BR and I go to Florida every year for the winter. Which is great because not only do we both get to escape the cold, but BR also gets to play polo, which he loves. And hockey. (Who knew?)
I love Florida in the winter for two reasons: First, it’s the time of year when BR and I get to spend the most quality time together. Second, the people-watching is awesome.
So the year before last we rented a cute house on Palm Beach island and quickly settled into the poodle-walking, pastel-wearing, sun-tanned life of a snowbird.
Until one night, about a month into our trip, BR went to hockey and broke his leg. In two places.
After spending a couple of nights in the hospital, he was sent home with a bottle of Vicodin and a full cast up to his thigh. Which meant he would be bedridden for two whole months. Let me repeat: bedridden for two whole months.
BR is a man who gets cranky and restless and “difficult to manage” if he misses competitive sports for one day. Now he would be bedridden – and entirely dependent on ME – for two whole months.
I’ve never broken anything so I really underestimated the severity of his injury. He’s also pretty tough so I really thought he’d be up and walking around on crutches within a couple of weeks. Oh no. He lay in bed for two whole months and literally milked every single second of it.
Now, I am a very caring person. I am a very patient person. And BR is high maintenance on a good day. But I had no idea just how difficult – and exhausting – and stressful – and bonkers the next two months would actually be. Good bye easy, breezy Florida. Hello Shutter Island.
Perhaps you’re asking yourself, how much damage can a bed-ridden evil genius with half a dozen light sabers and a bed-side urine bottle actually do to someone’s psychiatric well-being? The answer: a lot. A lot.
BR: Blondie, do you want some lemonade?
Me: BR, if you refer to your urine one more time as “lemonade” I’m going to barf.
BR: Drink it.
Me: I am totally barfing now. Are you happy?
BR: Just drink a little bit of it.
Me: What is wrong with you?
BR: I’m hungry! Get me a cupcake.
Me: We don’t have any cupcakes. Do you want something else?
BR: Blondie, just go to the store and get me a cupcake! I’m so hungry and that’s all I want.
Me: It’s 7:55! Publix closes in 5 minutes.
BR: Blondie! I have a broken leg! Put your running shoes on and run to the store! If you hurry you’ll make it.
Me: Fine, I’ll go. Please stop pointing that light saber at me.
BR: And Blondie, one more thing. I’d like a nicely decorated one.
BR: The cupcake. I’d like it to be decorated nicely.
Me: I’m going to murder you.
BR: Blondie hurry up! You’re wasting time.
So I ran to Publix with literally 30 seconds to spare. I ran over to the bakery counter. Strangely, they were not all that happy to see me right before closing. Finally a less than impressed African-American lady with a gold tooth sauntered over to the counter.
Cupcake lady: Can I help you?
Me: Oh hi… I’m sorry, I know you’re about to close… but I have a guy at home with a broken leg who’s feeling really sorry for himself and he would really like a cupcake.
Cupcake lady: Awww, that’s so sad! How old is he?
Me: Ummm… 41.
Cupcake lady took a step back and put her hands on her hips before less-than-enthusiastically grabbing me a cupcake.
Cupcake lady: Mmmmm hmmmm. Oh really.
Me: Ummm… yes.
Cupcake lady: Well ain’t that just like a man. Meanwhile, if that was you all up at home with a broken leg? He’d be like, “sorry baby, there ain’t nothin’ I can do for you no more, I’m goin’ out tonight.”
Me: Haha, that’s… probably totally accurate. Thank you for the cupcake.
Cupcake lady: Mmmmm hmmmm.
So I ran home, ran straight to the kitchen, opened the freezer, and grabbed the vodka bottle.
BR: Blondie? BLONDIE?! Where is my cupcake?
Me: It’s coming, just a second!
BR: What are you doing down there? I HAVE A BROKEN LEG!
Me: Just a second! I’m just getting something.
BR: Are you drinking again?
BR: Then why do I hear bottles clinking?
Me: Shut up, you’re hallucinating!
And this went on for several… weeks. Cupcakes, light sabers, incessant moaning, urine bottles, sponge baths, multiple snacks, spoon-feeding, foot massages, “mantrums”, more snacks, more cupcakes, sleep depravity, eventual alcoholism… And all the while having to hear, “Blondie… Blondie! BLONDIE! BLONDIE!!!”
Finally one day I could take no more. I needed a time out. I was on the brink of a nervous breakdown. He had broken me.
BR: Blondie! Where are you, I need my foot rubbed.
Me: BR, I need a break. This is what’s going to happen: I’m going to take an ativan, go into the spare room, read my book, and take a nap. Now unless you are on fire, I don’t want you calling me for at least two hours. Or I’m going to murder you. Do you understand? I just need two hours.
