Ok, ok I'm not trying to sound like a big-deal Las Vegas gambler here, nor a 60's/70's rock star...but I do have a pretty hefty bet placed with my wife about some upcoming fall predictions.
Every year we make a HUGE $20 wager that concerns...our furnace.
*Specifically when will be the first day that we have to turn on the heat.
I'm maintaining that we're going to have an unseasonably warm autumn, so I held out until the very beginning of November, while my wife is expecting a fairly typical weather season and has selected ten days before Halloween. A lot is riding on the outcome, not the least of which is the opportunity to strut and crow and talk trash to the loser.
We make dozens of little bets like this during the year, many of them weather related, and it's probably not too surprising that I initiate or propose all the bets. I love this time of year and I guess I'm a little fixated on those weeks between the last of the air-conditioning and the first of the heater; I enjoy the windows being opened at night and the dry weather that filters through the house. I don't know if this is a typical thing that happens when you get older, but I get a big kick out of the changing of the seasons. I've become something of a weather nerd, I have to admit, but it does bring me a lot of pleasure.
My wife is not quite as enthusiastic. Our first bet happened about twenty years ago, it was March and I looked out our back yard and noted the ice-covered pond on our property. I pointed it out to my wife. "Do you ever wonder when the ice is going to finally melt on the pond?" I asked. "I mean, the very day when the entire surface is going to be water again?"
"No, of course not," she said. "Why would anyone?"
"It doesn't interest you?"
"Not in the least."
"But make a guess. Come on. I say April 10th. What do you think?"
"I think who cares is what I think."
But of course, I wasn't going to be deterred. I finally cajoled/insulted/enraged her enough into making our first bet. Exasperated, she chose a day, and then I immediately wrote both of our guesses into my ledger. I'm sure she was hoping I would forget about it soon enough, but I didn't, I kept talking about it, and whenever a particularly warm batch of spring weather would arrive, I'd try to get her to wonder about the ramifications and if it would favor either of us in our wager.
"I have absolutely no opinion or thoughts whatsoever and I could care less if I won or lost."
"Nice try," I said.
I did win the initial bet, by less than one day, to my wife's everlasting regret, for I hooted and danced and caller her a sucker and immediately demanded payment. When she pulled the $20 bill out of her purse she gave me a measured glance, as if she was wondering what exactly happened to her husband who was this grinning, shouting impostor in his place.
Since that time, I think she's learned to accept the inevitability of my psychotic betting proposals with a mixture of resignation and annoyance. One of my favorites is the summer road trip bet: How many cars with boats attached will we see on the highway? My wife is pretty good at that one, she always goes low and usually wins. For some reason, I'm always expecting a flotilla or regatta on the roads when we're headed to the lake.
And she tries to hide it, but I can't help noticing a degree of satisfaction on her face when she beats me at the guessing game. I'm not sure she actually enjoys the endless wagers, but I know she loves to win. If nothing else but to keep me quiet and humble for a bit.
It's probably a good thing i didn't show her this peculiar part of my personality when we were dating, for she might have had second thoughts about the future of the relationship. But now I think she knows and accepts the little quirks and surprises of the man she married. But I do manage to keep a few secrets to myself that might help me win a couple more wagers in the future. I don't tell her that my knee has become a peerless prognosticator when it comes to weather patterns, for instance; it's my ace in the hole for our furnace bet.
And when I win, I'll surely be humming that ramblin' gamblin' tune...I can see her rolling her eyes already.
Until next week,