LAUNDRY UPDATE: So much for my "How Big is a Load of Laundry?" experiment. Big Detergent is obviously monitoring my posts, for when we went grocery shopping, I couldn't find any jugs promising this many loads or that many loads anywhere. (That, or we bought the detergent at the USAF base commissary this time, instead of a certain well known major retailer whose name rhymes with "Mall Tart".) Alas, the jugs I wrote about the other day had all disappeared, only to be replaced by jugs that promised nothing--well, they still claim to leave my laundry smelling like a mountain fresh tropical rainforest blooming with lavender and citrus blossoms.
Which makes a convenient segue to the topic of today's post.
Mr. Lucky brought home a packet of air freshener sheets to be placed in the filter of the air conditioner. He picked gardenia, knowing how fond I am of that scent.
"I'm going to put two sheets in the filter," he said. "And that should eliminate the dog smell in the house."
"Why not put in just one?" I asked. "Those things only last a day or two anyway, and then you'll have to replace it again."
"They're supposed to last a month," he replied. "You just get used to the scent and don't notice. Two sheets are sure to kill the dog smell."
He put the two sheets in the filter, and soon the sweet scent of gardenias wafted through the house.
"Now isn't that better than the dog smell?" he asked. I agreed it was. He then left to run some errands.
I remained at home, where the sweet scent soon became cloying and annoying. Two sheets were too much. My nose started hurting, my throat felt a bit sore, and while my eyes never watered, I'm sure I started seeing giant gardenias blooming out of the walls.
Two hours later, my husband returned home, breathing deeply as he stepped in the front door. "Mm, gardenias," he said. "That's all I smell, no dog odor at all. Now aren't you glad I put two of those sheets in the filter, Karen? Karen . . . ?"
I staggered before him. "I am the Gardenia Queen!" I slurred.
He slammed the door shut behind him. "Oh no, not again? Didn't I tell you not to drink that cup of lemon juice because I was soaking my lucky Liberty coin in it?"
"No, not that," I gasped. "The gardenia is too strong. Can't you remove at least one of those sheets?"
"But I thought you liked gardenias. And it's killing the dog smell, isn't it?"
"Yes and yes, but that's not all it's killing."
He stepped over my writhing body to check out the refrigerator, even though the contents hadn't changed since the last time he checked. "The scent is always strong at first. You'll get used to it in a day or two."
He settled down in the family room to watch TV, while I suddenly wanted to spend more time with the dogs in the back yard.
About an hour later, Mr. Lucky got up, went out to the garage, and brought in the step-ladder, placing it beneath the air conditioning vent in the hallway.
"What are you doing?" I inquired.
"I decided to remove one of those gardenia sheets," he said.
"So the smell is getting to you, too?"
"I didn't say that. You said it was overpowering, so I'm removing one sheet. I'm only being considerate and sensitive to your needs."
Now I knew the gardenia scent had fried my brain. Did Mr. Lucky just say what I think I heard him say? As he came down the ladder, I pressed my hand to his forehead.
"What are you doing?" he asked. "I'm not running a fever. And why are you lifting up my shirt?"
"I'm checking for your belly button. I want to make sure this is really you, and not some defective clone. Since when did you ever go to so much trouble out of sensitivity to my needs?"
He averted his gaze. "Since--um--since today. I decided today was the day I should start acting like those romance heroes you write about."
After twenty years of marriage? I hope he knows my romance heroes also pick up their socks, take out the garbage, and watch Doctor Zhivago and Steel Magnolias with my heroines. And stay awake the whole time.
Sooner or later, Mr. Lucky will have to crack, and admit the extra sheet of air freshener was killing him, even if it--well, kills him--to admit it.