Sarah Simpson

Sarah Simpson column: How to work on your marriage in four easy steps

That darn cat

Remember that conversation my husband and I had about whether or not we’d trade our family pet for $250,000? My beloved feline made it much more difficult to decide the other night while at the same time providing some uninterrupted quality time for my husband and I. I’ve dubbed this week’s column ‘How to work on your marriage in four easy steps’ and the steps are as follows:

Step one: Get a really curious and water-obsessed cat.

Step two: Go to bed and wait for said cat to push your glass kettle off the counter in the middle of the night.

Step three: Wake up, not to the noise of the glass shattering, but to your husband cursing after he woke up to the commotion and went to investigate.

Step four: Work together to clean it up.

I groggily entered the kitchen to find my husband standing there in his bare feet, holding a broom. A door we usually keep open was closed.

“The cat’s in there,” he said. “That’s the kettle,” he added, pointing the broom at the pond of glass-water on the floor. “I don’t even know where to start.”

I turned around and walked away.

OK, I meant for that to sound very dramatic, I’m not sure why. Really, I just went and got our flip flops from the garage.

“That $250,000 trade may just be a good idea after all,” my husband muttered as he bent down to pick up the shell of the kettle that hadn’t been made of glass.

With our feet protected, I set to work sweeping the tiny shimmery bits into a pile while he picked up the bigger pieces by hand.

“At least we can get a new kettle,” I said with a grin.

We’d only had this kettle for about a year. The one we’d had previously was a gift to us and it had a feature that kept the water hot for a set amount of time after it boiled. As heavy tea drinkers, who often get distracted after we turn on the kettle, we loved that feature but were too cheap to get it when the old one finally kicked the bucket after many years of service.

His frown broke just a little at the thought. There was no doubt in either of our minds we were splurging on the ‘keep warm’ function. There was also no doubt that our next kettle would be stainless steel.

The way I saw it, the last time I was awoken to a similar situation, it was the night he accidentally knocked his beer onto his laptop. This was a cakewalk compared to that nightmare, so I wasn’t nearly as distressed as he seemed to be.

“I mean really…” I carried on trying to lighten the mood, “what a great team building exercise we’ve got ourselves here. I know we work well together but this is something we’ve never done before!”

He laughed.

“And at least the kids are asleep so I don’t have to kick you all outside while I clean it up,” I said.

We reminisced about the time something got thrown and it knocked a drinking glass off the side of the counter, sending shards into the living room, dining room, hallway, and kitchen. With a crawler and a toddler at the time, I forced them and their dad into the backyard for a solid two-hour play while I effectively emptied our main floor of furniture and thoroughly cleaned it to make sure the children wouldn’t encounter any glass upon their return.

That incident was probably why we instituted the “we only throw socks in the house” rule we still follow to this day.

We chatted and laughed and told bad jokes and cursed the cat and his obsession with poking around at water inside water bottles and cups and toilets and apparently any vessel that can contain water including our half-full kettle. Luckily for us, the mess was confined to one section of the kitchen thanks to the island. Even so, it took us a solid half an hour to clean it up and dispose of all the glass safely. It wasn’t what we wanted to be doing at 1:30 in the morning, but we kind of enjoyed doing it together.

We don’t do a lot of date nights, my husband and I. We don’t have much quality time off work together without our kids and that suits us fine for right now. They’re still young and we are enjoying making memories as a family. What we do get, though is the odd car ride talk when both kids have fallen asleep. We get the occasional after bedtime pantry raid for the cookies we’ve hidden (to go with our tea obviously). And now, I suppose we get these late-night clean-ups together, too.

That last one courtesy of the darn cat.

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ColumnistComedy and Humour