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Marriage and menopause


By Delores Liesner

When things happen in the haze of early morning awakening there is no evidence of reason — it’s simply panic — especially if the wife is in menopausal fog.

The evening before I’d been restless, out of sorts hormonally, and as my easy-going hubby had learned from experience, was best left alone to beat “it” into submission through a fit of cleaning. Rearranging the basement pantry at the bottom of the stairs, including moving the freezer by hip-sliding it back and forth had effectively exhausted the jittery nerves. Shaking my head at the mysteries of menopause, I popped some clothes into the washer and headed upstairs to bed totally unaware of what would hit us in the morning.

Padding down the stairs to move my clothes to the dryer, I admired the neat pantry shelves, then turned to the freezer’s new location and stared in horror at the puddle of water eddying across the floor. What on earth? Had the old freezer I’d bought from my dad given up the ghost during the night? Could I have broken something sliding it across the cement floor? I opened the door and the light came on. I stared in confusion because the motor was still humming. My screech “Ken, hellllllp!” brought my dear hubby tearing down the stairs, bleary, but wide-eyed and ready to rescue his woman. I sheepishly reported that it was the freezer that needed rescuing.

Mystified, my fix-anything man seemed flummoxed and agreed to a house call from a 24-hour appliance repairman. While waiting for him to come, we decided to empty the freezer in case we had to repair or replace it. Our neighbors loaned us several coolers and left with a warning not to stand in any water if I was going to use a hair dryer to melt the ice.

I’d never tried that, so after we mopped the floor and transferred the freezer’s contents to the coolers, Ken plugged the hair dryer in the socket above the freezer and I became Annie Oakley with an ‘ice-gun.’ Large chunks of semi-frozen slush soon began to melt when whoosh! Flames shot out from the hair dryer. “Hot flash!” Ken yelled, pulling the plug and teasing me because yesterday I’d fanned the freezer door to cool down from a flash of my own. Sleepy chuckles grew as he ducked into the workroom area of the basement blowing at the still smoking hairdryer like a cowboy with his six-shooter.

“Coward,” I chuckled, putting a few pans of water to boil to hasten the thawing. Figuring Ken was retreating from the action, I set the bucket behind me where I could toss chunks of ice as they loosened. Chipping at the ice, I did not hear Ken come up behind me and bend to move the bucket so he could take over. I heard his yelp though, because I’d tossed the first huge fistfuls of dripping ice behind me, striking his bare chest.

We were still giggling when the sound of chimes in the background finally registered. Ken ran up to answer the door, automatically flipping the light switch as he bounded up the stairs. “Hey!” I yelled, and he stopped and turned the light back on, groaning a loud “Oh, no,” then continued up to answer the door. Curious about Ken’s moaning, I joined the men in the foyer, just in time to hear Ken explain to the youthful repairman that he’d figured out the problem on the way up from the basement.

When he turned the light off, the freezer motor also stopped, and he realized that I’d plugged the freezer into the outlet on the light switch. When I turned the light off the night before, I’d actually turned off the freezer too, and then turned it back on this morning. We looked at each other and burst out laughing again.

The repairman sheepishly watched us a moment, obviously skeptical of our reaction, and hesitantly said, “I hate to tell you but you’ll still have to pay $40 for a house call.” We chuckled again and told him it was still better than we’d hoped as we’d expected to have to replace the freezer.

We invited him into the kitchen and while Ken was writing out the check the repairman turned to me and said, “As long as the freezer has been off during the night you might want to clean it out. “

Before I could tell him that we’d already started, he continued advising, “You could speed up the thaw with a hair dryer…” Ken’s twinkling eyes met mine and we couldn’t stop the gales of laughter. When we finally paused for air, the bemused young man shook his head and studied us a moment longer, then smilingly confirmed that he’d never met a couple quite like us.

We were smart enough not to ask him what he meant.

Instead Ken just shrugged his shoulders in a manly survival pose, and escorted him to the door with a stage whisper, “It’s the combination — marriage and menopause — sometimes, you’ve just got to laugh.”