So that’s what I did. I got all cozy in the spare room, opened my book and began to read. But about 20 minutes later I realized I had to pee. Crap. I was going to have to sneak past the master room in order to do this and the floors were really creaky. BR would hear me. But I really had to pee. So I quietly opened the door and crept out of the room.
Just ignore him. Keep walking. Now go to the bathroom, quietly flush, and creep back.
BR: Blondie? BLONDIE? BLONDIE!
Me: For the love of God, WHAT? What is it? I told you not to bother me unless you were on fire and you’re clearly not on fire!
BR: I heard a noise. I thought it was a cat.
Me: A cat? You mean the cat that we don’t have walked by our room, went to the bathroom, flushed the toilet and walked back?
BR: It sounded like a cat. But since you’re up can you make me a snack platter?
BR was bored. And probably mildly depressed. He couldn’t get out of bed and enjoy the Florida sun. He couldn’t play polo or hockey. And aside from torturing me and swinging his light sabers around, there wasn’t much he could do to entertain himself. So he decided to online shop.
Me: BR, what’s with all these boxes that keep getting delivered?
BR: Those are for me. Bring them up here.
So I brought them upstairs.
BR: Awesome, I’ve been waiting for these.
Me: What are those?
BR: Star Wars costumes.
Me: Umm… for us?
BR: Blondie, don’t be ridiculous. They’re for the dogs.
Me: Of course they are. How many Vicodin have you been taking?
And every day a new box would show up with something weird inside. More light sabers. More techie gadgets. Several computer monitors. A spy pen. A variety of security cameras. Underwear. Binoculars. Two fax machines. Approximately seven different cell phones. The list goes on.
I knew he was really starting to lose it when he started putting his Cookie Monster doll in front of the computer during video conference calls with his business partner. Every once in a while he’d give Cookie Monster a shake and I’d hear “MEE WANT COOOOKIE” coming from the bedroom. Or I’d hear BR say, “Cookie Monster doesn’t agree with you” or “now you’ve made Cookie Monster upset.”
Me: I was reading an article the other day. Apparently there’s some big-wig club owner who will only show the back of his head during video conference calls. Isn’t that weird?
BR: Very interesting… from now on I will only be showing the back of Cookie Monster’s head during video conference calls.
Then one day a large delivery truck showed up in front of the house. The delivery guy asked me where I’d like him to wheel the very large box that was inside. It obviously wasn’t going to fit through the front door. I asked the delivery guy to please wait a second, and told him that I would be right back. I quickly ran into the house.
Me: BR? There’s a delivery guy here with a huge box. Where do you want it? I’m kind of afraid to ask what it is.
BR: Oh. That’s just my four-person bicycle. It’s for the cottage.
Me: Of course it is.
BR: Just tell him to leave it on the driveway. You’ll probably have to cover it with a tarp or something. I don’t want anyone stealing it.
Me: Yeah I don’t really think you have to worry about… actually, how are we going to get this thing home? It’s huge.
BR: Blondie, don’t worry. We’ll put it in the truck or the horse trailer and drive it home.
Me: Who is going to put it in the truck? It’s enormous and you have a broken leg! Why didn’t you just ship it to the cottage?
BR: Blondie, stop interrogating me.
Me: Did you not want to pay the extra shipping?! How much did you save.
BR: A lot.
Me: How much.
BR: Two-hundred dollars.
Me: We have to lug this thing all the way home so you could save two-hundred dollars?! What is wrong with you?
BR: Blondie, the bike only cost four-hundred dollars! I’m not going to pay two-hundred dollars on shipping for a four-person bicycle that only cost four-hundred dollars! Where is the math logic in that?!
Me: WHERE IS THE LOGIC IN A FOUR-PERSON BICYCLE?!
It was a long winter. BR was finally able to walk around on crutches a little by the time we got home. But he still wanted to keep his pee bottle beside the bed because it was “convenient.”
And we did manage to get the four-person bicycle to the cottage. Much to my surprise, it didn’t seat four people in a row like I had imagined – it had two benches (one in the front and one in the back), a steering wheel and two large wheels on either side. The entire thing was covered by a bright red-and-white striped canopy with tassels. It was kind of like “Fred Flinstone car meets Candy Land.” It takes up an entire space in the garage. We still take it out occasionally and I’m finally starting to get used to the laughing and pointing, which is positive.
And it took a year but BR’s leg finally healed. I figured if our relationship can survive that, it can survive anything. And although I would like him to be a bit more cautious, I really can’t stop him from playing a bunch of competitive sports that are probably far too dangerous for a man of his age. So that’s fine.
But if he breaks his leg again I will murder him.