birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Chris

How do you say thank you to someone who has taken over all of the household chores for months on end and still wants to make love to you? Honestly. That's a mensch if there ever was one.

Not that I think I don't deserve such support and kindness. I feel safe in saying all wives believe they've earned buckets of gratitude and forbearance. It's just that Chris gave it to me without me ever demanding it. In fact, he gave it freely despite the fact that I was moody, glum, and tense.

Got to love a guy who thinks it's simply his turn to be supportive. As the world turns, it will be my time on call and he trusts I will be there for him.

I hope I will be. But I'm not naturally as kind and thoughtful as he is. I'm known to be a bit more self-centered, actually, a lot more than a bit.

So I've been studying how Chris does it, trying to divine the secret to his upbeat approach to small acts of kindness.

For one thing, he is genuinely thoughtful. It's not a stretch for him to think of the welfare of his family as being equal to his own welfare. I never see him struggle to say the right thing in difficult situations.

From the time we were first married, he always reached for the vacuum or the dish towel or the laundry basket when he thought something needed to be done. In 32 years of marriage, he has never uttered the words "Could you please..." fill in the blank with a chore I've left undone.

Saint Christopher notices when the kitchen floor needs sweeping. He notices when the leaves need raking. He stops to pull weeds when he walks down the backyard path. And he does these things long before I have noticed they need to be done.

Oh he's Mr. Perfect all right. Nothing is out of place on his side of the closet. His ubiquitous baseball hats are stacks just so on the shelf. He just bought a goddamn rack for the laundry room because I knock off my shoes there and throw them in the corner, an untidy little pile. So now I have to put my shoes in the rack, just so, nice and neat.

That pain in the ass is fucking driving me crazy. I felt well enough to go with him to the farmers market and he wouldn't let me buy the big container of blueberries. He makes the fruit cup every morning and he knows exactly how many berries he needs, thank you very much.

I've had it with his relentless efforts to make everything around the house so perfect. He fired the gardener because he thought he could do a better job. And, of course, he did do a better job. But now he's in control of both the inside and outside of the house.

I'm losing my mind. As I get better and am able to do more, I find he'd rather I did less. He does it better.

Goddamn control freak. I hope to hell he never gets sick and needs me to pick up the slack. He'll lose his mind being surrounded by my half-assed approach to housekeeping and gardening.

Revenge will be sweet!

Kid Tested

Cocoon