Life is in the flat lane

A wise editor I know once told me to always start with the most important thing first.
Sometimes I just don’t know what to write about—and it’s all Pete’s fault. If I’ve learned anything about how my world turns when he’s away, it’s that things around here just go flat.
That epiphany was hammered home Monday night when, to pass the time, I got caught up watching Houdini wannabe David Blaine try to hold his breath under water for eight minutes on live television.
At minute six (and not long before his lips started to turn blue and his face grimaced with an expression that shouted “this was a stupid idea”), I said out loud “this is a stupid idea.”
I got up off my butt (which also was flat from sitting in front of the tube watching a guy try to drown himself alive) and headed for the fridge.
If Pete were home, life wouldn’t be like that. For starters, instead of lettuce and tomatoes in the fridge, I’d find all sorts of good stuff to indulge in, like beer and pizza.
The one beer I did find was flat.
And instead of getting sucked into the media vortex, Pete and I would have been engaged in exciting math games like “How many pieces of furniture from a 1,800 sq. ft. house will fit into a 960 sq. ft. house?”
Or we’d be plucking away at our soon-to-be released guitar rendition of “I’m Going to Jackson” by Johnny Cash while Daughter #3 rolled her eyes.
Sure, I grumble when he’s home about the clothes that suddenly appear out of nowhere on his side of the bed, and grit my teeth over the little whisker hairs he leaves in the sink.
And I complain about the differences in our neuro pathways and that I was right.
But my world would be round instead of flat.
And he’d be there just as I fell asleep, flashing his neon green watch light in my eyes instead of the night being as black as the inside of a cow.
There’d be that “larger than life” aspect to my neck of the woods that is sadly lacking when Mr. Fantastic is away (and the work order list would see some action, too).
I also was reminded how much fun it is to have Pete by two notes I found this weekend: an old one he’d left me on the fridge that I’d laughed about and then forgotten, and another he’d sent in an e-mail a few days ago—a clear indication that he’s having a lot more fun away from home than I am here.
During the dead of winter, I’d left a note on the fridge telling Pete about some pan drippings from roasted chickens that I had poured into the snow bank outside the back door (once frozen it would make good lollipop material for the dogs).
The note said for him not to worry, that the mark on the snow was “chicken-based” and not “barf.”
When I got home that night, he’d scribbled at the bottom of my note, “I can’t read this . . . something about barf and chickens. Do we have chickens?”
We ordered him glasses after that.
And his e-mail read:
“Had to go through a high air pressure door this past night. The wind was estimated at 100 m.p.h.—plus. It was like walking on the wing of an airplane. Too cool!
“First time I nearly blew away and it took two minutes to get through.
“I went through four more times just for fun.”
Lucky for me, the world around here is about to go round again as Peter gets home tonight.
Time to practice my go-go dance by the side of bed.

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