Monday, September 28, 2009

Mad Skills

Through the course of my life, I've somehow developed a bit of a competitive spirit.  Mostly, I like to blame my three brothers for this fact.  But in my marriage, I've learned to suppress that competitive streak.  It’s probably due to the fact that my husband is pretty much better at everything, which makes the suppression of my competitive nature actually a survival tactic.

Anyone who has ever eaten a meal cooked by him and one prepared by me, will undoubtedly agree that his food is just qualitatively better than mine.  There is simply no denying that he is a better cook.  I have no reason to believe that this will ever change.  And he certainly doesn’t make it easy for me to try to imitate his culinary masterpieces--he hardly ever uses a recipe.  He even invents desserts whenever inspiration strikes.  Marshmallows sprinkled with cinnamon just before roasting, brownies baked with chocolate chips and fresh cherries, rice krispy treats with fresh strawberry slices . . . they may sound odd, but try them.  I dare you.   But through all this, I console myself with the knowledge that I am at least able to nourish my family when he isn’t available to cook.

When it comes to having fun with the kids, I pack a punch for birthday parties and planning day trips.  But he blows me out of the water with his spontaneous and infectious humor.  Meals are more fun with him around.  Lazy afternoons are more fun with him around.  Everything is more fun with him around. Sometimes, when he’s not here,  I try to add some goofy, silly humor into our routine.  And I absolutely do have fun and enjoy playing around with my kids.  But somehow, it’s just always better when he’s home.  I’m not really bothered by this realization, I just jump on the bandwagon and enjoy his presence as much (if not more!) than anyone else.

My husband’s artistic skills also far surpass my own.  I think my drawing ability somehow got stuck at the 2nd grade level. I doubt they will progress much beyond that.  He doesn’t draw or paint very often, but when I insist on a family art project, he is always the last one left at the table, putting the finishing touches on his masterpiece.  I’ll admit the fact that he was raised by an artist/art teacher gives him a natural advantage in this area.

I shouldn't even mention musical ability.  Suffice it to say that he bought an electric guitar little more than a year ago, taught himself not only how to play it, but also how to read music.  Long ago I had to miss recess in order to receive remedial recorder instruction because I was so terrible at it.

When I do craft time with the kids, I come up with ultra-simple, not-too-messy ideas like shrinky dinks or decorating rice krispy treats with sprinkles.  When he was in charge of craft time last week, they made the following items from things in our recycling pile: a drum set, a bow minus the arrows, a pinwheel, a ballot box, and a garbage can.  They also painted on butcher paper, soaked beans in paint just to see what would happen, and suspended a can from the ceiling which dripped paint pendulum-style onto more butcher paper.  But even with the extreme difference in our views of craft time, I usually find myself merely grateful that my kids get to be involved with such a daringly creative person.

But the revelation that he made last night over dinner, tipped the scales so far in his favor that I began to feel just a little threatened.

He knows how to crochet. 

This was news to me because not only has he never demonstrated this skill in front of me, he’s also never mentioned it before.  I don’t think I’ve ever even held a crochet hook.  But the clincher came not from the fact that my husband knows how to crochet but that he used to crochet various items for his action figures as a kid.

He created balaclavas for his GI Joes, backpacks for his six-million dollar man, and socks for his other figures.  I didn’t know what a balaclava was.  I had to look it up.  It’s a ski mask.  I suppose his action figures were very grateful for their balaclavas, socks & bags and were able to have much grander adventures as a result.

But as I sat across the table from this man I’m married to, his plethora of talents began scrolling through my mind.  As you can imagine, it took quite a while.  And it occurred to me that I may have to step up my game . . .


Anonymous said...

Crochet? News to me too! I can definitely see Mom's influence in the cooking though--who me, a recipe? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Your blogs are hysterically funny, downright heartwarming and in all other ways wonderful. By the way, I had no idea that guy you're married to knows how to crochet although I am well aware of his culinary skills. But you can certainly put writing, photography, cake decorating, party planning and raising awesome, imaginative, creative, wonderful kids on your list of talents. Mom