Venus and Mars

My husband called me today from the city asking me if I could get him on the Internet from our shore house. You see, I should be flattered-he thinks I’m a maven. Although I have tried to tell him, I can’t perform miracles, the burden of his believing I can do anything and everything sometimes is a heavy weight.

Now, I admit I am much younger than he is and started our marriage by being pretty self-sufficient, but he doesn’t understand there are things that are beyond my scope. I can’t set up his Wi-Fi in the city from New Jersey.

Disappointed, he asked, “What are you doing today?”

“Up on a ladder painting the house trim.”

In my dreams I heard him reply,

“Oh Honey, wait for me and I will help you this weekend.”

In reality he replied, “Well, be careful don’t fall off the ladder.”

“If I do nobody will know except Sophie (our Lhasa) and she doesn’t know how to dial 911. I will be like the giant tree that falls in the woods and makes a great noise, but nobody hears because no one is there.”

“Ok. See you this weekend. Love you.” He hung up hearing nothing that I said, confident his maven had it under control.

Moral of this story: I learned a long time ago in our relationship that my husband is Tom Sawyer and I am the one who is showing him how to paint the fence. Because I am honestly kind of a maven I get it. And I go along with it because I get it and he doesn’t realize it.

I clicked off and wiped the wet white paint fingerprints from my iPhone. No use dreaming of a knight in shinning armor riding to my rescue with bulging biceps and a paint brush. My knight has skinny arms, rides a bike and his hand holds not a paint brush, but a remote that hops from channel to channel. He loves my soups, misses me when I am away and thinks I am beautiful.

Relationships are work. No doubt about it, the Venus and Mars theory is right on!

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STICKY STAMPS

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He looked so tired, as if his last burst of energy had left his body a long time ago. His physicality reminded me of the elegant Nubians I had seen in Egypt.

Last Sunday Arthur and I had hopped aboard the jitney that would take us to Lincoln Road for a stroll along the shops, flea market stalls and farmers markets. It is on this jitney that I encountered the weary traveler.

He sat sideways, giving me a view if his hard hat. Small stickers of butterflies and turtles were placed in childlike angles on his hat. Stickers that I recognized from those my grandchildren would stick all over anything that was not moving.

Hesitant to invade his space on the almost empty bus, I couldn’t help but eject myself into his silent space because he looked so weary, so alone.

“Did your children put those stickers on?”, I asked just a little above a whisper, hoping I wasn’t offending him.

He turned and looked a me and in a quiet recognition of my interest in his hat, shook his head up and down.

“You know they love you, don’t you?”

My words seemed to float into the empty space between us. Hanging. Silence.

And then in his weary voice he lowered his head looking at his weathered hands in his lap and replied so quietly, “I hope so. I hope so.”

I wanted to assure him, but I just smiled in reply. I wanted to tell him I know so. This grandma knows when your children or grandchildren put their precious stamps on your things, it makes you theirs to keep. Each time you look at those stickies, a part of their little souls will travel with you no matter how far. Smart little critters. All of them!