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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on March 6th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 52 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 52

Ah, men

Scratching the surface of the seven-year-itch

BY ARIEL WATERMAN

William Shakespeare marveled, “What a piece of work is man!” in act 2 of Hamlet. But I’ll lay odds his wife, Anne Hathaway, often exclaimed, “What pieces of work men are!” I know this from experience and have good cause to agree with Mrs. S. After all, when he died, all he left the poor lady in his will was his “second best bed and all the furniture.” What I want to know is who got his best bed?

Seven years ago this month, I married the Brit, and together we are raising his grandson, now 11, the Britween. I can tell you, being the only woman in a house of men has its moments. This year marks what many refer to as the “seven-year-itch,” a milestone that means you’ve been together so long that you’ve become bored with each other, but not long enough to have attained a common rhythm and routine. Really?

Let me tell you what the seven-year-itch means for me. There certainly is never a
dull moment at Waterman Manor, which is why we have to synchronize our watches! We’ve got rhythm, although with a syncopated beat.

Weekends mean soccer games, and God save the Queen if I dare interrupt! These games are meticulously recorded on our satellite box and watched in sequence. My sole purpose is to keep the cups of tea and sandwiches coming. But let me sit down to one of my guilty pleasures during and suddenly worlds collide.

“Sweetheart!” the Brit calls out. “Where’s the cheese?”

“In the fridge, second shelf, dear!” I call back.

“Where’s the crackers?” he bellows back from the kitchen.

“In the pantry, where it always is, Honey,” I reply through gritted teeth. “I’m watching Project Runway now.”

“Right, love, I don’t want to disturb you. Where’s the pickles?” he sweetly shouts.

“Next to the cheeeeeeese, dear!”

“Found it!” he cries triumphantly. “We’re out of plates.”

Oh, kill me now. My editor is about to have one helluva headline tomorrow!

“Clean plates are in the dishwasher, which you and Britween were supposed to put away.”

That brings me to household chores. The boys are in charge of taking out all trash and emptying the dishwasher. Britween also fills the dishwasher and starts it up because the Brit cannot be trusted around machinery. The last time he ran the dishwasher, he flooded the kitchen with suds.

Britween is responsible for keeping his bedroom tidy, but Moses couldn’t part the sea of clothing on his floor. Both share vacuum and dusting duties. The child vacuums (machinery, remember?) while the grown-up wields the duster (more suited to his abilities since it has no moving parts).

My chores include everything else: laundry, cooking, making beds, cleaning bathrooms (why do my boys have such lousy aim?), mopping, etc., plus kicking British butts into gear when they slack off. In our house, I am referred to as the field marshal! When I am finished with housework, I move on to making dinner. But the boys have to put on a show, a la Vanna White.

“Look, Sweetheart,” Brit coos as he waves his hands over the kitchen trash can. “I took out the trash.”

I have learned that, in order to keep his level of enthusiasm for his task, I must exude approval while applauding happily. Come to think of it, this is how I potty-trained Britween who is, by the way, more conscientious about completing his house and homework. That’s because I hold all the cards—his Pokémon cards, Yu Gi Oh! cards, and the SIM card for his iPod.

One thing I discovered when I married my Brit is that there was no need for prenuptial agreements. They are already written into the wedding vows—you know, that “for better or worse” and “in sickness and health” clause, which, by the way, was written by a man! Ask any woman and she will tell you that she would rather endure terminal Abyssinian toe rot than have the men in her house come down with the common cold.

Men of any age immediately revert to infancy when they are sick or in even the most minimal amount of pain. The prevailing thought is that women endure the pains of childbirth, so everything else pales in comparison. Maybe, but I never gave birth and I never even whined about migraines, menstrual cramps, or the hot flashes that now plague me without warning.

But when one of my men gets sick, all I hear is “May I have more soup? Is there any more ice cream? I need more 7-Up. Will you read to me? Please rub my back.” So I get my husband more soup, ice cream, and 7-Up, and I read to him while rubbing his back because I said I would (drat those wedding vows!).

The Britween is easier, because all he wants is a cold drink, toast, and a warm blanket while he watches TV or reads to himself. They are much lower maintenance when they’re young!

So what do I get out of this seven-year-itch? I get a rash of hugs and kisses without warning, foot rubs upon request, and the best brewed cup of tea this side of The Pond. Rule Britannia!

Ariel Waterman loves tea and sympathy. Send her some via her editor at rmiller@santamariasun.com.