Love and the Home Office

Love and the Home officeAfter my morning chores, I shut myself in my office and get to work. Then the door opens and my retired husband sticks his head in. “Why is the door closed?” he asks.

“So I can write,” I say.

“You know I don’t like it when the door is closed,” he says.

“OK. I’ll leave it open if you promise not to interrupt.”

“I can do that,” he says.

Fifteen minutes later he calls to me, “Pam, you’ve got to see this. There’s an artist who stacks rocks in amazing positions.”

I huff in exasperation and go look at the rocks. Without enthusiasm I say, “Yeah, they’re amazing.” Actually they are, but I don’t want to encourage him. He’s always finding things on the Internet I simply must look at.

“What are you thinking of for lunch?” he asks.

“I was thinking of working through lunch,” I say, and his smile disappears. “Is tuna OK?” I make the sandwiches, which he insists I eat with him.

Back in my office, my cat is asleep on my keyboard. It’s cute until I see that his chin is on the delete key and he has blown away 64 pages. I do a quick Undo and a catectomy.

I’m at work again when a super ball bounces past my door and down the hall. Boingy. Boingy. Boingy. Next, a cat is bounding after it. The ball whacks the hall closet and bounces back, with two cats in pursuit. I shut my door again, but my husband pops in and asks, “Would you like a cup of tea?”

“No thanks, I’m good.” When he heads for the kitchen, he leaves my door open. I write barely ten lines when the teakettle whistles . . . and whistles. “Frank,” I call, but he can’t hear me because the kettle is now screaming. So I get up and make him a cup of tea, probably his plan all along.

I go back to work and he decides to work too, and starts by shredding old bills. Grawlll. Grawlll. Grawlll. After 20 pages I’m vibrating. “Frank,” I yell. “I can’t think.”

“Sorry,” he says, and my office becomes blessedly quiet.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I see him pass by my door, yet not pop in. He’s finally learning, I think. But a moment later, he passes by again, and then again. I turn to see that he is naked. He is 74, overweight, and stark naked. He’s parading back and forth humming the March of the Tin Soldiers. Dee dee deet dee dee, dee dee deet dee dee . . .

I can’t help it; I crack up, and I remember how much I love this crazy, silly, big baby of a man and how real people are more important than the ones we invent.

“Do you want to watch the news with me?” he asks.

“I’d love to,” I say, and join him, except for the getting naked part.

There’ll be time to write later, when he takes his afternoon nap.