Learning to control having no control

As a veteran husband I long ago got used to the idea that I have little, if any, control of my life.

Sure, there are moments when I think “Doggone it, I’m an independent person and I should be able to do what I want,” but then I think “When did I start saying ‘doggone it’? Oh great, now, not only do I not have control of my  life, I also don’t have control of my vocabulary.”

Sort of makes you see why I don’t think much anymore.

I don’t even remember when I lost control of my life. One day I was sitting in my posh one-bedroom apartment, smoking cigars, drinking beer and watching sports and the next day I was sitting in a dark auditorium watching our then 5-year-old daughter Emma’s dance recital.

It’s the circle of lost life control, is what it is.

But like most veteran husbands I learned to live without control of my life. I don’t really like it but I don’t really hate it.

It’s sort of the way I feel about green beans.

It’s not that I have lost total control of my life it’s just that often things happen to me, or around me that I have little control over.

In the past few weeks, a couple of things happened that reminded me how little control I have of my life.

The first thing that happened centered around a mistaken laundry basket. See, my wife and I have two laundry baskets we use to transport our dirty laundry from our bedroom hampers upstairs to our laundry room downstairs.

The problem is my wife tends to fill both laundry baskets with her clothes leaving me without a vehicle to transport my clothes. When this happens, I go into our laundry room, pick up one of the baskets with my wife’s clothes in it, dump them out and use the basket for my clothes.

Then, when I’m done with the laundry basket, I pick up my wife’s clothes, put them back into the basket and life goes on.


Oh, don’t judge me. I dare you to tell me you wouldn’t do the same thing.

A few weeks ago, needing a laundry basket, I picked up a laundry basket full of what I believed to be my wife’s clothes. I then, as usual, dumped my wife’s clothes on to the floor.

Now, perhaps you noticed I said I picked up a basket full of “what I believed to be my wife’s clothes.” Well, there is reason for that.

What I didn’t know was only the very top of the basket contained my wife’s clothes. The rest of the basket contained a large collection of my wife’s arts and crafts supplies. Included in that large collection were several containers of glitter. And, as it turned out, the lid to at least one of those containers of glitter was-shall we say-less than secured.

Have you ever dumped out a basket of what you believed to be clothes only to have an entire container of glitter spill all over your laundry room?

Don’t. You’ll scream a lot of really bad words.

Also, have you ever tried to clean up glitter? I mean, completely?

Don’t. It can’t be done.

For several days, our laundry room looked like a dressing room at a strip club.

Or so I’ve been told.

It has been more than two weeks since the glitter spill and I’m still finding it all over our house.

Now, some of you are probably thinking “Well, Mike, if the glitter spilled in your laundry room two weeks ago how come you’re still finding it all over your house?”

To some of you thinking that I say, “Clearly you know nothing about glitter.”

Several days after the glitter incident my wife and I decided to order a heater for our three-season porch. The heater is one of those fake, electric fireplace things. I have mixed emotions about fake, electronic fireplaces things but my wife thought, if we ordered one, we could use our three-season porch more in the winter. Thereby turning our three-season porch into a four-season porch.

This is how we ordered the heater.

My wife looked one up on her phone showed it to me and then ordered it.

I may have had time to say “OK,” before my wife ordered the heater but don’t think so.

Anyway, several days later, two very nice guys delivered a large, heavy box containing the heater.

“Oh, do we have to assemble it?” my wife asked the two nice guys.

When the two nice guys said “Yes,” and then made a hasty retreat I got a bad feeling.

I don’t assemble things well. If beer came with a note that said “Some assembly required” I would be in serious trouble.

A few minutes later, when we opened the box, I discovered things weren’t as bad as I thought.

They were worse. Much worse.

The heater wasn’t one of those “Some assembly required” projects. The heater was one of those “Everything must be assembled” projects.

The heater project would make an IKEA project seem like a day at the beach.

Sensing my mood my wife quickly tried to defuse the situation.

“Just help me spread everything out on the living room floor, I’ll get started and then we both can put it together. It’ll be easy.”

a partial picture of the stuff what needs to be put together for our heater
Here are some of the pieces for our heater that needs to be assembled.

A little while later my wife stormed into our kitchen where I was sipping a beer and said, “THAT’S IT. I’M DONE. I’VE (Long stream of very crude and offensive words used in a variety of creative ways oddly enough with a slight Swedish accent) HAD IT. I’M CALLING BRIAN.”

Brian lives next door. He and his brother Scott build things for a living. Over the years, Brian and Scott have built several things for us.

A few days after my wife called Brian, Scott knocked on our door. I let him in and showed him our living room floor where the heater parts were scattered.

He laughed.

Then he put the heater together.

scott halfway done putting our heater together
Here is Scott not long after starting to put our heater together.

“See, that wasn’t so bad,” my wife said when Scott was done.

picture of fake fireplace
Here is the fake, electronic fireplace that “wasn’t so bad” to put together.


I have to be honest here.

I hate green beans.