This morning my daughter came into D's and my room near five, her little legs going one way, her arms the other, effectively kicking D out of bed. He stumbled into M's room, thinking he'd sleep the rest of the morning there. Except near six, A got up and turned on the t.v. too loud, waking all of us. D was angry, tired, frustrated because we'd stayed up late talking and reading, and he let A know making him cry. I hopped out of bed when I heard the commotion (peeling M off of me), guided A back to bed (which was short-lived), assuaged his hurt feelings, and bitched at D for being such an ass. Because he was.
The next hour was spent fuming at D, thinking I should get up, thinking I should write. Thinking I'd write about what happens to marriage when you have three exhausting children, not quite enough money to make life slick and easy, not enough friends to ease the pain, and enough differences in personalities to sometimes make the ride hostile. M cuddled up to me, pushing me to the side of the bed, and the anger left me. I thought about my poor husband having to sleep (not sleep) on M's plastic-covered, cheap matress, surrounded by Hello Kitty pillows and one newborn baby doll. As the sun rose, I figured I'd write about those moments when I love D so much I think I'll burst for the lack of physical expression. Because...let's be honest, all the things I mentioned that strain a marriage lead to "bed death." We can't even remember the last time...criminy where did all that early passion go?
Oh sure, we touch toes every so often. As we turn over in bed, we give each other little fingertip rubs to let the other know we're still alive. When the kids are finally sleeping, D falls asleep, too, leaving me to my thoughts and books and movies. On occasion I complain but nothing changes really because of course, our situation remains the same. The stresses are still there. Some would suggest our marriage is in trouble. I read once that a "sexless marriage" means having sex once a month. Good god then, what do you call a marriage where it's happening once a year?
The thing is we're good. We're in sync. We're best friends. What we need is to get away without the kids. When we manage that (a rarity because nobody wants to take on our children) we can get together. When we're free of the usual strains, we remember.
This morning we woke up wanting the fire back in our lives.
So at seven our day started. The usual happened...breakfast, a little bike ride, showers, the kids playing inside the house, the kids battling to occupy the same space (fighting physics). D worked on changing the windshield wipers on our ancient BMW. He did a great job except for that one wiper arm, the one which slipped out of his hands and smacked hard against the windshield causing it to crack in many brilliant directions. While D screamed outside in horror, I worked on the list for our trip (which looks like I might as well hook up our house to the RV we're renting). After lunch, after consoling D about the broken windshield (what's another $600 honey? Your dad always did say fixing things wasn't your forte. Consider it...destiny.) I went shopping for the goods. When I got back, D helped me unload and then promptly went back to the market to get the things I forgot.
We wished we could go out, we wished for candlelight romance...the tiniest bit of fire. We settled for a roasted chicken from the market and frozen veggies in the microwave. Salad on the side. The kids ate relatively non-wolf-like, the floor not as littered as usual. M ate all her chicken ("See, I told you I like this kind of good chicken!"). A and J chowed happily. Then, a knock at the door.
I got up, M and A running behind me, trying to race me to see who was visiting. It was our neighbor, still in her bathing suit.
"We were at the pool and we saw a branch fall off your pine tree onto some wires and there's smoke! I called the fire department!"
Within minutes a fire truck came roaring up our street, lights blazing (but siren-less out of consideration for our small neighborhood). They unloaded their stuff (boots, little yellow, fire-resistant outfits) and we all followed the extremely handsome and bulky firemen into our backyard. Sure enough, there was a broken branch at our back fence, a rather hefty branch and it was lying on top of flimsy-looking wires. I could hear the zapping of electricity. I rushed the kids inside at the firemen's suggestion ("That's like 4000 watts...high voltage...serious stuff," the captain beamed).
While inside, rushing around, trying to make the house look decent, I heard a loud sound. The electricity in the house flickered. M and A ran somewhere in the house. Another boom. All the power went out.
Outside, we'd gotten our wish. Fire had returned to our marriage!
According to my husband, he'd been standing far too near the tree, listening to the zaps, watching for the plumes of smoke. Suddenly, the branch burst into flames, igniting the oleander shrubs beneath. Fire, fire, fire! D booked it like a man with a mission, the flames a picture of the very mouth of hell! So he said. As he watched from behind a fence, the firemen came around (coolly, not rushing at all) from the front of the house, hoses in hand, and like out of a movie, wrangled that hose to control the gushing water to put out the flames.
And with that, the mass of the neighborhood gathered in front of our house to learn what happened because...well...the entire neighborhood lost power. We were all awash in darkness. Dinners were lost, refrigerators were heating up, homes heating up as well. All our fault!
A neighbor looked at my oldest son with suspicious eyes. J swore he didn't do a thing.
Tonight, Edison is outside our house working to fix the downed power lines. They did manage to at least return light once again to our corner of the world. The children are asleep. D, my prince, has convinced the Edison folks that they need not cut the branch tonight. They can keep silent their wood chipper.
"Come in the morning."
What a wise and excellent negotiator D is!
And so...D and I sit now on our porch, clicking our mugs of ice cream together in a salute. We are alone. We wanted fire in our lives...we got it.
Have a wonderful, lively weekend everyone! See you when we get back!