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Married . WithOUT Children

Heidi Rice

“I’m in love,” husband-head said dreamily as he lay in bed. “I’m totally in love. .”

Husband-head was not talking about me.

He was referring to our new window air conditioner which my mother had purchased as a gift to us for our eight-year anniversary.

“You’re the only of the girls who HASN’T been divorced,” she had said pragmatically. “You get an air conditioner.”

“I thought this was, like, our WOOD anniversary,” I pointed out. “I didn’t know there was an air conditioner anniversary. .”

“There is now,” she said simply.

But we needed it . badly.

For weeks, we’d been tossing and turning in bed, throwing off the covers to stave off the sweltering summer heat.

“That’s IT,” husband-head announced one particularly hot night. “We’re moving to Alaska. My kingdom for an iceberg!”

When he got home from work, I informed him of what my mother had bought us as an anniversary present.

“It’s our anniversary?” he asked, puzzled. “How many years?”

I told him.

“Eight YEARS?” he said incredulously. “MURDERERS don’t get that much time!”

But when he saw the air conditioner he was overjoyed. Especially when he discovered the unit came with a remote control that would turn it on and off, change the temperature and had a timer. . Just what we needed – another remote. .

“The wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round!” husband-head sang to the Barney tune as he jumped up and down, clapping his hands, as he does when he gets overly excited.

He immediately went to work installing the air conditioner in the bedroom window with such intensity, it made me wonder if even a football game could have deterred him. .

When he was done, he cranked the sucker up full blast and lay down on the bed in ecstasy.

“I don’t care if your mother never gets me another present for my birthday or Christmas,” he said. “This is the best all-time gift ever.”

“Better than NFL Ticket on the satellite dish?” I challenged.

That was a tough one.

“By the way, what makes you think this is YOUR air conditioner?” I continued. “It came from MY mother. .”

“Yeah well, she hasn’t had to deal with you for the past eight years,” he said. “I think this is her way of thanking me for taking the load off.”

The idea of my husband and my mother in cahoots over who had to be responsible for me was rather unnerving. .

“If we ever get divorced, you can have everything, but I get to keep the air conditioner,” husband-head informed me, patting my hand in an attempt to be romantic.

It occurred to me husband-head was developing an unnatural relationship with the air conditioner. .

“Who do you love better – me or the air conditioner?” I asked, feeling insecure as we lay in our newly cooled bedroom.

“Don’t make me choose,” husband-head warned. “I don’t want to hurt your feelings.”

In the middle of the night, I woke up to the sound of husband-head playing with the remote control, like a kid with a new toy.

“What are you DOING?” I asked, annoyed that the air conditioner was getting a lot more attention than I was. “You gonna kiss it goodnight or something? By the way, can you turn that stupid thing down? I’m cold. .”

Husband-head leaned over to me and whispered.

“Shhhh. . Don’t speak bad about my air conditioner; it has feelings, too, you know.”

After eight years of marriage, I’m not worried about husband-head looking at other women – I’m worried about what next year’s anniversary will bring. .

New Castle resident Heidi Rice’s column appears every Thursday in the Post Independent. Visit her website at http://www.heidirice.com.


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