|synonyms:||problem, difficult question, difficulty, quandary, dilemma;|
“I have a real conundrum”, was how he answered my standard nightly inquiry which goes something like this:
Me: “How was your day?”
Husband: “It was (fill in the blank).”
Usually he says “good.” Other times I can tell by his face that I shouldn’t ask. More often than not there’s a story or a funny anecdote which starts a conversation that carries us through dinner.
But never, in the almost seventeen years I’ve asked the question has he answered this way.
“Wow, really? A conundrum. What happened?”
I don’t like hedging. Hedging makes me anxious.
“I’ll feed the dog,” he volunteered.
When it comes to eating our dog is probably a lot like yours. Since she comprehends any sentence that has the word food or feed or treat in it — the “spinning around the kitchen” phase of the evening begins as she excitedly waits for her dish to be prepared.
“Come on! Tell me what’s up!” I urged as he shoveled kibble into warm water.
When he bent down to give our whirling dervish her dinner, I spotted some residual unsteadiness left over from the bout of vertigo he’s been battling for the past couple of weeks.
Slowly, he came back to standing, leaning on the kitchen counter directly across from me.
Those corners in the kitchen, those are sacred. They are our “go to” conversation spots.
If I think about it, almost every conversation, big or small, has a least started from those corners.
We may shift back and forth while we prepare dinner but it all begins in those corners.
If things get tense, we maintain our distance, like a fighter in the ring.
But I have laughed my ass off and cried a river (often at the same time) in the corners of my kitchen.
We hug a lot there too.
I don’t know why, but kitchen corners are conducive to hugging.
Anyway, it took a while for him to explain.
“I wanted to get you a tree,” he said looking at me sheepishly.
“I wanted to surprise you…with a Christmas tree.”
You see, Christmastime at our house is…complicated.
For me, it is the BEST time of year. You can find me Ho, Ho, Ho-ing my way through December.
For my husband—not so much. No, No, No-ing is more like it for him.
It could be due to his horrible, Jesuit boarding school, Oliver Twisted childhood—no one knows for sure.
All I DO know is that we have litigated this subject into the ground only to come away without any reasonable solution as to how we can navigate the holiday—and keep both of us happy.
If you read my last blog post you know that I’ve decided to go treeless this year. It was a compromise I’ve never been willing to make—until now—made easy by some brilliantly timed, post-holiday travel.
In an act of holiday self-care (which, no matter what that looks like for you, I highly recommend for everyone) I decorated my sister’s tree on Tuesday which was a fix for this Christmas Junkie.
So, I’m good with it. Really.
And that’s the part that confused him.
He continued, “On Monday, I finally felt up to driving to that awesome nursery where we saw those live trees,” he said.
“The ones with the silver needles you like?
He could see the bewildered expression on my face but he kept going.
“So I had it in the back of my van and I was going to set it up this morning…until I read your blog.”
I still wasn’t following so he went on.
“You said you were happy that you didn’t have a tree. That you liked the ease and simplicity…”
“So I drove back there to return it, but they don’t take back Christmas trees.” I could see a look of chagrin trying to hide behind his sexy, white beard.
I started to laugh. “What? No you didn’t!”
“Yep,” he said, starting to see the humor. “You are the proud owner of a living silver pine tree which has been driven all over hell and back the past two days and is now lurking in the back of my van trying not to feel rejected.”
“Awwwwww, come on! You did not!” My eyes filled with tears as I launched myself into his arms. I told you those corners were for hugging.
“Lemme see him!” I squealed.
“I’m sorry.” He nuzzled his face in my neck. “I just can’t seem to get it right.”
“Don’t be. Ya did good.”
Sometimes when you let something go. Like really let it go with no residual bullshit–it hunts you down and lurks in a van in your driveway.