My husband, Bob, is working out of town most of this summer. So imagine how excited I was recently to have him home for 5 whole days.
I cleared my calendar to soak up any time I could get with him. I cancelled trips to the dry cleaners, the car wash and a garage sale. (I did not cancel my bikini wax.)
Our first day started out lazily reading the paper, drinking coffee and catching up on each other’s lives. I wish I could say we were having crazy sex on the couch, the kitchen counter-- or in any room or on any surface--but no such luck. We do have an unemployed 17 year old out of school for the summer who is right down the hall in a pile of other unemployed 17 year old boys all sound asleep in a teenage coma. They are surrounded by half eaten cheese dogs, empty Pringles cans and a dozen crumpled water bottles. Take away the twisted array of cellphone, iPod and Xbox chargers plugged into every available outlet and they look like a litter of gangly, unshaven puppies blissfully unaware there’s a world outside of slumber.
Back to husband time. Bob suggests a movie, at an actual movie theatre, something that’s become a much too rare date for us. “Yes! Let’s do that!” I exclaim. We decide on “Ted,” starring a foul-mouthed, stunningly inappropriate and oversexed Teddy Bear. It is one of the funniest movies we have ever seen. We recount our favorite lines as we walk to the car. Fond of early afternoon movies, it’s now all of 5 p.m.. We’ve only just begun…cue the Carpenters.
“So what do you want to do now?” I ask, hoping Bob would suggest extending our date with a candlelit dinner, or better yet, ordering in and snuggling on the couch. Oh, wait. Teenager. Okay, nothing $20 bucks and keys to the car won’t solve. I grab his hand and give it a squeeze.
As we leave the parking lot, still laughing about the movie, Bob says, “Oh, I saw you had a shopping list on the counter for Costco. It’s just down the block. Why don’t we go there?”
Suddenly my fantasy of feeding each other Forbidden Shrimp and Sizzling Beef Three Ways all while making Goo-Goo-Gai-Pan eyes at each other has turned into a less than romantic stroll past pallets of potty paper, mixed nuts and ping pong tables. Oh, and FYI, Costco now sells caskets. Yes, caskets. Bob’s going to need to buy one after I grab a pallet of Tylenol PM and choke down enough to kill myself—giving whole new meaning to “clean up in aisle 12.”
Costco, as Bob will tell you, is not my favorite store. I am overwhelmed at the sheer density of population in that place and the complete oblivion of most of the shoppers. They regularly push their overstuffed carts right into you as they ogle a 14 gallon jar of three bean salad. No one—and I mean no one-- needs that much three bean salad.
And just try to maneuver past the lines for food samples. Humans, the size of derricks, clog the aisles anxiously awaiting one mini meatball on a toothpick from a woman in a shower cap. It would take a foghorn to get their attention. I once got stabbed with a fork trying to spear the last wonton from the sample plate. Thankfully it was a plastic fork since I’m not sure I was up to date on my tetanus shots.
Never again will I think I’m that hungry.
But, on this shopping trip, I remind myself to make the best of things and enjoy my short time with my long lost husband. I smile up at him as he hoists a 50 lb. container of chlorine tabs for the pool and a double case of dog food (that will certainly expire long before our dogs) into our cart.
I have to confess that Costco’s power of consumer persuasion can be hard to resist so Bob usually keeps me on a short leash there. This time it was when I tried to put a chaise lounge into our basket. “But we don’t have one!” I pleaded desperately as he wrestled it out of my hands. I settled for a two pack of Rainbath shower gel.
On the way out Bob couldn’t resist the $1.50 hot dog and soda which sealed the deal on any further dinner plans.
As he took a bite of his hot dog, a little mustard dripping onto his gorgeous chin, I think, “He’s never looked happier.” I grab his hand once more and give it another squeeze as I realize, “Even at Costco, or anywhere for that matter, I’m happier with him than without him.”
Bob left town again a few days later. I cried and kissed him goodbye.
Then I went back to Costco for that chaise lounge.