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I Should Have Known It Was Going To Be Like This….

November 28, 2011

I should have known that a stomach bug Carla caught while she was pregnant with our first daughter was a glimpse into things to come. Not sure why, but what were once simple inconveniences somehow become massive avalanches of complexity after marriage and children. My first experience with this came when Carla came down with the absolute worst stomach bug I have ever seen anyone live through in my entire life while she was seven months pregnant with our first daughter. Prior to even being pregnant, these illnesses were dealt with privately. But once your wife is pregnant, you are forever involved in everything.

This story began in the middle of the night (of course it did). In the old days, the bathroom door would have stayed closed and I would have learned about it in the morning. Instead, the pregnant woman in my bathroom who was once my girlfriend turned on every light in the house, woke me up and had me sit with her. There was nothing to do, but she was pregnant and felt she needed the moral support. It would have been fine except she went from total appreciation and talk of our unending love one minute to me waiting for her head to turn completely around the next.

Because she was pregnant, the doctor needed to be involved. So, she had me call and get and him out of bed. She needed relief, and if it wasn’t in the form of a prescription, then we weren’t paying attention. He called in a prescription, and I was on my way to pick it up. I didn’t know 24-hour pharmacies existed before all of this, and I drove over only to find the pharmacy I had the doc call in the prescription to was no longer in the 24-hour prescription business. So, I found another pharmacy that was open at 3:00 am (and only a 30 minute drive away). I then got the doctor back out of bed for a new prescription request to this pharmacy. After some lip from the nightmare pharmacist who was clearly working the third shift because of her charisma bypass, I got home feeling like a war hero only to find my princess deep in her beauty rest.

After sleeping beauty arose, she asked if I would do another favor for her. It was Saturday, and her mom and sister had been planning a baby shower with her mother’s friends for months. People were in town, presents were wrapped, food was made and the star was not able to make her appearance. Barely awake at 11:00 am and still groggy, she asked in her most pitiful voice if I would go to the baby shower in her place, “Don’t worry, I will coach you on how to do everything before you go.” After I passed dress and grooming inspection, she explained how the shower would play out, and how I was to open, comment and then pass each gift to the right so everyone could ‘enjoy it with you’. In a word… beating. I was already hungry, and all I could imagine we were having for lunch was cucumber finger sandwiches with the crust cut off, fruit salad and some sort of short-bread high-tea cookie thing for dessert.

I got there and realized for the first time how different men really are from women. Enormous time was spent and no detail was spared to convert my mother-in-law’s house to a walk-in Easter basket. It was very nice, but ALL GIRL. I had never been the only a guy at a party where I was also the main attraction. I felt like a G-rated Hugh Heffner. I worked the room welcoming each guest and let each lady know how much I appreciated them. I was pleasantly surprised to find taco salad and brownies on the menu. The one pass you get as a guy in a room full of women, is that you can eat as much as you want and they are happy to bring you more. It’s like they wanted to see just how much I could eat. I didn’t disappoint. Then came the crescendo of the whole event – the gifts.

At a baby shower, you may not tear into a present like an 8-year-old on Christmas morning. No. The wrapping is like a work of art, so you must gently open each gift from the side, use an animated expression upon seeing the gift, hold it up for everyone to see, and then pass it so that each lady has the chance to hold and comment on the gift. My skills weren’t nearly has honed as they are today. After doing this 23 times, the whole thing ended like a heavy-weight title fight. Once the main event was over, the crowd was ready to leave. So, everyone stood up, and 23 farewell kisses later, I was packing up leftover food, new baby stuff and heading home.

I thought this was a one-off random event, but I have relived this story in some form or fashion at least a hundred times since. That’s just how it goes. One minute I am doing my thing, and the next thing I know I am swimming in a sea of pink taffeta wondering exactly what just happened.

© Johnny Hea – 2011 All Rights Reserved


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  1. Lee Ann Delahunt permalink

    Johnny, I am so impressed by your talent and creativity. You have made me laugh out loud. Thank you.

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