Friday, March 21, 2014

Life in the Country??


My son came home yesterday for a quick couple of days at the end of his Spring break. He had spent the first part of it in Nashville visiting Belmont friends. Last night we had dinner together, all four of us around the table, just like when they were kids. Then afterwards, despite all of the Master’s Degrees in the house, we all ended up sitting on the sofa watching funny dog videos on YouTube. Today, Pam is taking the day off to spend with the boy. At some point, shopping will be involved. Then tonight she is planning a “Dinner With the Dudes” meal for Patrick and his cousin Ryan, before they have to both get back to school. My wife is a dynamo.

 Yesterday afternoon was beautiful and sunny, so we opened up the windows. We love our house and have been very happy in our neighborhood in suburbia. However, it is not without its irritations. One of them is that most unnerving of sounds that always accompany good weather…the fingernails across a blackboard, wild banshee screams that proceed out of the mouths of the 16 rug rats who all decide to play right across the fence of my back yard. Yes, nothing says, “quiet evening on the deck” like a couple of eight year olds arguing over whose turn it is to beat the dog over the head with the whiffle bat. “GAAAAAAKKKKK!!! Give me that!!”

Anyway, out of the blue Pam says, “I think I’m ready to move out into the country. We can build a house with a first floor master bedroom so when we get old and feeble we won’t have to climb stairs, and we can build a basement apartment just in case Mom and Dad have to move in with us at some point or for when the kids come to visit, they can have a place for all of our grandchildren.”

I looked at her, not quite believing what I had just heard. She wasn’t kidding, and I am now absolutely convinced that I truly don’t understand women. In thirty years of marriage, the one thing that has been constant is the fact that Pam has never had any desire to live in the country. She is a neighborhood kind of gal who prizes shopping convenience above nearly everything else. Of course, I have always wished to live further away from the maddening crowds, with lots of land and wide open spaces. But, I have always firmly adhered to the life principle at the center of every successful marriage, “happy wife, happy life.” So, for all of our time together, we have lived in the bowels of Short Pump, the poster child of suburban convenience. We have enjoyed great schools, we hardly ever lose power in a storm, and we can literally walk to the nearest grocery store.

But now, after thirty years, the traffic is annoying, we’re growing weary of, “Mom!!!!! Billy is playing with a snake and Bobby won’t let me play with the butcher knife!!!” Plus, since our kids are grown, great schools have lost their charm.

Maybe she was just making an offhand throwaway comment that she won’t even remember if I bring it up again. On the other hand, maybe she was serious. Could it be? Just think of it! I could wake up every morning, walk outside and shoot squirrels with an actual rifle, and nobody would care. I could buy an old beat up pickup truck and park it out back without having to endure disapproving glances from the neighbors, especially since the closest neighbor would have to be using binoculars to see it! My next Golden Retriever would be able to run wild and free outside anytime he wanted. I would build a pool in the backyard and go skinny dipping anytime I felt like it. I’m telling you, the possibilities are endless.

No, she’s probably just messing with me.