Just a little background first:
Aside from the fact that I’m weird, I should mention that my husband is, too.
I think I’ve mentioned this before but in case I haven’t, my husband likes to build kayaks. He’ll go to the lumberyard and buy tons of boards, then come home and measure, cut, sand, lash and stain them. Then he uses ballistic nylon as the “skin” and sews this around the frame then seals it to keep the water out.
So anyway, last week as I was getting ready to go to Florida, I casually asked my husband if he wanted me to bring him anything back.
Any guesses on what he wants? I’ll just tell you now, you’ll never guess.
“A sponge,” he informs me as casually as a normal person might request a seashell.
“A sea sponge. For the kayak.”
Seriously, I’m going to Florida and he wants me to bring him back a sponge? “Just go to the grocery store if you want a sponge.”
“It needs to be a real sea sponge,” he informs me matter-of-factly.
“To soak up the water if some should get inside. So make sure it’s big.”
“Uh huh.” I shook my head and walked off, mumbling about what a weirdo I married and there is no way I’m going to search for him a sponge while at a writers’ conference.
On the plane to Florida, I casually inform my sister-in-law who was gracious enough to join me, that my husband wants me to bring him home a sponge of all things. Together we laugh and discuss how odd my husband is…
Well, on Friday, we go into a gift shop and while looking around lo and behold, I find it: a sea sponge. And not a little one, either. This thing is at least 10 inches high and no less than five inches thick. It’s huge. I picked it up and turned it over, revealing that the other side isn’t quite as “solid” if you will. There’s a very noticeable curvature running 3/4 the length of this thing. And there at the bottom was the astronomical price tag. Are you kidding me?! They want $20 for a sponge! It might be big, but we can buy two packages of four kitchen sponges for 1.99 a package and have just as much “spongy area” as this. Immediately, I put it down. I love him, but I am NOT paying $20 for that. Not to mention, the thing won’t even fit into my suitcase!
Saturday, he calls and the first thing he asks, “Did you get what I asked for?”
“You mean the sponge?”
“No.” I conveniently leave off the fact that I did find sponges in the store, but I’m too cheap to buy one. “I don’t have time to comb the beach to find you a sponge. You’ll just have to use a regular sponge.”
“But it needs to be…”
On and on. For about five minutes we had to discuss the importance of this sponge. All I could think was, “For goodness’ sake, it’s a sponge!”
Sunday morning comes and since it’s the last day, it’s time I pick up some T-shirts for my kids. I walk across the street from my hotel to the gift store I visited on Friday and found some T-shirts. And from the corner of my eye, I saw that sponge. It was taunting me, “Buy me, Rose! Buy me! You know you want me. You know you’d love to see the look on your husband’s face when you do in fact walk through the door tonight with me in your hand. Buy me!!!”
With a sigh, I pick up the biggest of the five sponges in the bin. Hey, if I have to pay $20, I’m going to get my money’s worth. With this enormous sponge, I go to check out. This checkout experience was not one I’d care to remember. Let’s just say, the checker gave me back incorrect change, shorting me a considerable amount of money, which resulted in a not-so-happy romance author contacting the manger. Normally, if I get charged the wrong price for something because the scanner rang it up wrong I let it go, but there was no incorrect scanner read, plus her machine told her how much she should give me back. So the amount I was missing coupled with her “I’ve already closed the drawer, besides, other people leave tips, just consider it a tip” comment, infuriated me. As a side note, who tips their cashier? Waitress? Yes. Cab driver? Yes. The checker at a gift store? Um, no.
Five minutes later and the mystery of my missing $20 is solved…
Sponge in hand, I leave that store, vowing never to return, and go pack. As I predicted, that sponge will not fit into my bag at all. Fortunately, I was able to get everything else in there, including 15 romance novels and a cookbook I’d been given at the conference.
“I guess I’ll just have to carry this,” I said to no one in particular, placing the sponge on top of my luggage.
And carry it I did–for the most part.
My sister-in-law tried to put it in her giant purse, but it wouldn’t zip and following her being searched at security for bringing back a huge bag of sand, I had to hold the sponge. On the airplane, I held the sponge. Walking across the airport, I held the sponge. As I was getting on the first plane in Pensacola, the pilot who was standing at the front of the plane, greeting the passengers asked if it was a hat, presumable due to the circular indention. Then in Atlanta as I was getting onto that plane, the lady scanning our boarding passes was enthralled by this thing and couldn’t let me pass without touching and squeezing it. I must admit, I felt violated to have her touch my sponge that way…
When I arrived in my hometown and was ready to get out of the car at my house, I wrapped the sponge in my coat and grabbed my bags. It was late at night and my husband came out to greet me–he would have rather picked me up at the airport, but I got in so late that it was best for our kids that he didn’t–and helped get my stuff inside and then came time for the big reveal!
When he turned around to put something down, I very quickly put that sponge on my head (yuck, I know), putting into action the suggestion from the pilot who thought it was a hat. Then when he turned around, he was met by me wearing Johnny Bravo hair! It was great.
Of course the sponge was obviously too large as it would take up nearly all the storage area in is kayak–my suggestion was to cut it. But I learned something while toting this thing halfway across the country. Real love isn’t always defined by getting over one’s stubbornness or fixing a broken telescope, it’s not always expressed with public begging or offering an explanation for bad behavior. Sometimes love is in the form of toting a big orange dried out animal across the country, deflecting curious stares, odd looks, and the occasional invasion of the privacy bubble for the purposes of a cheap fondle.
So ladies, if you’ve ever spent a jaw-dropping amount of money on something ridiculous or looked the fool for the sake of your husband, go remind him right now that you did that for love and he owes you! LOL
If anyone’s interested, here are pictures of that glorious sponge!
To give you an idea, it’s on top of a dinner plate!