‘Betty’ gets surgery, housework

This is my husband, Chuck’s, seventh week of home time following back surgery. He is supposed to exercise a bit each day and I have eagerly seen to it that he did just that.

My "Betty" has been a good sport these past weeks as he took over the household chores. For years on camping trips, the kids and I called him Betty Crocker because he’s the best campfire cook. Betty packs little steak or chicken strips soaked in marinade to grill for dinner. He makes crispy hash browns each morning for breakfast.

While he recuperated from his operation, I switched into supreme do-nothing princess mode. I didn’t care that the first two weeks he couldn’t lift a finger.

Cleaning the bathroom waited. Kitchen floor crumbs were overlooked. After he goes back to work next week, I will be stuck with the bulk of the housework. On a typical weekend, while my hubby watches hours of televised football, I say "Lift" so I can vacuum under his cute tootsies.

These seven weeks at home, he has grown to hate daytime TV. One morning, when I kissed him goodbye on my way to work, he was in a wonderful mood. "National Velvet" had just started on Channel 46. He thinks the young Elizabeth Taylor almost tops his favorite movie star, Sophia Loren.

Now that he’s getting around, it’s been easy street for Kristi. When Betty got up with me in the morning, I got scrambled eggs with a little Velveeta cheese sprinkled on top. He buttered my toast and spread the newspaper on the kitchen table.

I didn’t lose a lazy beat when he took a three-day trip to Michigan in the middle of the month. His beloved Aunt Margaret, 81, recently had a foot amputated. My husband booked a trip to make sure she was all right.

I decided to stay relaxed. While my husband was out of state, my middle son, Brody, came home for a three-day weekend. A financial analyst for the city of Renton, Brody had time off for Veterans Day. His girlfriend was on a short jaunt to Philadelphia with her mother. My daughter, Kati, was in Belgium and Germany that week on a business trip. She works for an avionics company with customers like Airbus and Luthansa.

When I heard about her trip, I told Kati I would share everything I knew about traveling in Europe — "Your hair dryer won’t work," I said, green with envy.

Her boyfriend, Brent, who is good friends with Brody, also spent time that weekend at our house. Friday night before the men mice went out to play, Brody said he was hungry. I mentioned there were some small steaks in the refrigerator. In no time at all, I was eating filet and fried potatoes ala Brody.


He cooked again Saturday night. Sunday morning, Brody dished football food while I napped. Betty got home the next day and boy was I glad.

I really missed him, and there were dishes in the sink.

He tidied the kitchen and started the dishwasher.

Life was good.

Entertaining 20 guests on Thanksgiving was a snap.

Betty did the shopping and cleaned the house. I thought about asking him if he could make a cute pipe-cleaner turkey centerpiece for the dining room table but didn’t press my luck.

Then there was the day I came home, and he recaulked the bathtub. The princess had to wait a day to shower, but we must be flexible. Between chores, there were slow times. My hubby called me at work and asked if I wanted to talk to Morgie.

Morgie is one of our cats.

I whispered that I didn’t want to talk to Morgie, but he put the phone to the cat’s little ear.

"Hello, Morgie, it’s Mommy," I growled into my covered mouthpiece. "Morgie, put Daddy back on the line."

I liked it when my husband found other ways to entertain himself. It was great when he went to 1 p.m. movies and watched flicks I didn’t want to see. He said "Red Planet" and "The Contender" were so-so, but he really liked "The Legend of Bagger Vance."

I promised to see "Men of Honor" with him because I didn’t have any housework to do. Next week, when he goes back to his sheet metal job, I’ll have to go back to packing his lunch.

I’ll miss my Betty.

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