By now most of you are aware of who wears the pants in my family (I wear trousers or jeans). By this I don’t mean to sound condescending to my lovely wife of 22+ years, but like any good partnership…each has one that is good at one thing while the other partner rides the other partner’s coattails. (HA!) No…seriously…the second partner is good (or at least better than “incompetent”) at another set of skills. My wife Connie is a “detail” person, right-brained, analytical, not to mention a wonderful wife, mother, grade school teacher, cook, etc etc. I, on the other hand, tend to lean heavily on my creative “shoot from the hip” or “take a nap and the situation will look better” sort of mentality. Needless to say…we drive each other crazy sometimes…and by “sometimes” I mean most of the time. That being said I feel inexpressibly thankful that the good Lord put Connie into my life as He probably saw that I wouldn’t make it to where I am now without a detail oriented person in my life. Details.
For instance, our second oldest daughter is graduating from high school this month (it seems like just yesterday that she was riding on top of my shoulders-giddily squealing with joy)…if we tried that today I’d be the one squealing…in pain…she’s almost as tall as I am. Anyway…Connie was showing me the graduation party invitations. She was pointing out how she had found a photo of Karalee when she was just two years old and how the outfit that she had worn then had the same colors in it that the graduation photo (of Karalee) had in it presently…sixteen years removed. Connie marveled at how she had been able to find the photo and how good it looked (it looked pretty cool) and I replied, “Oh…why didn’t you let me do that?” Connie shot me a “look” (husbands know the “look”) and said something along the line of “you wouldn’t have done it this way, etc etc.” And she’s right. I would have gone to the card store and bought invitations, probably the cheapest…like a 500-count package for $2.75. But it was a labor of love for Connie to do this for our daughter. Out-right …love. Details.
Or the time that I built a “raccoon-proof” trash can holder. Long story short, I spent around $40 on lumber, hinges, chicken wire and screws. Wasted about two hours sawing, drilling, measuring and nailing…and re-sawing…and re-cutting to make this “raccoon-proof” trash can holder about three inches too small to hold the damn trash can. Details…I hate them. I’m not one to rage, persay, but I put the abomination into the back of my truck, drove to my parent’s farm (an hour away) and threw it into the burn pile. My Mom was surprised to see me to say the least, and I told her the truth, “I’m burning a body from a mob hit that I’m connected with so…yeah.” Moms understand. Details. Later…after I got home Connie asked me about my raccoon-proof trashcan holder and I told her the truth, and she thoroughly understood. I think that she might have even made some brownies or something to cheer me up some. Details. About a month later she bought an old timey steel trashcan and bungee cord to strap across the top of it so the lid can’t be taken off by, you guessed it, raccoons.
Just to let you know…I’m not a total idiot…just one third, the other two thirds are equal parts of various personalities, character flaws, mental & emotional deficiencies, traits, etc. For instance…once in a while Connie tries to tell me what to do about our yard. I have to tell her “if you wish to contribute to the care of this yard, I’m planning on mowing it this Saturday morning, after which I’ll be applying fertilizers and weed killers.” She never has taken me up on this offer, but she is one helluva leaf raker in the fall. Or the maintenance of our two trucks and one car…I’m in charge of that too. She’ll tell me of a “weird sound” that a particular vehicle is making and I’ll try to pin down that sound and nothing makes that sound and then the matter is dropped until that vehicle stops working and THEN I step in and say “I’ll call the dealer and make an appointment.” That’s how the Ripman rolls. Details.
Or…for example…our family vacations…Connie plans them, reserves them, works overtime to pay for them, gets me to take off time for them, etc. But when it comes to getting us there….that’s when I shine. I pull out the road atlas, old state maps, consult with Google Maps and Mapquest, make a few phone calls, drink a couplea cups of coffee, pencil some notes in the margins, screw around with our TOMTOM GPS thingy and proclaim three hours later “I can drive us as far as the south side of Chattanooga the first day, if we leave at three in the morning.” To which Connie replies…”THREE AM?!!” Details.
Oh, I’m good for other things too like: heavy lifting, opening pickle jars, grilling food, timely punch lines & snappy comebacks, washing and waxing trucks and cars, folding towels, and several other things….but I don’t like to brag….it just gets lost in the…details.