Saturday, September 03, 2011

The Power of One

I don't know why I don't mind being a "football widow."  I just don't.  At this point in my life, I actually look forward to the season.

I know I'll have the TV to myself on Monday and Thursday nights to watch what I want -- as opposed to "Pawn Stars" or "Storage Wars" or some other male-dominated reality show that does not star George Clooney.

By now, I've spent years entertaining my kids on NFL Sundays.  But these days, they're actually old enough that I don't have to take them out of the house so Mike can concentrate on the games he has to write about.  We just go out to get out of the house.

But I've never understood why women get p.o.'d that their husbands "aren't available" for what amounts to 16 days each year.  Really.  That's all it is.  Of 352 days, 16 Sundays are devoted to NFL football.  Of course, there are the Monday night and Thursday night games.  But they start so late, it's hardly an inconvenience to family time.

On the other hand, I know there are women who have "handy" husbands.  These women keep "Honey Do" lists.  The first time I heard of such a list was about a decade into my relationship with my husband.  And I thought it was quaint.

Me: "Mike, did you ever hear of a 'honey do' list?"

Mike: "Is this some sort of fruit quiz?"

Me: "What?....  No, it has to do with a list of chores and home projects a wife writes up for her husband to do."

Mike: "That's stupid.  Why doesn't the wife just hire somebody?"

So, you see, my Sundays were never spent with Mike hanging sheetrock, scraping wallpaper, or laying sod... or whatever wives have their husbands do.   I can't complain about "losing a day" when Mike's watching football, because he wouldn't do that crap to begin with!

I'm also lucky because my weekends were only briefly  taken up with kids' sports, so I can't complain that Mike's been missing their games.  Actually, those are the moms I really feel sorry for: the women who, weekend in and weekend out sit on bleachers or foldout chairs, watching their child (hopefully) play soccer, football, soft- or baseball or any other kid sport.  And you hope your kid actually plays.  Because it's bad enough giving up hours of your life, but if you don't even get to see your own kid play, well... that's a criminal waste of time!

You can't just leave these kids' events because you won't seem supportive.  You can't yell for your kid to stop picking their nose or swatting at gnats, and "KICK THE BALL!," because that won't seem supportive.  And you definitely can't put your head in your hands and weep, asking aloud, "Dear GOD, when will this game be OVER?!?" because that really won't seem supportive.

Instead, those parents just have to sit there, in heat, rain or cold with their hangovers, or their need to find a park restroom because they're on their fifth cup of coffee from the communal Box o' Joe.  This goes on for hours.  Every single weekend.  Holy crap!

That's why, if you're not in lockdown at a kids sport, and and you can't figure out something to do for  16 days a year while your husband is parked in front of an NFL game, you're not being creative enough.

When my kids were little, I'd take them for pumpkin picking, apple picking and corn maze runs.  These are things Mike would never do on his own so it made sense to drive as far as possible and kill as much time as possible to run through a Sunday.

Now that the kids are older, I can suggest things that are a little different--with the full knowledge that Mike would not feel left out of the fun.  Take, for instance, canoeing in the Meadowlands.  Or down the Passaic River.  Or sailboating on the Hudson.

Mike: "Why would I want to do that?"

Me: "It's something fun and different.  Why WOULDN'T you want to do that?"

Mike: "It's hot.  There's bugs. We wouldn't know what we're doing so there's the possiblity of drowning. How do you even canoe?  The Passaic River is filthy.  ...I can keep going...."

So, I'm thinking some new Sunday activities are in order.  And to all you football widows who are dreading the next four months, I say embrace this time!  You can be outdoorsy, or go shopping for hours at a stretch, or give yourself pampering time or a long gym day.

And if worse comes to worst, and you've climbed every mountain and forged every stream, you can always sit down next to your husband, take a deep breath and ask, "Really, what DOES offsides mean?"  

That just might be the question that brings you closer... to getting kicked out of the living room and shipped off to a long girls' weekend at a spa.  (It's worth a shot!)