In August we relocated our household: 2 teenagers, 2 cats and 1 dog from Alabama to South Carolina. We lived in Huntsville for six years and over that time managed to accumulate more stuff. My husband claims my daughters and I are pack-rats. I’ve denied this quite emphatically. However, once the movers packed up our house, I began to wonder about my husband’s allegation. (Not that I’ve admitted anything to him.)
As our furniture and belongings came off the truck and into the new house in South Carolina, I was convinced that the movers added someone else’s things to our load. The boxes seemed to have multiplied on the drive to our new place. I’ve spent the last few weeks with my head inside a box and packing paper scattered all around me. I’ve discovered all sorts of items: a video camcorder inside a box marked kitchen (it must have been hiding behind the cookbooks or I would’ve donated it, right?), yearbooks (I seriously thought those were still tucked inside my parent’s attic) and photographs from every decade since my parents were little kids (I’m now convinced my mom stashed a few boxes from her attic inside mine…very sneaky). It’s been a few weeks with multiple trips down memory lane.
I should mention that my husband is a minimalist. He is not a collector of chotchkes or mementos … scrap books are beyond his comprehension and why anyone (aka. Me) would tuck the baby bracelet from the hospital into my daughter’s baby book flabbergasts him. So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered a small box tucked inside a larger guest bedroom box that contained things from his past.
My daughter commandeered the framed photograph of his parents, who both passed on before my husband and I met. I sifted through other family photos, setting several aside. And then I found a stack of cards: birthday, Valentines, Christmas and the unspecific: thinking-of-you, miss-you kind. These cards pre-dated our May 2000 wedding and definitely weren’t from me. I read several, stuffed them back inside and shoved the box into the hallway.
That night over a bottle of wine, he asked what he could do to help with the unpacking, preferably something quiet so he would not bother us in the morning. My husband is an early riser while my girls and I enjoy sleeping in on the weekends. (He might be a minimalist on collecting things, but he makes up for it with his thoughtfulness and impressive cleaning skills.)
I suggested that he look through his box in the hallway and decide if he wanted anything inside.
He heard that bite in my tone before me. Heard that tinge of jealousy and latched on with renewed interest. First with: “I have a box.” Followed by: “What’s inside?”
At this point I picked up the wine bottle and muttered, “Old love letters.”
His laughter spilled around me as his gaze locked on. “From who?”
I sipped my wine, as if that would keep my mouth shut. Still I mumbled, “Not me.”
That’s when he leaned in. When his crisp blue eyes sparked. “You’re jealous?”
And that’s when I became trapped in one of my own stories. And I embraced all the heroines I’ve created and all the ones my favorite authors brought to life and I followed their lead: Denial. “Not really.”
My husband sat back, a small smile on his lips and channeled all those heroes who matched those heroines toe-to-toe, heart-to-heart. “Yes, you are.”
He’d caught me. Called me out. I’d surprised myself. Sixteen years of marriage and I got jealous.
The best part was my husband clinking his wine glass against mine and adding, “I still got it.” Before sauntering off to do the dishes with a renewed confidence.
I finished my wine, cataloging every internal reaction. I know now what it’s like to be one of my characters. Surely I can use this for more than a boost to my husband’s ego.
Oh and in case you’re wondering, the box is gone – cards and all – dismantled and recycled. He’s a really great man and thankfully all mine.
Wishing all of you a wonderful weekend and happy reading!
Cari Lynn Webb's next release is A Heartwarming Holiday (October 2016), a 99 cent collection of previously unpublished sweet holiday novellas which includes a 20% off coupon good for your next Harlequin Heartwarming purchase!
A Heartwarming Holiday
Google Play: http://bit.ly/29S0hjp
BN: coming soon!
Google Play: http://bit.ly/29S0hjp
BN: coming soon!
