Thursday, September 3, 2009

Love Hurts

Life was good.

And then my wife wanted to rearrange the living room furniture.

“We can’t rearrange anything in this place,” I told my wife. “It’s too small in here to do anything.”

You see, we have one of those step-saver homes -- the ones newlyweds were gobbling up a few years ago when the housing market was booming. (A step-saver home, for those not familiar, is a home that allows you to save steps due to its extreme compactness -- an advantage, according to our real estate agent.) So, due to the size of our house and the size of our furniture, there was really only one way to arrange everything.

My wife wasn’t happy with my response. She wanted to see other layouts, even though I was certain nothing else would work. The bigger problem: I’d be the one doing the rearranging. I’d be the one wasting my time. I’d be the one depleting my energy. I’d be the one injuring myself throughout the project.

It was a done deal. I wasn’t going to rearrange anything. My wife was sad, but I wouldn’t have to suffer royally. Life went on.

And then my 6-year-old son said, “If you wanna make a girl happy, Daddy, you have to move furniture.” Apparently, in the third “Ice Age” movie, which my boy recently saw during summer school, an animated squirrel moves a bunch of rocks (the squirrel’s furniture) to impress a female squirrel. Now, thanks to my son and “Ice Age 3,” I never make my wife happy because “I never move furniture for her.”

If my wife thought I was that much of a sucker to fall for a line like that, she was fairly accurate in her assessment of me.

“OK, where do you want everything?”

She pointed at a piece of furniture, and I moved that piece to where she pointed next. Right away I discovered how out of shape I was, huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf with emphysema, even though I was only moving a table lamp.

When I got to the small sofa, the real pain came. I pulled something major in my back. Making matters worse, I was right -- the new furniture layout didn’t work at all. I didn’t need this.

“It’s too crowded in the corner,” I said. My wife was bummed, but she agreed. I smiled, pleased that I was right. Then my wife pointed again, and in an instant, as if I were a remote-controlled car that my wife operated, I was moving the desired piece of furniture to the desired new place in the room.

During the process, I smashed my finger flat between the couch and a wall, giving new meaning to the phrase, “Nothing lasts forever,” only to discover that the latest arrangement was worse than the previous arrangement. I would have to move the furniture again. I really didn’t need this.

While making the next move, injuring myself again, I decided that I’d have to like the furniture layout no matter what it looked like -- I didn’t want to move everything again.

As I predicted, the new arrangement was dreadful, unlivable. Our living room made coach class on today’s airlines look inviting and spacious.

“Wow, it looks great, very roomy,” I said. Then I collapsed onto the sofa for a breather.

My wife wasn’t happy with the room. I knew right away she wanted me to move the furniture again. I just didn’t need this.

“You were right,” my wife said. “We can’t rearrange anything in this place. It’s too small in here to do anything.”

So I moved everything back to the way I originally had it. When I was finished, I felt like I had altitude sickness from all the movement I’m not used to. I most definitely didn’t need this.

While on the floor catching my breath, I noticed my wife staring at me. It took me a few minutes to see she was smiling. She was happy.

And the moral: If you wanna make a girl happy, move furniture for her.

-August 2009

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