When I was first married, my husband brought to the union a car that immediately began to deteriorate on the passenger side.
First, it was the windshield wiper. It went back and forth, but on my side it didn't touch the glass. My husband said, "It's not important. You're not driving, so you don't have to see anyway."
Later, not only my heater went, but my window stuck and wouldn't go up or down. It came as little surprise that another car smashed in the door on my side, forcing me to slide over and exit on the driver's side or get a welder each time I wanted in or out. The spring in the glove compartment eventually sprung, and the least motion would bring the lid down into my lap, sending maps everywhere.
I existed in this automotive graveyard for five years. Then one day I climbed in the car and it was like a miracle. My side was born again! It had been restored to its original condition. When I asked my husband why, he said he had a buyer for the car and before he showed it, he wanted to get everything fixed.
And so it has always been.
We lived for years with a lawn mower with blades so dull, it stalled when you got it off the sidewalk and hit a blade of grass. We had it sharpened just before we sold it.
You could always tell when we were having a garage sale. My husband would be out in the garage half the night rewiring all the lamps we were discarding. He said he couldn't sleep nights if he thought someone was going to get hurt using them.
We have never sold a house in our entire lives that he did not spend months bringing it up to code. Paint cans appear and fumes permeate the house. For the first time in years, we no longer have to take the back off the commode and lift the plunger until it fills up. He calls a plumber. Bulbs in the porch light reappear, while the "doorbell out of order" sign disappears.
Screens with holes in them go away and new ones take their place. The muddy path that leads from the driveway to the garbage cans is taped off and sprouting new grass.
We insulate the attic, put a fresh coat of black top on the driveway and plant geraniums in the window boxes. He weather-strips the doors and dispenses washers to leaky faucets like free candy.
The bitter irony is that we could have enjoyed all these improvements while we were putting them off.
A couple of weeks ago he turned to me in a moment of generosity and said, "Weren't you going to have some cosmetic dental work done?"
"Yeah, but it's not crucial."
"Go ahead," he said, "and treat yourself to a new hairstyle. You're always saying how bored you are with this one."
I sat there stunned as he continued, "And while you're at it, you might as well get yourself some new clothes. Maybe a couple of those new miniskirts."
He's got a buyer for me. I know it!
by Erma Bombeck