I love this story so much! It does sound like a scene from a romance novel. (sighs happily)ReplyDelete
Thanks, Heidi! I showed my husband my blog post last night and he liked reliving it again. Enjoy your day!Delete
Oh Cari! What a great post! We just finished moving too and my husband is also a minimalist while I'm a pack-rat. He swears we have to move every few years just so he can force me to get rid of stuff. While he tries to get me to throw away things, I remind him that he still has the baseball cap from when he was in All-stars (35 years ago) and several other mementos from his past. (not love letters, thank God, or I'd probably have been jealous too).ReplyDelete
Your post was great and I love your husbands reaction! It definitely needs to be in a book. :)
LeAnne - you can feel my moving pains :) And moving does help get rid of stuff. Glad to know I'm not the only one with a minimalist husband.Delete
Loved this, Cari! “I still got it." Great comeback by your husband. I think everyone should move at least every ten years to help clear out the clutter.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Jill! I have to admit, it does feel good to know we've cleaned out the clutter. But now my husband fears I've only made room for new clutter :)Delete
OMG I love this post so much!! I love his reaction to your minor bout with the ugly green monster. So cute. Glad you are getting settled in your new place. Hang in there - before you know it, this new house will feel like home :)ReplyDelete
Amy - it will feel like home when I add more stuff :) Don't tell my husband.Delete
Packing and unpacking is such a pain in the toes. I moved a few years ago, had a huge garage sale and thought I'd downsized my life away. But I still have way too much junk. So I must be a pack rat, too. I say everything I kept, like your baby bracelet and stuff, is too sentimental to toss out. Definitely your "love letter" incident belongs in a book. Now we'll all be waiting to see where you put it.ReplyDelete
Roz - the sentimental stuff is too hard to throw out and so it stays and my daughters can decide what they want to keep when they get older :) My husband will love that: downsizing my life.Delete
Good for you, that you can just let that go. I'd die of curiosity without at least a few details. But, as everyone says, great stuff for a book. My husband still has the shoes he played tennis in in college. (He's 83) He can't wear them, of course, but he can't part with them either. Was a fun time for him. As your girls eventually set up their own households, you can redistribute treasures and it makes you feel better because you're not tossing them, you're just giving custody to someone else. Great post!ReplyDelete
Muriel - I love the idea of giving these treasures to my daughters for custody. I'll tell my husband I'm collecting now for later redistribution :)Delete
I love it! :) You two obviously have a lasting chemistry. He sounds like his is most definitely all yours!ReplyDelete
Patricia - he keeps me laughing and I tell my daughters that they need to find someone who makes them laugh.Delete
Aww, I can just see the smirk on your husbands face when he says "I still got it." I'm glad he's all yours. You're a lucky lady.ReplyDelete
Fun post. Romance for real. smileReplyDelete
Thanks Sandra. It was one of those moments that reminded me that romance isn't just fiction.Delete
LOL! What was your visceral jealous response?ReplyDelete
Well, on opening the cards and reading a few, there was that sensation of your insides twisting up around your heart and squeezing. There's something about knowing your husband/boyfriend/partner had a past before you and then there is the actual evidence to read :)Delete
When he called me out for being jealous, there might have been that pinch of heat in my cheeks that I excused as a reaction to the wine and the stiffening of my spine followed by the internal commentary: No way. I'm above jealousy.
Fun times :)
I love this post so much! I can just see your DH making that comment, LOL.ReplyDelete
Loved your post, Cari!ReplyDelete
Cari, LOVE this! Your husband's response was perfect, both in the moment and later. I agree with your comment about the importance of laughter in a relationship. My husband can literally make me laugh while I'm crying. I wouldn't trade his sense of humor for anything in the world. Glad to hear your getting settled in your new place. My husband takes the term pack rat to a whole new level. He's a pack monster. I would love to move just to de-clutter.ReplyDelete
Carol - I need to meet a pack monster :) I didn't know there was another level to my pack-ratness.Delete
Thanks for the post, Cari. It made me smile. He sounds like a wonderful man.ReplyDelete
Glad I could make you smile, Patricia.Delete
Wonderful post, Cari. The first thing I thought, even before I'd finished reading, was...how can this box find its way into a story? Lol, very sweet.ReplyDelete
Susan - now I'm beginning to wonder the same thing about this box. I'm curious myself where it will show up.Delete
I love this! I'm glad he knew what to do with the box. :-)ReplyDelete
Me too, Liz - he took care of the box without my help :)Delete
Cari, this is fabulous--and made me tear up a bit. So tender and sweet. Last time I moved, I dumped half our stuff. I need to move again. All the closets and drawers here are filled. I agree, your husband's comeback was perfect and so male. Will be waiting to see that in a story. Better hurry or one of us will "borrow" it. Just kidding.ReplyDelete
Love this post Cari. I feel your pain. My husband and I are both pack rats so our move this summer has been painful. Even our kids are pack rats and like you, I wonder how I can have so much stuff. Good luck with the unpacking.ReplyDelete
Love this story and your husband's response. One time when I moved the people who bought the house planned to shoved it into a hole (they were only interested in the land). I left a lot of junk that I'd moved from house to house in it--easy way of getting rid of it. lolReplyDelete
So . . . how are the cats and dog settling in? :-)ReplyDelete
Great post, Cari!
Loved you post, Cari. Thanks for sharing. 'A Heartwarming Holiday'sounds fabulous--looking forward to receiving my copy. xx margie stewartReplyDelete