My husband is an equal opportunity scaremonger
When I arrived home from work, I saw no sign of my husband anywhere. He wasn’t in the den watching the news. He wasn’t at his computer. It was too late (and too hot) for him to ride his bike.
So I walked to the bedroom end of our house, suspecting he might be napping. But, no, the radio was blaring and no fans were providing the requisite white noise for good sleep.
As I walked through the entrance to the bedroom, intending to drop my gym bag and change out of my business attire, a man stepped from behind the door and grabbed me.
Instinctively, I raised my knee to jam it into his crotch and lifted my gym bag as a weapon to strike his head.
I was stopped by his laughter.
Yes, he laughed.
“How’d that grab you?” this strange man said, amused at his own pun.
I didn’t laugh. This strange man — and, oh, how strange he is! — is my husband. His attempts to startle and scare me are sometimes downright inappropriate. Wrong. Certainly not funny.
And so I told him I would take this to the next level.
My blog. I would tell you, my readers, about my suffering.
The telltale nightlight
On any given night, I awaken to use the bathroom. However, before I get out of bed, I look for telltale lights that will inform my decision. Is it safe to go?
What I’m looking for are lighted nightlights. In the master bathroom, the guest bathroom, and the front bedroom, these nightlights are triggered by motion and stay lit for a full minute after motion ceases.
If I see one is lighted, I will stay in the bed until a return to darkness gives me the go ahead.
My husband has issues sleeping. Well, staying asleep. So a short time after we go to bed together, he grabs his pillows, tosses them onto the bed in the front bedroom, and makes his way to the main part of the house, where he will graze, scan the computer, and otherwise make a mess of what was a pristine kitchen when I left it for bed.
He’ll repeat this behavior numerous times during the night. Should his comings and goings sync with my need to go to the bathroom, well, he’ll do his best to startle me.
When I enter the master bathroom, the nightlight lights. If my husband is nearby and awake, he will see that light and get into position. Sometimes, he’ll simply crouch by the bathroom entrance and wait for me to exit. Then he’ll abruptly stand in my path and say something nonchalantly as I move from the light into our dark bedroom. As if he just happened to be there. As if.
The most frightening time (and please don’t tell him because he’ll be sure to do it again) was when he simply got into my side of the bed and lay like a corpse. Half asleep and lulled into a sense of security since he hadn’t startled me as I exited the bathroom, I came upon this gray, still figure in my bed.
The stronger I react, however, the more joy he gets from scaring the bejeezus out of me. And the more enthused he is to try it again.
Sounds of an idiot
When a package arrives with those plastic, air-filled pillows to keep products safe during transport, Steve will set those aside. Then when I least expect it, he’ll come from behind and stomp to make them explode like gunshots.
Anything to startle me. Like a single clap. Loudly. Or the sudden blast of an airhorn behind my back. (My children and Tori the Cat can attest to this. I think I hid the airhorn. In the trash.) Most recently, he’s discovered the jarring sound that a nearly empty container of Orville Redenbacher popcorn can make when you shake it.
But the most “alarming” sound was when he borrowed a “Rig Ring” from one of my sons. The Rig Ring is an electronic, 120-decibel whistle with lights intended for use on a certified rigger to signal it is lowering a load. It can be heard clearly 90 feet away on a noisy construction site!
Something about that sound makes me lose it. Completely. How do I know, you ask?
Because TWICE, my dear husband used it as part of his scare tactics. One foot away from me! And it worked. He got a reaction. Probably a bigger one than he wanted. He completely scared me. And then I completely scared myself. I don’t remember the first time — although I do remember telling him it wasn’t funny and he should never do it again.
Clearly, the 120-decibel Rig Ring damaged something in his head so he didn’t register my declarations. Because he did it again.
The second time, he waited behind the pocket door separating the bedroom end of the house from the living area. Unsuspecting (because, I mean, why should I?), I slid open the door. Not only was he an unexpected figure standing right in front of me in darkness, but he sounded the siren with flashing lights.
I screamed, burst into tears, and ran down the other end of the house and hid in the bathroom. I sobbed uncontrollably. I couldn’t stop. I knew I was safe. I knew I just had an idiot for a husband and that I was in no danger. (He might be, however!) Steve came to the door to apologize, but I yelled at him. What an idiot! Why would you do such a thing? I told you never to do that again! And other such loving phrases.
I was beside myself. I had to leave.
Visibly upset, I exited the house and stomped my way down the street, muttering to myself, still sobbing, not caring how I appeared. Until a passing car slowed — as if about to inquire if I was OK. Had our windows been open? Or was the Rig Ring and resulting tumult so loud the driver heard it? I could imagine how this would seem to an outsider who heard the alarm and the screaming, followed by the sight of a woman virtually running away with tears streaming.
And I calmed. Turned around. Returned home. Still insisted my husband get rid of that thing. Still said he was an idiot.
But he never used the alarm again. (I didn’t even have to hide it.) He’s not as idiotic as I might have said.
‘A-n-n-o-y’ spells love?
Is “annoying” one of the love languages? I think it might be how my husband shows love. (Yay, me!) Do you remember back in grade school when you knew a boy liked a girl because he pulled her hair or did something else to annoy her?
My husband is still that little boy inside. He’s just older, grayer, and has more time and resources to compile a list of ways he can show me he cares (translation: scares). He tells me — often — that I married a middle schooler, but I think he’s even less mature than that. In an endearing way, of course.
Perhaps his version of Gary Chapman’s suggested love language “acts of service” is “acts of scaring.” Indeed, he does tell me, sometimes, he’s just trying to get my heart rate up. (He certainly does!)
Before Steve successfully started scaring me in this fashion, I had returned to bed after such a bathroom trip when I saw my husband creep into the bedroom looking toward the small room I’d just exited. The nightlight remained lit for what remained of the 60 seconds, and I watched him position himself near the door, crouch down, and wait.
And wait some more.
Except I never exited the bathroom to be embraced in fright — because I was already in bed! Of course, I had no idea what my husband was doing (or what the future would hold when this became his pattern), but I knew enough to be silent and still and simply watch.
Finally, I laughed — and he knew his waiting had been in vain.
Jesus clearly stated the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matthew 7:12, KJV). Maybe Steve does this because he wants me to treat him the same way. Maybe I’ve been going at this love relationship all wrong. Maybe it’s time to frighten my husband a little bit.
And see how that grabs him.
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