Don’t bring me May flowers during April showers.

roses, flowers, april, showers, may, essay, amwriting, shop, shopping, wife, marriage, bargain shopperSome women don’t like flowers. My wife is one of them. She’d rather I spend my money on things that last––actually scratch that: she’d rather I not spend any money. I’ve accepted the no-flowers rule because I’m not a fan of them either. A flower shop smells like a funeral home, and that reminds me of dead things, and frankly, I’m not into dead things or zombies.

Back when we were dating, I did entice my wife, who I’ve been with for twenty years this year, with a single sunflower. She thought that was original, but not as original as the comment that I made about her big feet on the day we first met. Yes, I know. You’re probably saying to yourself, what a dope. But let me set the scene. I saw her sitting at a table––legs crossed, one leg bouncing off the other. I said, “You have the biggest feet that I’ve ever seen…I love them.” Her response: “I’m gonna marry you.” So needless to say, I’m grateful that she was true to her word and has kept me around so long. After our first date, I knew I was with someone special. I did one of those one-arm fist pumps like I was Ray Bourque scoring the winning goal for the Boston Bruins. F.Y.I: hockey players invented the fist-pump, not them Jersey Shore kids.

You know what I find truly amazing about my wife: The way she shops. She has a Masters Degree in Shopping––not really, but maybe a college should take a hint and start one. My wife has this Twitter handle @eatshoplivebos. Yes, she does all of those things in Boston, but let’s analyze that second word: shop. If you have a woman like my woman, it will be quite evident if you watch them shop. Do it––just take her to the mall or to one of her favorite stores.

Generally speaking, you won’t see her beeline to the ‘just arrived’ rack in the store, rather a frugal consumer, scratch that––a bargain shopper like my wife dives right into the clearance rack. She’ll whip those hangers around feverishly side to side like she was a lioness attacking a zebra on the Serengeti until she has sifted through the entire rack (please note: no animals were harmed during the writing of this essay).

To get the title of Ms. Bargainess (I actually just made that up) took years of practice. The skills were earned like patches on a Girl Scouts sash by watching her mother Thelma shop at the now defunct Filene’s Basement. Do you want to see a bargain shopper’s eyes light up? Show them a hundred and twenty dollar dress marked down five times to the new low price of nineteen ninety nine. They leave the store like they just robbed it!

Us men, we have no clue what we’re doing in department stores. We buy labels––name brands and what our eyes are drawn to, rather than price. If it fits, that’s a bonus because not everything fits in my world. That’s because my body type just won’t fit into skinny jeans or athletic fit shirts that designers are so eager to pump out to their consumers. I’m one of those average males who exercises occasionally and eats whatever I want––frankly, I don’t have a shut off valve. I’m certain that there’s a lot of ‘my’ type out there, however, this story isn’t about me.

When we’re at a store together, my wife’s adamant that we go our separate ways. “J, you’re not going to follow me around like a little puppy dog. If you’re going to do that, then you shoulda just stayed at home.” It gets even better when she addresses me like she’s a boxing trainer. “Honey, you need to poke around. Move your feet and check out the racks. If you’re tired, go sit in that chair in the corner. I’ll come over and get you when I’m ready to leave. If you’re too tired to shop, go out in the car and take a nap.” Have you ever seen a person leave a store with a bag full of merchandise, hop up on the bumper of their SUV, throw their hands up in the air in victory and shout, “Adrian!” You haven’t? Neither have I, but I bet it would make for a good movie, maybe something like Rocky XVIII: the Nordstrom Rack experiment.

It’s National Grammar Day. Proverbs.

tulip, bulbs, flowers, market, jason landry, photograph, proverbs

Jason Landry, Tulip Bulbs, Amsterdam, 2004

It’s National Grammar Day.  Today’s lesson: Proverbs.

‘Good Husbandry’ is listening to your wife when she tells you,
“Jason, I’m going to relax today.  Go for a run or something.”
“Yes dear.”

So during yesterday’s run, Mark was telling me that the tulip bulbs have started to break through the surface mulch in the small garden in front of his brownstone.
“That doesn’t surprise me.  I’ve noticed in the past few years that the proverb, ‘April Showers Bring May Flowers‘ isn’t really the case anymore.  The weird thing is, flowers have been blooming earlier in Boston and April hasn’t been our rainy month…it’s been May.”

“Environmentalists would have you thinking it has something to do with global warming”, says Mark. “The first thing you should check is when and where that statement was first introduced.  When I lived in Virginia, flowers would bloom sooner than in Boston due to it’s geographical distance from the equator.”
“Makes sense.  I’ll do some digging.”

In the mid-16th century, English poet and farmer Thomas Tusser wrote a book called A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry.  First published in 1557, the book included rhyming lyrical poems broken down by the months of the year.  In the April abstract, the famous lines were uttered:

Sweet April showers
do Spring May flowers.

The United Kingdom and the New England states do have similar climates and proximity to the equator.  So this proverb makes sense, however, I’m convinced that climate change has in fact disrupted the seasons.  I think I need to book a lunch with Al Gore.  He’d be able to expound on this topic.