My Furry Husband

Hello from the bus!

It’s midwinter and those of us in the east just survived below zero weather and a snow bomb cyclone!

To be honest, I love extreme weather.   I used to live in LA and the same sunny weather every single day really depressed me.   People would get annoyed with me.  “You are complaining about a sunny day?” they would ask.  But there is something about a thunderstorm or snowstorm or extreme heat or extreme cold that makes me feel alive.  For some reason this pisses people off.  “YOU DO NOT LIKE WALKING IN THE COLD!”

This cold weather didn’t come without consequences though.  Saul (my husband) and I had a loss and an acquisition.

The loss was my wedding ring.

This wouldn’t be so bad except that I also lost my engagement ring shortly after Saul asked me to marry him.   I have good excuses for both.  I didn’t carelessly leave them somewhere or throw them off a bridge in a rage or slip them in my pocket when a cute barista offered to give me extra oat milk in my latte.  The engagement ring came off when I was swimming in the ocean.   I mean how could I help that?  And when you lose something in the ocean, you can’t even begin to look for it.  You just have to give up the idea of ever finding it again.

My wedding ring had been loose on my finger for a while since I lost 30 pounds.  (Have I mentioned I lost 30 pounds?   It’s all because of Weight Watchers.  Thank you, President Winfrey.)

I was going to get it fixed but Saul and I were busy packing and moving and we had my brother stay with us and there were the holidays…and I just didn’t get around to it.

Then the snow bomb cyclone and freezing 0 degree weather came.

On the day of the snow bomb cyclone, I decided to walk from our new home in Lambertville, NJ across the bridge over the Delaware River to New Hope, PA where they have a brand new indoor Famers Market that is like a food court but with cool little restaurants instead of Panda Expresses. (This is not as long a walk as it seems.  It takes about 10 to 15 minutes tops).   The Snow Bomb Cyclone had stopped, but the temperature was about 4 degrees.  Like I said, I love walking in cold.  The river was frozen and beautiful.   My only concern was the geese.  How in the world can they stand to be in the frozen water?  I told myself that I had to trust nature knew what it was doing and they would be fine.  Still I wanted to jump in and rescue them and keep them in our basement until everything warmed up.  I was pretty sure Saul wouldn’t have minded at all as long as they didn’t bother the cats.  The geese seem stoic.  There was one swan that was anything but stoic.  He was screaming at the top of his lungs what I’m pretty sure would be interpreted as “FUCK THIS COLD.  FUCK THIS FUCKING COLD!  FUCK THIS COLD.”    Sorry about the cursing, but everyone knows that swans, like our current president, like to use salty language.

An hour later I arrived back home with Saul’s favorite lunch of Peruvian Chicken basking in the self-pride of what a good husband I was when I took off my glove and my ring was gone!  Saul was standing there so I didn’t even have time to pretend that it wasn’t.  The shock on my face told the story.   I checked my gloves and then I checked my pocket which I discovered HAD A HOLE IN IT!   I immediately retraced my steps and went back over the bridge to the market and then back again keeping my eyes peeled to the ground the entire time.  I believed with all my heart that there was a chance I would find it.  I had been the only person foolish enough to be out in the snow bomb cyclone aftermath so there was little chance anyone would get to it before me.

But alas, it seemed to be gone.

I looked up an article on the internet “THE MEANING OF LOSING A WEDDING RING” hoping it would tell me that it was actually good luck, but instead it was this annoying article about how this husband and wife worked together to find his ring together after he lost it proving what a great team and married partners they were.  Basically, it said Saul and I were screwed.

Luckily, we decided long ago that if one of us (me) lost our wedding ring, we would look at it as a chance to recommit and not as a bad omen for our marriage.  I told myself that maybe a poor person who wanted to propose but didn’t have a ring would find it.

The worst part to me wasn’t the sentimentality but the money.  I knew buying a house would be a big chunk out of savings but didn’t really think about how much would be spent after it was bought.  Yes, yes, I was warned, but didn’t really think the warnings applied to me.   Washers and driers…coat racks because there is no downstairs closet… sump pumps (I had no idea what I sump pump even was two months ago) all add up.

And on top of that Saul picked this time period to become obsessed with furs.

Saul is wonderful but at times can be a little obsessive.  Well, not a little obsessive…really, really obsessive.   If you are a cat and the object of this obsession you benefit greatly.

