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Tuesday, Jan. 04, 2005
My wife likes to shop.

It’s probably a darned good thing she does, too, since the alternative would be a shirtless, barefooted Outfoxed who sleeps on the floor and combs his hair with a plastic fork. I don’t do well with procuring apparel or domestic accessories.

Personally, I think there’s something afoot. She’s taken to some sort of mid-winter nesting philosophy this year and she’s started in the bedroom. Now I don’t tend to spend a lot of time in the bedroom, to me it’s a bland sort of place for storing a bed and warehousing clothing, but lately she’s going to great lengths to make it a more appealing locale.

To put some sort of perspective or balance on it, you must understand that Ally spends a great deal of time in the bedroom. She will generally arise at 6 am (after frequent and hugely irritating beeping of the alarm clock and just as frequent mashing of the snooze button) as opposed to my more agrarian 4, sleepwalk downstairs and splash out a cup of coffee, carry it back to bed and watch the morning news on the bedroom TV. I won’t see her again until 7:30 when she returns, dressed and coiffed, ready to pick up purse and keys and head out to work. Assuming she arrives home at 6 pm, she will then spend not more than 3 hours doing the domestic goddess thing downstairs before once again ascending to the nest and fluffing feathers and pillows. It’s downright unhealthy, I tell ye.

She’s always had back troubles and we recently had a conversation about getting a new mattress, a less lumpy and more medically sound one. It turned out to be a pretty short discussion after a research session with the Sunday paper uncovered mattress prices that rivaled the budget of a Google IPO.

It takes more than that to stop Ally on a quest, of course. She took a Sunday drive a few weeks ago and came home with a mattress pad. I have yet to lay eyes on it because she flipped the mattress, installed the pad and re-wrapped the bed while I blissfully snoozed in the recliner downstairs and helped not one bit. I mean, it was a Sunday afternoon nap. Some traditions are important in life.

Ed. Note: It’s now 5:48 am and the snooze button has been abused 4 times already. I don’t know how anybody sleeps through more than one beep of that alarm clock but she’s working on an even hundred this particular morning.

But it was last Sunday that she took the plunge, the same Sunday I covered in yesterdays entry where I whined ceaselessly about the antics of large men in helmets and short pants. While I was out plundering music stores and checking in at the Hole, she took the high road to Target, the nesting emporium. She even managed to beat me home and flew up to the nest with many new twigs and trinkets.

So it may not surprise you that I was ignorant of any goings on until much later in the evening. She was making an abnormal amount of fluttering trips up and down the stairs that I attributed to laundry day, which is another activity I don’t participate in to any degree, thank you. And since I was absorbed in the aforementioned scalping of my hapless gridiron heroes it was nearly bedtime before I made the trip upstairs and discovered what Ally had been up to.

The bedroom was inverted. She’d rearranged furniture and poofed and debunked the top of my dresser, a holy place where manly stuff is stored in the sort of leisurely haphazard way that makes for easy retrieval but always elicits some alarming squawks from the queen of the roost. The only thing she didn’t mess with was my wooden bowl of pocket change, a handy place to dip her bill when quarters and dimes are needed. The bed sported a fluffy new comforter and when combined with the mattress pad it appeared that a stepstool was soon going to be required to even get into the damn bed.

Ed. Note: 6:16 am and we’re up to 8 snooze whackings. But she’s down to a half-dozen beeps per snooze. She’s getting serious.

It wasn’t hard to find the other improvements. Next to the bed was an exercise chair, one designed for sit-ups. I’d seen it on TV at some point and must have grunted some sort of off-hand comment about how a guy must have designed the thing, since it looks for all the world like a stripped down recliner, complete with armrests (but no cup holder, curiously) and foot pegs. You sit in it and recline waaaay back, then rock forward as far as you can (in my case, it ain’t so very far) and there you have it. One sit up. Or one Ab-Crunch, as the packing box suggested. Hell, it’s a sit up. I’ve been doing them since kindergarten and I know a sit up when I see it.

The other thing was something called a Lateral Thigh Enhancer, basically just a couple of big foot pedals with a box in the middle. You stand on it and do a sort of bike riding/step-up dance and the pedals go up and down with some spring loaded resistance. Ally was really excited about this one and jumped aboard for a demonstration.

“Look, you can set it up for greater resistance!” she exclaimed, jogging away effortlessly. “It’s easy, and so quiet too. I’m gonna do this thing every morning for my thighs!”

I checked, as I often do, and couldn’t find one thing wrong with her thighs, but there was no stopping her at this point. “All you gotta do is pump your arms like you’re running upstairs, see? And the foot pedals go out laterally and . . . Why don’t you try it?”

I had to admit she made it look easy, so I hiked a tentative hoof on first one, then the other pedal. With nothing to hold onto it was a matter of having some degree of balance, and when 50% of your body mass is centered between your belt line and your shirt pocket that’s a very delicate balance indeed.

“Jesus, this thing takes a lot of leg pushing to make it go, doesn’t it?”

She checked the control box. “I’ve got it on the lowest setting there is dear. Don’t forget to pump your arms . . . “

And just about the time she said that, the bastard bucked me off just as neatly as if it had been a rodeo bull. The only saving grace was the nearby bed, and its’ cute new comforter. My wife didn’t even have the grace to cover her mouth as she leaned back into my denuded dresser and laughed helplessly.

“Oh that’s the machine for you all right,” she cackled. “Maybe you’d better stick with your reclining apparatus.”

“Uh huh, I noticed you set that up on my side of the bed. Not trying to tell me something here, are you?” I never did get an answer out of that.

But now, I can lay prone in my sporty nesting recliner and watch the morning news if I want. Even crunch an ab or two. So long as I don’t want to have a cup of coffee within arms reach. Or a beer. Although an hours work with a bandsaw and some superglue could produce a very cunning cupholder, now that I think of it.

Why, if I could rig up a tray for the laptop I’d never leave the bedroom either.

PS: She never did make the trip down for coffee this morning, so I took it upstairs for her. Guess that pretty much takes care of my lateral thigh needs for the day, doesn't it now?

I moved the Guestbook up next to the queen sized bed too, thanks for asking.

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