When I met my husband nearly 15 years ago he was living in a ground floor apartment with blackout curtains, behind the mailboxes and overlooking a parking lot. He had a friend’s donated la-z-boy, his desk (a door above woodhorses) and desk chair, the world’s first dual-brained, dual-monitored computer that he built from scratch. All he had in the frig was one frozen lasagna his mother bought him when she visited a few months before. In the frig itself were the remains of one 72 oz. Dr. Pepper from a convenience store, and a package of individually wrapped string cheese. There were string cheese wrappers littered on the rug between frig and computer.
He needed me. I cleaned up the wrappers and opened the blackout curtains. When he took me to a restaurant all the waitresses knew him. I cooked for him. I organized his laundry and closet so he could move away three weeks later. Hired and paid maids so he could get his security deposit back.
He was back with a new job two weeks after that. When a neighbor (a fellow cave dweller who was gifted the la-z-boy chair) asked why he returned he replied, “her.” He stayed at his grandfathers for a couple of weeks then one weekend walking a neighbor’s dog (a side gig for me) I found him a townhouse overlooking our park.
He had light, bought a frig and w/d and I cooked. I had a cat so he couldn’t visit me. One day he came home for lunch and I was making grilled cheese sandwiches and he remarked “oh, so that’s how you do it!” In response his mom later sent me a photo of him making his own toast at age four. It only took 30 years for him to learn to make a grilled cheese sandwich, and he still prefers mine.
I don’t really remember where I was born or the first few years except seeing slides every New Year’s Eve at home. I do remember my parents’ first home on a quiet street in a small village. No view, great street, people and kids. I still, many years later, keep in touch with a couple of neighbors. Touch football in the dead-end street (Dad was always reaching) and tree-to-tree baseball in our back yard. All the kids would call on him and his only rule was that everyone plays. I’m a girl and was allowed. A kid was able to help a toddler hit a baseball and carry him/her for a run. Of course Dad was the pitcher, the old softie.
We moved atop a hill for a spectacular view and got a pool. Then to our nation’s capitol for a corner lot where Dad tried to get a pool. In So Cal they had an incredible ocean view (I was on my own).
After the “Barbie House” on the park my husband and I didn’t opt for man caves but went for city views, then mountains, now lakes. Who knows what’s next but I achieved two things. I got him out of a man cave, and created a food snob. Yes, string cheese guy now tells me the nuances of two-year vs. four-year cheddar. Go figure! Dee
ps He’s in charge of anything that’s plugged into an outlet. Computers, phones, whatever. He also reaches high and is obligated to get things up high while I retrieve pots, pans and tools where I can reach below.D