Twenty-two years ago today, I married the most patient man in the world.
At least, he was, until I got ahold of him.
To give you an example of the kind of insanity I regularly provide, let me regale you with The Tale of the Bunk Beds.
One of Hubby’s friends gave us a set of wooden bunk beds a while back – older, massive things made of knotty pine. Our boys have been using them as single beds, in their separate rooms.
Right after we got back from vacation last month, we decided to move our boys (who are two and five) into the same bedroom. Our house is very small, so we were stoked about reclaiming our guest room, which has been a baby nursery since the oldest was born.
The only logical choice, space-wise, was to put the bunk beds together. In preparation for the big event, Hubby stained the bunk beds and added a rail to the bottom one, for the two-year-old.
Oh, if only his work had ended there. If only I were not such a monumentally
neurotic cautious person.
We move dressers and buckets of toys around, to clear space, and Hubby dismantles one of the beds completely, to get it through the doors. He then lines the bottoms of both beds with plywood, so they don’t creak, and reinforces them with perpendicular beams.
“There. Now those’re strong enough to hold a semi,” Hubby says, patting them proudly.
I consider this. I’m already nervous. “Yes,” I say. “But now there’s even more weight to fall on the kid in the bottom bunk, if it falls.”
Hubby stares at me.
“It’s not going to fall, Cathy,” he says.
“Yes…but what if it does? And,” I say, casting a wider net, “what if the top bunk slides off the bottom one?”
Hubby stares at me incredulously. (He spends entirely too much of his spare time doing this, if you ask me.)
“That’s not gonna happen, Cathy,” he says. “There are wooden dowels inside each of the legs.” He shows them to me. They look awfully small.
“Those are pencils!” I exclaim. “You expect the bunks to hold up with pencils?”
Hubby sighs. “I will make something better, Cathy.” And off he trudges to the garage.
I busy myself moving furniture and toys around. And possibly, I also start walking off the footage in the room, to see if there would be enough room to put the beds side by side, instead of stacked.
You know, just in case.
Hubby comes back with new dowels (which don’t look much different than the old dowels, frankly), and with much huffing and puffing, we lift the beds into place. I look at them.
“I can’t believe they’re just sitting on each other,” I say. “We’re going to need to put brackets on those legs.”
In serene silence, Hubby makes another trip to the garage. But he only finds enough brackets for two of the legs. “I’ll buy more tomorrow,” he says, cutting me off at the pass.
That night I lie in bed and try really hard not to envision the top bunk collapsing onto the littlest guy. I do yoga breathing. I even try to tell myself that the outside rail on his bed would (maybe) catch the upper bed if it fell, creating a small pocket of space from which he could escape.
This is not a huge comfort.
Hubby goes back to the hardware store and buys brackets, which he drills into the legs of the beds. At this point, not even I can worry about the top bunk breaking off.
Which still leaves us with the possibility of the top bunk collapsing. And there are other problems, as well. I start Googling “bunk beds safety,” and discover all sorts of potential hazards. I start cataloguing the ways in which our beds do not measure up to “code.”
And there’s another issue, with the beams Hubby fastened across the bottom of the top bunk. These beams hang down into the bottom space – so much so that, when our youngest scoots to the foot of the bed to climb out, he keeps bonking his head on the hard wood.
After we put the boys to bed, a thought crosses my mind. “You know the way you reinforced that bed?” I ask Hubby. “Isn’t that the same way our floors are constructed?”
“Yes!” he says. “Exactly.”
“And our floors haven’t collapsed,” I say. Hubby nods, enthusiastically. We both think this knowledge will help my frame of mind.
That night I lie in bed and try really hard not to envision the top bunk collapsing onto the littlest guy.
I go to Target and purchase bubble wrap and double-sided tape. I then spend nearly an hour lying on the bottom bunk, taping bubble wrap around every square inch of the crosswise beams.
I realize, while lying there, sweaty and crabby (because the boys will not stay out of the small space, and my claustrophobia is kicking in), that lying there is rather like being trapped in a tomb.
“You know,” I tell Hubby casually, when he gets home from work, “we’ll only be able to have these bunk beds set up until Connor gets a little taller. As soon as he gets too tall to sit up in the bottom, we’ll have to separate them.”
“Mmm-hmm,” Hubby says.
“But that’s okay!” I prattle on. “I’ve already measured everything out, and if we move the smaller dresser from the other room into this room, there will be room to put the beds along the far wall, with the dresser between them. It’ll be really cute!”
I forge ahead. “So…it’ll be fine! The boys will like that too. That’ll be fun. And then I can just breathe easier. So we’ll just have them up a little while, then.”
Before I drift off to sleep that night, I try really hard not to envision the top bunk collapsing onto the littlest guy. And I realize that this entire thing is a lost cause.
Hubby didn’t even complain (much) when he had to take the bunk beds apart, three days and several hardware-store trips after he put them together. I think that he honestly appreciated my efforts, because he knows that I tried really, really hard to make this work, in my head.
Hubby’s had 22 years to get used to this. That’s an awfully long time.
This post isn’t the floweriest of valentines, I know – but I can promise you, he appreciates my acknowledgment of his sainthood, here.
And seriously? There’s no one I’d rather do life with, or have as Daddy to my babies.
Happy Anniversary, Honey. And thanks – for the patience, for the hard work, for the love…