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Little Spouse On The Prairie: Spring Cleaning

Valerie Brown-Kuchera

Spring cleaning often brings a variety of small projects to our yard and home.  Every year, I make a resolution that this spring, I’ll be satisfied with just a little weeding and painting any areas that have weathered during the winter; but every year, that resolution crumbles when I see how much needs done and how very nice things look on Pinterest.

This past winter was so cold and protracted that I had too much time to surf Pinterest while snuggled under the covers drinking hot tea.  Though the advent of Pinterest has probably been the blight of husbands everywhere, Joel has the added stress of possessing a built-in Pinterest detector.  I can be calmly looking at social media, checking email, or watching Youtube videos and Joel won’t pay any attention to what I’m up to.  But as soon as I shift over to Pinterest, he immediately says, “What’s so interesting on that stupid phone?”  I swear, the man would rather I be staring longingly at some super handsome, shirtless man on the screen than perusing a Pinterest post entitled, “How to Build Your Own Compost Bin in 17 Easy Steps.”

The irony is that Joel actually loves to build projects.  Though he may grumble initially, he typically milks all the accolades he can get out of a finished project.

Old houses can be a bit lacking in storage, and my teen daughter needs more closet space – imagine that!  I assumed that, rather than build onto our already rambling house, Joel would be appreciative of the opportunity to build a portable closet using a handy kit.  Much to my surprise, Joel was a bit resistant to the idea, having a suggestion of his own for solving Millie’s storage problem: “Donate half her (*&)(*  to Goodwill,” he said.

Oh, how we laughed at his little joke.  Usually, Joel guffaws as loud as the rest of us when he gets in a good jest, but this time, he just looked pained as I hauled in the portable closet kit.

The box containing the parts of the closet was deceptively small.  Millie and I were pleasantly surprised when we opened it to find dozens – nay – hundreds of pipes and clips and joints and cool little doohickeys. Joel said he wasn’t feeling well, so we just left the open box to tantalize him right on his easy chair.  Sure enough, Joel couldn’t resist the challenge for long, and a couple of days later, he said he would build the portable closet while watching a family movie upstairs.

I mentioned that I thought the finished closet would be too large to move down the stairs.  I was fairly certain that the contraption should actually be built where it would stay – namely, Millie’s room.  But Joel said anything that came in a box that small would be lightweight and easy to transport, so he set to work while we were watching a comedy.  Though Joel has been known to laugh so hard he cries during a movie, this particular flick had him nearly sobbing, even during the opening credits.  I didn’t think it was that hilarious, but I guess sometimes a person just has to be in the right mood.

Sometimes I don’t like to be right.  This was one of those times.  The finished closet was taller than Joel and about eight feet wide.  Though he procured help from Dashiell, the two of them could not maneuver the awkward closet down the stairs. I could tell Joel was loath to acknowledge that he had underestimated the task (he has a special facial expression reserved for when he doesn’t want to admit his wife is right).  So, in a departure from my usual know-it-all self, I took the high road.  I merely volunteered to help him dismantle the closet in order to move it to Millie’s room.  After a few days of the thing sitting in the middle of our upstairs TV room, he let me do that all on my own! He told me later that the second time he built the closet was much easier.

Tune in to High Plains Public Radio at 8:35 this Sunday morning during Weekend Edition. Interact on social media at Little Spouse at facebook.com/littlespouseontheprairie or on Twitter at SpouseOnThePrairie@ValerieKuchera.

Host of Little Spouse on the Prairie, a regional comedy feature that airs Sundays at 8:35 a.m. during Weekend Edition.