It’s the middle of a hot summer in Minnesota and my hanging baskets look spent and lifeless. Our canopy of Linden leaves is falling to the Japanese beetle infestation, and our lush green grass is giving way to dry patches of thatch. The only thing really green in our backyard is the crabgrass, and the pond, which is covered in its July algae bloom.
Keeping the grass green requires losing some sleep and extra work on our watering days. We are on an even-odd day schedule with no watering allowed in mid-afternoon, so I get up early and go to bed late every other day. The other night, I went out just as the evening news came on to move the sprinkler one last time before midnight. My husband was playing games on the desktop computer in the office.
When I turned around from the sprinkler, I realized all the lights were out in the house. No way!
Tried the front door. I sighed and hung my head. He had locked me out and gone to bed.
I knocked timidly at first, with a hint of sheepishness at my plight. Then I thought about it. He locked me out! So I knocked with some energy. He didn’t even look to see where I was, just went to bed! Again I knocked, with even more resolve. Nada. Zip.
Tried the doorbell. One. Two. Three. Four.
Nothing. Just dark, and quiet, except for the swish, swish, swish of the sprinkler and the distant quacking of a trio of annoying “bachelor” mallards on the pond in the backyard.
Stomping my bare, size-seven foot in frustration, I ran around to the back of the house to pound on the patio door, stepping on a toad as I rounded the corner. Ugh… Now I was really steamed.
Husband, undressed for bed, pulled the patio door open, his face showing obvious annoyance at having been dragged out of bed just as he was getting in.
Making every attempt to hold back my rising anger, I said as flatly and without emotion as I could, “Why did you lock the doors?”
To which my husband of 36 years said just as flatly, “You know we always lock the doors when we go to bed.”
Hmmmmph. A barrage of questions ran through my mind as the ducks continued to quack in the background, as if mocking me. Who is “we?” Did he not notice I wasn’t in the house as he walked through or past every single room on his way to the bedroom? Does he have any idea when the last time was that I have been in bed before midnight, much less 10 p.m.? Did he even consider saying goodnight?
It occurred to me that if there were answers to those questions, perhaps they were better left unsaid and unheard.
Perhaps our marriage is starting to get a little dry around the edges, too. For a moment, I considered skipping the late night grass watering tonight and climbing into bed when my husband does. But tomorrow is an even day, a day when I can’t water.
Sigh. The lawn looks terrible already. I can’t afford to get a step behind, can I?
This time, I will remember to take my keys with me when I go outside.