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A Day in the Life Part 10: The things we do for love… (A Florida escapade)

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.

“What?!”

“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.

“Okay…”

“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?!Β 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?”

“Yes.”

“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!

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16 thoughts on “A Day in the Life Part 10: The things we do for love… (A Florida escapade)”

  1. What a wonderfully romantic gesture from the romance writer!! If it makes you feel any better, I would have bought the sponge, too. My husband seldom asks for anything (except things I cannot buy like hunting equip I know nothing about etc), so there is nothing more exciting and special for me than to give him something I know will truly make him happy! πŸ™‚ Good job!!

    1. LOL! Like yours, my husband rarely asks for things, that’s a major part of the reason I broke down and bought the darn thing. And for as useless as the thing is, we both got a chuckle out of the way I gave it to him and the story behind it. Odd fact, he removed the picture of me that used to be on his nightstand and placed the sponge in its place… I guess it REALLY meant something to him.

  2. I’m so glad you gave in and bought it for him! What fun. And the nerve of that broad thinking you should leave a tip!!! What is it with you and getting ripped off, first the hospital cafeteria incident and now a gift shop? πŸ™‚
    Looking forward to more stories from Florida.

  3. What a sweet story. I hope your husband appreciates it, even if the sponge was too big. Knowing my luck I would have got home and it would have been the wrong type of sea sponge.
    Like Tami, my husband rarely wants anything or it’s something he would be better off getting himself like hunting/camping gear.
    I like to buy him things, though, as my love language to others is gifts. Sometimes I like to buy him funny things like a Dallas Cowboys magnet from Dallas, when my husband is a NY Giants fan and despises the Cowboys. But that is my sense of humor.

    1. The Dallas Cowboys magnet sounds like something I’d do. Funny story (kind of). A few years ago we were going to watch OU and OSU (we live in Oklahoma) play each other for their “Bedlam” game. To be funny, I downloaded the OSU school song and played it at breakfast. He did NOT find this funny and when his team (OU) lost, he blamed it on me! I’ve been careful to stay away from football jokes since then, but otherwise, I do the same sort of stuff with other sports!

  4. That’s a great story! When I read the part about the cashier I said “Oh nuh uh!” really loud. Luckily my employees are used to those types of reactions from me so it doesn’t come as a surprise when I blurt it out. And I think I have that same plate….lol.

    1. Oh yeah she did! I’d say I’m shocked, but now that I think about it, if they can “justify” charging 5.99 for a bookmark, 24.99 for a shirt “on sale” and 19.99 for a sea sponge, I shouldn’t be surprised she asked for tip. Good gracious!

      I’m totally embarrassed to admit this, but I bought that plate last year in a package of four for $1.00 at Wal-Mart! I make my kids eat on it since it’s plastic. I would have used one of my real ones but we didn’t have any that were clean!

      1. Ah, gift shops. Makes me think I’m in the wrong line of work at those prices. But I know exactly the type of gift shop you are referring to. I grew up going to the Gulf Coast every summer (and still try to go once a year) and the gift shops are all over the place with shells, shell necklaces, shell wind chimes, hermit crabs, shot glasses, mugs, etc. It’s like a train wreck! And there is usually someone doing henna tattoos, hair wraps and an airbrush counter someplace in there where you can get t-shirts and car tags! πŸ™‚ Unless you were in a much more upscale gift shop than what I was used to seeing there…Lol.

        That is funny about the plate–it looks like the solid color Fiestaware plates. DIdn’t mean to out you on the Wal-mart plastic plates (LOL–kidding). My kids eat on plastic plates too.

      2. I don’t know if it was this way when you went, but I was kind of stunned when I found how they were selling the hermit crabs. Not that they had them and were selling them in general, but that the crabs were free if you bought the container, sponge, and something else they needed. Initially, I thought that was a backwards way of doing things and it should have been buy the crab and get all that. However, since crabs are a dime a dozen down there… It now makes perfect sense! For them.

        It is like a train wreck in those stores. Fortunately nobody offered to give me a tattoo… Although, they had lots and lots of Spring Break items including mugs that were shaped likes breasts, complete with an inappropriate method of getting your tea/coffee out!

        LOL on the plate. The only Fiestaware in this house is a pitcher. I have a set of Spode for very nice meals (inherited this, of course) but our regular everyday meals in a mix of plastic for the kids, and grape covered Pfaltzgraff mixed with Charles Dickens Curiosity shop plates for us. We’re a mess with our dishes.

  5. Loved this post and all the reader comments. The initial story made me call my husband and tell him I love him.
    We don’t really buy each other gifts… even for special occasions, we pick a big need or mutual want and make it happen. For our 5th anniversary I got a fancy new washer and dryer. When he got a promotion at work we bought a bigger T.V., and when I found out I was expecting, my husband completely renovated our master bedroom and bath. ( I say he was nesting πŸ™‚ But it’s the little things that really matter. When I got my new appliances, my husband hand wrote my anniversary “card”. When we upgraded the tv he pushed our couches together, piled on pillows and watched a romantic comedy of my choosing. And the day after I came home from the hospital with our son, I woke up in my new room with a hand picked rose from our yard waiting on my night stand.
    Thanks for the reminder! I’ve been more appreciative of the love in my life since I read this post.

    1. Darah, I loved this comment!

      I think to often we get so wrapped up in “things” that it’s easy to forget what really matters. Your husband sounds very, very sweet. And hey, that IS a gift to get a new washer and dryer. This year around Christmas my dishwasher and microwave went out in the same week… Yep, that’s what I got for Christmas. As an added bonus, I didn’t have to wait for Christmas to open/use them!

      Like yours, my husband isn’t really into gifts–either giving or receiving. For him, it truly is the through that counts. If it’s the wrong brand or the wrong style, that doesn’t matter. It was that someone (normally me) took the time to go to the store to get it. The price is unimportant. And I have a box of handmade cards from my husband (in addition to the ones from my kids). Personally, I lie his handmade cards as normally they are hilarious.

      Thanks for sharing and I’m glad you’re more appreciative of your love–I’m sure your husband is, too!

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