Here I was living in a fool’s paradise blissfully unaware my wife, Marianne, and I were in desperate need of new potholders.
At the time, I didn’t even know they were called “potholders.” They were just those thick, quilted-looking square things I used to keep my hands from burning on hot pots and pans when I couldn’t find the oven mitts.
Marianne’s exact words to me were, “We can’t live with these potholders any more.” It was evident from her tone she had been languishing over the potholder situation for some time now and, after much suffering, she finally reached her breaking point.
As exhibit ‘A,’ she holds up one of the potholders for me to examine. I see that it is square. It has a bright, floral pattern. It is a bit stained here and there but, otherwise, it looks like it would still keep the heat off your hands.
I was not sure how to respond. After decades of close marital cohabitation I sensed it was a bad time to get back to the business spreading mayonnaise on my sandwich. One wrong move and the next object in the household she could no longer live with might be me.
I work up the husband’s go-to face specifically designed for situations like this. It is an introspective frown designed to give the appearance you fully understand the issue and you are weighing all options. All I was really doing was wondering how long it was going to take for me to get back to my sandwich. I didn’t have a lot of time. All my fat cells were depending on me.
“I see what you mean,” I lie straight through my teeth; teeth that should be chewing a sandwich by now.
“I wash them, and the stains still don’t come out.”
Stains! I would have never thought of stains on the potholders as the problem. Not in a million years. Call it ‘guy think,’ but I don’t toss a hammer out over a little rust. Tossing potholders that still work all because of a few stains does not compute.
“They are pretty stained,” I agree, hoping to convey the notion that I, too, have been concerned over the potholder situation.
“When we are out today,” she says, “We’ll stop by the store and get some.”
I take the butter knife and make a tentative swipe at my sandwich. No reaction. I have won the day.
I am happy to announce you can all sleep again knowing the Wallace clan is in possession of four brand-spanking new potholders. I dare say our pots have never had it so good and we have not so much as had a finger burned.
I retire to my recliner in preparation for a hard day of lying around watching fishing shows, when Marianne announces the coffee table in the den that has resided there for more years than I remember, absolutely must go. Why? I have no idea.
I work up my introspective frown.