At 8:45 on Saturday morning, my husband’s Jeep lurched to a halt in our driveway. He came inside. I was seated at the counter in my terry-cloth bathrobe, feeding our nine-month-old her daily cereal and prunes.
“Aren’t you supposed to—a go?” he said, pointing to the clock above the fireplace.
“Eh . . . I’ve got fifteen minutes.”
“But weren’t you planning to leave at a quarter till nine?”
I shrugged and stretched. Padding down the hall, I went into our bedroom and fluffed the pillows. I smoothed the sheet across the mattress and made sure the duvet buttons were parallel with the headboard. I got dressed and sat down at my desk to clip my nails. “Can you call my phone?” I hollered. “I can’t find it.”
He did. My phone rang on my bureau two feet away.
From in the kitchen, my husband said, “Hon-ney. It’s nine o’clock.”
“I know what time it is,” I said, although I hadn’t.
I walked back into the kitchen and started loading the dishwasher.
“Leave it,” he said. “I’ll do it while you’re gone.”
I looked at him and cocked an eyebrow. I continued loading the dishwasher.
“We are so different!” he said, picking our daughter up from the highchair and settling her against his chest. “I don’t know how you do this!”
I batted a hand in his direction. “I just won’t pick up the cupcakes.” Knocking the dishwasher closed with my hip, I walked over to the fridge and pulled out the freezer drawer. I set the Tupperware container on the countertop and cracked the lid. “See? I’ll take these instead.”
My husband walked over and peered down at the confections. The jelly in the bird’s nest cookies acted like glue, mashing them together. The incline at which they were stored caused all of the nuts to cluster to one side. The freezer had frosted them white.
I snapped the lid back on. “They’ll look better thawed.”
Returning to the fridge, I grabbed an apple and rinsed it under the sink. I took a bag of cashews and a bag of dried apricots out of the cupboard. I packed my pump, a cooler bag, an ice-pack, sterilized storage bags for milk.
My husband watched this all, goggle-eyed and sweating. “Tell me what to do,” he whispered, glancing at the clock. “Please.”
“I promise you,” I said, “I’m fine.”
“But you still need to get gas!”
“I’ll get gas!” I said.
“And you can’t drive crazy!”
I promised him nothing.
“Where are you going now?” he said, as I walked into our bedroom.
“I can’t find my glasses.”
“Where did you put them last?”
“If I could remember, I’d have found them.”
Thumb corked in her mouth, our brown-eyed daughter watched us like a tennis match.
“Aha!” I cried, as I spotted them on the bureau. “I knew they were around here!”
“All right.” My husband put a firm hand on my shoulder. “We’re going to corral you to the door.”
“I love you, crazy family,” I said, before getting in my car.
“We love you, crazy mommy,” he said, pecking my cheek.
“Wait!” He rapped knuckles on my driver’s side window. “Your phone!”
“No,” I said. “Your phone’s inside. My phone’s already in my purse.” I rolled my eyes and smiled. “I just can’t keep up with you.”
I got there with two minutes to spare.
Do you and your spouse ever have “I don’t know how you do this!?” moments? If so, how do you find a compromise?