A few months ago I bought a new 50-inch TV and had to carry it from the car into my house on my own.
When my back was screaming in pain the next day and I mentioned it to one of my friends, she said, “I’ll bet you’re wishing your husband was still alive so you could have a man around to help you with stuff like lifting heavy things and moving furniture."
I had to chuckle because when it came to lifting things, I hate to say it, but my husband never was a whole lot of help.
I still remember the time back when we’d been married about 10 years, when I saw an ad for an oak wardrobe on sale for $79.95. The place where we lived at the time had closets about the size of shoeboxes, so I thought buying a wardrobe would be a good way to add some additional storage space.
“At that price, let’s buy two!” my husband suggested. “We can put one in our bedroom and one in the spare room.”
“And how are we going to get them home?” I asked.
“We’ll take your car, the hatchback. Then you and I can carry the wardrobes into the house ourselves. They usually come packaged flat in boxes, and need to be assembled, so they should be pretty easy to carry. Besides that, you’re a big, strong girl.”
He made me feel as if I should be pulling a plow.
So against my better judgment, I accompanied him to the department store the next night.
Just as he’d said, the wardrobes did come in somewhat flat boxes…with “weight – 137 lbs.” printed on the sides. If I didn’t realize right then that there was about as much chance of us lifting those boxes as there was of us becoming the featured ballerinas in “Swan Lake,” I was convinced of it when the two young, burly employees who hoisted the boxes onto a dolly for us grunted like a couple of pigs at chow time.
I temporarily forgot about my box-lifting apprehension, however, during the drive home…because I was too worried about getting frostbite. Riding with the hatchback wide open on one of the coldest nights of the month wasn’t exactly the smartest thing we’d ever done. Neither was riding with two long boxes sticking into the back of my head. I was worried that if my husband slammed on the brakes and we got rear-ended, he’d have to chase after my head, which would be rolling somewhere down Route 3.
When we finally backed into our driveway, I breathed a sigh of relief.
But my relief turned out to be short-lived.
“Come on,” my husband said, practically leaping out of the car. “Start pushing the top box out of the hatchback while I pull.”
I tried giving the box a mighty shove, but the only thing that budged was something in my back…like maybe four or five vertebrae.
After 10 minutes of pushing and tugging, we finally got one of the boxes out of the car. My husband then decided to “walk” it over to the front steps. I giggled as I watched him bear-hug a six-foot tall box and waltz it up the driveway. When he reached the front steps, he laid the box on top of them.
“Come help,” he called out to me as I stood freezing by the car. “I’ll push the box up the stairs while you pull it.”
I climbed the stairs and tugged. We managed to move the box an inch at a time until it finally made it through the front door.
“Am I still breathing?” my husband gasped as he sank red-faced against the wall.
“Good, then I didn’t have a heart attack.”
Unfortunately, there still was another box out in the car. By then, it was after 9:30 PM. Even though we used every ounce of strength we could muster, which by then wasn’t a whole lot, the box refused to move. For one thing, we just couldn’t seem to get a good grip on it.
“What does a hernia feel like?” I groaned, holding my stomach.
“I’m not sure,” my husband groaned back. “But I’m pretty sure I have one.”
The neighbor’s porch light suddenly popped on and he stepped outside. “Need any help?” he called out. “I heard all the noise out here and got worried.”
My husband looked embarrassed. “Were we that loud?”
“How else would he know we were out here?” I muttered. “He must have heard you screaming, “Oh, God! I think I’ve lost all of the feeling below my waist!”
The neighbor, who wasn’t even half my husband’s size, walked right past us and over to my car, then dragged out the box, hoisted it onto his back and carried it up the steps and into our house…while we stood there with our mouths hanging open.
The next morning, I was awakened by what sounded like the painful cries of a woman in labor. It was only my husband, trying to bend over to put on his socks.
“Having problems?” I asked him.
“My back hurts. And my knees, my legs, and my neck.” He continued to list body parts until he ran out of parts.
The two boxes containing the wardrobes sat unopened in our living room for weeks…until my father came over and helped my husband assemble them.
So I have to admit I was pretty proud of myself when I managed to carry the new TV into the house all on my own a few months ago.
Still, I think it might have been a lot more fun to watch my husband attempt to do it.
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Sally Breslin is an award-winning humor columnist and the author of “There’s a Tick in my Underwear!” “Heed the Predictor,” “The Common-Sense Approach to Dream Interpretation” and “Christmas, a Cabin and a Stranger.” Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org