Thursday, November 15, 2007

Joining the Gamers' Club

What we don’t know innately, we marry.

For example, my husband has a built in GPS in his head. He can tell North on a starless night without a compass or those pesky Auroras Borealis. On the other hand, I still navigate the town that has been our home for thirteen years with mild trepidation. There is a Bermuda Triangle within its radius that plagues me still to this day. The directions for getting to the Victory Center where our daughters play basketball have imprinted on my brain such that I cannot get there….without getting lost first. I have come to terms with my faulty brain. I don’t take them to games anymore.

I dance, love musical theatre and enjoy reading the classics. He reads history for pleasure and can remember it without a test the next day. In other words, ask me if you’re playing Trivial Pursuit for the brown or the pink slice of pie, ask him if you need the history one. I don’t even remember what color that pie piece is.

Where are my…?

During our dating years, I marveled at how organized and put together my future spouse was. He never lost anything. I lost my purse and found it later the second night we met. My I.D. card fell out of my pocket in December. When the snow finally melted that semester in April, I found it again.

I have learned to look in the place where things ought to be first when beginning a mission to retrieve lost objects. Cue Mission Impossible music here. I am now the GPS for all items within the household.

"I can't find my music stand."

"It's next to the computer in the study."

"We don't have lunch boxes!"

"They're still out in the car where you left them."

“Where are my papers from yesterday?”

“They’re on the table under the lunchbox in the kitchen.”

Actually, I’m more like the brown paper envelope in the middle of the Clue Game. I have the answers, I just need the right question.

Scrabble, Upwards and On Words…

We play cards and strategy computer games and every board game there is in our house. My husband is the master of the set battle plan, thus he usually wins at hearts and always at “Go.” My method of play is more on the fly, I school him at chess and occasionally have a run of victories at cards. Where we both are evenly matched is Scrabble. He can plink down amazing words.

Because I’m a non-speller, my victories have been mostly moral ones, but there was one where I put down the “J” on a triple letter score to catapult to the lead, forming the word “Jo.” “That’s not a word. I challenge.” It was a bluff, but I lucked out. It means sweetheart. I tried calling him that for a time, it didn’t stick. It’s a stupid word and even I concede, I won, but with dishonor. (You have to say that last part with a Klingon accent).

Speaking of Klingons,

If anyone in cyber space has Quest for the Throne, the Klingon version of Star Fleet Battles (STB), I’ll buy it from you. Back in my sophomore year of college, he bought the game to teach me about STB quickly and I was undefeated in seven tries despite being an absolute rookie. Then the game vanished mysteriously. He promises he didn’t throw it away.

Gifts and Gift Giving

November 15, 1992 A day that remains pivotal in my spousal relationship. No, it’s not our anniversary or the anniversary of an anniversary or anyone’s birthday. It’s the day we stopped being newlyweds and became a “settled” couple. My husband came home and saw me putting away some shirts from the drycleaners. After dinner, he gave me a pensive gaze and said with recognition in his voice, “You don’t iron for me anymore.” I laughed.

December 20, 1997 We were wrapping up the last of the loot when it occurred to me I hadn’t bought my beloved a present. Expecting a baby, I could have punted and just allotted the oversight to pregnancy hormones. My admittedly feeble attempt to rectify the situation was worthy of spousal scorn, but he’s a very gallant man. My folks were in town for the holidays and I had purchased several books. Having overheard my mom talk about having read one of the books I had bought for her, I regifted on the spot. The problem was, he knew about that book in particular and the fact that it was originally intended for my mom. The inscription on the inside says it all. “I was thinking of you as I wrapped this book, Love S.”

The other day, my husband called me about a sign he saw talking about giving your wife a rock to remember. “How about some quartz?” he offered. “Wow. That would be great!” He showed up with what I estimate to be a 90 lb. boulder that looks very nice in our back yard. The sparkly earrings came later. I countered by getting him something I swore when we dated I’d never do, some practical gifts, fresh pants and socks. Then, feeling bad, I impulsively bought him a beautiful red blanket, and “The Man of LaMancha.”

Romance may be about getting hearts and flowers but love isn’t about getting what you want. It’s getting what you most profoundly need, even if it’s to be told to shape up. We’ve both demanded that the other become more of the person God intended us to be over the years. We diet and budget and struggle with organizational systems to manage our many charges together. He’s learned to bring chocolate on any occasion and how to dance, and I’ve discovered the History section at the book store under his tutelage. I’ve introduced him to musicals and classic film and he’s taken us to civil war battle grounds and explained the campaigns. He’s even navigated me over the phone to the basketball center. And together, we’re a tough match in cards or Trivial Pursuit.

Think I may buy an ironing board, just to surprise him.

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