Maybe the cat obsession should have been a clue that the fur obsession was coming.

Saul found a fur stole a month or so ago at a thrift store.   It was a ratty old thing and he took to wearing it when he walked the cats in the cold.   Then he saw an old raccoon coat at another thrift store and HAD to have it.   It wasn’t very expensive and he convinced me that it was ethically okay to wear it.  Is it helping the raccoons to have it thrown in the trash?   I wasn’t convinced and told him to sleep on it.

The next day after he obsessed, I mean slept on it, he decided he wanted to buy it.

He went to the store and IT HAD BEEN SOLD!  I couldn’t believe it.  A raccoon coat?   Who would think it would fly off the rack?   Suddenly Saul couldn’t imagine life without a raccoon coat.  He searched EBay and every other method to get a used raccoon coat.  He finally found another good bargain and ordered it online.  He couldn’t wait the two weeks it would take in regular mail and paid to have it sent express.  Then the snow bomb cyclone hit and the temperatures plummeted.   Saul was beside himself.   The delivery was delayed by the storm and he had no furry coat to protect him from the cold.  He was convinced by the time the coat arrived, it would be hot and balmy for the rest of his days on earth and he would never get to wear it.    It became all he could think about.   At one point, I took a bath to relax and when I turned off the water I heard him in the other room on hold with DHL trying to find out when his coat would be delivered.  He was on hold for 20 minutes as I stewed in the tub.  “Why can’t he let it go?” I thought to myself.  It’s a stupid coat!

Later that evening I learned that actually saying out loud the words “Why can’t you let this go?  It’s a stupid coat” in a raised voice while dripping wet does not achieve the desired effect you may want.

The coat arrived the next day right after Saul left in freezing weather to walk across the bridge to his art gallery.  I excitedly texted him about its arrival.  Then I called him and then face timed him   I always feel like he is constantly looking at his phone when he is with me, but when he is away from me and I need to get hold of him he never checks it once.  He disagrees with this “fact” that I often point out.  My excitement finally turned to frustration and I eventually jumped in the car and drove the coat over to him, walked in the gallery and flung it on the chair in front of him.  “Here’s the damn coat!”

I don’t think it was the exciting moment he dreamed of, but he recovered quickly and excitedly put it on.   I have to admit he looked great.  We went to church the following day (It’s an Episcopal church, which is a lot like the Catholic church I grew up in, except it has a gay minister—we are not going to become born again or anything but are always on the lookout for a little spirituality.)   A woman after the service went up to Saul and admired his coat.  Then she turned to me and told me how great he looked in it.

“I don’t think I would look good in it,” I said trying to be friendly.

“No.  No, you wouldn’t’,” she replied.

So, Saul waked the cats around town in his new fur coat and I paced back and forth over the Delaware River looking for my ring.  I remembered an I Love Lucy episode where she lost her ring and thought she had accidentally sealed it in the new backyard brick barbecue Ricky had built and had to secretly take it all apart and disastrously put it back together only to find out Ricky had it all the time to teach her a lesson about leaving it on the kitchen sink.  (This was in the last season when they jumped the shark and moved to the country).  I remembered several I Love Lucy episodes where Ricky got mad at Lucy for buying a fur coat.  So, if television is any indicator, I guess Saul have become your typical married couple—at least if it was the 1950’s.

I’m not sure this is what the gays and lesbians who fought so hard for marriage equality imagined.  I certainly don’t know why somebody wouldn’t want to bake us a gay wedding cake.

UPDATE:  I found the wedding ring!  Or rather, Social Media found it!  I posted on the Lambertville NJ Facebook page last week and someone found it today!   She turned it in to the coffee shop and replied to my post.  Saul picked it up and I am on my way home to put it on!

I just reread those worlds above I’m saying that My husband is going to pick up my lost wedding ring.

The privilege of saying those words is still brand new to gay people.   And townspeople we don’t even know on the Facebook page are celebrating a husband retrieving his husbands lost wedding ring.

This snow bomb cyclone week has reminded me I have a lot to be grateful for: Rings and furs and a stubborn belief that people are still good at heart.

ABOUT TO THE AUTHOR:   KEITH HOFFMAN tells himself that forgetfulness is a sign of genius.



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Keith Hoffman lives with his artist husband, dog and two cats in the small town Lambertville, New Jersey 72 miles outside of New York City. He has completed a memoir entitled The Summer My Sister Grew Sideburns.

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