82: Sock Fuzz

82: Sock Fuzz

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Married Life!

Sock Fuzz

If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.

~Mary Engelbreit

My toes dug into the soft carpeting in our new home. Gone were the hard wooden floors of the apartment we’d rented the first two years of our marriage. I luxuriated a moment before I hurried off to feed our year-old twins their breakfast and send my husband Bob off to work.

After breakfast, while the boys were safely ensconced in the playroom, I returned to the master bedroom to run the vacuum over the new almond colored carpeting. The almond color was a wise choice. It complimented the dark cherry wood of our bedroom furniture. I hummed and smiled as I took pride in the look of a freshly vacuumed floor. When I rounded the bed to Bob’s side, I gasped.

Little black bugs were scattered all over the carpet next to the bed. Yuck! There was an infestation of bugs in our perfect new home. I wanted to cry. I collapsed in the chair in the corner to plan my course of action. What should I do? Should I spray? Should I vacuum them up? How many more were there and where were they hiding?

While I pondered my choices, I noticed that the little black spots hadn’t moved. Cautiously I got down on my hands and knees and approached the critters. Summoning up courage beyond my paranoia, I pushed at one with a fingernail. It didn’t budge. I pushed again. It clung to the carpeting like a scrap of yarn. I straightened. They weren’t bugs. They were little pieces of black fuzz!

Then I remembered. The last thing Bob did every night was sit on the bed, remove his black socks, and shake them straight out again with a snap. He was flinging black sock fuzz all over my new carpeting! Hands on my hips, I surveyed the blemishes before me. I knew they would vanish into the vacuum but tomorrow I would only face more. What could I do?

I refused to vacuum that area and disturb the evidence that would convict the perpetrator. “I’ll nip this habit in the bud right away,” I huffed as I pictured myself pointing out the flawed habits of male inconsideration.

While the twins napped, I sat at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee and my devotional book. I groaned when I found the scripture reading for the day in my Bible. It was Proverbs 31 and it was a long passage. I was never going to catch up on my reading at this rate. But as I read on, I was encouraged. The passage was about the perfect woman.

Bob was blessed to have me. I was virtuous. I worked with my hands. Certainly I was “like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.” Grocery shopping with the boys was quite a trick — pushing one cart full of kids and pulling another full of food. I didn’t sell garments but I was a stay-at-home mom by choice and I did not “eat the bread of idleness.” I was sure my kids would call me “blessed” if they could say the word. Not flicking sock fuzz on the carpet was a minor concession Bob could make to such a wonderful wife. I closed my Bible, satisfied with my self-examination and my course of action.

Dinner was always at six and Bob was usually home by five-thirty. That night his arrival time passed with no cheery, “Honey, I’m home!”

Six o’clock arrived and I began putting things on hold, wondering where he could be. The hands of the clock inched forward. I paced by the phone. Why couldn’t he call out of consideration for the woman who cooked him dinner every night? Just as I was about to begin feeding the twins, the phone rang. I grabbed it, expecting to hear Bob offer his excuses.

“Mrs. Robbins?” asked a strange male voice.

“Yes?” I was annoyed when I realized it wasn’t Bob. I wanted to know what to do with dinner, not talk to some stranger.

“First,” he said solemnly, “let me offer my condolences on the late Mr. Robbins.”

Did he say the late Mr. Robbins? I clutched the kitchen counter and braced myself. Didn’t the police come to your door for this sort of thing? Did they just call the next of kin now? Wasn’t he at least going to tell me to sit down?

“We at Sacred Monuments have special prices on our granite if you are…”

I exhaled. It was a telemarketer. He must have been reading the obituaries and called the wrong Robbins family. I just prayed he wasn’t psychic.

“Mr. Robbins is only late for dinner,” I explained with a voice shaking from relief. The man apologized profusely.

I hung up the phone and took a deep breath. That was as close as I wanted to come to being the Widow Robbins. A few minutes later, Bob’s “I’m home!” was a welcome sound. I hugged him tightly as he came in the door.

“I’m sorry I’m late,” he said warily.

“It’s okay. Everything is on the back burner.” I smiled warmly at a man who looked especially good after his narrow brush with death.

All through dinner I wrestled with the sock fuzz that needed attention upstairs, measuring it against the impact of the monument salesman’s phone call. What kind of wife would haggle over a little sock fuzz? Certainly not one who had come so close to being a widow.

After dinner, I snuck upstairs, vacuumed the infestation of fuzz from the carpet and thanked God for it. Gone too was the infestation of pride. It was sucked away and replaced with thanksgiving for a loving husband and the father of my children.


~Karen Robbins

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