You will not be surprised to learn that I gave into my longing.
I could not withstand the siren call of the laundry umbrella a moment longer and that is why after I dropped Rebecca off at school for a field trip, Lily and I made our way to The Home Depot in search of an umbrella and a bag of cement. The umbrella was only 39.99, which was ten dollars less than I had planned on spending and so, like a good housewife, I was pleased.
I brought home my supplies and with Lily by my side, we unwrapped my new toy. The reason for the low price became obvious. The clothesline was completely tangled and needed to be restrung. I don't know why, but this didn't bother me. I untied it and unstrung it and then began to restring it.
Lily wanted to help and it was so lovely to work with her. She was truly useful and thoughtful and I enjoyed the moments of our work. It sounds goofy and overly sentimental, but there it is. She was charming and sweet and I loved her more tenderly than ever as she carefully pushed the plastic coated string through the holes and pulled it through to the other side.
Once the lines were restrung and the unit was assembled, it was time to dig a hole. Lily hopped into the pool and chattered happily about rocks and dirt and shovels and bugs and dogs and, and, and. Her monologue went on in that way that children have when they are happy and they want to tell you things, but more than that, they want to be connected with you, and their words are an endless stream linking them to you and it pleases them. It pleased me too.
Before long it was time to mix the cement. This is what I learned about cement: It is dirty and it is heavy. You should not mix it with your bare hands. I did anyway and ended up with cement rocks underneath my wedding ring, which got me thinking about my wedding ring in general and messes in particular.
Over the past 13 years I have embarked on all sorts of messy projects. My ring has been muddy, wet, paint splattered and dust covered. It has not complained.
It is quite something to go through each of these projects, these messes, with such a constant symbol of my life's companion. Some husbands are fussy about things. They don't let their wives paint the woodwork white, or rearrange the furniture or write blog posts about their scrotal injuries. They want the mixing of cement to be well ordered and precise. My technique is messy, but it holds tight. My ring bears the marks of my work and the mark of a husband who has never, not ever, given me a moment of regret.
The line is up. The cement is solid. The laundry was hung. My family is my treasure. There is nothing more that I can ask for in this day.