Columnist confronts daunting prospect of wife's hip replacement

Jim Redwine

People may come in varieties, but I suggest there are only really two types: (1) those who think up projects; and, (2) those who have to do the work. In marriages the lines are clear. Someone cooks the meals; someone helps eat the meals. Someone dirties the clothes; someone washes the clothes. Someone decides flowers or shrubs or vegetables must be planted and someone digs the holes. We could go on, but I am confident you agree with my general concept.

I am aware there are those readers who would get deeper into the weeds of this ancient dynamic. For example, I can hear Peg offering the following division of labors: Someone cleans the house while someone else watches football, or someone goes fishing while someone else deals with AT&T, Amazon, the bank, the various levels of government from the local precinct to the president, and responds to requests from kids and grandkids.

My position has always been I am simply staying out of her way. But starting next week we are going to find out if my theory is reality or merely bug dust. Peg goes for hip replacement. There may not be enough time for me to learn how to be a wife.

It is not as if we haven’t known this time was coming. About every week since April, Peg has served up cautionary instructions with our morning coffee. The days normally begin with this dreaded announcement, “Jim, we need to talk.” Each such session includes some lesson akin to grade school.

“Now you know we need groceries; here’s how I order them online and how I pick them up. The sweeper is in the living room closet; you have to plug it in. When the sink is too full to hold any more dirty dishes, you must rinse them and put them in the dishwasher [Tell me again why we must wash the dishes before we wash them]. Let me show you which button to push to start the dishwasher. Of course, you need to use dishwasher soap and it is under the kitchen sink. When the dishwasher stops you need to make sure the dryer has dried the dishes, then put them away. Now let’s move to the laundry. I have written out the procedure to load, wash and dry. All you need to do is put the clean sheets on the bed and fold everything from socks to shorts; remember, use thirds and don’t just stuff everything in a drawer. That’s enough for this week."

She adds: "After all, I’ve got to get this week’s 'Gavel Gamut' typed, sent in to the papers, put it on your website and post it on Facebook and Twitter.”

Well, Gentle Reader, I suggest next week will begin my rowing across the River Styx to Hades where the dog Cerberus guards Hell and according to Dante’s Inferno the sign on the gate says “Abandon all hope, ye who enter herein.” Maybe I’ll see you on the other side after Peg recovers. Wish her to get well soon, I know I certainly do.