A Newer Model


I love my husband, Mike, I really do.  I love him so completely yet I can’t think of anyone who makes me as crazy as he does.  Maybe it comes from being in close proximity to him all the time, or maybe it’s because I get to wash his dirty laundry every week, I don’t know.  You really get to know someone when you are in charge of his underwear.

My dear Mike has this ability to make an appliance/piece of technology die before it’s actually dead.  What I mean to say is that if the lawn mower, for example, isn’t cutting as well as it once did, he will start by telling me, “You know the mower?  It’s not working as well as it once did.”  The next thing he will say is, “There seems to be an unusual noise coming from the mower.  We may want to think about what our options should be if we need to get a new one.”  This will lead into, “I don’t think the grass is being cut as it should.  The grass is really being shredded instead of being cut and I smell some sort of oily smell coming from the engine.  We really need to think about what we should do.”

The next thing that happens is that I find out that he has been reading Consumer Reports magazine about the newest in lawn mowers; this will convince him that his current mower is substandard.  Before I know it, he will tell me that the mower is on its last legs and we need to replace it immediately because what is going to happen is that it will die, the grass will be fraying and un-cut for a couple of weeks, someone will turn us into the city and there will be a fine to pay, and we will be ostracized by our neighbors.  Eeee gads!  Therefore, we NEED a new mower.  Now!!!

Recently, we had this same issue about our mailbox.  The mailbox was a standard size box that you can buy at any home repair store; there were spots of rust where it had seen better days.  The post that it was mounted on was painted white and it was starting to peel.  Additionally, because we live on a street that is well traveled, yet near an escape route for hooligan teens, several of our neighbor’s mailboxes have been bashed in.  Ours had escaped that fate.  Mike was worried that ours was next in line to be wacked.  Why we would buy a new mailbox for their target practice, I don’t know.  I just ask the questions around here.

Mike loves to surf the Internet and recently he came across mailboxes.   God help us. There are jillions of styles of mailboxes and frankly, he was intrigued.  He plotted for hours about the best new mailbox for us and the verbage of how they sold these mailboxes hooked Mike.  For example, “Our award winning designs can be found gracing some of the country’s finer residences…constructed from the highest quality materials…beautifully crafted with attention to detail…”   Who wouldn’t want that?  Heck, you could put up a finely crafted mailbox near a shack by the river and it would make the whole joint look classier.

Anyway, after Mike chose the one that he liked best, he started off the process with me by denigrating our current mailbox.  The vilification went something like this:  “Our mail is damp because the box leaks.”  Or, “The mail is slightly rusty.” Or this one was my favorite: “The paint on the mailbox pole is peeling and the post is listing in such a way that the mail is danger of being dumped into the road.”  Oh my sweet Lord, tell me it isn’t so!   It seemed as if the United States Postal Service was about ready to slam a raid our property.  Stand back, it could be dangerous!

Anyway, you can guess that he sweet-talked me into a new mailbox.  There are certain things that you should fight about in a marriage; a husband who only wants the house to look spiffier should not be crossed.

One day I went outside to get the mail and very nearly killed myself as I tripped over two enormous boxes outside my door.  I didn’t see the delivery, but I am certain that it took two mailmen to haul it out of the truck; our normal mailman is pretty wimpy and I’m sure that he wouldn’t want to herniate himself.

There was one long box that I assumed was for the pole; it was approximately 8 ft long.   How the heck tall was the post going to be, would I need a ladder to score my mail?  The second box was so huge that I could not lift it by myself.  What could it be?   Was it the, ‘heavy-duty galvanized steel body, in addition to a solid die cast brass frame that would ensure long-lasting beauty?? Because this all was Mike’s baby I let him unwrap his packages when he returned home that night.

The mailbox was so enormous that one of our daughters began to moan and wail that we couldn’t have that mailbox in front of our house; her friends might see it and she would just die if they saw how big it was.  It is, in fact, quite large.  How large, you ask?  Well, I can’t say exactly but when I stuck my entire head in it and I could easily go in to the depth of my shoulder blades, I was not worried that the church newspaper or my People magazine would have trouble fitting inside.  My neighbor’s dog might actually be able to use it as a doghouse.  But it is just beautiful and sets the standard that we are one of the street’s finer residences.  I wonder if the neighbors have any idea how much we have ameliorated the neighborhood?

Anyway, if it’s good enough for Mike, then it’s good enough for me.  I’m just worried about what he thinks he needs to replace next.  After 23 years of marriage, something is fixin’ to break down soon and it might be me.  I’m a little worn around the edges, I make unusual noises, and my engine doesn’t seem to go quite as fast as it once did.  I hope he doesn’t start looking on the Internet for a newer model.

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