Family Moments

Published on October 12th, 2017 | by Richard Black

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The Difference Between the Sexes

Last night my wife woke up and came downstairs to check the thermostat because that’s what married women do in the middle of the night. Laura noticed that the setting had changed and came to the logical conclusion that someone had broken into our home to change the thermostat and, being a good wife, woke me up for a late night interrogation.

“Did you change the setting on thermostat?” she asked.

“…errr…huh…what?” I responded with my typical coherence.

“Richard did you change the thermostat?” she asked again.

“I…ummm…I…uhhh…don’t know,” I said as I slowly came to consciousness.

“Someone did and I know it wasn’t me and if it was me then who was it?”

I’ll interrupt here for the sake of time. I never touch the thermostat without permission and Laura is quite aware of that fact. I grew up in a simpler time when parents used to beat their children for even looking at the thermostat and it’s a lesson I’ve carried into adulthood.

Now that I was fully awake I understood that my wife thought that someone had invaded our home, declined to take anything or stab us in our sleep and then simply…now get this…changed the thermostat. I was even dumb enough to posit my theory and, when Laura became a bit upset, I offered a few more.

“It was liberals hell bent on increasing the amount of CFCs in the atmosphere to boost their claims that the ozone layer is still shrinking.”

“I just read an article about the electric company breaking into people’s homes to alter their thermostat setting and boost their bottom lines.”

“I forgot to mention that the thermostat police sent us a letter. They said that they’ll be coming in through a window around midnight to test the efficiency of our furnace and air conditioner.

I’m lying of course.

I didn’t do any such thing. There’s a reason I’ve been married this long and it’s because I’ve managed to keep my mouth shut during these trying times. Instead of mouthing off I walked downstairs and thought, not for the first time, that this is one of the many difference between the sexes.

Of course there are other differences between the sexes. I don’t have a uterus or a vagina the last time I looked and, for the record, I’ve looked pretty hard. Then again I’m working on a sizable set of breasts but that’s about where the physical similarities end.

Before I walked back upstairs I realized that our new puppy Tinkles hadn’t had a chance to piss on something and I dragged her outside. While I watched Tinkles…well tinkle and meander around the yard to crap on the lawn I had a chance to ponder some of the other differences between the sexes.

A few years ago our vacuum cleaner went to the big vacuum cleaner farm in the sky. My wife spent the next three months researching vacuum cleaners and remained patient until I found myself sweeping rugs with a broom. Being a man of action I waited another three months until I decided that enough was enough and made my way to the store a few months later. After looking at vacuum cleaners for five minutes, called my wife.

“Can you give me your top three picks?” I asked and quickly became involved in a one sided conversation regarding the benefits and detriments of various kinds of vacuum cleaners for thirty minutes.

“Give me the cheapest one you’re happy with,” I directed…well begged actually which prompted another thirty minute discussion. Around the time I started praying for a miracle the battery on my phone died and went off to buy the least expensive vacuum cleaner I could find which, for the record, is still with us.

After Tinkles was drained I stumbled back to bed, looked at my beautiful wife and had a moment to consider another issue that divides married women and men. For the past few months or so Laura and I have been coping with a problem that troubles most married couples our age.

It’s not an easy topic to discuss and it’s frankly a little embarrassing but around May we’ve discovered that we have a bat infestation in our attic. That is not a euphemism. We actually have bats in our attic and that’s…lovely…in theory. Bats are great. They eat fifteen billion times their weight in mosquitoes and I love them but not so much when they’re living in my house.

It turns out that in addition to eating mosquitoes bats also poop and the ones in our attic have been pooping a lot. The mice, apparently, have been pooping even more. Even better I’ve learned that bat guano may contain fungal spores that can lead to some nasty respiratory diseases but only if those droppings are disturbed which brings me to my point.

I could live a long and deeply fulfilled life while never, ever, going up to our attic. Wombats could be nesting in our rafters or doing whatever in the hell that wombats do and I’d be fine with the situation. I visit the attic exactly two times during the year. The first is to haul down a few metric tons of Christmas decorations in December and the second is to haul them back up to the attic around March. If, from time to time, I’m required to ignore a few mouse droppings or fight off a wombat or two in the process then I can live with the arrangement.

My wife however cannot. The thought of any critter living in our home is akin to the grossest violation possible and, upon finding that we had bats in our attic Laura, began searching for experts in the field. The CIA, it turns out, could learn a few things about questioning when it comes to my wife. Bat remediation experts were interviewed and subjected to an intense interrogation before, during and after the job. If memory serves a few of her questions consisted of the following and in no particular order.

What did you find? How many? Were there any others? How much guano was there? Did you see recent signs of activity? Mouse droppings? How many? What’s your pant size? Have you ever been to Bora Bora? Tell me about your mother…

For my part I simply assumed that the man we’d hired to remove the bats and perform the cleanup was on the up and up. He seemed like a nice guy and he even had a van with a logo on it so who am I to question a professional?

The answer to that question is that I’m a man, a very tired man, and one who is willing to live in blissful ignorance or make poor decisions without a lot of information. I am a man who just wanted a fucking vacuum cleaner. I am a man who simply assumes that either my wife or I adjusted the temperature on our thermostat. I am a man willing to ignore a few hundred pounds of mouse droppings in his attic.

I am, for better or worse,  a man.

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