Television, TV watching (football match) with feet on table and huge amounts of snacks - stock photo

Publisher’s letter: Men on a Mission

Ashley Sexton Gordon. Photo by Jeannie Frey Rhodes.

My husband bought a new TV for our master bedroom, and it’s so large I’m forced to rip out the exterior wall behind my headboard, prop a camping chair in my neighbor’s driveway and watch my shows from there. Thanks to a new speaker system, I can also hear an actor whisper from the next lot over.

Of course, this is the end of the story. Let’s start at the beginning.

One recent Saturday, two beloved men in my life both went crazy on the same day. My husband, in a fit of boredom, decided that we needed a new television STAT. No matter that we had a perfectly reasonable TV in our bedroom that I watched next to never. But this wasn’t about me. Less than a mile away, as the crow flies, my father decided he needed a brand-new top-of-the-line grill STAT. No matter that he’d been flipping burgers with relative ease on a Big Green Egg for years. Grilling and chilling were imperative to these men that day, and nothing was getting in their way.

So that I didn’t get in their way, I took one of my daughters on errands. For hours. Why? Because my husband Chuck is an attorney, not an assembly technician, and I’ve already been to my first rodeo. My T-shirt from that event reads, “Never Again.” After hitting the grocery store, the pharmacy and every teenage shop in the mall offering only shorty-shorts and crop tops (another column to address this is in the works), I returned home. Clearly a moment too soon.

“Look, your husband’s in there and he’s really frustrated,” said my father-in-law with apologetic eyes. He stood in my driveway, about to climb in his vehicle with my youngest daughter. “Why don’t you just come on to our house for a while.”

I thanked him for his concern, but I was determined to go into my own home to witness the scene. It’s not every day that one gets a front row seat to crazy. On this day, crazy looked like this: shards of cardboard boxes and sliced bubble wrap all over the bedroom and the study, scissors and box cutters littering the floor, paperwork all over the kitchen, and Chuck on his phone in a fit of frustration attempting to translate broken English from the overseas help desk that was “helping” him set up a Wi-Fi booster to transfer our old TV to its new upstairs location.

My own phone rang.

“I drove all the way to Sunset for this grill because your brother has the same model, and it’s been great for 14 years,” said my dad with glee. He loves to work hard and drive far for the best. “Tell Chuck that I need his help to unload it.”

I glanced over at Chuck in the adjacent room, trying to pull the last of his hairs off the top of his head. “Now’s not a good time. I’ll send him over later.”

My dad’s disappointment was palpable, but I can’t make everyone happy. I have that T-shirt too.

Hours later, a miracle occurred. I could hear it well before I could see it. My husband and son were sitting in my bedroom watching a football game on the wall-size TV just a few feet away.

“Did you help my dad unload the grill?”

Nope. They’d both forgotten. My son quickly drove to my parents’ house, but he was back in a jiff.

“Grill’s too hot,” he said, settling back into the chair in my bedroom. “I’ll go back over in the morning when it cools down.” Too hot? “Pop got tired of waiting on us and cooked his steaks standing up in the back of his truck.”

My dad fired up the grill and cooked his steaks standing up in the back of his truck. There goes the neighborhood.

“I was really looking forward to a steak,” he said, trying to explain his actions.

Meanwhile, back at my house, I swear I could see every one of Coach O’s nose hairs. And I could clearly hear every grunt of discontent.

So I’m blowing out the back wall and I’ll be watching the games from the neighbor’s driveway. My dad can park his truck there, and we can all just grill and chill.