing that is right in his wheelhouse. Lots of technical mumbo-jumbo to sift through, plenty of information to gather, a plethora of hosting sites to compare — this is just the sort of activity that usually gets HIS motor revving.
To give you some idea of my husband’s “skill set”, you should have seen the elaborate chart he constructed when we were eligible for new phones. It was, to him, a thing of beauty. It was also the culmination of hours and hours of research. For a long time, even after we had our new phones and our new phone plan, he kept that thing on his night table — in a place of honor. I was thinking of having it laminated. (I looked for it a few minutes ago because I think you would have enjoyed seeing it, but it has either been discarded or is tucked away somewhere safe — to be saved, I can only imagine, for posterity. I don’t really blame him for moving it. He did take a fair amount of ribbing from his wife and his daughter about “the chart”!)
He didn’t say “No” outright to helping me. What he said was that he’d “take a look”; he’d “see what he could come up with”. In Fangspeak that’s code for “I don’t want to make any commitment to being successful, but I’ll spend some time investigating”. And he will. It’ll just be on Fang time, which will, no doubt, frustrate me, but I’m confident that he will get done. I just have to keep my mouth shut about it. I have to resolve to be patient. That, my friends, is going to be the hard part!
photo credit: bridge (morguefile.com)