Decorating With The Sports Section

 Chores were part of my childhood. When I was about 8, my mother saw that I was taking a long time to clean my room. She knelt down beside me and my pile of laundry that I was supposed to be putting away and taught me something I have used many times throughout my life. She asked if I was having trouble, and I had told her that I didn’t like to put clothes away. I particularly didn’t like hanging the clothes on a hanger. She explained that there are many times in my life when there will be tasks or chores that I don’t like to do but I will still have to do them. She told me the trick to getting the unliked task done was to find something about it I liked or find a fun way to do it. I couldn’t think of anything I liked about putting my laundry away so she suggested we sing a song. I got to pick the song but we sang it in a silly voice. We had so much fun I didn’t even notice I was working and I was done before I knew it. Mom said,”See, it works!” She was right and there are plenty of times I needed to use mom’s advice and find a fun way to get through dreaded tasks.

When I first came up with the budget DS insisted that we budget in daily newspaper delivery. We were still in our first year of marriage and I was still naive to DS’s intellect. I thought I had hit the jackpot. A husband who educated himself about the world around us. A husband who would be up to speed on the latest in Washington. A husband that I could talk to about current affairs. Of course I will put newspaper delivery into the budget. It’s a wonderful way for people with a tight budget to be part of the world. It’s a wonderful way for us to make informed decisions about our first baby-on-the-way’s future. Done!

It was a few weeks before I noticed that the only section of the newspaper being read was the Sports Section. It was hard not to notice. I found it wherever DS had read it. On the floor next to couch, on the floor next to the toilet, on the floor next to the kitchen table, on the floor next to the toilet. It was when I noticed it being used as a bathmat that I asked him to stop leaving the Sports Section all over the apartment. And that was the beginning.

I don’t remember what he answered, I only remember the rage. Looking back, it was more likely a pregnant hormonal rage and something that would have blown over if only he would have said, “Sure.” but the foolish man thought he had a right to leave the Sports Section where he wanted to. Five minutes after I asked DS to stop leaving the Sports Section all over the apartment he had forgotten the whole conversation. I, however, was in my nesting phase and did not want my first born to come into this world with newspaper on the floor of the apartment.

The next day there was no Sports Section in the newspaper. Ironically, the neighbor had two Sports Sections in her newspaper. It was very pleasing to watch DS flip through the newspaper looking for his beloved Sports Section. It was an even greater joy to see the panic build when he couldn’t find it. He checked the index and saw Sports …. Section D. He flipped through the sections, passing World News, Regional News, and Local Headlines. No D. So he flipped to the front again, this time saying the alphabet letters as he passed each section. A, B, C, E. Wait, I could see his brain working really hard. Yeah, D does come before E and there is no D section here. He opened the apartment door to see if it had fallen out. Nope.

The baby must have felt my joy because he kicked and since this was our first baby, we were very excited over every little kick. I broke DS’s concentration on the alphabet and called him over, “The baby’s kicking!” We oohed and ahhed about the miraculous kicking child and DS forgot that he was looking for the Sports Section.

The rest of the pregnancy I took just a page here and there out of the Sports Section. I lined the drawers of the baby’s new dresser. I lined the kitchen cupboards and drawers. I lined the bathroom linen closet shelves. I bought DS a picture frame that had “My Boy” written on it. I put it in a box that had shredded Sports Section pages used as packaging. I started reading the pages before I would find a better use for them. At dinner, I would talk about what I read. I found out that he didn’t really care for baseball and loved football. I was sure to leave the pages with baseball news in tact. I would bring up conversations about things I knew he hadn’t read. “Did you know the Lions signed a new player? Barry Sanders.”

“What? No. What?”

“Yeah, he’s from Oklahoma State and supposed to be like a combination of Walter Payton and Gale Sayers.”

Once I caught him reading the silverware drawer and thought for sure the jig was up but it pays in little ways to have a husband with a short attention span. He not only never realized this was a missing sports section page but he thought he had read it before.

The new year came and went and we started a tradition of throwing confetti Sports Pages at midnight. All four children to this day still enjoy that tradition.

Once the baby came, snagging the sports pages slowed down. I have since made it part of my daily cleaning routine to pick up the Sports Section wherever it may lie. On days that I do resent having to pick up the paper I meet the newspaper boy at the door and snag the Sports Section. I have shined shoes, cleaned the windows, and many other dreaded tasks through the years with a skip in my step all thanks to my mom and her timeless advice.



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