You’re going to throw out what???? | Column | The Press and Standard

by | February 3, 2018 5:00 am

Last Updated: January 30, 2018 at 3:48 pm

My husband is sick. This isn’t good.
Widdle is not a complainer. I whine a lot more than he does. So when he announces, “I think I have the funk,” on Saturday night, sleeps in the guest room, and then SKIPS CHURCH, he’s in the hot zone.
(He thinks it was strep. We both still have our tonsils, for no good reason.)
Back to Sunday morning: After we grunted hello in the kitchen, Widdle called his telehealth provider and got a scrip for amoxicillin. Since then he’s been sacked out on the sofa, swaddled in the faux-cashmere throw and coughing just enough to let me know I’m not yet the Widow Widdle.
Feverish and fretful, he’s still a polite patient.
Me: “Do you want soup?”
Him: “No, thank you.”
Me: “Juice? Tylenol? Scotch?”
Him: “No, thank you.”
Me: “There’s got to be something I can do for you.”
Him: “No, thank you.”
Me: “Do you want me to shut up and leave you alone?”
Him: “Yes, thank you.”
I leave him with a Pepsi on crushed ice and a standing offer to rub his feet (while wearing a painter’s mask and reminding him not to breathe in my direction, I love him, but I don’t want his fever or funk.)
Speaking of fever, we have a half-dozen thermometers, from the old-timey glass tubes to a sleek, $45 sensor you just wave near your temple. None of them work.
The high-tech one says 98.3 even if water sizzles on your skin. The one that sometimes works, a cheap under-the-tongue digital probe, can never be found when we need it.
Aside: Are we the only couple in America who argues about fevers? This is the scene when I’m sick:
“I’m burning up,” I’ll moan. Widdle touches the back of his wrist to my forehead.
“Actually, you’re not. You don’t have a fever.”
“I’m on fire! Don’t tell me I don’t have a fever!”
“Sorry, babe, you’re not even warm.”
Then I pout, which generally lasts as long as the fever I so badly want to have.
But I digress. On Day 2 of Widdle’s recent sickness, I decided to leave him alone by cleaning out the storage shed, which contains a generator, a bicycle and about 3,000 pounds of mildewed books, tacky art, rusty hand tools, broken tractor parts, old receipts, warped yearbooks and ancient light bulbs.
After two hours, I had five boxes and two huge leaf bags of items destined for our rural dump.
“Going to the dump,” I announced.
“Wait, where? What are you taking?” Widdle asked suspiciously, struggling to his feet.
“I’m good, except for one bag I can’t lift. Back in 10,” I said, and took off.
I came home to husband who was sweating with fever AND fury. He’d tottered outside and looked in the remaining bag.
“I can’t believe this!” he fumed. “You tried to throw away business papers and church notes! And a photo of Mr. B’s first wife!”
Let’s be clear: Mr. B was married to Widdle’s mom for five years. We never met his late wife or children, so I’m not sure why we should keep a 30-year-old head shot. The “business papers” were from a seminar he took in 2001.The church folder was from 1999. We are not church historians. Why keep crumpled notes, meeting minutes, a receipt for Freon and a mission statement for a committee that no longer exists?
Still, I know when I’m licked. I said soothing words, put him back on the couch and brought a fresh Pepsi. Hopefully, he’ll think it was all a fever dream.

(Julie R. Smith, whose husband may be a hoarder, can be reached at

comments » 1

  1. Comment by Ash

    February 4, 2018 at 1:16 am

    Love it!!

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