Husbands are notorious for not noticing changes their wives have made. Perhaps one of the most distressing kinds of husband oblivion for a wife is when she goes out and spends a lot of money on a completely new hair style, and her husband seems to suddenly go blind.
“Sweetheart, do you notice anything different about me?” she asks as she flutters her eyelashes and gives him a coy smile.
“Uh, yeah. Your lipstick is smeared.”
Not that I have any personal experience with the haircut scenario. Well, maybe a little. There was that one time I cut three inches off my hair and it took J an entire day to realize that my hair had gone from over my shoulders to just at the bottom of my ear lobes.
My main experience with hubby cluelessness relates to changing things around in the house. Now, I’m not one of those women who has to completely redecorate every room of the house every five years. But during our nearly thirteen years together, there have been a few times when I got tired of looking at certain accessory items and so changed them out, or wanted to tweak the furniture arrangement a little bit and did so.
But not so little that a person who lived there wouldn’t be able to notice.
In each instance, however, J didn’t notice for at least a day. My patience runs thins, so usually if he hadn’t figured it out after twenty-four hours, I would tell him.
I suppose I could understand his lack of observance when he was working a job, then coming home and having to parent a very active child. But now J is at home full-time, and B is a lot more independent, so you would think he would more easily notice changes.
Especially if, just the day before, he helped to make a particular arrangement.
You would think wrong.
See, last week we acquired a second freezer. This required some rearranging of the kitchen utility cart and the three coolers we use in lieu of a refrigerator. Two coolers stack together, and another cooler sits on the floor by itself. It used to sit against the wall dividing the kitchen from our bedroom, but that’s where the new freezer had to go.
After getting the freezer in place, J moved the items this way and that. I wasn’t happy with any of the arrangements we tried. The one thing I did think I liked was reorienting the utility cart. Up until now, its front had faced the kitchen wall, and its back faced the open area between the kitchen and living room. But during the rearranging, we reoriented it ninety degrees so that instead of the front facing the kitchen wall, it now faced the table. That gave us a lot more space between the table and utility cart, having the narrow side stick out toward the open space.
Finally, I thought I’d settled on something. I moved over the three pieces of furniture – two tall nightstands and a set of wicker drawers – sitting against the wall between our bedroom and the bathroom. By doing that, I made room for the lone cooler. The stacked coolers were behind the utility cart, facing the new freezer.
I told J, “Okay, it’s not the best, but I think I can live with it.”
The next day, I changed my mind. First of all, I despised how the one cooler disrupted and corrupted the pretty arrangement of the furniture. This being the focal point of the house when you step inside the door, it was important to me that it remain pretty.
Face it: coolers are not pretty.
Also, the new orientation of the utility cart got in the way of the path from the kitchen table to the bedroom. Whereas before it had been a straight shot, now you had to walk around that narrow end to get through the bedroom doorway. Any feng shui decorator would have told me that the arrangement interrupted the energy flow of the house. I just didn’t like how it looked – more cluttered – and how it felt walking by it.
Just so happens that I decided I didn’t like it after J and B had gone to the nearby state park to go swimming.
And I didn’t want to wait until they got home to fix it the way I wanted.
Long story short, I turned the utility cart back around so that the front side – the long side – was facing the living room.
The front of the cart had never faced the living room.
I moved the two stacked coolers to behind the cart, facing the kitchen wall.
They had never been in that location.
Finally, the single cooler went between the utility cart – one of its narrow sides – and the new freezer.
Devious me immediately decided not to alert my boys to the changes when they came home. True to form, neither of them said anything about the new arrangement for the rest of that afternoon or evening.
I debated about how soon to point out the changes. In a week, I finally decided, if they hadn’t figured it out by then.
The next morning, nobody said anything. That afternoon, we received a UPS delivery. When B went to retrieve the scissors from the drawer in the front of the utility cart in order to open the box, he went to where that front had always been, facing the kitchen wall. Encountering the coolers and the back of the utility cart instead, he said nothing. Just frowned and went around to the front to get the scissors.
Surely at least part of the change had registered, though he remained silent on the issue forevermore.
Okay, at least up until the time of this writing.
J, however, remained oblivious until the next morning, about thirty-six hours after I’d made the change. He was preparing his morning tea when he looked up at me with mild astonishment and commented, “You moved things around.”
I could have made any number of snarky remarks. And probably managed one or two – in a loving, teasing tone, of course. But underneath at all I was thinking, “Aw, snap!”
Because what fun I was planning if, indeed, he hadn’t noticed after a week’s time.