Football-shaped bowl of nuts is on the coffee table. Starter log is sputtering in the fireplace. Dog has been walked. Wings are in the oven. Official play begins.
My husband, ensconced in his tattered college sweatshirt, cargo pants he bought himself off the sale rack at Target, and ratty old sheepskin slippers, surveys the field, attempting to locate the best seating formation for maximum game-viewing comfort. Capped beer in hand, he glances around to be sure that I am not in the room, then positions himself in front of my favorite spot on the couch.
My husband doesn’t utilize his quadriceps to gradually lower his weight into a seat like most human beings; instead, the instant he feels his knees break their upright locked position, he disengages all muscles, allowing his entire torso to free-fall toward his desired location. Interestingly, my husband, all three of his brothers, and their father are infamous chair wreckers, leaving snapped legs, warped springs, and crooked recliners in their wakes.
As if seized with temporary paralysis of his lower extremities, my husband’s knees buckle, sending his girth plummeting toward our aging couch with violent impact. *GUH-GLUNK*
Entering the room, I see my son sitting on the floor munching a bag of tortilla chips, and my husband in my seat. Hoping a bit of nagging will roust him, I harp, “Hey Hon, if you insist on watching the game from my favorite spot, could you at least sit down gently? Every time you sit there, I hear that spring clunk under you like it’s broken or something.”
“God help me,” he grumbles under his breath.
I settle temporarily for the other end of our couch, and realize that my husband’s offensive move required a smarter defense. “You know, I think you’d better poke that fire Honey, you know how unpredictable those starter logs can be.”
My husband looks at me suspiciously, but I feign ignorance, “Have the Seahawks colors changed? Didn’t they have royal blue jerseys a few years ago?” As my husband steps toward the fireplace, I inconspicuously employ a slide-lift-blitz maneuver to regain territory. But just as I reach the center cushion, our dog appears, licking my face. Nice block.
*GUH-GLUNK* “Alright guys, c’mon, let’s get some real points on the board!” my husband yells after swiftly retaking my rightful seat. To add insult to injury, he lobs his ratty sheepskin-slippered foot into my lap and slurps the last of his beer. Unsportsmanlike conduct.
“Yes,” I mutter, trying to hide my gritting teeth.
“Are those wings done yet?”
“Not yet,” I look over just as my son tips the bag of chips over his open mouth, triggering a mini-avalanche of corner crumbs which cascades into his mouth, eyes, shirt, and the freshly-vacuumed family room carpet, “but I’m fairly certain you’ll survive.”
Just then, the cells of my brain call a huddle, and a new play is formed. Time out.
While my husband and son laugh at silly beer commercials like simpletons, I disappear to the kitchen, returning a few minutes later with a heaping tray of hot wings. Like some kind of modern day June Cleaver, I smilingly dole out platefuls to my unsuspecting husband and son.
And then I wait, nibbling patiently on a stalk of celery.
As expected, they dig right in, my son meticulously dissecting each tiny radius, ulna and humerus, then sucking each finger from base to tip. My husband on the other hand, plops whole wings into his open mouth, and after manipulation with teeth and tongue, pulls the bones out from his pursed lips, stripped clean of meat, fat, skin and cartilage.
“Whew!” my husband exclaims, wiping his brow with a saucy napkin, “Spicy, hu?!”
My son is the first casualty, running for a soda, while my husband tenaciously sweats through another wing or two before abandoning his position in search of cold beer to sooth his burning lips.
Thanks to a few extra shakes of hot sauce, my play worked. With the coast finally clear, I muster what’s left of my middle aged agility. Hail Mary.
Reentering the room, my husband sees me, firmly seated in my favorite spot on our couch. I pump my upturned hands in the air while wiggling my knees back and forth, in a pompous victory dance.