Wednesday, August 16, 2006

At least I can be reasonably sure he won’t fall out of a tree and break his ribs

I have recently bestowed a new nickname upon The Husband: “Charles.” Sometimes I call him “Pa” as well, after Charles “Pa” Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie.

See, a couple of months ago Big Sister #1 lent me a whole bunch of DVDs to help distract me when I was feeling nauseous. Among them were Seasons 1 and 2 of Little House. I was psyched; The Husband… not so much. He had actually never even seen a full episode of Little House, what with being of the male gender and all. But I love that show, especially the early ones when Mary and Laura were little. In fact, when we were in Miami, I happened upon an old episode about halfway through and forced The Husband to stay in the hotel room with me until it was over. It was the one where Laura and Nellie both have a crush on the same boy. There is a lot of angst and drama –well, Little House versions of angst and drama – but at the end, the boy chooses Laura and all is well. The boy was the huge focus of the episode. When it was over, I said, “And he was never on the show again.” This totally surprised The Husband who is accustomed to modern television shows which worry about things like “continuity,” so he assumed that this boy would have become a semi-regular character or something. But that is not how Little House rolled. Hey, you have to remember that Ma became pregnant, had the baby, and the baby became ill and died a few weeks later… all in one episode. And the baby was never mentioned again.

Still, I love it, and I watched all of Season 1 in order. The Husband watched some of them with me and, much to his and my surprise, enjoyed them. He’s not exactly begging to watch the next episode or anything, but he did like the ones he saw. He also caught on to the way the show worked very quickly: The second or third episode starts with Pa walking in his wheat field, which is almost ready for harvest. Pa gazes at the golden stalks in proud satisfaction, then lifts his eyes to the heavens and says, “Thank you, God. Thank you.” At this point, The Husband turned to me and said, “He’s not harvesting that wheat, is he.” Sure enough, the ruinous hailstorm came in the very next scene.

The Husband learned how things went for the Ingalls in the first episode which was about the family getting settled in Walnut Grove. Pa had to build the family a house, but he had to work at the mill in order to pay for the lumber. So the show followed Pa as he worked 8 hours at the mill in town, came home and worked on building the house. When the house was done, he had to fix another guy’s roof and stack his grain in exchange for use of his plow, using his oxen as collateral. So once again, he had to build all day and plow all night. I explained to The Husband that Pa was hard core. I mean, the man built a house by himself, in the dark, without power tools. He wasn’t what you would call “lazy.”

Then of course there was some drama where Ma convinced Pa to take one lousy afternoon off and Pa climbed a tree to retrieve a kite and fell out and broke his ribs, which meant he was unable to finish stacking the grain, which meant that the plow-owner was going to take the Ingalls’ oxen. Fortunately, all the friends Pa had made in Walnut Grove came to help stack the grain. They got to keep their oxen and the plow-owner was properly shamed.

So why do I call The Husband Charles? Because for the last two months, The Husband has been going to work all day and then coming home and building the bathroom all night. He’d stop at nine, and we would watch one episode of 24 on DVD. Then he would go to bed and be asleep by 10:30. Since the DVDs have no commercials, this means that The Husband was getting 44 minutes off every day. 44 lousy minutes. He has not been able to work on the bathroom for the past four days while we waited for the rough electrical inspection, but that just meant that he had to spend the evenings painting the nursery instead.

But! The inspection was this morning! And we passed! We are so close to being finished with the bathroom that we can taste it. Of course, when the bathroom is finished, The Husband will no longer have a built-in distraction to take his mind off the fact that a baby is coming to live at our house in approximately 10 weeks. A fact that scares the bejeezus out of both of us to no end.

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