Sunday, June 1, 2008

Because it's fun to torture my husband

My husband and I, as I have mentioned before, often sit out on our front porch, reading. It's such a pleasant place to sit that it's possible to stay there for hours, enjoying our library books, watching the traffic slide past and occasionally greeting passersby.

But as we've spent so much time out there, it's been impossible for me to ignore the fact that The House Has Dirt on It.

Our house is covered by a very pretty buttery-yellow vinyl siding, the color of yellow that acts as a magnet for every little cloud of dust stirred up on the city street that runs past our lot. Because I am afflicted with a spousally diagnosed case of Occasional Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder that breaks me out in feverish activity from time to time, I suddenly became unable to sit still out there today after we got home from Mass, looking at the House, which had Dirt on It.

"The house is so dirty," I said unhappily, closing my Dean Koontz book on my finger and regarding the dingy exterior. I've been pointing this out for about three weeks and he's been stonewalling me remorselessly.

My husband, stolid in his determination not to wash the house, kept his gaze firmly fixed on his book. "We have no garden hose. We can't wash the house."

"Why not?"

"Because we don't have a garden hose."

"But we have big sponges. And some liquid soap and warm water."

"But we have no garden hose to rinse off the liquid soap and warm water. We can't wash the house."

Defeated, I opened my book and read a sentence. Then I slammed it shut again and said brightly, "We can just get a bucket of fresh water and rinse out the soapy sponges and use the fresh water to rinse the house!"

My husband looked at me over the tops of his sunglasses and said, "You aren't going to leave me alone about this, are you?"

I thought for just a moment. "No," I finally said. "No, I just can't see my way clear to leaving you alone. The House Has Dirt on It."

He quietly muttered a word that he has no business saying on a Sunday and put down his book. "Go along with you, then, and get the soapy water and the fresh water and your big dumb sponges and let's get this over with."

I did him the favor of washing the plant stands and the little bistro set and then I held the bucket for him while he climbed up and got the uppermost level of the siding. The dirt that rolled down the the porch floor was a sight to behold; it was nearly as black and ominous as my husband's attitude.

"I can't believe we're out washing and rinsing the house like a couple of hillbillies, with no power washer, or even garden hose," he said, scrubbing with a vigor that not only removed the dirt, but incidentally speckled my top with droplets of mucky water.

"Hillbillies don't wash their houses," I replied smartly.

It took him half an hour to wash the house with me helping and he grew almost baroque in his description of what an onerous task this was without access to a garden hose, an item which nearly took on the proportions of the Holy Grail by the time that last bit of siding was swabbed and rinsed. The Knights Templar really missed out when my husband was born a thousand years too late.

Once the house was finished and the porch furniture was put back, I went in and hunted down my treasures that add to the welcoming cuteness and curb appeal of our house: a favorite pot of silk ivy, a glass jar full of marbles, a throw for the back of the bench, a pretty blue bowl. Once I'm able to get the flowers out in the hanging baskets, it will be quite lovely indeed, a bower of comfort.

"Thank you, honey," I said, squeezing his arm.

"You're welcome, I suppose," he said, relenting. And squeezed me back.


Kbg said...

Wow...he washes houses, too. Stellar, absolutely stellar. Hope you have something very special in mind for Father's Day for maybe a garden hose!

Shelley said...

Oooh, what a good idea! He's a very practical person and would probably really love to have a garden hose. If he had a choice between another tie or a garden hose, I definitely know what he'd pick.

Our trusty old garden hose got run over last summer and not even a generous application of duct tape could fix it. It is time for a new hose!

By the way....