mardi 10 février 2009

Flipping the bird


You know who you are.

An early valentine to my husband
I just read on a blog, the same one where my "cone bra" and cats are apparently subjects of interest to the wider world, that my husband has anger management problems.
The comment about me walking my cats was just inane. Picking on an animal is bad, but picking on one with a disability is just pathetic. As everyone knows, Munchkin has cerebellum hypoplasia, which affects her motor skills. She can barely take three steps without falling over. But she gets back up every time. She hits her head a lot too, and I worry that she will crack it open one day. She has tumbled down the steps to the basement at least once, when I took the guard rail away for just a second. She has a tiny brain, but apparently far more intelligence than some humans. And she is happy. She has mastered that art.

But back to my husband. I know some things about anger, out of control anger that leads to physical abuse. I have nothing to say about it in public. My husband Walt is not an angry man. He is a fundamentally happy man and a very caring one too. He has a terrific sense of humor, even though some of his jokes are so corny they make me cringe.

In his spare time, he coaches a select baseball team and a YMCA basketball team. Working with adolescent and, in the case of the YMCA, pre-adolescent boys is enough to try anyone's patience. Not to mention the challenge of dealing with parents and scheduling conflicts and so on. He handles it all with incredible grace and humor. But he's no pushover. He speaks his mind, but always with tact. I honestly don't think I would have the patience for that. The parents, even the ones who initially want to out-coach the coach, come to trust and admire him, and the kids respect him.

He is also a very attentive son. This may not be indicative of anything - I bet Norman Bates was nice to his mother - but in this department, Walt has really stepped up to the plate. Jo (his mom) has battled cancer twice and won both times. Walt has spent hours of his time - both free time and work time - sitting in hospital waiting rooms, eating hospital food, chatting with her during chemotherapy, etc. It may just be what adult children do for their parents and loved ones, but Walt does it unstintingly and with a smile on his face. And he makes sure his mom has one on hers as well. For her birthday, he bought her a puppy, a half shi-tzu half miniature schnauzer named Nelly. He often takes time out of his work day just to stop by and say hi to his mom. The fact that she usually has just baked some chocolate chip cookies has nothing to do with his devotion to his mom. He tries to get to her house every weekend to do yard chores. Sometimes I complain and say "what about our yard?" But deep down I am pleased that he takes such good care of his mom.

He takes good care of me, too. If he had anger issues, he certainly could use his physical stature to work them out on just about anyone. But he doesn't. For a word about his courage, see my post about the night he broke up a fight between two testosterone-driven punks. A week later, we read about another fight at another restaurant in our West Seattle neighborhood. This time, the punks were armed, and someone got killed.

Last weekend, I had to work pretty much non-stop. It was grueling and uninteresting. I had no time to do anything, even go outside for a walk. He kept the house clean, the dishes washed, the refrigerator stocked and food on the table. He lit candles, because he knows I like that, and rubbed my head and shoulders. Such long hours at the computer are physically painful.

So here's a thumbnail sketch of Walt: smart, funny, hard-working, caring, strong, good-looking, sweet. A devoted father and now a grandfather. A respectful son and a loving husband. He's got his secret rooms and his faults - we all do - but I don't dwell on them and neither does he.

Here's a song for Walt. In Spite of Ourselves, by John Prine (as sung by John Prine and Iris Dement):


She don't like her eggs all runny
She thinks crossin' her legs is funny
She looks down her nose at money
She gets it on like the Easter Bunny
She's my baby I'm her honey
I'm never gonna let her go

He ain't got laid in a month of Sundays
I caught him once and he was sniffin' my undies
He ain't too sharp but he gets things done
Drinks his beer like it's oxygen
He's my baby
And I'm his honey
Never gonna let him go

In spite of ourselves
We'll end up a'sittin' on a rainbow
Against all odds
Honey, we're the big door prize
We're gonna spite our noses
Right off of our faces
There won't be nothin' but big old hearts
Dancin' in our eyes.

She thinks all my jokes are corny
Convict movies make her horny
She likes ketchup on her scrambled eggs
Swears like a sailor when shaves her legs
She takes a lickin'
And keeps on tickin'
I'm never gonna let her go.

He's got more balls than a big brass monkey
He's a wacked out werido and a lovebug junkie
Sly as a fox and crazy as a loon
Payday comes and he's howlin' at the moon
He's my baby I don't mean maybe
Never gonna let him go

In spite of ourselves
We'll end up a'sittin' on a rainbow
Against all odds
Honey, we're the big door prize
We're gonna spite our noses
Right off of our faces
There won't be nothin' but big old hearts
Dancin' in our eyes.
There won't be nothin' but big old hearts
Dancin' in our eyes.