I’m watching my husband out the window as he soaps down our family van. He has a couple rags, a bucket of hot sudsy water, and our son. Ralph, I suspect unlike many other daddies I know, is not about to make a Big Man Ordeal about doing some errand like this. Sure, he decides he wants to wash the van – something I care far less about, although always appreciate when it’s done – and he does it with no fuss and no special fucking Turtlewax or chamois cloth or trip to a carwash. He can get it done in just a few minutes in our driveway and then he’ll move on to the next thing and he’ll keep moving until he’s in bed with me at 11 o’clock trying to stay awake to keep me company.
So I’m doing the dishes, watching him and thinking he will probably wash both cars while out there, inside and out, then do some gardening or take out the garbage or build some piece of furniture in our cave we call Shedland (which I haven’t set foot in since summer last year, out of fear). And of course – bless him! – children are no hindrance to Ralph (our kids or anyone else’s). If he wants to get something done he can take both our kids and accomplish stuff most veteran Mamas couldn’t. Or won’t. (more on his most recent film project – the one that involved filming from a moving vehicle, chucking stuff over 100′ cliffs, repeated bouts of flame, and a couple of our small children – later). I’m a good Mama and I run this joint right; but I can’t lift a couch up on my back and move it into the truck while carrying the kids on top, squealing with laughter.
He’s looking good to me these days. Out our kitchen window I’m checking out his ass, always excellent inside clothes or out. I swear to God, if Ralph Hogaboom had come built with twiggy legs and skinny booty my life would have turned out a lot differently. He needs new pants. His are hanging on by a thread. I vow: I will learn to sew pants, with a fly and reinforced crotch and the pockets just the way he likes them. Thank God he doesn’t wear the pants he used to – the old man slacks (100% poly and in such colors as Mustard Puke, Sadness Grey, and Ass) you’d find at the Goodwill. This was back in his emo days and of course those kind of trou only work well on rail-thin punks and he was almost too big-boned even in his skinny days. Then came along yours truly and I started cooking for him and I remember one day he came home with a pair that had a 6″ thick waistband with the word POLY-FLEX printed around it in giant letters. He was so excited they were so comfortable. I had to giggle.
I don’t think he kept those pants.
I finish the last dish, wipe down the counter, start a load of laundry. I go tuck myself in besides Suse who is watching Bambi in our bed. Our house is cozy and warm. I hear Ralph’s voice as he and Nels burst through the front door. My husband brings in The Boy and my son’s cheeks are rosy and his hair is a golden halo and he says, “Mama!” and reaches for me with delight shining in his face.