Late yesterday afternoon, my phone rang three times before I picked it up. First, my cell rang (it was upstairs; too far to walk). Then, my land line rang (didn’t make it there in time either; it was two rooms away). And finally my cell rang once more–all within a minute of each other. I finally hauled myself upstairs and saw that it was Derrick calling. When I answered, I found him in a full-blown panic.
“Jen! I need a twelve hour truce!” He was breathing hard and his voice was deafening in my ear. Really, it hurt.
“What? Why? What’s going on?”
“Ethan and I are at the place we get shakes every year, and I need to have one with him. But I don’t want it to cost me a hundred bucks.” Translation? He wanted to cheat without the consequences. I was so on to him.
You see, Derrick and Ethan had left earlier that day for a “Fathers and Sons” annual campout that’s hosted by our church. Once a year, Derrick picks Ethan up early from school on a Friday and whisks him off to seven-year old boy heaven: dirt, sticks, rocks, tents, campfires and, most importantly, Dad all to himself. One year as they drove to the campsite, Ethan announced that the Fathers and Sons campout was his favorite day of the year, “favoriter, even, than Christmas.” And one of the major highlights of this excursion is stopping with his dad at a little snack shack on the way, to share a thick milkshake and kick off the manfest properly. And so just before he called me yesterday, Derrick found himself pulling up to the stand with no explanation for his son. How do you tell your blue-eyed boy–who waits all year to get this treat with you–that you won’t be joining him this time, because you are watching your waistline and having a smackdown with his mother? For all his feigned hardheartedness, Derrick didn’t want to disappoint the little guy. But he also didn’t want to pay me one hundred dollars.
Oh my faithfuls, can you imagine what a blissful moment this was for me? I gave my loudest, crackliest, evilest cackle into the phone and said, “Wait a minute.” I then called Rachael and Megan over and held the phone out so Derrick could hear me shout that “Dad wants a 12-hour truce! Ha ha ha! Dad is asking me for a free pass!” The girls hooted and catcalled as wickedly as I’d hoped, and I put the phone back to my ear.
“Come on, Jen. I just need twelve hours. I need to have this shake with Ethan. But I won’t do it if you’re gonna make me pay.” Like any good woman, I paused for emphasis and then assured him in (what I think is) my silkiest voice:
“That is the difference between you and me, honey. I would never make you pay.” I paused once more, just to remind Derrick how much better he married than I did.
“Okay, fine. Okay. All right.” He could not–could not–choke out a thank you. I stayed silky.
“You’re welcome, honey.”
“Love you!” I said it with silky glee.
He mumbled–or did he moan?–something unintelligible and hung up.
I celebrated by making a big ‘ole batch of chocolate chip cookies and helping myself to just a smidgen (don’t ask) of the dough. And because I’d had a sugar fix, I was finally able to snuggle with Rachael on the couch and watch Cupcake Wars with without crying. In this episode, a lovely woman from Jamaica pulled from behind and won in the end; she was sending her prize money back home to her family and I wanted to kiss her through the screen. We had shared such a common journey, she and I. I may have started this challenge as the underdog, but I’d say when my opponent feels the need to call two truces in one week, I am winning. For once in my rotten stinking
marriage life, I am winning! And it feels–do forgive me–sweet.
The real question? What should I do with the ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS! that I will surely be receiving next week? One new swimsuit (which my sugar-free bod will look smokin’ in), three mani-pedis, or ten giftcards (to myself) to Dairy Queen? I’ll report, but you decide.