Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Something Good: Broader Horizons

I actually thought I had pretty broad horizons before I got married. I'd traveled all over the U.S. and around the world already, for Pete's sake. That had to count for something.

But hooking up with Jeff propelled me into a universe hitherto unknown to my little head. Here's just a taste of some of the good things that are part of my life only because I'm married to him.

1) Subwoofers. We have a contraption that looks like this on our living room floor. I used it as an extra seat when company's over. And the dogs use it to get a better view of what's happening in the yard outside the window. We also, occasionally, use it to create full body vibrating massage from anywhere in the room by turning on music with rockin' base and lying flat on the floor.

2) Toaster Ovens. I guess I had probably heard of these before Jeff, but I didn't really know what they were for. My aunt gave us hers while we were engaged, and Jeff and I fought a silent battle for years about whether or not it would be allowed to live on the kitchen counter. Useless appliance taking up space, in my opinion. Then Jeff began to present toasty type things to me that he claimed had been perfected in the toaster oven. I loved them so much that I even learned how to make cheese toast in there all by myself. The toaster oven has been granted permanent residency status.

3) Third Day. Well, see, the thing is, I was a fan of Michael W. Smith throughout my teen years, and my introduction to Third Day was their version of Smitty's "Agnus Dei," which I felt they ruined. So I hated them. But when Jeff came along, he sang me this great love song ("Just to Be with You"), and when he told me it was a Third Day song, I thought I'd give them another try. Jeff introduced me to their Offerings CD, and I was hooked. They're great in concert, too, by the way.

4) Pet Stores. I'd always been fascinated by pet stores, but I never really had a reason to go in one. We had a dog, but anything we needed to get for him we could get at Waremart. Yes, Waremart. But Jeff's family goes to pet stores regularly, because they have lots of pets. Petco. Where the pets go. And the husband. And the sons. Ergo, the wife.

5) Kitchen Spices. My mom used spices, I think. I know there was salt and pepper, and oregano. Beyond that, I'm not really sure what all she has in her spice cupboard. I know there's nutmeg in there, but I don't know what it's for. And she had the stuff I needed to put in choc chip cookies. Beyond that, I paid no attention whatsoever to the kitchen spices of my childhood. Jeff, however, forces my attention to be drawn to kitchen spices. He quizzes me about what spices he's used. I can identify rosemary now. And vinegar. Does that count as a spice? And also, isn't this magnetic fridge-front spice idea the coolest thing ever? (Jeff: I want this.)

6) Shopping Cart Jawa Doors. Okay, so... You know how when you push one shopping cart into the back of another one, the grate moves up so the carts can stack together? Okay. And see the little tiny Ewok with the red hat thing on the right side of the video game picture? He's standing next to a little blue door that only short characters like Jawas (and Ewoks) can fit through. Do you see where I'm going with this? The boys routinely say to Daddy, "We want to climb into the shopping cart through the Jawa door!" Then Daddy lifts the grate manually and they climb into the cart. Get it?

7) The Klingon Language. When I prepare breakfast for the boys, I say to them, "James and Jonathan... it's time for breakfast..." They come. It's food. Of course they come. But when Jeff cooks breakfast for the boys, rather than calling their names and articulating that it's ready, Jeff stands with his feet spread, broad shoulders back, chest puffed out, and speaks what sounds for all the world like Klingon. You know. The language made up by Star Trek fans with way too much time on their hands. And guess what the boys do? They don't come. They bound. They leap into the kitchen, arms spread wide, meeting what in the male universe was obviously a challenge. They speak back to their father with their own grunts and made-up words, then he hands them their breakfast. Weird. Very weird.

8) How to Make Coffee. I didn't grow up with coffee. I never really drank coffee. I had a couple of jobs where making coffee was my morning task. For, like, a week at each job, until some other employee just raced me to the coffee pot each morning and had it made -- properly -- before I got the chance to produce weak, bitter concoctions that caused winces by all who consumed them. But Jeff showed me how to make drinkable coffee. And it's not that hard, really. Rule 1 is you always make a full pot because there's no such thing as too much coffee. Rule 2 is three scoops in the basket thingy where you put the coffee. And they can be level or heaping. Either way is fine. Rule 3 is always choose the 'strong' option for brewing strength. That's it, really. It's not as hard as it sounds.

9) Family Friendly WWF. I just have to close my eyes, look the other way, put my headphones on and listen to some Third Day, or leave the room. I can't handle the wrestling. My little boys getting beat up by their big, burly dad is simply more than I can bear. The problem with my just ignoring it all, however, is that my three men live and breathe to impress me. So instead of wincing and saying for the hundredth time, "Watch the hearth," I must stuff my mother-instinct down and instead appear to enjoy the tangle of arms and legs and shrieks and giggles while smiling pleasantly and murmuring "wowwwww..." in all the right places. Sometimes I get the urge to go ahead and bring out the royal wave and offer a kiss to the victor.

10) Decaf Blended Soy Iced Mocha. Well, my drink used to be a Grande Breve Latte. Plain and simple. Sort of rhymed, even. Then I discovered I was allergic to dairy, so I switch to soy. Horribly depressing. Then I discovered I couldn't have caffeine, so I switched to decaf. Do you know how deflating a decaf soy latte is? My friend Kami calls it the "Why Bother," and I endured it for several months until Jeff gave me hope. In the form of chocolate to mask the soy flavor, and the blender to mix it all together. Finally. A drink worth bothering to order.

11) Eyelash Curlers. Oh, yes. Eyelash curlers. You see, apparently, my gorgeous husband's eyelashes were so long as a child that they stuck to each other and he couldn't get his eyes open when he woke up in the morning. He used to cut them. I don't know exactly when eyelash curlers were introduced into his personal grooming routine, and I don't think he actually uses them for reals, but he keeps them around to freak me out every once in a while. And, bonus for me, he taught me how to use them. Score. (He also made it clear that my mentioning this little tidbit about him was horribly cruel and unusual punishment, but really, he knows I tease him because I love him.)

How does your spouse expand your view of the world?