Nov. 2020 to present — The Old Man of the Sea gets domestic.

I never thought I would see the day when the Old Man of the Sea didn’t get up before me. Now he sits in bed with his coffee and his tablet researching chicken things, truck things, fishing regulations and other random stuff. And (this is important): He makes the bed. Every. Morning. It’s creeping me out. His routine now is to get up, turn on some irrigation somewhere around the ranch, grab a cup of coffee and a snack, and crawl back in bed to read.

I tell you I need my normal life back. Who is this man?

After he gets out of bed for the day, he ventures into the kitchen. He cooks breakfast every single day. And what’s more is if I’m not having my grab and go, he’ll cook me something, too, and hand it to me when I’m on my way out of the door. Somehow he always makes it to the gate to open it for me. Every. Single. Morning. This is kinda spoiling me for when our life returns to normal.

Dec. 2020 — The Anti-Christmas

We agreed at Christmas that we weren’t going to do presents. Read: I wasn’t going to do the entire Christmas thing for him this year or anyone, for that matter. I was in a seriously bad mood. But I only changed my mind for the Old Man of the Sea. I figured this year had been really tough in so many ways, and he needed a little fun. So I bought him a drone.

This was all fine and dandy until I realized he needed a smartphone to use the thing. Now keep in mind, The Old Man of the Sea has rocked his flip phone proudly and has belittled my smartphone. He has flat out refused to answer it when it rings and my hands are full. He acts like the thing will give him a full blown case of the cooties. Until he needed it.

All of a sudden my phone started disappearing. He had absolutely no problem using it for his drone. We found ourselves in the interesting Phone Share phase of our marriage. One of my sisters was told to call back after the drone session. Thank God she laughed. The next thing I know all my hens are fleeing for their lives as he buzzed them with the drone. “Wow this is great! I can buzz my cows and check in on them without having to hike up the hill!” He started buzzing other relatives that live on the ranch. One day I came home to find my green rocking chair in the avocado orchard.

“Um why?”

“It’s my command post launch area.”

Yes I created a monster.

Dec. 31, 2020: I nearly kill myself

I launched my kayak into a swift, screaming outgoing tide. I ended up dumping my kayak, myself and the contents of said kayak in the bay. Including my phone. The Old Man of the Sea was heartbroken. He couldn’t fly his drone.

Jan. 5, 2021: Our world became smarter

The Old Man of the Sea became the owner of a smartphone. What’s more: He’s pretty much mastered the dang thing, which makes me think this entire thing of not being able to answer my phone was a complete sham. See how that all worked out? I dumped my phone, and he got an upgrade. At times I am just absolutely brilliant.

Jan. 2021: Amazon

The Old Man of the Sea figured out the joys of Amazon. Previously he knew it existed and has given me plenty of grief over the packages arriving. “We don’t need that! Or what did you buy now?” And my all-time favorite: “What did you spend my hard earned money on this time?”

(Vacuum cleaner bags since Sears closed. My skin care products. Stuff that isn’t available in our town.) In the Before Times, if he wanted to order something, he would have me do it. Now he’s figured out that all he has to do is to hit the BUY NOW and a box magically appears at the gate a couple of days later. If the man could buy crab bait off of Amazon, he would. He’s looked it up. Our roles have completely reversed now.

March 2021: He’s now known as Chicken Jeff

He has completely taken over my chicken business. I feed the girls before I go to work. When I come home from work, I find all the changes he has made. On weekends, he’ll tell me what needs to be done. He likes to remind me that the one poultry class he took at Cal Poly, he got an A. What’s worse is he will quote that professor to me. I’m the one who has a degree in poultry. (BTW, I got an A in that class, too.) I’m still the marketing part of the business, though. He doesn’t like interacting with too many people, and I don’t think that will ever change.

April 2021: The next thing I thought I would never see

The Old Man of the Sea with long hair. He hasn’t had a haircut in over a year. He has very curly hair and a lot of it (except on the very top). (OK, that was a bit of payback.) Anyways, he has always kept his hair on the short and tidy side. As I write this in mid-2021, he has not had a haircut in over a year. His hair is scaring me. He has Shirley Temple curls. He talks about how when he washes his hair, it takes a special technique. He talks about my different shampoos and conditioners. He. Is. Talking. About. His. Hair. Which. Is. Way. Longer. Than. Mine.

April 2021 — We might have made it through

There is a pile of fish hooks on the table. There is a pile of boat bedding by the washing machine. He’s talking salmon season. He’s optimistic. I’ll know life is getting back to our normal when he gets his hair cut. 

A collection of stories from guest authors.

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